« McKibben celebrates stagnation | Gene Expression Front Page | Only True Bloods on the side of the Lord of Light? »
April 23, 2003

The Creator Race: was McKibben celebrates stagnation

From Razib:

I've decided to post this topic to siphon away some of the comments from the topic below. Additionally I invite others who have accounts on the blog to append their opinion/statement. We are a collective blog, but our opinions are not!

So a few points....

How many "civilizations" are there?


I believe there are three civilizations that have contributed to the semi-universal civilization dominant today that we term "Western," or "Modern." There is the genetic ancestor of the Western civilization that is superimposed over the Islamic Middle East/North Africa & Europe. This civilization has expanded in scope over the ages-its beginnings were among the interconnected riverine & oasis civilizations of the Middle East 5,000 years ago-but gradually crystallized into an axis between Persia at its eastern edges and the Pax Romana at the center and west. With the rise of Islam a split developed between the northern & southern elements of the civilization and it also expanded into new frontiers in northern and eastern Europe (not mention that the boundary between the "West" and the Dar-al-Islam kept changing). But even into the days of the British Empire those Europeans would comment on how journeying into India was a trek into alien rather than foreign or hostile lands-rather than a branch of their own civilization (not matter how distantly related), this was something that had a profoundly different origin and unfamiliar axioms.

South Asia is a smaller civilization. Its contributions to the world civilization have been more abstract and harder to pin down. The religious influence (Buddhism) as well as the possible exchange of ideas between Greek philosophers (from Pythagoros to Plotinus) and the "gymnosophists" (almost certainly the aesetic gurus) stand out. Additionally India has made some mathematical contributions early on that aided in the discoveries of Arabs & Persians during the Islamic apogee. The border between South Asia and the West exists but it is very porous. This can explain the blending of outward phenotypes that you see as semi-white Persians turn into brown Indians-and the free exchange of ideas with Persia acting as a transition culture.

Finally you have China. This civilization does not really need much elucidation, it has the most self-conscious integrated tradition and a well conceived historiography. I don't need to rattle off the technological contributions that the Chinese made despite their inability to systematize them and so pull off the cultural explosion of the Western European West.

How does genetics effect civilization?


This is just my opinion, but I do think that g distributions have an effect in the ability to maintain a literate elite. On the other hand I am open to the idea that g distributions or the mean can shift over time because of different cultural contexts and changes that can effect relative fitness of genes & phenotypes. The idea of decline and fall and rise and ascendence can been gleaned in both ancient Rome and China ("three generations up, three generations down").

That being said-I believe that cultural differences being caused by environmental/genographical variations should be the null hypothesis. Obviously the Japanese are not "genetically inferior" to the Chinese nor are the Swedes any less than the Rhineland Germans, though the latter of each respectively has a far longer "civilized" tradition. Civilization needs many preconditions and it not implausible that in its early stages the regress back to barbarism requires a later outside stimuli (the Classical Greeks did not used a variant of their Linear B script but one based on the Phonecian/Aramaean model)-but later one it can develop through its own impulses.

We should be careful of positing genetic differences as being the root of differentials in "cultural productivity." The Classical Greeks thought the early Republican Romans rather dull individiauls, and true to form, in the philosophies speakers of Greek predominated throughout span of the Roman Empire. The idea that some races-the Latins in this case-could be made out to be naturally dull is an easy explanation. But historical hindsight shows this probably was not so, but rather the orientations of the two cultures were different-a great Latin mind became an orator and politician while a Greek would remain within his polis and might become an intellectual (compare the theological arcana that dominated early medieval Byzantium to the administrative wrangles that fixated the Western Church).

Finally, let me add that I suspect that historical experience shapes the traits that a civilization selects for. The Chinese emphasis on semi-competative examinations probably had an effect on selecting for whatever genes help one master obtuse literary intellectuality. That Sub-Saharan Africa had no native literate tradition (this is fuzzy, literacy comes to Europe and India from the Middle East after all!) might have meant that there was no niche of scribes for those afflicted with myopia (utter conjecture of course!). That Jews have had a literary/intellectual tradition for 2,000 years is used as evidence as to why they excel in professions like law-but the justification often reminds me of racial memory. There is surely something to a long-standing cultural practice, but we should remember that over dozens of generations these practices should shape the genetic profile of the culture!


