the cards fall

People are doing GWAS studies on alleles that influence educational achievement – IQ alleles, more or less – and are finding some. Once you find them, the natural question is how the frequencies of those vary in different populations. Do populations that test low on IQ have fewer plus alleles than those that test high?

This can get complicated, at least if the populations you’re comparing are highly divergent. If they are, the set of education alleles in one pop might be significantly different than the set in the other. Pygmies are like this with height: they share many of the alleles that affect height in Europeans, but also have some of their own. Of course, the most divergent human populations, Pygmies and Bushmen, are few in number and have no significant diasporas.

If all you want to know is the source of population differences, you can easily get around this: look at a mixed population and see how IQ varies with the degree of admixture.

Next question: what would be the implications of various possible results? Suppose that GWAS hits and admixture studies suggest that population ancestry did not matter. Every population is equal in genetic potential for intelligence. That would be a surprise – things sure don’t look that way. It would suggest that a potent and unknown environmental influence(s) was responsible for observed differences. I doubt this outcome a whole lot, but it’s a big universe.

Next possibility: the distribution of IQ alleles predicts what we already see. Those populations that test low have correspondingly low frequencies of plus alleles. Things are the way they look – no real surprises.

Last: things are mostly the way they look, but at least one population does a lot worse (or better) than you would expect from their measured IQ-allele frequencies. I think if you had done this 100 years ago there would have been some anomalies of this sort – populations with serious iodine shortages would have had anomalously low scores. If we hadn’t known about iodine shortages and their consequences, this kind of result would have hinted at it.

Next question: what would the impact of such results be?

For option 1: we would start looking hard for that indumbnifying environmental influence. We would want to be able to turn it off – or on.

Option II and III: Much would be explained. But the results would be almost entirely rejected. How many minds would be changed? Hardly any. You’d have to know a fair amount about genetics to even appreciate the evidence. No matter how sound the result, various bastards will emit a fog of lies about it – not many people would be able to see through that fog, and even fewer would want to. I know of a couple of cases in which people who were disinclined to believe in the results of twin studies came to accept them after GCTA results – extrapolating from that example, results like II or III would change the minds of hundreds of people worldwide.

This doesn’t mean that there would never be any consequences. There would eventually be practical applications of such a result, and the people working those applications would know and understand it.

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200 Responses to the cards fall

  1. Ron Pavellas says:

    “IQ” and “Intelligence” as words trigger emotional responses in certain people who don’t like to acknowledge or even consider inherent differences in people and groups of people. Could we come up with less threatening verbiage? What is the essential element of ‘intelligence’ which could lend itself to an acceptable conception? Ability to cognate and effectively employ AAA and BBB capabilities or functions, frexample?

    • ckp says:

      That just puts you on a treadmill of inventing newer and stupider words as each euphemism becomes tainted by association.

      If people don’t like “IQ” and “intelligence” they are the ones with the problem and they should get over it.

    • dearieme says:

      As adjectives, ‘bright’ and ‘dim’ seem to me to fit the bill. In the US you might prefer ‘dumb’ but I’d prefer to reserve it for its other meaning.

      • erica says:

        The phrase that seems to evoke no negative emotional response from those who tend to be silly about this sort of thing is “fast learners.” Of course, the same cannot be said for its opposite, “slow learners,” although it doesn’t cause the offended to froth at the mouth as, say, “dumb” or “dim” or just plain “slow” does.

        What I’ve found is that if you use “fast learners,” its opposite is understood, and it’s much easier to continue a civil conversation–if a civil conversation is what you really want. Often I don’t.

      • syonredux says:

        I kinda like ‘sharp’ and ‘dull’ myself

    • RaceRealist says:

      The words are fine. It’s up to them if they’d like to deny reality (as we know many on the left already do).

    • ensitue says:

      IQ is the raw potential, Knowledge is what is learned and stored. Morality is the realization of one’s obligations and Wisdom is the net result of life’s lessons. many never reach the point where Wisdom appears

  2. Sandgroper says:

    ‘Cognate’ is not a verb. So you just failed the first part of the test.

    The adjective ‘cognitive’ means: “Relating to the part of mental functions that deals with logic, as opposed to affective which deals with emotions.” So it has to do with logical reasoning, and ‘cognitive ability’ means the ability to figure something out by using logical reasoning.

    So ‘cognitive ability’ is already a pretty good proxy for general intelligence. IQ is not an innate property, it is a measure of something. As it correlates well with other measures of general intelligence, like academic performance, it has come to be a proxy for general intelligence.

    Interestingly, high cognitive ability correlates pretty well with some other things, like musical ability – any fool can bash a stick against a hollow tree, but not everyone can learn to read and understand complex music.

    I suspect the fact that it seems possible to use ‘cognitive ability’ as a proxy for general intelligence is due to a lot of people not understanding what it means. It means the same as IQ and intelligence.

    • Ron Pavellas says:

      Yeah, I had my doubt about the ersatz verb. Thanks for responding. I don’t think the progressives will be convinced, no matter how much you and others will bring evidence and reason to bear. It really is limiting in one’s social life to have to avoid triggering people who are otherwise, yes, intelligent, and productive, and fundamentally nice. (NB: I’m not an academic).

  3. cargocultist says:

    More important in the short run is to identify the most gifted children and provide them with special education. Any tool to identify them including fMRI and GWAS may be helpful. I’d really like to see boarding schools for very gifted children to help them develop and protect them against boredom and the very real possibility of downward cultural and cognitive integration. The latter seems to be the principal social dynamic in the postmodern West; the Flynn effect seems to have reversed even though more and more people are supposedly highly educated.

    Gregory, you’re really asking too big a question as virtually all people will be unable to wrap their heads around it emotionally and cognitively. And they’ll just continue to look for Shere Khans to throw into volcanoes. We should conserve our energy now and just ignore them as much as possible.

    Greg, do you believe in the possibility of the creation of new nation states? The possibility of a country without idiots sounds almost magical. And it would be…

    • Uncle Kenny says:

      I am sure we could find some kindly Professor Xavier to run such a school. How much of the right tail of the bell curve would qualify? Would a candidate need to be a triple-9? In those terms, the practicality of the idea is self-evident. It would only work if the IQ bell curve and the wealth bell curve mapped to the same people, as they most manifestly do not, despite what your local billionaire might think.

      • cargocultist says:

        We’ll need a Fethullah Gülen but better. Triple-9? Triple many things! We know that good students hardly elevate the bad ones. Downward integration on the other hand is very apparent. The second law is a bitch, especially if you ignore it.

        Mensans are often useless and annoying as are the more extreme IQ people. (serious) Nobel Laureates tend to be remarkably ordinary in many ways and virtually all have families and a pretty balanced life. They just work on a problem for a a very long time. So strictly speaking IQ is only one factor.

        But we haven’t answered the question: why are many extreme IQ people so f-ed up? A normal environment is by definition an extreme environment for genotypical extreme outliers. How many really smart people just can’t optimally handle life for this reason? Quite a few certainly. What would it be like for an ordinary person to have to grow up in a zoo? Only an extreme optimist wouldn’t be damaged by that experience. Optimism is a cognitive bias and optimists survive and rise in our culture, and in many ways make the zoo even worse. It’s talented boys mostly who are getting boiled off.

    • Ron Pavellas says:

      Agree up to a point, or to include a point. These bright people eventually will have to interact with folks lower in the normal (Bell) curve in a way which will not alienate these folks. Bright people can’t do it alone, whatever they may undertake, unless they can sit in their caves to issue profound thoughts and observations unaided by other humans. One of the problems I have encountered with Mensans (I was once a member) is the inability, easily anyway, to hear and attempt to understand what others, including Mensans, are trying to communicate to them–more importantly, to carry the notion that they may learn something from others, no matter where placed in life.

    • It would be cheap to help the most gifted do well. They can learn a great deal of info with minimal instruction. A web site dedicated to teaching hard stuff would help. Every video could be math, physics, and other hard stuff. Some online tests for the same.

    • Issac Asimov suggested that noticing which children read science fiction would be a very easy first pass at finding the bright ones. There would be false positives, of course, and a large percentage who would not be located by that. But it wouldn’t cost much in time, effort, or money, so you’d get an immediate payback.

      Of course, once they saw a photograph of the group or a list of names the game would be up and you’d have to find some other “better” method.

      • MawBTS says:

        How about videogames?

