Psychologists, psychometricians, and all other scientists that study intelligence tend to tread VERY lightly when it comes to this issue. After what happened to James Watson (he was ostracized for stating facts about race and intelligence despite being a Nobel prize winning scientist and one of the most successful scientists of his era) no one in the field wants to be vocal about their findings or the meaning of their findings.
Nevertheless… in my day job, I study things like this… and since I work for a private company in the private sector, I’m not beholden to the PC/SJW ramblings of any Liberal Arts department. So I, and my co-workers, can talk about it. And we do.
I’m going to go over the evidence for not only the existence of a general IQ gap between the races, but the evidence for the fact that intelligence is heritable and the IQ gap is therefore genetic and NOT caused by social issues like test bias, culture bias, or socioeconomic factors. Also, I’m going to go over evidence that shows that general intelligence (aka g) and IQ are valid measures of cognitive ability (despite what the postmodernist non-science liberal arts professors may say) and correlate with things like future success and many other life outcomes. Finally, I’m going to go over a relatively new hypothesis for why Sub-Saharan Africans score lower than other races on IQ tests… theMicrocephalin gene.
Sub-Saharan Africans differ from all other world populations in that they do not have any Neanderthal ancestry. When the ancestors of all humans were first leaving Africa, they split into two groups, one stayed in Africa (Sub-Saharan Africans) and the other moved into the Middle East (the ancestors of all other non-Sub-Saharan humans). The second group mated with some Neanderthals, and gained the MCPH1 Microcephalin, which causes a significant increase in brain size during development.
If you’re interested in logic, reason, and science in general… you have to take morality out of the equation when studying issues, especially social issues like race. You simply cannot follow Stephen Jay Gould’s example and talk about non-overlapping magisteria or whatever other nonsense he made up to avoid upsetting certain groups of people. Everything overlaps with science. Science is what we use to know the universe and everything in it. Never be afraid to talk about science. You cannot avoid a topic simply because it is politically unpleasant or socially difficult. That is cowardly.
The IQ Gap Between Races
EDIT: I know many “progressive” types are very keen on saying that there’s no such thing as race, or that race is a only socially constructed concept… but this is objectively false. Yes, humans DO exist on a genetic continuum, BUT, there are very clear bulges on that continuum. Those bulges are what we call “races”, and they correlate with groups who’s ancestors lived in the same geographical areas. Secondly… “progressives” are also very keen on quoting this ol’ ditty: “OMG don’t you know that there’s more genetic variation WITHIN ‘racial’ groups than between them?!”. However, that argument is so wrong that they actually gave it a name… “Lewontin’s Fallacy”. Basically, the point is that it doesn’t matter what percentage difference comes from where… what matters is what those differences are, and even if only .0001% of a difference is between “races”, if that .0001% is meaningful and descriptive… then it means something. Look it up if you want all the reasons it’s bunk. Here’s Richard Dawkins on why it’s nonsense: “However small the racial partition of the total variation may be, if such racial characteristics as there are highly correlate with other racial characteristics, they are by definition informative, and therefore of taxonomic significance.”
Now… the IQ gap. For those who don’t already know, there absolutely IS an objectively measurable IQ gap between people with ancestors from different geographical areas (aka “races”, which is the term I will use from here on out).
Psychologists don’t debate this fact. The gap is well known and has been well known for decades. IQ test scores break down like this: on average, East Asians score higher than whites, who score higher than hispanics, who in turn score higher than blacks. The average scores are:
Asian-Americans -106, White Americans – 103, Hispanic Americans – 89, African-Americans – 85.
This means more than one in five American blacks have an IQ below 75; whereas around one in twenty whites have an IQ below 75. An IQ of 70-75 is considered “borderline retarded” by psychologists.
Studies also show there are some significant differences in what is called the structure of mental abilities. For example, if you took a sample of black and white children, all of whom had scored around 100 on the WISC-R (the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised) meaning the black kids in the sample were well above the black average — you would find significant black-white differences on six of the thirteen subtests. The average black child would do better on Arithmetic and Digit Span; where the average white child would do better on Comprehension, Block Design, Object Assembly, and Mazes.
The gaps are not limited to the United States either. European whites average – 100, East Asians from Asia – 106, and Sub-Saharan Africans – 70.
The difference in native Sub-Saharan African IQ scores versus American Black’s IQ scores can be explained by the fact that American Blacks have, on average, 20%-25% European ancestry. Lynn and Vanhanen’s books ‘IQ and the Wealth of Nations’ and ‘IQ and Global Inequality’ are a good start if you are looking for data concerning the average IQ scores of different nations.
The intelligence gap was first noticed among psychologists in the early 20th century. In the 1960s and 70s, rigorous IQ testing of people of difference races began in earnest, and the IQ gap began to become undeniable. Throughout the 70s and 80s, liberal-minded scientists attempted to close the gap via alterations in the testing apparatus, since they believed that the tests must be biased in some way. They changed the parameters, made a whole slew of so-called “culture fair” tests, some were nonverbal tests (Leiter Scale), some changed the language of the questions, others were pure math, or pure reasoning, they even made questions that weren’t language based at all (like Raven’s Progressive Matrices or Kohs block design test)… they did twin studies, adoption studies (like the Minnesota Transracial Adoption study), everything to try to determine some reason (besides the obvious one) why this gap exists… and the studies consistently came back with the same sized gap: 15 IQ points, or 1 standard deviation (SD) between White and Black people no matter what version or type of IQ test was used.
