Thursday, July 31, 2008

Acting White: Intelligence and Genes

I have been known to make statements about race and intelligence that have earned me both praise and vilification. A large part of the vilifying is my own fault, for not heeding the taboo restriction on the subject. I am also to blame that my perspective has undergone a shift that makes a big difference in how my words are formed and perceived, and I have not made that shift clear.

This post will begin the task. I do not believe that race or genetics drives the disparity in intelligence between blacks and non-blacks. However, the disparity is real, by modeling and empirical observation, and most visible by race. This visibility, through the convenient lens of race, leads us to focus on superficial physiology differences as evidence of the drivers of difference, even though they drive nothing.

I do believe that intelligence is inadvertently responsible for the different ethnicities, or races (if we must continue to use that word). With a few possible exceptions, there is only one distribution of inherited intelligence for humankind and it cares nothing about race. It established itself in Africa long before the events that precipitated the races. That same distribution of intelligence exist to this day, beyond the contorted optics of race. It is the distribution of intelligence that allowed certain Africans to walk off that continent and around the globe over 7,000 years ago.

The fact that those exiting Africans would change skin color, hair and eye color, and other superficial features during their two thousand year journey explains why our dissected brains show no difference that can explain the disparity in intelligence we experience. The Ashkenazi Jews of Northern Europe and the Aborigines of Australia are the only candidates (I know of) for enhanced brain physiology that could lead us to believe that they are more intelligent by virtue of their genetics. The Ashkenazi’s have mean IQ’s well above all other groups as the possible result of the same disorders that cause Tay Sachs. The Aborigines have phenomenal memories, a vital factor of intelligence, as the result of, or caused by, the lack of a written language.

While the lens of race distorts our understanding of intelligence, it (measured intelligence) nonetheless accurately captures outcomes of performance for groups relative to each other, and for this reason should not be dismissed. However, inherited intelligence is only one factor influencing the level to which a person can be educated and contribute to themselves and society. Once we are past the distortion of race views, perhaps we can better go about the effort of supporting development of all people, and away from the notion that one size of education fits all.

James C. Collier


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Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

???IQ proves intelligence?

I think NOT!
Intelligence is NOT information!

What defines intelligence today is INFORMATION [advance in science].

The Ashkenazi’s have mean IQ’s well above all other groups as the possible result of the same disorders that cause Tay Sachs. The Aborigines have phenomenal memories, a vital factor of intelligence, as the result or caused by the lack of a written language.

I think that IS NONSENSE!
We really KNOW nothing about the BRAIN to conjure things like that!

Joe Friday said...

explain this?

A good God fearing moral man.

Why don't we hear more about him? Why is not held high as hero and leadership example in the black and white community?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's genetics as much as it has a lot to do with their environment and what they are exposed to in their educational system.

The statistics on race really don't make any sense. I always think they are their to divide. Who cares if the school is mexicans if everyone there doesn't know math.

People are always looking for a way to say we are not all born the same.

uglyblackjohn said...

To assume that the people who left Africa are more intelligent might be stretching it. Maybe they were forced to move to the "ghetto" parts of the continent because of their lack of desirable traits.
You also seem to be assuming that the people who stayed failed to continue to develope mentally.
I.Q. is fine as a measurement. It only measures potential - not real knowledge or the application of that knowledge.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@tom james

I will ASK why Europeans [White people if you want] STILL sell this lie that Science and Art started in Greece?

Enough historic evidences SAYS NO!

I read on New African Mag that calling African to a Jamaican descendant in England IS actually an insult, and here in Portugal most African, people who come from Africa not 2nd generation actually shy from being called African they prefer to be called NIGGER, you SEE European descendants NEEDS this LINK, I ask WHY lie?

Anonymous said...

It's sad to be that this argument persists. It seems extremely irrelevant to anything to be quite honest. Furthermore, your definition of intelligence is highly questionable.

In relation to the 'intelligence' of nature, the universe, the human mind and body - none of which man knows much about - we are all pretty dumb. We know so little about how we came to be created and the forces of creation, yet we want to start saying that intelligence comes down to how you score on some man-made IQ test.