        Maybe take note of which kids are playing Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, and Civilization.

        • cargocultist says:

          You’d be selecting for people who are happy to waste their time. I’m most interested in kids who are very smart but also lazily efficient and generally disengaged. According to some intelligence experts a kid needs to be self-activating to even be considered gifted, i.e. a kid suffering from depression can not be called gifted by definition. That’s a very wasteful belief because it’s simply not true.

    • Purple Furple says:

      I find it extremely interesting that cultural refinement tanked at the precise same time Harvard kicked off the cognitive stratification trend in the 1950s and 1960s. It seems to me that if you want to discover why today’s Harvard kids consume pop culture, you’ll have to look at what changed back then.

    • Purple Furple says:

      I find it extremely interesting that cultural refinement tanked at the precise same time Harvard kicked off the cognitive stratification trend back in the 1950s and 1960s. It seems to me that if you want to discover why Harvard kids consume pop culture, you’ll have to see what happened back then.

    • I’ve suspected that a big reason the Soviet Union was able to do so much science- and engineering-wise, was because they were so effective in finding the smart kids and sending them to special schools.

      • gcochran9 says:

        I don’t actually think that they were particularly effective.

        • I should have added “given they had planned economy”. Amazing to me they were able to make a pencil, let along an Su-27

          • Hippopotamusdrome says:

            Actually, they weren’t able to make a pencil. They needed outside help to come in and set up and run the factories for them.

            Armand Hammer

            In 1925 he obtained a concession from the Bolsheviks to manufacture pencils for the Soviet Union, and his firm soon became the largest supplier of cheap, reliable pencils in the country.


            There were fur deals, and a Hammer pencil factory was given a Soviet monopoly. The Soviets permitted Hammer sweetheart deals on sales abroad of precious czarist art.

            Armand Hammer Dies at 92; Industrialist and Philanthropist Forged Soviet Links

            Dr. Hammer was variously president and chairman of … A. Hammer Pencil Company of New York, London and Moscow

            Hammer Diamond Soviet Poster 1927

            • gcochran9 says:

              They made more and better tanks than the Germans after losing the Donbas and while 40% of the Soviet population was under German occupation. I don’t think that economists have done very well in understanding either the successes or failures of the Soviet Union.

              • Hippopotamusdrome says:

                Their tanks designs were obtained by industrial espionage and reverse-engineering. The manufacture of these imitations was of low-quality.

                Their tanks always had a bad loss ratio. Even factoring in greater numbers of tanks produced, the greater numbers didn’t compensate for the loss ratio. They made three times as many, but lost 4 times as many.

                Equipment losses in World War II

                Ratio, German:Soviet
                Year — tank loss — Tank production
                1941 — 1:7 — 1:2
                1942 — 1:6 — 1:5.6
                1943 — 1:4 — 1:3.3
                1944 — 1:4 — 1:1.85
                1945 — 1:1.2 — 1:4

                Total 1:4.4 — 1:3

                Industrial espianage:

                J. Walter Christie

                Though the Soviet Union had no diplomatic relations with the US at the time, and was barred from obtaining military equipment or weapons, Soviet OGPU agents at the trade front organization AMTORG managed to secure plans and specifications for the Christie M1928 tank chassis in 1930 using a series of deceptions. On April 28, 1930 Christie’s company, the U.S. Wheel Track Layer Corporation, agreed to sell Amtorg two M1931 Christie-designed tanks

                The two Christie tanks, falsely documented as agricultural farm tractors, were sold without prior approval of the U.S. Army or Department of State, and were shipped … to the Soviet Union … The Soviets later improved upon the basic Christie tank design, … for its BT tank series of infantry tanks.

                Westernern technicians look over Soviet tanks and are appalled at how bad they are:

                Evaluation Of The T-34 And Kv Tanks By Engineers Of The Aberdeen Proving Grounds

                Those working on the transmission of the KV were struck that it was very much like those transmissions on which they had worked 12-15 years ago. The firm was questioned. The firm sent the blueprints of their transmission type A-23. To everyone’s surprise, the blueprints of our transmission turned out to be a copy of those sent. The Americans were surprised not that we were copying their design, but that we were copying a design that they had rejected 15-20 years ago.

                On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces (on all the cogwheels). A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.

                Side friction clutches

                Out of a doubt, very poor. In USA, they rejected the installation of friction clutches, even on tractors (never mind tanks), several years ago. In addition to the fallaciousness of the very principle, our friction clutches are extremely carelessly machined from low-quality steel, which quickly causes wear and tear, accelerates the penetration of dirt into the drum and in no way ensures reliable functioning.

                Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks.

                Aberdeen: T-34 and KV-1 Test

                The Americans remark that the tank is produced crudely, absent-mindedly, and with undeveloped technology of certain parts and devices.

              • gcochran9 says:

                The tanks we built in WWII were much inferior to Soviet tanks. Fuck you, Aberdeen!

                I just told someone to shut up who didn’t know what he was talking about. That applies to you as well.

            • Economic Sophisms says:

              Can’t make this up! Still, 1920s is early days, they were exporting tens of thousands of stamped AKs by the 1970s, just a little more work than a pencil. Though I’m one of those guys who thinks Hugo Schmeisser designed the AK47…

          • Bla says:

            Highly doubt that, for example, Hayek would find that surprising. If you follow his line of reasoning in The Road to Serfdom, it is not the case you can’t do anything with planned economy, you can even be extremely proficient in some things, but it would not work overall (and it would have political repercussions). USSR was good in weapons manufacturing and some other things, Cuba does have good health service (how good exactly is not the point, it’s better than one could expect). Both were outperforming at the Olympics… But were they able to achieve as good as possible standard of living for their population? No.

            • Economic Sophisms says:

              What do you “highly doubt”? That I have an opinion? That the USSR was good at many things? Just because you have hands doesn’t mean you have to type, wait until you have a point.

            • ursiform says:

              North Korea’s economic model causes people to starve to death, but they have detonated nuclear devices and orbited satellites.

              Sure, their nukes and satellites suck, but they are still impressive accomplishments for a country with widespread starvation.

              Few would call North Korea’s model worthy of emulation, but they are making progress on key goals of the government.

      • Hippopotamusdrome says:

        they were so effective in finding the smart kids and sending them to special schools

        … special schools in Siberia?. And the only reason Lysenko didn’t win the Nobel Prize was politics then? You have to give them Pavlov though.

    • RaceRealist says:

      The Flynn Effect is not on g so I don’t really care for it.

  4. sabracakeboo says:

    Noone wants to hear that you are smarter than they are. Period. It makes people furious enough when they figure it out for themselves. It might make things worse for certain ethnic groups. Antisemitism is bad enough as it is now…cant imagine this making it any better…

    • Jim says:

      Yet in my experience I have often heard the high intelligence of Jews remarked upon and nearly always in a positive way without any indication of animus. I am a white goy living in Houston and in my daily experience I can’t even remember the last time if ever that I have heard anyone express hostility toward Jews.

      • sabracakeboo says:

        Jim, people either love us or hate us. Throughout history we have been hated and persecuted. Stalin murdered 13mil of us. Hitler 6mil. In many parts of Europe, its no longer safe for us to walk the streets. Thousands of french Jews have already made aliyah in the last two years alone because they fear for their lives. Part of it is hatred of anything different..Part is jealousy and envy at least in Nazi Germany. Blaming the economic failure of a country on the success of particular ethnic group and then saying hey let’s just kill all these people and take their stuff, well that’s the jealousy and envy part. The Treaty of Versailles hit Germany with some pretty heavy provisions so the general public at the time was already pretty resentful. The whole situation was already ripe for disaster we’ve always been an easy target and scapegoat hey let’s just blame the Jews it’s their fault.

        • Jim says:

          My understanding is that the violence against Jews in France is mainly coming from Middle Eastern and North African immigrants not so much from traditional French people. Is that the case?

        • BB753 says:

          Where did you get the 13 million figure? Stalin killed a lot of people but I doubt there were that many Jews in the USSRS to start with

          • sabracakeboo says:

            Open any history book.. thats one of the reasons we represent a speck of the world population.

            • gcochran9 says:

              Stalin didn’t kill anything like 13 million Jews: you’re off by more than an order of magnitude. If by “us” you mean “human beings”, you’re in the ballpark.

            • syonredux says:

              “Open any history book.. thats one of the reasons we represent a speck of the world population.”