The Creators?

First, let me get something out of the way. Many people seem to take great pride in their ancestry. Let me make an observation that might seem mean-but those who do this tend not to feel very good about their individual worth. It seems clear that we have a heirarchy of identification, first as an individual, later as whatever you care about (religion, race, ethno-linguistic group, your role-playing club, etc.)-and those that always emphasize on the upper ends of the layers of identification seem a bit off. This occurs in most races, religions, castes and classes. A semi-literate Chinese dishwasher might talk at length about the acheivments of "his people." A Jewish friend of mine would never shut up about the acheivments of "her people." Black people regularly get a pass when they assert that their ancestors were "Kings and Queens" (join the club brothers and sisters! Now whose ancestors were peasants I might ask?). Hindu nationalists regularly make bizarro claims about ancient India where 99.99% of the people lived short-brutish lives while a few in the upper class contemplated the ways of the cosmos (though some of the Indian mystics were lower caste, I believe most like Mahavira & Siddartha were upper caste, especially Kshatriya & Vaishya). And of course we have those that take pride in their "white heritage." The last statement is a little hard to grorange with, because white people have acheived a lot!

The world we see around us was created by white people, most of them northwest European origin. So if you care about this stuff-take pride I suppose. But a problem is that these individuals seem to neglect that northwest Eurpe was for a long time a backwater of sorts-this is not the historical norm and the natural order of things, but the outcome of multiple strands of history, geography and genetics. Though they produced the Principia and Beethoven-northwest Europe didn't invent agriculture, literacy, universal religions, etc. etc. And perhaps the greatest acheivment of northwest Europe is the lionization of the individual-the make of the I more crucial than the We, explaining why most northwest Europeans, in contrast to less accomplished races, do not take particular pride in this day and age..

This blog is run by people of many racial and ethnic origins. Those of us who are non-white tend to be rather cosmopolitan and quite often explicitly pro-Western in our outlook. That means we have a tendency to reflexively roll our eyes when someone trots out the "White makes Right" sort of arguments-as well as People-of-Color-Must-Unite. Such arguments are the two faces of the same coin.

Cultural achievment is the product of multiple variables, environment, historical context, cultural openness and yes, the genetic endowments of the individuals that make up the group in question. That being said-though the genetic endowments and environment are often semi-constant, cultural openness & historical context are ever shifting and interdependent and contingent (ie; would there be a England without a Sumeria or China?).

Rational discussion of facts are always undermined by amusing chest-thumping or unalloyed hatred.

Addendum from Razib: I would also like to add that I am not a "metaphysical racialist." I mean there are those who seem to ascribe an almost mystical significance to the perpetuation of their race. You can couch this in terms of maintaining diversity, and I can understand and to some extent sympathize with their viewpoint as something that needs to be heard, but I don't really share it. If I do have children they are likely to be half-white, knowing my tastes, probably would be able to pass as white (probably look southern European or something). It is likely that they in their turn will marry non-brown individuals. For me personally I don't give much weight to either my racial or religious origins. On the other hand, I don't discount those who assert that races might be on average different on non-trival matters. But just because I agree that race exists as a matter of biology or social organization, I don't care much on a personal level for the perpetuation of "my race." Just so people know where I'm coming from (and I think most of the bloggers who have accounts on GNXP).

Posted by razib at 05:35 PM




I am continuing the discussion here, because the other thread is too long.

>> a) today most people would not agree that Islam and the Arabs are part of the modern Western tradition (nowadays defined as liberal democracy), nor do *they* consider themselves Western - trends which may prompt revisionism.

"Western" is ill-defined. Some people use it to mean Western European. Others mean European. Others mean Christian European. The problem can be largely resolved if one avoids Western and uses more precise terminology, e.g., Post-Englightenment Civilization, if that is what is meant.

If Western Civilization (for the past) is taken to mean the civilizations of the western Eurasian culture sphere, then no divergent tendency within this sphere should use the term for itself to the exclusion of others whose culture is also wholly an evolution of the Western cultural tradition.