Eventually, in 1994, The Bell Curve was published. The book was extremely controversial, despite being filled with relevant data from valid and repeated studies. Ironically, the majority of the criticisms were aimed at the validity of IQ and general intelligence as meaningful measurements (a topic I will go over in a later section) and NOT on the results of the studies.
Eventually, amid all the controversy about The Bell Curve in the media, a group of 52 well known university professors specializing in intelligence and related fields signed a public statement titled “Mainstream Science on Intelligence”. They saw there was a great deal of misinformation of unfounded criticism of The Bell Curve, so they wanted to set the media straight. The statement consisted of 25 conclusions:
1.”Intelligence is a very general mental capability … it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings …”
2.”Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments.”
3.”While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all measure the same intelligence.”
4.”The spread of people along the IQ continuum … can be represented well by the … ‘normal curve’.”
5.”Intelligence tests are not culturally biased”
6.”The brain processes underlying intelligence are still little understood”
7.”Members of all racial-ethnic groups can be found at every IQ level”
8.”The bell curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks. The evidence is less definitive for exactly where above IQ 100 the bell curves for Jews and Asians are centered”
9.”IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes … Whatever IQ tests measure, it is of great practical and social importance”
10.”A high IQ is an advantage because virtually all activities require some reasoning and decision-making”
11.”The practical advantages of having a higher IQ increase as life’s settings become more complex”
12.”Differences in intelligence certainly are not the only factor affecting performance in education, training, and complex jobs … but intelligence is often the most important”
13.”Certain personality traits, special talents, [etc] are important … in many jobs, but they have narrower (or unknown) applicability or ‘transferability’ across tasks and settings compared with general intelligence”
14.”Heritability estimates range from 0.4 to 0.8 … indicating genetics plays a bigger role than environment in creating IQ differences”
15.”Members of the same family also tend to differ substantially in intelligence”
16.”That IQ may be highly heritable does not mean that it is not affected by the environment … IQs do gradually stabilize during childhood, however, and generally change little thereafter”
17.”Although the environment is important in creating IQ differences, we do not know yet how to manipulate it”
18.”Genetically caused differences are not necessarily irremediable”
19.”There is no persuasive evidence that the IQ bell curves for different racial-ethnic groups are converging”
20.”Racial-ethnic differences in IQ bell curves are essentially the same when youngsters leave high school as when they enter first grade … black 17-year-olds perform, on the average, more like white 13-year-olds”
21.”The reasons that blacks differ among themselves in intelligence appear to be the same as those for why whites … differ among themselves”
22.”There is no definitive answer as to why bell curves differ across racial-ethnic groups. The reasons for these IQ differences between groups may be markedly different from the reasons for why individuals differ among themselves within any particular group”
23.”Racial-ethnic differences are somewhat smaller but still substantial for individuals from the same socio-economic backgrounds”
24.”Almost all Americans who identify themselves as black have white ancestors – the white admixture is about 20% … research on intelligence relies on self-classification into distinct racial categories”
25.”The research findings neither dictate nor preclude any particular social policy, because they can never determine our goals. They can, however, help us estimate the likely success and side-effects of pursuing those goals via different means.”
Ironically, the vast majority of what was written in ‘The Bell Curve‘ is now considered mainstream knowledge in the field, and no longer debated by experts.
An important thing to remember is that the ancestors of all Sub-Saharan Africans separated from the ancestors of all other modern humans around 100,000 years ago. One group stayed in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the other spread out and populated the rest of the world. 100,000 years is over 5,000 generations. And yet there ARE still people today who believe that all races have the same exact brains, and same exact inherent intelligence.
Despite the fact that so much time passed with those races apart, and such large number of observable traits evolved differently… like skin color, fat distribution, average hormonal levels, hair type and texture, dental layout (some Asian’s don’t ever develop wisdom teeth, and different races have differently shaped teeth), to the skeletal structure like the ratio of length of long bones or skull shape or any number of variations (a small example being some sub-Saharan Africans have fused triquetral bones in their wrists), to the many different blood types, and fat distribution and so many other traits… some people still refuse to accept the possibility of inherent biological differences of intelligence.
However, it would actually be an amazing coincidence if there WEREN’T an average intelligence gap between different groups of humans who have evolved separately for many thousands of years. Think about it, given the facts that 1)evolution is true, 2)IQ is heritable, and 3)different groups of humans have been separate for more than 5,000 generations… it would be statistically improbable that all those groups have the same average IQ. The brain is a highly complex organ, it is extremely difficult to believe that that complex biological organ remained exactly the same over 100,000 years while nearly every single other biological trait diverged. An IQ gap is exactly what we would expect given the facts. Even if we didn’t have IQ test results and didn’t know there was a gap, all good scientists would hypothesize that one exists based on the other information.