              Please name the book that says that Stalin killed 13M Jews.

              Going by real world numbers, Ukrainians took the biggest hit of any ethnicity during Stalin’s reign. Approx 3M plus died during the Terror Famine.

              • Immigrant from former USSR says:

                Игорь Губерман.

                Вечно и нисколько не старея,
                всюду и в любое время года
                длится, где сойдутся два еврея,
                спор о судьбах русского народа.

                Russian-Jewish poet Igor Guberman.

                My attempt of translation:

                Always with sound like a news,
                Everywhere, any year’s season,
                If together meet two random Jews,
                Russian People’s fate they start to reason.

              • szopeno says:

                I am pretty sure he read that there were 13 millions victims of Stalin regime and he immedietely jumped to the conclusion that the victims HAD TO BE Jewish (Note that in 1926 there were 2.6 millions of Jews in SU, and in 1941 there were no more than 5 millions in SU).

                In reality, you have to define what do you mean by victims (e.g. Holodomor – was killing millions by starvation intentional to purge the country from kulaks, or just side-effect of inhuman policy? Does this distinction matter?). The numbers vary from 2.9 (official soviet numbers, surely WAAAAAY underestimated) to 30 millions, though it seems that most reliable historians put the range between 15 to 20 millions.

        • syonredux says:

          “Jim, people either love us or hate us. Throughout history we have been hated and persecuted. Stalin murdered 13mil of us.”

          You’re joking, right? Stalin came nowhere near killing 13M Jews.

        • cargocultist says:

          Stalin murdered 13mil Jews? Are Jews a bit like like virtual particles that emerge out of thin air and get annihilated? I’m “half-Jewish” myself and have mixed feeling about Jews in the West. I don’t understand what e.g. George Soros really wants.

          I just want a small government and some level of technocratically or even algorithmically managed quantitative redistribution. Possibly even directly via the monetary system or a negative income tax (as Milton Friedman suggested). You’ll first need borders for any sensible redistribution plan though. But there’s that thing about Jews and borders…

      • Anon says:

        Various reasons abound for anti-Jewish animus. It seems to me that some people just really don’t like the money oriented, corrupt and ethically dubious businessman in the mold of Philip Green, Richard Desmond, Robert Maxwell, Bernie Madoff, Lloyd Blankfein, Jeffrey Epstein, Bob Durst, Benjamin Siegel, Jerry Heller types. Who may or may not be disproportionate in number among Ashkenazis, compared to as amongst other ethnic groups.

        Others don’t like Jewish ethnic nationalism. Still others have peculiar religious objections.

        I think in general, giving a secular explanation for Jewish achievement (and infamy) that runs along the lines of “Mostly because they’re simply very intelligent”, would be a fairly emotionally neutral mollifying alternative to the idea that Jewish people were particularly depraved (or particularly dynamic or chosen by god). People can understand why psychologically ordinary, but smart, people would succeed, without some vast conspiracy or depravity. But I wouldn’t bet cash money on people responding reasonably I guess.

        • pyrrhus says:

          The apparent influence of Israel and its supporters on America’s disastrous foreign policy in the middle east, and their characterization of anyone who disagrees with them as an anti-semite (which apparently includes much of the population of Israel), has not helped matters….

    • Julian says:

      @ sabracakeboo,

      Amy Chua’s book ‘World on Fire’ documents many examples of market dominant minorities being resented. I think Linda Gottfredson makes an argument that the blank slate view actually increases potential resentment as people assume that the disparities must be due to some unfairness, privilege or cheating.

      • Purple Furple says:

        What “market dominant minority” really means is “alien elite uses ethnic nepotism and superior intelligence (or military superiority) to exploit subject people”. It’s happened all over–the Normans in England, the Tutsi in Rwanda–but the Jews are much better at it than anyone else. Hence their over 100 expulsions over the last two millennia. The nearly universal occurrence of antisemitism after prolonged contact with Jews is testament to their ruthless effectiveness.

        Frankly, I’m a bit of a philosemite. We should learn from them; they have a lot to teach us.

      • RaceRealist says:

        Where does Gottfredson say that?

  5. Jim says:

    The chances that the average level of genetic cognitive ability is the same in all human populations is zero. It is no more likely than that all mountain ranges on the Earth’s surface would have the same average height. The biological processes underlying genetics and cognitive ability are far too complex for the strict equality hypothesis to have any likelihood.

    Of course it is also quite likely that environmental factors contribute substantially to the variation in intelligence between human populations throughout the world. Malnutrition and disease no doubt have a substantial impact. Iodine deficiency is a proven example. Lead ( the blood level of which has fallen by about 90% over the last 50 years in the US) may also have an impact.

    However in comparing say the average intelligence level between Ashkenazi Jews and gentile whites in the US it is difficult to think of any plausible non-genetic cause.

    • RaceRealist says:

      Of course it is also quite likely that environmental factors contribute substantially to the variation in intelligence between human populations throughout the world. Malnutrition and disease no doubt have a substantial impact. Iodine deficiency is a proven example. Lead ( the blood level of which has fallen by about 90% over the last 50 years in the US) may also have an impact.

      Of course malnutrition and disease matter. For instance, those two factors along with parasitic load decrease African IQ by up to ten points.

      However in comparing say the average intelligence level between Ashkenazi Jews and gentile whites in the US it is difficult to think of any plausible non-genetic cause.

      I highly doubt that as well. I highly doubt that ALL racial/ethnic IQ gaps are environmental in nature. It just makes no sense.

      Evolution made us different below the neck, why should above the neck be any different?

  6. Anonymous says:

    You ask, “what would the impact of such results be?” For outcome 1, you write, “we would start looking hard for that indumbnifying environmental influence.” But for outcome 2, you only consider the impact on what the chattering classes say. The real question with outcome 2 is, “What do we do about it?” My personal guess is that if you can present a plan that somehow alleviates the disadvantage borne by an endogamous group, people will sign on to it. You just have to make sure that nobody steps in first and screams “Africa is genetically doomed!” and causes a backlash.

    In my more cynical moments, I think that the solution is to increase the selective pressure on whatever IQ diversity exists in disadvantaged populations … and that we’re already doing it, what with affirmative action for those who are doing well and long jail terms for those who do poorly. Of course, if you can modify the culture so that the group is no longer endogamous, within a couple of generations, nobody will consider them to be a group, and their collective performance won’t even be measured.

  7. RCB says:

    How close to we identifying enough IQ alleles for this to actually be a powerful method? My sense as of ~2 years ago was that there weren’t nearly enough confident hits to construct a breeding value.

    In contrast, give me the data and I could do the admixture study myself, and it would be much more powerful.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I don’t think that current work gives enough hits to give a useful breeding value. We’re talking something like 75, I believe. Probably enough to see the trend, though.

      Obviously the admixture study would be a snap. We’ve already done them for a number of things, like BMI, resting metabolic rate, type-II-diabetes, asthma, etc.

    • James Miller says:

      I interviewed geneticist Razib Khan who thinks we could get embryo selection for intelligence by 2020.

      • Thanks for linking to this. I am looking forward to listening to it.

        • Highly entertaining and educational, I recommend listening to it. A couple of quotes that mirror frequent messages from Cochran.

          “Ideology is what it is, you cannot dodge the truth.”

          “I don’t kowtow and it enrages them.”

          I have a fondness for people like Razib Khan and Greg Cochran who tell it like it is and shrug off pressures to conform. Futurists are usually full of shit for two reasons. One, they don’t know what they are talking about and two, they seek attention by selling dramatic conclusions. Razib avoids both yet he points to amazing possiblities by 2020.

      • Clathrus says:

        This is great. Now all we have to do to make this acceptable to the left is suggest a global ‘uplift’ program to raise the average abilities of disadvantaged populations.
        Genetic privilege is ‘a thing,’ check yours.

        • Let’s say for the sake of argument what Razib proposes works and works really well. One out of one hundred fertilized eggs are selected for an optimum combination for intelligence. He deflects the idea of super geniuses, as well he should, it is science fiction stuff. We get an immediate result of an increase of one standard deviation in intelligence on average for the children of the prospective parents that use this procedure, maybe a bit more. We also weed out those fertilized eggs with too much genetic load.