Posted by: Dienekes at April 24, 2003 12:52 AM


I must say that other thread was hilarious when Asians were accused of lower IQs. I still fail to see the value of this racial categorization. How many people who won Fields medals have green eyes? Who f-ing cares? I see the recipients' racial classification as just more of the same meaningless trivia.
The instinct to group into tribes is strong no doubt. In the filming of the original Planet of the Apes, the actors costumed as gorillas all started having lunch together exclusively, as did those costumed as the orangs, chimps, etc. despite their previous uncostumed relationships.
Fascinating pyschology-but primitive barbarism nonetheless. What is the rational mind for if not to overcome that idiocy?

Posted by: martin at April 24, 2003 09:22 AM


How many people who won Fields medals have green eyes? Who f-ing cares?

Did it ever occur to you why people study things as seemingly trivial to their personal survival as the anatomy of crickets and the mating behaviors of shrews? Perhaps for some people learning about how the world is is interesting in and of itself.

I fucking care, and if you don't please move along, b/c this whining disturbs me.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at April 24, 2003 09:58 AM


I'm re-posting this message that I had originally posted in the other thread.

Godless:

Whew ! Finally someone agrees with me. A few minor quibbles ...

1. "I'm not aware of a definitive study that shows a lower variance for East Asian IQ "

I'll make use of a numerical example again to demonstrate why variance is irrelevant to this discourse. I know this isn't the ideal way to illustrate my ideas and is probably pretty annoying but I find it simpler than explaining it non-mathematically. This is an oversimplified model but should do the trick.

Consider two populations A and B having the same population, say 1 million. They also have almost identical mean IQs that i've approximated at 100.

The distribution of population A is as follows:
500,000 have IQs of 55
499,990 have IQs of 145
10 have IQs of 200

The distribution of population B is as follows:
500,000 have IQs of 60
499,500 have IQs of 140
500 have IQs of 200

Population A will have a higher variance than population B though the latter has the bulk of the geniuses.

So, even if two populations have similar mean IQs and similar variances it won't tell us anything about the extreme right end of the Bell Curve.


2."The favorable reference to David Duke ..."

Yikes !! I'll repeat i'm no fan of David Duke. I find his ideas on miscegenation and the tacit approval of the Indian caste system particularly abhorrent. Still, it makes no sense to dismiss everything he says as the rantings of a white-supremacist bigot.

3. "There are three Asians among them (Chu, Tsui, Koshiba) and at least three or four Jews (probably more)."

That's still an under-representation. Since the Chinese and Japanese are genetically similar to a great degree, the scenario I expect for East Asians in the future is that the entire lot wins Nobels at the same per-capita rate as the Japanese. I'll admit there's an upward trend for the Japanese but the lower median IQ of China negates the possible positives of that trend for the Chinese.

Jesse:

Those numbers were hypothetical, I was only trying to drive home my point by taking a numerical example.

I'll however try to corroborate my theory using actual numbers on Nobel Laureates.


Posted by: king kong at April 24, 2003 10:02 AM


Godless:

I downloaded the Jensen interview, but my computer keeps hanging whenever I open Adobe Acrobat.

I'll read it and get back to you.


Posted by: king kong at April 24, 2003 10:07 AM


A. The Chinese have no interest in monotheistic theology. Before 1800, and to a degree afterwards, Christians, Jews, Muslims were lumped. Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons seem to be lumped separately with Jews and Muslims (there's so much animosity that there doesn't seem to be a "Christian" category). Undere the Mongols Marco Polo was classified as a "se-mu", which meant westerners, mostly Persians, in the Mongol service.

Muslims are distinguished from Jews by the difference between halal and kosher -- there's a tendon that's forbidden to one group but not the other (the "tendon-eaters"). Christians are those who eat pork but not dog -- though the dog-butcher I met was a shamefaced Chinese Christian. (Dog tastes pretty gamy, not like chicken.)

So anyway, that's "The West" in Chinese eyes.