Who decided what consitutes IQ, and for what purpose did they decide it? How do they - or you - actually know that their tests says anything about intelligence?

James C. Collier said...

Lola: Intelligence testing creates opportunity for abuse, nonetheless it remains a significant component for promoting people through the ed. process. Until we do away with it, we should face it squarely.

Joe Friday said...

Ahh the education system!

Who decides who is a drone, a worker bee, a nurse bee, a guard bee, The Queen?

The public education system is a joke!

It creates drone followers who only know how to consume. It keeps the populace docile and uneducated. Those in power do not want critical thinkers they cannot control who would threaten the powers that be.

A prime example are immigrants who come to America that were raised in other parts of the world and thrive on the resources and opportunities available to them despite the lack a piece of paper from Harvard or Berkley, Yale, Princeton, and are sending billions of US dollars overseas back to their homeland right under the noses of "Americans"

They just laugh at our stupidity and ignorance and what we waste.

"A fool and his money are soon parted"

The bible (what this country was founded on like it or not) and morals have been taken out of the education system. Kids used to be taught to read by learning scripture. It served two purposes, learning to read and learning morals.

Today America is essentially a nation "Morally depleted of basic human values."

And people wonder why. Garbage in Garbage out.

Joe Friday said...

Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune (1840-1870) said, "It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@tom james
The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.

Are you BLIND!
Ever HEARD of Confucius?
His teaching WAS the foundation of LIBERTY and Human rights!
Ever heard of Inquisition?

Yes! Christianity HELPED allot to eradicate empiric knowledge that later lead to importation of "Arab" technology that leads to the formation of USA [the boats and instruments European used was arab technology].

Do you know that Bible is thoroughly a political manifesto?
See Israel today!
IT was used as REASON to pillage the south of Earth hemisphere!
Which Pope called Africans as 3/4 human, the rest Animal?

Do you KNOW why JEWISH people are good Academics?
I think because THEY culture prizes information/knowledge and principally DISCIPLINE.

@james c. collier
... If you lie Thomas Alva Edison's IQ aside a 13 y.o. IQ today, T.E. might very well FALL behind!

Information is WAY important but it alone does NOT stimulate the brain for development.

Joe Friday said...

Jews don't have a New testament nor do they believe in Jesus.

Man is corrupt and not worthy yet the lesson of love and grace is what has saved us.

God teaches us to have free choice. He lets us make our own choices and warns us of the consequences of bad choices.

God is not a tyrant, he gives us the freedom to choose.

He is your father, you can choose to obey and grow strong and become wise. Or you have the FREEDOM to ignore and disobey and reap what you sow. There is no slavery! Only consequences for ignoring the eternal truths found in all religions.

He tells you the world will hate you if you follow him. Man is selfish, greedy, and rebellious. Man does not want to obey or answer to anyone. When you accept Christ as your savior, you have to submit your will and desire albeit it is a free choice.

The wages of sin are death. I'll submit for eternal life.

Good behavior is rewarded. Good choices are rewarded. Bad behavior and choices yield bad results.

That does not mean you will have an easy path. The story of JOB and all the apostles and many many other followers will attest to that. Yet it is the right path and will yield eternal results.

When you become a Christian that is when Satan starts his attack, you will have temptations and trouble you never before imagined. The easy path is Satan's path. But it is temporary and the eternal reward is not what I desire.

It really is not that complicated.

You are looking at the actions of flawed, weak, MEN who claim to represent God as God.

Read and study his book regularly. Use the mind he gave you to discern good from bad, right from wrong.

Pray for guidance and understanding.

Looking to humans for perfection will yield poor results.

White men, black men, yellow men, red men, and all shades in between have fallen short of the goal. Don't let hatred blind your own good sense. We have all been slaves at some point in history.

Look beyond what is familiar and known to you, open yourself to another perspective. Don't be a fool use your mind and reason what is true and good.

A nun told me when I was very young.

The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.