          Religious fundamentalists, liberals, the majority of nations, babbling talking heads, can all scream their heads off and scream bloody murder, it won’t change the truth. An IQ bump of 15 points is an enormous advantage. Ideology cannot dodge the truth. If it works without negative side effects than the sooner that this becomes acceptable and optional mainstream practice the better.

          Brave new world stuff.

        • albatross says:

          It really is a thing. Being smart is an unearned benefit that pays off enormously more than being white or male.

      • This sounds like an exciting interview, thanks for posting

  8. another fred says:

    “Next question: what would the impact of such results be?”

    There will certainly be a lot of resistance if II or III gain ground in science, but I would expect the impact to show up as a loss of Congressional support for programs to erase “disparate impact” or to equalize outcomes, especially the for the programs that cost a lot of money and especially as debt loads constrain budgets. Things like bailouts for failing cities will be affected without this issue ever being mentioned.

    • guest says:

      Im not an American, but I doubt support for those programs would disappear(nothing would change in most of Europe either). If they tried the media would start asking questions and that would be the end of it.

      I dont think that most politicians are capable of accepting the truth in the first place.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        The media police this stuff mostly. If they stopped it wouldn’t take politicians long imo.

        Most of them probably know already.

      • another fred says:

        I wouldn’t expect programs to “disappear”, nor would I expect politicians to try to end existing programs, but I do think you would see more resistance to expanding programs or renew those with sunset clauses.

    • RaceRealist says:

      First, we would have to identify what exactly is the cause for intelligence gaps in differing populations. With equalized environments for all populations, for instance, the Minnesota Study, then we could see if there are (there are, we all know this) differences in intelligence. However, if there aren’t any differences (there are) then we would have to figure out what “factor X” is, which I don’t think we could find.

      • Why care about IQ gaps between regional varieties of human any more than between humans and invertebrates? Oysters are distant cousins. It’s just so unfair that so few oysters obtain degrees in STEM fields. We obviously need to genetically engineer super-brains into oysters.
        Problems attend attempts to do something about, say, black/white or Asian/white college acceptance rates. I say, wash your hands of it and abolish: (a) anti-discrimination laws, (b) tax support of the entire K-PhD apparatus, (c) compulsory attendance laws, (d) minimum wage laws, (e) child labor laws and (f) income maintenance programs (welfare) and let people find their place in this world without the State trying to determine individual or group outcomes.
        Let’s reconfigure the distribution of continents while we’re at it.

  9. Assortative says:

    The only problem with the admixture correlation that I could imagine existing would be a spurious correlation due to assortative mating. If smart Brazilian blacks can marry up into the higher caste Whiter sections of the subpopulation (boiling off), then that could amplify or create an effect.

    • RCB says:

      An ideal admixture study would control that by looking at segregation within families.

      Suppose a half-black woman marries a white man. Her kids will be quarter-black on average, but recombination means that each will actually have a different of African ancestry. (This is not the case when a full black woman and a white man reproduce: all the kids are 50-50.) Now you have a sample of people, all from the same family environment. If proportion of African ancestry correlates with IQ scores then, you have a pretty good argument. Obviously a single family is very small sample, so you would want to find a lot of them.

  10. Romulus says:

    What you are talking about has already been done

    Click to access PifferIntelligence2015.pdf

    • gcochran9 says:

      Not with as many loci as I anticipate will be available very soon: not enough yet.

      • galtonian says:

        This seems to be Davide Piffer’s thing, so even now he is probably writing or sending off the manuscript for a new paper on racial group allele frequencies using data from the most recent IQ-associated loci.

      • Romulus says:

        In the supplementary information for this GWAS study ( they identified hundreds of SNPs for both fluid and crystallized intelligence. I’ve taken my own raw data results from 23andme and identified my genotype for all of the snps from the study I was typed for. I was typed for about 75% of the SNPs and of those I was typed for I carried the + intelligence allele at slightly less than half, not sure if that is a good score or not the study doesn’t elaborate. I also didn’t take into account the P value of each SNP, the top 10 or so SNPs accounted for the majority of the effect and I believe only the first 2 SNPs were Genome Wide significant. Right now I am working on a project using the 23andme API to allow other people to analyze their data against the data in the same manner. Hundreds of SNPs are a huge improvement over the 1-2 SNPs for intelligence that 23andme gives users with their own reports. After I get that completed I plan to include SNPs for the results of other GWAS studies and include results for ancient DNA.

  11. candid_observer says:

    I’m sure that there will always be people who will find a way to deny any genetic basis for differences in IQ across races.

    But I do think that it’s going to be very hard for many to get around a genuine, robust result, from a large number of scientists generally respected, demonstrating that a sizable number of identified alleles contribute to high IQ, and that they are represented across races in the expected fashion. Such a result would have a level of concreteness that would be virtually impossible for someone who pretends to the title of scientist to dismiss.

    For environmentalists on the issue, even their own rhetoric would come back to haunt them. The most common rebuttal of a claim of a genetic component is the assertion that no allele, or set of alleles, has yet been identified that would differentiate the races along IQ. The proof of the existence of such alleles would demolish that defense, and would leave them with no real position from which their pure environmentalism can be made credible. What are they going to say? Why should the very genes that differentiate among individuals within a population on IQ also seem to do so across populations? How can such a coincidence possibly be explained?

    It’s true enough that the ordinary intelligent layman won’t really understand the result, and would no doubt be more than willing to rationalize it away, left to his own devices. But this doesn’t take into account the fact that the intelligent layman very, very much depends on the devices of others in justifying holding his own opinions. He has to be able to locate a large number of experts in the appropriate domains who will side with him, or at least will seem to side with him, to feel comfortable in his opinions.

    And that’s where it’s going to get really sticky. Who among the current crop of geneticists will stand up and say, this result means nothing, and can simply be ignored? At that point, the scientific reputation of the geneticists themselves is held in the balance. They have to be able to say something scientifically non-cretinous if their own career is not going to be put in jeopardy, especially as even more robust results would pour in. No doubt some of them are such SJWs that this danger will not deter them. But many will refuse to sacrifice their futures for such a purpose. A fair number will come out and simply acknowledge what the results make obvious, and what they know will with time become only more obvious.

    This is the point at which the intelligent layman will have his own beliefs shaken, because, again, he really relies on experts to justify his beliefs.

    This is how paradigms shift when, at long last, they do. Of course, our punditry and politicians and media will have to be dragged into this change kicking and screaming, but dragged they will be.

    • Peter Lund says:

      But I do think that it’s going to be very hard for many to get around a genuine, robust result, from a large number of scientists generally respected, demonstrating that a sizable number of identified alleles contribute to high IQ,


      There are plenty of vaccine deniers. Capitalism denial is extremely common.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Anyone who can ignore a phenotype can ignore a genotype.

  12. Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    I’m not listening because I am listening to this:

    I have to read the lyrics in Mandarin and then translate them to Cantonese … to both understand and appreciate.

    No time to think about how smart or dumb people are.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There’s another possibility I believe you didn’t cover. Option 4: the genetic rank order of populations is about what you’d expect, but the genetic differences are too small to fully explain the observed IQ differences. This is the one I predict we’ll see. Culture reinforces itself, and the collective traits of a people become an exaggeration of their innate qualities.

  14. I think that the change will happen this way: people will move seamlessly from denying genetic differences to claiming they knew all about them long ago. Then they will say that compensatory payments should be increased to overcome genetic inequality. And they will be. Meanwhile, the gradual steps to plot the currently known differences will continue.

    • Leonard says:

      I agree. It will happen very suddenly. One day the progs will wake up and all re-program themselves to say that of course there are differences in intelligence, but they are not caused by race, see? They are caused by individual alleles. And we’ve always known that! There’s no such thing as races! Just individuals, who may happen to be black (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). So nothing has changed here! It will still be racist to assert any negative correlates of race. It will still be racist to stereotype. Talk about individuals all you want. And if you find yourself in a dark alley, and you see someone coming, before you are allowed to run the other way you need to do a full genetic assay to see if he has any dangerous alleles.

  15. ckp says:

    Question re: Jewish intelligence. After the Spanish conquered the last of the Moors, they forced all Jews either to convert or leave. The ones who did (genuinely or otherwise) the conversos, quickly rose to the top of Spanish society, to an extent that nepotism can’t explain. Nor did your proposed selective mechanism happen there. What happened?

    • Rye says:

      Sephardim existed in the same mercantile niche as Ashkenazim and were derived from the same root population of Italian/Levantine hybrids. They were basically the same people.