B. How many races are there? How much inbreeding before a people becomes a race? EG, the Icelanders have been pretty isolated for 1000 years; I wouldn't doubt that they have extraordinarily high concentrations of certain markers, compared to other Scandinavians. Over and above blondness, I mean. (Note, guys: the age of consent in Iceland is 14, as long a s the second party is younger than 24: http://www.ageofconsent.com/iceland.htm ). Doesn't do me any good.

And "brown" might mean something in American folk English, but not as a racial designation. Something like "Darker than blond, not black, not yellow). About a third of the world.

Posted by: zizka at April 24, 2003 10:14 AM


Tejas wrote:

"Those numbers were hypothetical, I was only trying to drive home my point by taking a numerical example.

I'll however try to corroborate my theory using actual numbers on Nobel Laureates."

Thanks, I'd be interested to see any data that's out there about the IQ of Nobel Laureates (or any other group whose achievements mark them as 'geniuses'). Since I am skeptical that differences between IQ scores above 140 or so are very meaningful, I would not necessarily predict that the relative proportion of, say, 150-160 IQs vs 140-150 IQs among Nobel Laureates is much higher than in the general population.

Likewise, I'd be interested to see if there are any studies that show that east asians have a lower percentage of ultra-high-IQs that whites.

Posted by: Jesse M. at April 24, 2003 11:09 AM


zizka-i am going to post on "religion" soon-and partly how a monotheistic conception has distorted our perceptions of exactly is religion. also, as far as classifying races, i believe icelanders have a strong maternal celtic contribution from the irish-though some of the data is fuzzy. it gets real hard to distinguish close groups genetically.

i tend to think of race as being defined on x number of axes, an axis for color, an axis for nose form, an axis for neutral marker n, etc. etc. geometrically there will be clusters that aggregate the interelationships of the vast number of genes that comprise and individual human. i need to do an FAQ....

Posted by: razib at April 24, 2003 12:05 PM


Razib -- it seems to me that you are overemphasizing physical appearance, rather playing into the hands of your critics. (One major criticism of the race concept is that it is just a biological statement and justification of old folkish ethnic consciousness tracable back to Noah's three sons, Cain and Abel, the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, etc.)

The money question as I see it is IQ so far, though questions of hereditary temperament/ disposition are also significant. Other physiological questions such as lactose intolerance etc. are biologically significant too. I read somewhere that from the biologist's point of view the most distinct populations are the virtually extinct African peoples once called Bushmen and Hottentots, who have lots of unique traits. (I may have read that in SJ Gould, but it's checkable).

The Irish component in Iceland is well established, but after 3000 years it's pretty well mixed in by now.

Posted by: zizka at April 24, 2003 12:42 PM


zizka, i just gave you a few variables, ultimately, i guess you would keep adding variables upward (from what i remember, multidimensions is no problem mathematically).

some of the problems also have to do with differences between neutral markers and genes that have an obvious adaptive phenotypic impact.

in sum-it's a complex question that everyone wants an easy answer too and so i have a hard time satisfying people, though race does seem to matter in the united states for issues of health profiling (as well as organ matching).

Posted by: razib at April 24, 2003 12:58 PM


Icelanders are actually genetically heterogeneous compared to other European nations.

http://www.dienekes.com/blog/archives/000152.html

Posted by: Dienekes at April 24, 2003 02:18 PM


I read the Iceland abstract and am at a loss as to how to interpret it. Does it mean that, at the time of original settlement (around 900 ?? AD) it was already diverse, or that there's been a lot of admixture since? The Norse were wide-ranging (Baku, Kazan, and Constantinople to Greenland) and the Icelanders were a sea people, so there could have been a lot of mixing at various points.

I find it hard to believe though, that the 200,000 Icelanders are more diverse than, for example, the tens of millions of Spanish or Austrians. What's a common-sense summary of the genetic language?

Posted by: zizka at April 24, 2003 05:30 PM


PS In my Iceland post, "3000" is a mistype for "1000".

Posted by: zizka at April 24, 2003 05:32 PM


ummm ok Jason-bring it on then. Tell me how many Fields medal winners had green eyes. If-just in case- you see that particular stat as irrelevant-tell me what genetic markers you are using to categorize them by race.