Every generation has to relearn the lesson. Take a short cut learn from the past, and move to the front of the class, bus, corporation or whatever you identify with.

Or not! Again you have been given the Freedom to choose your own path.

Why do you think socialist and communist, etc., try to snuff out religion it teaches people about freedom and truth. You cannot control hearts and minds that know truth.

Joe Friday said...

More truth:

More truth maybe:

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@tom james

Bible WAS BASED on the 2+1 books of TORAH!

Bible is based on the JEW myths!

Bible WAS rewritten to fit EUROPEAN imperialism!

I do NOT hate Anything, really, when you care you do not hate you ASK question, you lost the FEAR!

For me Bible IS a TRAP for Dark skinned people, IT would NEVER serve their purpose.

Clearly you SEE, I do not believe in Jewish's or ANY other GOD.
I believe in the MANKIND!

When the sun dies, THERE will be NO GOD to save us, only technology will!

So information/knowledge [technology] WILL BE the SAVIOR of Mankind NOT GOD!

Anonymous said...

Please, be careful as you peruse history, the "intelligences" that are put forth as evidence of superiority can quickly be laid to waste. These "intelligences" are culturally based, the testing is done from a European perspective hence it will be from that worldview alone. There is no universal intelligence, as principles of thoughts date back to the Africans of even Pre-Nile Valley civilizations. What if they were to individualize and compartmentalize all Europeans, Asians, and others as being of lesser intelligence? We would be having a different type of conversation. Study the concepts of MAAT and you will find ethical teaching coming out of East Africa, millenia before there was a such thing as a unified European state!

uglyblackjohn said...

Ummm... look at the recent article in Black Enterprise under the heading Diversitywatch. The Article states that African immigrants to the U.S. have (a rate of) bachelor's degrees at twice the level of all Americans.
I don't think that you can fairly blame the race as much as the American culture in general or African-American culture in particular (or vice-versa).

James C. Collier said...

uglyblackjohn: translating the motivation and performance of african immigrants to black americans is the 64,000 question. Also, I don't put as much stock in measured intelligence differences as you might think, especially when it comes to life outcomes. However, reconciling the disparity is a starting point that has us consider ignored/uncharted factors, such as pre-natal vitamin D deficiency.

Joe Friday said...


You have the freedom to choose. Choose wisely.

Anonymous said...

Unlike most (99.9999%) of black people I just can't out of hand dismiss the possibility of genetically based differences in the *distribution* of intelligence among various races or populations. To those who say that we don't know anything about the brain, our origins, etc i say get educated. We don't know everything but that's no reason to say that we don't know anything.
Humans started leaving their east african homeland at least 50k years ago, not 7000 . 50K years is some time. There can be some evolution during that time.
I think it is possible that intelligence difference between populations has a genetic basis. I can't think of one reasonable reason to dismiss it out of hand. Hurt feelings aren't a good reason. BTW asians and jews score higher on intelligence tests than white europeans in general so i'm not really sure about the whole "those who design the test make sure they're the best" theory .
At this point , i think there need to be black people who will push eugenics and genetic engineering to remediate any possible genetic deficiency. While some other people will be pushing environmental solution. Why not attack the problem from all possible angles ?
To me it's clear :
Either i care about making sure that the black race is as well equipped as the other races , or i care more about my feelings being hurt because of the possibility of genetically based race differences in intelligence.

James C. Collier said...

ogunsiron: I encourage you to follow your own advice about getting educated. Researchers have looked high and low for genetically differntiated brain physiology to match measured disparity, with no luck. Please tell us, what IQ lever is there to engineer??? The brain, unlike the skin, is not genetically adaptive, but rather it changes very slowly over long periods (tens of thous. years), except for mutations, e.g. sphingolipid disorders. You are talking about fixing something that does not exist by doing that which is not yet possible. In the meantime you give credence to genetic superiority arguments driven by race. I hope your 99.9999% difference is accurate.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating take on an old controversy. James is taking the honest, though difficult path. Ugly John's fantasy approach is the path more traveled, because it is easier.

Anonymous said...