      As I understand it, very few pure Spanish Sephardim still exist. Sephardi is now a blanket term used to describe all non-Ashkenazim, most of whom are indigenous middle-easterners who have little to no genetic relationship with the Sephardim and Ashkenazim, who comprised a distinct lineage of European-Jewish merchants.

    • DataExplorer says:

      Interesting, do you have a citation for a study of high class conversos? Richard Lynn says Sephardic Jews have a mean IQ of 95, but judging by how many Nobel prizes they have won in the sciences, that seems too low.

      • RaceRealist says:

        How many Nobel Prizes have Sephardics won?

        • biz says:

          A lot compared to their numbers. The only physics Nobel Laureates born in the Arab world are Jews – Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and Serge Haroche. Both were raised and made their careers in France. Cohen-Tannoudji tried to reach out to his native Algeria to see if they wanted him to help with science education and they told him to get lost.

          Beyond physics, Jacques Derrida is Sephardic. Spinoza was, of course, Sephardic.

  16. Ian says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong: I suspect most genes involved in IQ will have something to do with embrionic development. So, we won’t be able to develop a potion to help poor little Qunisha to understand Calculus.

  17. cargocultist says:

    By the way, these GWAS studies have a hard time finding intelligence related genes in the areas of the genome that code for immune related functions, because there’s so much variation, right? Immune genes differ markedly between populations for obvious reasons.

    Immune related genes among many other things affect the process of autophagy, which may be very important in childhood cortical development:

    (has this study been replicated?)

  18. Karl Zimmerman says:

    It’s weird, considering how gung-ho people are on here regarding HBD, that you guys are so pessimistic about the eventual embracing of it by the general populace.

    Consider what has happened over say the last forty years regarding discussion of potential biological difference in the sexes. The “blank slate” model in terms of gender dynamics is almost totally dead. It is so dead that trans activists talk about men being born with “female brains” (which implies women are born with female brains as well). So dead that it’s been perfectly acceptable to make facile arguments regarding different mating strategies among men and women in evolutionary psychology for going on 20 years now without your career being destroyed. This cultural shift – to accepting that men and women are subtly different in terms of cognition (at least in terms of distribution of traits in aggregate) – did not result in a major changing of gender dynamics. Women continue to enroll in higher education in greater numbers, and the gender pay gap continued to close up until around 10 years ago.

    Of course, one could argue that HBD in terms of race is potentially more earth shattering in implications, given the popular focus on differences between the sexes is focused on social behavior, not general mental ability. However, the particular differences found (such as males being better at spatial rotation, or women being distributed more towards the middle of the bell curve) have been highlighted in academic papers and even TV specials with no one’s career being destroyed. While they have been published by those on the “academic fringe” papers regarding relatively small IQ differences between men and women have been published in reputable journals, including Nature.

    Regardless, to change the subject for a second. Why do you guys care about this so much? I mean, I suppose you could make an argument that HBD invalidates affirmative action, but the economy-wide negative effects of affirmative action are apparently pretty small, given if anything worker productivity per hour actually increased at a faster rate in recent years (wages are another matter of course). You could also make an argument about immigration restriction, but given more U.S. immigrants now come from Asia than Latin America, the average IQ of an immigrant to the U.S. is likely not that different from the median. So what’s the deal? Why is this so important?

    In general, I’m of the wait for the papers attitude. My thought is if/when the results are out, we can begin working on germline therapy to give as many people as feasible (of all races) above average intelligence and conscientiousness. But I don’t see any real plus to pushing this now, before we have any non-coercive tools to help.

    • JayMan says:

      Because it’s true isn’t enough?

      • Karl Zimmerman says:

        As scientists? Sure – I hope it gets fully hashed out in the scientific community. As members of a wider movement engaging with the general public? Probably not honestly.

        I mean, I know that evolution is true. I don’t tend to get into arguments with creationists however, either online or off, because I’ve come to realize that they are all morons, blinded by ideology, or both. You could perhaps argue that there is at least a side benefit to me personally in terms of honing argumentative skills, but besides that, I get bupkis out of it.

        More broadly, there are a lot of things which are true but there’s really no good reason to say it. For example:

        Telling a fat person that if they ate less and exercised they would lose weight.
        Telling a woman who got raped after a night out drinking alone that she should have been with a friend for protection.
        Telling a short teenager that, in all likelihood, he will have less sex partners and earn less in adulthood than the average man.
        Telling a small child in all likelihood they will not become an astronaut or president.
        Telling a deaf person that they really have a disability.

        In all of those cases you’re speaking the truth, but you’re also an asshole, because you are saying something which is totally unhelpful to the situation at hand.

        As I said, in another generation or so, when gene therapy is worked out, we will have some tangible solutions for the children of those currently on the left side of the bell curve. Right now, we don’t have jack to offer besides inadvertently (or intentionally) insulting people and coercive eugenics. I thus see no reason to rush into this before all the data is collected. I certainly see no reason to lead the charge, considering how many far more salient issues are coming down the pike – such as automation potentially making everyone with an IQ of under 120 functionally unemployable in another generation or two.

        • JayMan says:

          “For example:
          Telling a fat person that if they ate less and exercised they would lose weight.”

          That one is not necessarily true though:

          Obesity Facts – The Unz Review

          See why knowing the truth is important?

          • RaceRealist says:

            I love that post, JayMan. It’s a great read; especially for people who have absolutely no understanding of obesity.

          • Karl Zimmerman says:

            Honestly, while I was writing it I was wondering if it was the best example. I’ll concede here that it might be both mean/unhelpful and untrue, at least for most people.

          • RCB says:

            Mostly semantics. It’s still true actually eating less and working more will very likely lead to weight loss, as thermodynamics would seem to require (okay – the energy could come out of somewhere else than body mass). Jayman’s post seems to be mostly arguing that people just have a hard time doing it consistently – it is “useless as a prescription.”

            There are, however, many historical examples of people permanently managing to lose weight by eating less and working more. The Great Leap Forward is a good one.

            • gcochran9 says:

              Starving to death surely proves something. But if your resting metabolic rate changes in response to your level of diet and exercise, conceivably you could eat less, get more exercise, and still not lose weight. Since even a slight average calorie deficit or surplus would eventually result in big changes in weight, bigger than those that actually occur, self-regulation must have a role, at least over the typical range (fairly mild changes) of diet and exercise. Now if you become a galley slave, you will definitely lose weight.

            • RaceRealist says:

              Jayman’s post seems to be mostly arguing that people just have a hard time doing it consistently

              This is correct. The average individual has no idea how to manage their diet, how much to eat, how to set up a diet or how to be consistent on a diet. There are also genetic correlates. There is a ton of new research mounting on this.

        • DataExplorer says:

          It is important because so much public policy, be it welfare, education, immigration, etc. is based on the assumption that everyone is the same. Some of our public policies are so dysgenic that they endanger the future of humanity, far more so more so than the conventional bogeyman of global warming.

          • Michael says:

            nailed it

            • Anonymous says:

              “Dysgenisis” is a fascinating obsession. (E.g., this blog has a “dysgenics” category but no “eugenics”.) Pretty much everybody believes that the idiots are having too many kids. (Though people in official positions deny it.) But there’s no visible evidence that the US is going down the tubes. Yeah, there are lots and lots of problems. But the average measured IQ is rising (or at least holding steady). The amount of education of the average person is rising. The number of different books published in a year is increasing. The crime rates are dropping. The US is still at the forefront of innovation.

              Either dyngenisis isn’t happening in the US or it has some clever environmental manipulation to compensate for it. In cynical moments, I wonder what the true distribution of fathers is … Once you get below the line where a man’s income makes him attractive as a husband (and the fraction of the males falling below that has been increasing), the incentives get higher for a woman to step out and get a better father for her kids than the guy she lives with…

              But let’s getting back to the main question, which is not whether dysgenisis is taking place, but why so many people are so emotionally satisfied by contemplating that it is happening.

              Also, let’s never forget that much of the time, people make what appear to be statements of fact which are really advocacy of particular political choices. And audiences will almost always assume that is what one is doing. Humans are political animals, and the facts per se don’t interest most of them. Never state something without asking yourself, What will people think I’m advocating?

              • gcochran9 says:

                The US used to have a subpopulation (~12%) with an average IQ of 85. It has added another, larger one with an average IQ around 90. I guess a superpower proves itself superior by being able to survive the biggest underclass.