Posted by: martin at April 24, 2003 06:00 PM


I think you are losing sight of a lot of things here. In particular you're all getting too fixated with the racial composition of a very small sample, high science achievers, as representative of the actual bell curve of the racial group.
1) For all we know up to a certain minimum IQ say 140 to 150 there may be *no* correlation whatsoever between IQ and scientific achievement. Look at all the losers with pseudo-scientific 'theories' in the ultra high IQ societies. Hell, how many people who have achieved things other than a high IQ are there even in Mensa? I suspect achievement then becomes more a function of personality - singlemindedness, obsessiveness, pure intellectual interest, there may well be some correlation with schizoid/asperger's traits.
2) *Regardless of the correlation between ultra high IQ and scientific achievement, there is a strong degree of self-selection in looking at particular occupational groups. How do you know that for some reasons the highest IQ Jews tend to drift into academia while the highest IQ Asians and non-Jewish Europeans tend to drift into business and other money-making professions? For instance, this might leave proportionately more of the 'mediocre' Asians in academia. Who knows? Believe me, as a consultant, I've met many solicitors and barristers who I suspect have ultra high IQs and are laughing their way to the bank rather than winning Fields Medals.

Posted by: Jason Soon at April 24, 2003 06:36 PM


PS my remarks were not meant as a slight on Godless whom I know is in academia and whose fearsome intellect I am in awe of. Note I said 'proportionately more of the "mediocre" Asians'.

Posted by: Jason Soon at April 24, 2003 06:40 PM


>> I read the Iceland abstract and am at a loss as to how to interpret it. Does it mean that, at the time of original settlement (around 900 ?? AD) it was already diverse, or that there's been a lot of admixture since?

The former. The genetic elements in Iceland were diverse to begin with, and despite 1,000+ years of inbreeding, they remain heterogeneous, more so than other European countries. Perhaps, if Icelanders remained isolated for many more years, they might become more homogeneous. But at present they are not.

Posted by: Dienekes at April 24, 2003 06:45 PM


Zizka,

How many races are there? How much inbreeding before a people becomes a race?

With relative amounts of isolation + time, human populations will begin to accumulate mutations and shifts in allele frequencies. Steve Sailer sees race as a scaleable bottom-up idea that does not nessecarily need top-down assignment:

the bottom-up model accounts for everything seen in top-down approaches. Average hereditary differences are—as one might expect—inherited. The bottom-up approach simply eliminates any compulsion to draw arbitrary lines regarding whether a difference is big enough to be racial. With enough inbreeding, hereditary differences will emerge that will first be recognizable to the geneticist, then to the physical anthropologist, and finally to the average person.

While it may be useful for understanding how race operates to look at it from the bottom-up, scientists are able to look at it from the top-down with no problem:

Gene Study Identifies 5 Main Human Populations
NYT, December 20, 2002

"Scientists studying the DNA of 52 human groups from around the world have concluded that people belong to five principal groups corresponding to the major geographical regions of the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, Melanesia and the Americas. The study, based on scans of the whole human genome, is the most thorough to look for patterns corresponding to major geographical regions. These regions broadly correspond with popular notions of race, the researchers said in interviews."

Theoretically there could have been the hypothetical 'continuous geographic gradation' zizka, but the reason these geographic clusters were able to form is because there was some serious time + isolation to facilitate the process. If I told you exactly how much time it took and how much isolation I would obviously be making an arbitrary assignment, you could ask why not one generation less, or sixteen shared brides more. But that wouldn't make the clusters that are observed and quantified any less distinct.

Martin,

ummm ok Jason-bring it on then. Tell me how many Fields medal winners had green eyes.

Here is what you said:

I still fail to see the value of this racial categorization. How many people who won Fields medals have green eyes? Who f-ing cares? I see the recipients' racial classification as just more of the same meaningless trivia.