Apologies to Ugly John, I mistook him for ochymig, the fantasist. Ugly John has made some very good comments.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@alyshia finster

ochymig, the fantasist?

Can you be more specific!
All I said is WE know little OR nothing about the Brain!
Is that fantasy?

Or was it religion?
I fear NOT different opinions! You know WHY?
Because I know NOTHING!
When you know nothing you ran AWAY from hollow DOGMAS [aren't all dogmas hollow?]

Or are you calling me an ostrich, if SO WHY?


We are individuals, what fits me DOES not obligatorily FIT all Dark skinned people.
I referenced Jews [and IS there a MORE successful people?, although NOT as sophisticate as Japanese people], just to make the point that environment [mental environment-mentality is related to culture] weigh HIGHLY on the WAY we are/think behave!

By the way, what is intelligence?

@tom james :

Being civilized is TO respect ones opinion [ which is LIBERTY!], each opinion MUST be based on ones experience [yr TRUTH], NOT on WHAT soothes you!
Truth, there is one at any CORNER!

Joe Friday said...

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart.”

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn. R.I.P.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@tom james

How do you know the HUMAN heart if We are obliged to WEAR masks in order to be accepted!


Because WE do NOT care about anyones HEARTH!
We are afraid of looking stupid/asking questions []because there are Good/Bad questions], afraid of being US!

How can you lean without looking INTO the OTHER side [unknown]?

So I see no GOOD/Evil in anyone, I SEE interests that might be aligned with mine or not.
We go to school to get educated so WE can better FIGHT our interrest, Good job, scape poverty!

THERE is not such thing as BAD/Good people.
That only means be at our side or NOT!

Joe Friday said...

Come to think of it you may be right not much evil in the world. Never has been.

What was I thinking?????????


Joe Friday said...

No races hands are clean!!!!!

Joe Friday said...

Very good info here.

Remember if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Blogger uglyblackjohn said...

To assume that the people who left Africa are more intelligent might be stretching it. Maybe they were forced to move to the "ghetto" parts of the continent because of their lack of desirable traits.

You're prefectly right that there's no reason to assume that those who left east-africa to go somewhere else were smarter. They might have eben either totally ordinary folks who were looking for better land or maybe even marginalized ones who were pushed out. We dont'know.
With that said, that was at least 5k years ago and humans can and DO evolve during that time frame. Hell, even 1000 years is enough if the selection is strong enough. It all depends on how strong the selection is, folks. Take the black death : we can be almost certain that those people whose immunological profile made them vulnerable to the black death have either totally disappeared or are much rarer in the population than they were before the black death.
Take the american indians : 10s of millions of them died from diseases brought from everywhere outside of america. Their population HAS evolved, because when it comes to immunity, they're just not the same as their ancestors from 1400.

You also seem to be assuming that the people who stayed failed to continue to develope mentally.
They kept on developping mentally but there's no good reason to believe they developped at the same rate or in the same *direction* as in the rest of the world. The aborigene example is a great one : Over the 1000s of years, their mental ability with space and memory developed way more than that of other people. On the other hand they're not very well known for other mental abilities (they score very very low in IQ tests in general).

I.Q. is fine as a measurement. It only measures potential - not real knowledge or the application of that knowledge.
Well, no argument here. IQ is designed to measure potential. It's just that high potential usually translates with high achievement.
The correlation is very high, so even though you can meet high IQ losers, most high IQ people achieve and higher IQ people achieve even more. There's research on this.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

Inside the Academia there is a discussion whether or not IQ is relevant.

And I believe there is very few left flagging it.

James C. Collier said...

RL: I use the most recent dates, supporting the notion of departure 'waves' beginning long ago but ending about 7K years ago. Does this change the thought?

geekgrl said...

National Home Education Research Institute Study:

There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. For example, in grades K-12, both white and minority homeschooled students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while blacks and Hispanics scored in the 77th percentile. In the public schools, however, there is a sharp contrast. White public school eighth grade students, nationally scored the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored on the average at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading.

Public education damages black kids and that damaged gets interpreted as lack of intelligence.