                The average education product, the amount people actually know and understand, has not increased noticeably in decades.

                About the distribution of fathers – widespread cuckoldry does not exist, but idiots who believe that it does are fairly common.

                And of course useful innovation has slowed down. A lot.

                In your case, no one needs to wonder what hidden agenda your slick argument supports, because it’s not slick.

          • Karl Zimmerman says:

            Could you name exactly what public policies are so dysgenic?

            Last I checked, for example, the number of children per TANF mother was actually about 0.1 less than the average American family. Part of this may be because TANF mothers tend to be younger, and will have more children later in life. Still, there’s no evidence that welfare moms are outbreeding the national average.

            • RaceRealist says:

              The Bell Curve has good data, though it’s pretty old by now.

              Though you seem to be correct.

              The average number of persons in TANF families was 2.4, including an average of 1.8 recipient children. One in two recipient families had only one child. Less than eight percent of families had more than three children. The average number of children in closed-case families was 1.8. Nearly one in two closed-case families had one child, and only seven percent had more than three children.


              Unless there is other data out there.

              Lower IQ mothers have more children than higher IQ mothers. More often than not, welfare mothers are low IQ and they have more children.

            • DataExplorer says:

              Well that is very reassuring and offers a glimmer of hope so thanks for that. However TANF is only 1 part of the welfare state, and the welfare state is only 1 part of the problem. According to PEW data, both the poor and the poorly educated still have higher fertility than everyone else, though the gap is narrowing. I expect that the reason why the gap is narrowing has to do with our culture becoming more aspirational. Low IQ people would rather spend their money on a nice car than another kid. Still apparently one half of births in the US are paid for by Medicaid.


              Another problem with the belief that everyone is the same is that it encourages so many highly educated people to not have kids because they think there are too many people in the world already and it is environmentally responsible to not have kids. My own sister just finished her PHD and has expressed this exact sentiment. It would be great if people understood that what matters is that the intelligent keep having kids.

              • Karl Zimmerman says:

                It seems to me that if your goal is “positive eugenics” – getting the smart to have more children – within a U.S. context the first step would almost certainly be expanding the social safety net rather than reducing it. Joining virtually the rest of the world in providing paid maternity leave, for example. More radically, replacing things like TANF and the child tax credit with a universal “parental wage” which people got for raising children under 18 regardless of other sources of family income. I don’t think this would eliminate the fertility gap – let’s be honest, if you’re wealthy and educated, chances are you can find a lot of things to do which seem more fun than raising lots of children – but lessening the economic burden on professional women should increase fertility at the margins.

              • gcochran9 says:

                It seems to me that if you’re going to opine about a topic, you might spend twenty or thirty seconds noticing that all the policies you’re suggesting have been tried repeatedly and have failed every single time.

              • Karl Zimmerman says:

                Can’t seem to reply to Greg (I think it’s a forum issue regarding comments being too deeply nested) but I did consider the fact that European birth rates are not significantly different than the U.S. despite more robust social safety nets. It may be when you correct for demographic differences a lot of Europe has slightly higher birth rates among those of European ancestry. While Black/Latino fertility rates have been dropping, they still boost total U.S. fertility rates significantly. What I don’t know is the extent recent immigrants are demographically important enough in various European countries to materially affect the birth rate.

                Regardless, the poster I replied to was coming into the discussion with the prior that the U.S. welfare state caused poor people to have more children. Maybe Greg doesn’t agree, but if you presume social welfare benefits cause poor people to have slightly larger families than they would otherwise, it stands to reason that analogous policies would have an effect further up the income spectrum as well.

              • gcochran9 says:

                In France, Scandinavia, and the UK, the white birthrate is not too different from that in the US (around 1.8). But the rates are much lower in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Balkans, and all of southern Europe.

                As for attempts to boost fertility in higher socioeconomic groups, all have been resounding failures. I personally think it wouldn’t be all that difficult if you tried a different approach, but
                that has not been done yet.

                Do me a favor. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, and can’t be bothered to find out, shut up.

        • Toddy Cat says:

          ” However, the particular differences found have been highlighted in academic papers and even TV specials with no one’s career being destroyed.”

          Does the name “Larry Summers” ring any bells for you?

          • Karl Zimmerman says:

            Larry Summers was speaking outside of his field, and was in a political office at the time, being Harvard president. Regardless, even if it cost him Secretary of the Treasury under Obama, he still ended up on the National Economic Council, kept tenure at Harvard, worked as a hedge fund adviser on the side, and was almost named Chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2013. By normal human standards I don’t think his post-gaffe career has been a failure.

        • RaceRealist says:

          In all of those cases you’re speaking the truth, but you’re also an asshole, because you are saying something which is totally unhelpful to the situation at hand.

          So should we not say the truth so we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings?

          • Karl Zimmerman says:

            You have the right to say whatever you wish of course. I’m just saying you’re not being particularly effective at doing so if you present your case in an assholish manner.

            As an example of how to consider the issue constructively, consider this. I’m someone who is well aware that in our public education system most differences in school performance boil down to race and class (in that order) not the “quality” of teachers or schools. Given that was the case, and I lived in a city and quite liked it there, I had zero issue sending my child to a majority-black magnet school which didn’t have the best scores in aggregate, but when broken down by race had the white minority scoring as well as the top suburban schools in my region. In general misunderstanding of what “quality education” means has resulted in all too many well-meaning liberals reinforcing school segregation. Even if you don’t think school integration in and of itself is valuable (as I do) it results in all sorts of sub-optimal choices, such as people moving to neighborhoods they hate “for the schools” – or spending a ton of extra money they don’t need to (in the form of house value or private school tuition) in an attempt to fruitlessly buy extra success for their child.

            I have discussions about this with my liberal and left-leaning friends who have kids. I have gotten some of them to change their mind on schooling. And I have done so by pointing out the pernicious differences between test score results of whites and blacks without ever being accused of being racist. I don’t even bring up what might cause the gap because I’m honestly not particularly interested in it. I just note that if any school had developed a formula to address it successfully it would have been applied by now in other places. People tend to not blink an eye, either because of the way I present the issue, or because I’m “culturally left” and thus their tribal warfare radar isn’t activated.

            Bottom line there can be a constructive way to engage the issue, and I don’t generally see too much of it online sadly.

            • RaceRealist says:

              Even if you don’t think school integration in and of itself is valuable (as I do)

              It is not valuable. See:


              I’m interested in test scores since affirmative action places low IQ minorities in places they shouldn’t belong, screwing more intelligent people out of a good education.

              • Karl Zimmerman says:

                I think you misunderstand what I mean by valuable. I don’t have any belief that integration will raise black test scores, at least not in a systematic way. Maybe if you sprinkled the black population evenly across the U.S., so no one school was more than 5%-15% black. Then most black kids would be socialized as “white” and any endemic cultural factors in under-performance would be totally taken out of the equation. But this isn’t realistic of course, politically or logistically. More modest integration doesn’t really accomplish much in terms of performance. Where it seems like it does it’s because self-selection results in a non-random distribution of black families which skews wealthier and more intelligent.

                Regardless, the positive social good I reference is that my daughter (and eventually, my son) gets the experience of going to a school where everyone isn’t like her. I fully understand that by middle school social groups will be heavily racially segregated again, but I’m glad she’ll at least have a chance to interact with people of different races in a way I didn’t as a child. This is 100% a subjective call on my part, which is why I said that I considered it valuable.

                Any white (or Asian, considering affirmative action can screw them over) who is smart and competent will eventually prosper in adulthood, even if they didn’t get into the exact college they desired. I also think the idea of a “good education” is very suspect. The best data I’ve seen showed that there was no evidence, once you controlled for incoming student quality, that colleges differed much in terms of how much students knowledge base expanded from entrance to graduation. Prestigious colleges create highly educated graduates, but only because they picked well-educated high school students to begin with.

              • DataExplorer says:

                ” I fully understand that by middle school social groups will be heavily racially segregated again, but I’m glad she’ll at least have a chance to interact with people of different races in a way I didn’t as a child.”

                At that young age the differences between the races are not yet apparent. For example the IQ gap does not really appear until early adulthood. So therefore she will mainly be interacting with kids that are the same as her, I don’t see what she will learn from that, if anything it is counter productive.

