Steve Sailer is my favourite junk-scientist

   27 November 2006, early morning

The racial gap in average IQ is one of the most important factors in modern American life. (via The Hog Town Front)

I’m pretty sure it’s not — I’m not an American though. It is quite possible that American’s think paying credence to dubious test scores is an important part of living in America, I just don’t think it’s that likely. I think American’s have more important things to worry about. Steven Sailer is my favourite junk-scientist. He likes to write about Black people and White people. If you read enough of his articles you’ll quickly learn White people are the best people ever: better, stronger, faster. Yeah…

Occam’s Razor would suggest that the simplest and thus most likely explanation for the persistent gap in achievement is the equally persistent gap in aptitude.

Occam’s Razor would suggest that if you spend all your time trying to figure out how White people are the best peoples EVAH you probably have some issues you need to deal with.

Jonothan Kozol’s Still Separate, Still Unequal is a more interesting and well reasoned take on this subject. I would agree with Kozol: putting Black children in crap schools, and White kids in nice schools is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Sort of like the Gifted Program here in Toronto.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if ridding the SAT of analogies backfires and lowers the average black score because African-American humor is quite oriented toward analogy, simile, and metaphor: “Yo mama is so fat, she’s …”

Clearly Sailer has a deep understanding of the Black-psyche.



  1. More discussion at The Hogtown Front.

  2. I think that Desmond Jones guy called you a ‘self loathing white man’ or something last time you linked to that site.

  3. And I quote: Vismins won’t support you and neither will brain-dead self-loathing whites like joe blarnystone. That guy is awesome; though in his defense, there was a brief period of time my Joe Blarnystone profile didn’t point back to this blog. (When I moved over to Dreamhost, I killed my Blogger blog.)

  4. Yes, IQ tests are total crap for lots of reasons…

    I would agree with Kozol: putting Black children in crap schools, and White kids in nice schools is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    There’s lots of empirical evidence to back up this hypothesis. i.e. After segregation ended and they started sending Black kids to schools in White neighbourhoods, etc. the gap in SAT score between Black and White kids narrowed significantly.

  5. a study that points in the other direction

    For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, “You can’t solve educational problems by throwing money at them.” The education establishment and its supporters have replied, “No one’s ever tried.” In Kansas City they did try. To improve the education of black students and encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas City, Missouri, School District to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it.

    Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil—more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money bought higher teachers’ salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.

    The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration.

    The Kansas City experiment suggests that, indeed, educational problems can’t be solved by throwing money at them, that the structural problems of our current educational system are far more important than a lack of material resources, and that the focus on desegregation diverted attention from the real problem, low achievement.

  6. dubious test scores

    Well, IQ results are predicted by physiological metrics like MRIs. For example [sorry if the carriage returns below don.t go through]:

    Neurobiological determinants of intelligence as measured by IQ:

    1. Posterior lesions often cause substantial decreases in IQ. Duncan and colleagues suggested that the frontal lobes are involved more in Gf and goal-directed behaviour than in Gc (Fig. 2). In addition, Gf is compromised more by damage to the frontal lobes than to posterior lobe.
    2. MRI-based studies estimate a moderate correlation between brain size and intelligence of 0.40 to 0.51
    3. g was significantly linked to differences in the volume of frontal grey matter, which were determined primarily by genetic factors. the volume of frontal grey matter had add itional predictive validity for g even after the predictive effect of total brain volume was factored out
    4. Only one region is consistently activated during three different intelligence tasks when compared to control tasks.The surface features of the tasks differed (spatial, verba l, circles) but all were moderately strong predictors of g (g LOADING; range of r,, whereas control tasks were weaker predictors of g (range of r, Neural acti vity in several areas, measured by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, was greater during high-g than low-g tasks.
    5. Speed and reliability of neural transmission are related to higher intelligence (reviewed in Refs 15,20). Early neuroimaging studies using PET foun d that intelligence correlated negatively with cerebral glucose metabolism during mental activity54 (for a review, see Ref. 55), leading to the formulation of a .neural efficiency. hypothesis.
    6. Gf is mediated by neural mechanisms that support the executive control of attention during working memory.greater event-related neural activity in many regions, including th e frontal, parietal and temporal lobes, dorsal anterior cingulate and lateral cerebellum. Crucially, these patterns were most distinct during high-interference trials, even after co ntrolling for behavioural performance and for activity on low-interference trials within the same regions
    7. RAPM scores obtained outside the scanner predicted brain activity in a single left parietal/temporal region, and not in the frontal lobes.
    8. An exploratory fMRI study60 (n = 7) indicated that parietal areas are involved in inspection time tasks, specifically Brodmann area (BA) 40 and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA47) but not the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

    Behavioral Genetics of IQ

    1. Monozygotic twins raised separately following adoption show a correlation of 0.72 for intelligence
    2. For 48 identical twin pairs separated in early infancy and reared apart, Bouchard et al.83 found remarkably high between-twin correlations for verbal scores on the WAIS (0.64) and for the first principal component of special mental abilities (0.78)
    3. Psychometric g has been shown to be highly heritable in many studies, even more so than specific cognitive abilities (h2 = 0.62, Ref. 87 compare with Ref. 88; h2 = 0.48, Ref . 89; h2 =, Refs 90,91)...
    4. Intriguingly, the influence of shared family environments on IQ dissipates once children leave home . between adult adoptive relatives, there is a correlation of IQ of -0.01
    5. Molecular Genetics of IQ

    6. Chorney et al.104 discovered an allelic variation in a gene on chromosome 6, which codes for an insulin-like growth factor-2 receptor (IGF2R), that was linked with high inte lligence.
    7. Later studies identified a second IQ-related polymorphism in the IGF2R gene, and others in the cathepsin D (CTSD) gene, in the gene for an acetylch oline receptor (CHRM2)106, and in a HOMEOBOX GENE (MSX1) that is important in brain development107, 108.
    8. Influence of each polymorphism was minimal . variants of CHRM2 accounted for a range of only 3.4 IQ points, whereas different forms of CTSD account ed for about 3% of the variation between people.None of these associations has yet been replicated by other research groups
    9. Some patients with microcephaly also possess the ASPM mutation, indicating that a shortened version of the gene might lead to the development of fe wer cerebral neurons and a smaller head.
    10. Polymorphism in the human brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene is associated with impaired performance on memory tests
    11. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene influences the activation of working memory circuits. COMT polymorphisms seem to be highly specific to some prefrontal cortex-dependent tasks in children.
    12. Dopamine receptor (DRD4) and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) polymorphisms are associated with differences in performance and brain activity during task s that involve executive attention
  7. I fail to see how links between physiology and IQ make IQ scores any less dubious? Did I miss something?

  8. You probably did. And it’s probably fully explained by your low IQ. Hey, how’s that for the causal link you searched for?

  9. No, I have a freakishly high IQ, so it’s not that. You know what, I’m a skinny guy, so my brain probably doesn’t weigh much. That’s probably what my problem is.

  10. But wait? Did you take a stab at the gifted schools in Scarborough? You know it was jam-packed with IQ goodness (that did connect to very smart people, less a few strange cases), just that there was quite a bit of social retardation…

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