                Personally I think the peer group makes a huge difference to how your kids will turn out. That is the theory of Judith Rich Harris in the “Nurture Assumption” and I tend to agree with it. If the kid’s peer group says studying is lame and graffiti, drugs, and violence are cool then that is what your kid will think is cool. And by the time they grow up and realize that the adult peer group doesn’t think those things are cool it may be too late.

              • RaceRealist says:

                The IQ gap starts to manifest around adolescence.

                Parents don’t matter. People gravitate towards like people. We know that socialization has no effect on genetic confounding.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Wrong: clearly there by age 3.

              • gcochran9 says:

                Very much earlier than early adulthood: as early as we can test. That’s why people talk about pre-k!

                Harris had a good case that parents don’t influence IQ and personality, not much of a case for peer-group influences.

        • Julian says:

          ****Telling a fat person that if they ate less and exercised they would lose weight.
          Telling a woman who got r8ped after a night out drinking alone that she should have been with a friend for protection.
          Telling a short teenager that, in all likelihood, he will have less s8x partners and earn less in adulthood than the average man.
          Telling a small child in all likelihood they will not become an astronaut or president.
          Telling a deaf person that they really have a disability.***

          @ Karl Zimmerman,

          Interesting points. I think philosophy professor Michael Levin, argued in Why Race Matters’ argued that if people or institutions are being blamed for an outcome, then it becomes reasonable to adduce evidence showing actually it’s not their fault. One example would be you could say that teachers get unfairly blamed for poor outcomes which are really beyond their control.

          The blogger Education realist has some interesting discussion about this, particularly in relation to how Charter School advocates on the right have been able to blame public schools and teacher unions for achievement gaps.

          Another example, would be EU politicians who might think that with an ageing population if they simply import 50 million people from sub-Saharan Africa they’ll get the same outcomes once people settle in (or in subsequent generations).

          Of course, the obvious risk then is discrimination on the basis of group membership rather than treating people as individuals. Steve Hsu, for example, notes that group differences are statistical and don’t imply much about individuals. Also, it’s important to emphasise individual rights.

          Peter Singer wrote a book called ‘A Darwinian Left’ which attempts to reconcile this type of knowledge with leftist politics. Singer notes:

          “A Darwinian left would not:

          • Deny the existence of a human nature, nor insist that human nature is inherently good, nor that it is infinitely malleable;

          • Expect to end all conflict and strife between human beings, whether by political revolution, social change, or better education;

          • Assume that all inequalities are due to discrimination, prejudice, oppression or social conditioning. Some will be, but this cannot be assumed in every case;”


          • gcochran9 says:

            Independently, I wrote something similar – I called it “Mullerian Socialism”. Probably I did a better job, since I know genetics and don’t actually believe in socialism.

            Almost everything any education professional says is horseshit, and denial of racial differences in ability is often the root of the nonsense.

            • Greying Wanderer says:

              This is one of the hidden costs – selection within the public sector for people who
              – are dishonest
              – can’t handle reality
              – cowards
              – sociopaths

          • Julian says:

            Other examples of how ignorance of group differences leads to possibly unrealistic or misguided policies.

            “it must be the ultimate long-term goal of the Institute to achieve parity of underrepresented groups with respect to the population.”


            “The Berkeley (CA) Board of Education will consider, at its February 3 meeting, whether or not to cancel before and after school Science Labs for Advanced Placement Science classes at Berkeley High School because the classes are attended largely by white students. The proposal is aimed at addressing “Berkeley’s dismal racial achievement gap”


        • albatross says:

          So, when I was a kid, I got interested in evolution. It turned out that I could learn quite a bit about it, because there were people (like Dawkins) willing and able to explain and describe the theory of evolution and its implications and the evidence for it. They could do that, even though a whole lot of people in the US feel like evolution calls their whole worldview and the basis for their morality into question. There were some TV shows that discussed it. And so, even as a kid, I incorporated the idea of how evolution works into my worldview. When I read about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or sickle-cell anemia, it kind-of made sense given that worldview. As I got older, I moved on to read more advanced discussions of evolution (though I’m definitely just an interested amateur).

          Even now, as an adult working in an entirely unrelated field, the ability to find good information about evolution (and virology, and immunology, and game theory, and economics, and all sorts of other stuff) informs my understanding of the world. It makes me a smarter, more functional voter and citizen.

          Now, there was a really good case for deciding not to have those discussions about evolution in public, for shaming and silencing people who wanted to write popularizations of evolutionary theory that a bright 10 year old could read and hear. I mean, a lot of people are offended and upset, and feel attacked, by those discussions. People going around saying “no, that garden of eden story can’t be literally true” are divisive, they’re offending a group of people who don’t deserve to be upset any more than blacks or gays or any other group do. But if enough people had accepted that case, if Gould and Dawkins had been silenced or blacklisted into not publishing those child-accessible discussions of evolution, then I and a lot of other people would have a lot less complete and accurate picture of the world.

          And that would include political leaders, and managers in charge of big companies and big projects. It would have consequences far past making some people uncomfortable. It would make everyone dumber.

          I don’t really see why openly discussing a genetic basis for intelligence differences, or even racial differences in intelligence, is any different. To state what is known in that area will offend and hurt people, real people whose feelings matter–just as stating what’s known about evolution and geology and archaeology does. To discuss those issues will call some of the current social order (much of it pretty good overall) into question–just like open discussions of evolution probably contributed to the loss of influence of religion over the last several decades. Today you might say that the liberal end of the US political class are broadly better for the country than the conservative end, and so you don’t want to air issues that undermine the case for those liberal ideas. But when I was a kid, you could have argued at least as convincingly that undermining religion would weaken the country’s resistance against communism.

          I think we’re better off telling the truth, discussing the facts as we understand them and their implications, even when that truth really upsets people. I don’t have any desire to seek out opportunities to offend people, but nor do I have any desire to suppress honest discussions about real stuff because someone will be offended. I think that’s as true when we’re talking about genetic/racial difference in intelligence as when we’re talking about evolution, or the relationship between human industry and global warming, or anything else.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Obviously not. Jefferson said ‘error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.’ Milton said ‘who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? ‘ – but I’ve seen it put to the worse time and time again.

        Jefferson and Milton were both wrong. Or, more exactly, they were in the ball park when talking about certain kinds of people working certain sorts of problems, but not in general. The truth game works best if your errors can be rapidly and unambiguously detected, as in mathematics. People who like to bullshit don’t even go into math: they’ll never get away with it.

        Helps if the topics don’t inherently invoke lots of emotion: ultimately easier to think straight about electrons than than people, even though we’re pre-adapted to understanding people. And to be fair, electron behavior is simpler. One equation to rule them all. Also having strong practical applications is good at sorting out the bullshit: you can argue that there’s really a place for cavalry in modern warfare, but it’s hard to continue to do so after the machine guns have spoken, especially if you’re dead. And, for various reasons, certain cultures, in certain times and places, have been more inclined in this direction that the general run of humanity.

        So, why isn’t sociology science? There is no logical reason why it couldn’t be – but it’s not. Reasons? several. Experiments are harder than in chemistry:bullshitters aren’t immediately flushed. And the topics rouse emotions. So most of the people who enter the field aren’t inclined to play the science game, and they don’t. Which is the problem with social psychology: the sort of people who go into it aren’t budding Hari Seldons, and there is no way to change them. (or is there? Brain surgery? electroshock?) Naxalt? Sure, but there aren’t enough. The field as a whole is unsound.

        How could you fix the unscientific sciences? You would have to control entry, screen admission, so that only people who liked – needed!- to play the game could enter. Not just brains – people with the sort of personalities you find in astronomers or physicists – maybe even exaggerated versions of such personalities, since the temptations to go off the rails are so much greater in the social sciences. That for starters.

        • craken says:

          In short, the social sciences are ruined because they attract politically motivated people instead of objective scholars, and they do not filter for competence. The competence problem could be solved by requiring at least a BS in a hard science/mathematics/engineering discipline before pursuing a grad degree in social science. This would have the side effect of selecting for personality to some degree. It would also greatly reduce the number of people flowing into social science careers. But, I suspect that any mechanism for personality selection could be gamed by the cleverest (and most dangerous) students. Also, even a guy like Einstein–intelligent and objective about science–had some crazy political ideas. Ashton Carter’s not stupid, but chases crazy policies anyway. If the limit of conservatism is stagnation (Ancient Egypt), then Leftism’s limit is an infatuation with progress that degrades into pure reality denial. The West leans too far Left. It has become a victim of its virtues.

        • Sinij says:

          What you say makes intuitive sense, but why, philosophy for example, managed to remain “scientific” science, while “gender studies” never in any form even attempted to be “scientific”?

          • gcochran9 says:

            The distribution of personality traits is not the same in men and women, and probably not the same in people who pursue evolutionarily dubious sexual strategies. Some distributions are more effective than others at producing puzzle-solvers and communities of puzzle-solvers.

        • Philip Neal says:

          Milton and Jefferson may have been right at the time when they said this. There were plenty of cranks in their day, but conscious, militant nonsense of the Frankfurt School sort is a nineteenth and twentieth century development.

    • RaceRealist says:

      Regardless, to change the subject for a second. Why do you guys care about this so much?

      Because we care about the truth? Do you want lies or truth?

      You could also make an argument about immigration restriction, but given more U.S. immigrants now come from Asia than Latin America, the average IQ of an immigrant to the U.S. is likely not that different from the median. So what’s the deal? Why is this so important?

      Which is why one-fifth of El Salvador now lives in the US?

      We should allow more immigration right!?

      • Karl Zimmerman says:

        El Salvador is a pretty small country, so I’m not sure why 20% of the population being in the U.S. is a huge deal. Nearly 1/3rd of Norway’s population immigrated to the U.S. between 1825 and 1925, yet the group had a minimal effect on U.S. demography outside of a handful of states in the Upper Midwest. The overall percentage of the American population which is Salvadoran is also much lower than Norwegians were in say 1900. Of course you can make the claim you aren’t starting with the same raw material when comparing the two populations, but given that Mexican immigration to the U.S. has cratered over roughly the last decade it’s been a wash at worst.

        Nowhere did I say I supported open borders however. Nation states have the right to set up the immigration policies their citizens desire. The current system, where immigration laws are on the books but not enforced well, allowing for an exploitable low-wage labor force, is completely unacceptable. I’d be fine with a system which combined amnesty for long-term residents with more strict enforcement of future violations.

        • Jim says:

          A large proportion of Noth Dakota’s population is of Norwegian descent. But regarding your point Norwegians never presented any significant problems in regard to such things as economic productivity, welfare dependence, crime rates etc. El Salvador has extraordinary levels of violence. The Salvadorian gangs make Al Capone’s mob seem like choir boys.

        • erica says:

          Familiar with the activities of the Salvadoran gang MS 13, are you? Doesn’t sound like it.
          I haven’t heard of any Norwegian gangs but the CA prison system is quite familiar with XIIIs. So are many CA neighborhoods and schools.

          • Karl Zimmerman says:

            I understand the argument you aren’t working with the same “raw materials” when considering Norwegians and Salvadorans. But as I said, I’m fairly sure that the drop in immigration from Mexico to negligible numbers (indeed, more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. now than entering) basically cancels out the Salvadoran influx. Or do you think the quality of Mexican immigrants is that much greater?

            • owentt says:

              The level of literacy and education and violence in Mexico is fantastically better than Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras where most illegals come from these days. The difference between Mexico and those three is bigger than the difference between the USA and Mexico, which is at least a developed industrialized educated united country.

              Next highest rate of illegals these days is China which is an interesting contrast.

    • Yudi says:

      Education. Unwillingness to admit inequality has ruined education to an appalling degree, and we’re all paying millions for the mess. I assume you already know about the Education Realist blog, if you’re interested in reading myriads of examples.

      I don’t think the average person on the street should be mouthing off about HBD, but some sections of society (ed policy crafters, scientists, etc.) must have a grasp of it in order to better do their duty. That is why talking about it needs to become more acceptable.

      Lastly, because it’s simply WRONG for people to be persecuted for discussing their conscience, and to have their ideas misrepresented, to the degree hereditarians are in the West. I don’t like it when leftists with socially unpopular ideas, like Steven Salaita, are mistreated. I wish more were willing to pay hereditarians the same courtesy.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I’m pessimistic because I have a fairly accurate picture of the United States in 2016, and you’re optimistic because you don’t. I know how career-destroying realism about population differences in medicine and genetics (and education) is: I’ve talked to, and corresponded with, people in such situations. I would guess you have not.

      You could have per-hour productivity grow fairly rapidly, even in the presence of bad demographic and rent-seeking trends, with the right kind and amount of technological innovations. But in fact such growth has been unusually slow for some time – bad from 72-94, decent for 1994-2005, bad since then.

      And of course-economy-wide effects of hiring affirmative-action drones are fairly large, not least when they’re head of the NSC.

      • No one says:

        Are you talking about Cordova at NSF, or actual NSC? I though Cordova has a good publication record

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        “I’m pessimistic because I have a fairly accurate picture of the United States in 2016”

        Being very immature I play (or have played) a lot of online games over the last ten years or so and so have spent time with a lot of the younger cohort.

        Under the surface it’s all blowing up as the insanity in the schools is having two effects 1) extreme self-harming SJWs in areas where there is no contradictory evidence and 2) the exact opposite in areas where there is. It’s hidden for the reasons you mention but rebellion against their teachers is making it mainstream under the surface.

        Like the equivalent Soviet experience it will be under the surface and then all come out at once.

        (Part of the black angst fueling BLM is because the younger ones know.)

        Extreme SJW bullying from their teachers is causing it.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          obviously being a reaction it’s far more extreme than it would have been otherwise but that’s how it goes

  19. Sean says:

    I suspect most people are easily convinced to disbelieve good evidence for genetic differences in IQ for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks.

  20. Francisco Bernardino says:

    Off topic: I am reading Thilo Sarrazin´s new book “Wunschdenken” (Wishful thinking). As all his books, it has become an instant best-seller in Germany. He quotes Cochran and Harpending several times, explaining their findings/ideas in the text and in several footnotes. He dwells especially on the acceleration of evolution in the last 10 000 years, on the intelligence of Ashkenazi Jews. It´s a pity Harpending didn´t leave a few more weeks to see this. I imagine he would have liked it.

    Sarrazin also quotes Wade, Pinker, Wilson… full HBD monty here.

  21. sabracakeboo says:

    It looks as though most of my earlier comments were removed. If 56 million people died under Stalin Im baffled as to why its so hard to comprehend that 13 million of them were jews. G.C. by “us” I meant other jews like myself and my grandparents (who survived a concentration camp.) Im one of those heterozygodes you enjoy discussing.. Its been real. Bye

    • gcochran9 says:

      None of your comments were removed.

      I am hardly an apologist for Stalin, but I like getting the numbers right. There is no way that Stalin killed 56 million people: it may have been as few (!) as 8 million. There never were as many as 13 million Jews in Czarist Russia or the Soviet Union in the first place. Many of the Jews that lived in the Soviet Union were indeed killed, but the great majority were killed by Germans.

    • ckp says:

      Why do you feel the need to make every tragedy in history about yourself?

    • szopeno says:

      sabracakeboo, in 1926 there were 2.6 millions Jews in SU. In 1914 there were 5.25 millions in Tzarist Russia. The difference is not number of deaths – A lot of Jews lived in territories acquired by Poland and Bessarabia (which is why in 1941 after SU acquired half of Poland, the Jewish population jumped again to almost 5 millions). There is no way Stalin could kill 13 million Jews.

      Also, no way Stalin killed 56 million people. The real number lies between 15 and 20 millions.

    • Ilya says:

      I am Jew who was born in Moscow, Soviet Union, in early 80’s, with my ancestors having lived in Moscow since turn of 20th century due to them being First Guild Merchants (that was before the Revolution).

      As bad as living under Stalin was for Jews, it was no match for the events of the Holocaust. Under Stalin, a Jew could lose a job (as my grandfather had, but he also recklessly admitted to having an aunt residing in America), one’s standing, being denied admission into good university, even being imprisoned for false accusation/suspicion. There was also a possibility of ending up in (at worst) gulag or (better) Birobidzhan. And that’s on top of regular “rootless cosmopolitan” type abuse and antisemitic crap that was common to experience from the common pigfaced populace. But being the target of executions systemically, as a race, was not the reality.

      Dr. Cochran is correct here.

  22. Pingback: Greg Cochran on where truth wins out | Entitled to an Opinion

  23. Pingback: Who will be disappointed with genetic findings on race and intelligence? |

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