What you said wasn't about green eyes, which was just used to denigrate the concept of race and any interest in the subject of racial differences that extend beyond the morphological. I'm pretty tired of the 'I think you suck for finding [insert topic here] interesting and i'm going to let you know about it' crowd. First of all racial categorization doesn't need to be "useful", it isn't a utensil for your kitchen, it's a term to describe an observed relationship. That in and of itself validates the idea. If a more coherent version of the concept should arise i will gladly adopt it. Second, races are defined by their genetic distance and genetic differences between individuals are %50 of what makes us, us [in other words specific assortments of alleles say a lot about who we are and races are significantly different in their allele frequencies]. This goes beyond Fields medals into plausible questions about mean differences in aptitude between races, with patterns of achievement being one way of looking at the question. Patterns which do exist.
If there are differences in achievement between green-eyed and brown-eyed people and it comes to my attention I will be very interested. I will consider how others explain it environmentally.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at April 24, 2003 10:20 PM


A few thoughts here:

I think that a greater incidence of genius in whites than Asians, if indeed it exists, could be explained by something other than a greater number of ultra-high IQ individuals. Most people regarded as geniuses in their particular fields do not have IQs of 200. Although their IQs are generally very high, it will almost certainly be possible to find people with significantly higher IQs in the same field who have not contributed nearly as much. There are other factors necessary for genius other than high IQ. Certainly it seems *possible* that although group A might have a higher mean IQ, group B might produce more individuals with a high amount of ingredient X.

Second, I don't think the East and South Asians in America are an accurate representation of Asians in general. I suspect that if slavery had never occurred in the United States, and the only blacks who came to America were engineers, doctors, and computer scientists, those here at GNXP who are touting the superiority of East/South Asians would also be talking up the superior black IQ, talking about blacks building Ancient Egypt, and attributing the present backwardness of Africa to environmental and cultural factors.

Posted by: Oleg at April 25, 2003 12:43 AM


Jason-because of the evanescent nature of these comments-i try to keep it short and can be misinterpreted. Definitely the case here. What I meant to express was: I skimmed over a thread where I believe someone asserted lack of Asians in the Fields medals winners in support of a lower Asian IQ hypothesis. To me that is ridiculous. Perhaps if Fields medals recipients gave dna samples (and we adjusted for the small sample size) some useful hypothesis could be asserted-but simply observing some phenotypic skin coloring and concluding white people are superior at math smacks of psuedoscience to me.
Once linked on the front page of this blog was a report about a researcher who analyzed some "white" person's dna-found it was comprised of approximately 50% "black" genes-and then discovered it was his own dna-thereby upsetting his personal racial identity. If this researcher had won a Fields medal prior to dna analysis, i suppose our own conclusions would have to be reformulated. I have no problem examining racial differences, but exactitude should be the goal IMHO, not sweeping generalizations. Continue your research, sir.

Posted by: martin at April 25, 2003 10:38 AM


That guy's black acestry percentage goes up with each retelling. Pretty soon we'll hear he's 100% black, but just looks
white.
In the persuance of exactitude, here's other data from an article in a St. Petersburg newspaper: the geneticist, Dr. Mark
Shriver, received the following results,
:DNAPrint owns its proprietary database, said Phil Brooks, the company's marketing director. The firm's samples,
gathered from various regions by Dr. Mark Shriver of the Pennsylvania State University, are broad enough to enable
the lab to determine one's ancestry. Shriver's test results, for example, show that he's 68 percent European, 16
percent American Indian and 16 percent African.

I did see a race oriented web site which said he had 22%-25%. I'm no
geneticist, but I think if he were 50% black, it wouldn't have been
a secret to anyone. Addressing concerns about notions of certain races having certain superior abilities, I more often hear
of Asians and East Indians than Euro-Americans, being touted as math
focused types.

Posted by: MaryClaire at April 25, 2003 11:43 AM


I have no problem examining racial differences, but exactitude should be the goal IMHO, not sweeping generalizations. ....Continue your research, sir.

*sigh* What "research"? Did I make a sweeping generalization? I criticized tejas for not providing a study for his assertion that Asians cluster in IQ around the middle in comparison to whites (plausible but unsupported), which was pretty much just backed up with 'David Duke says...' as if the klansman's primary sources were of secondary or no interest.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood your criticism, I guess I couldn't tell who exactly it was directed at (godless? tejas? the blog?) and for what.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at April 25, 2003 11:50 AM


Jason-I guess I'm just a bad communicator-no I never accused you of a sweeping generalization-"continue your research" was figurative language responding to your accusation that I'm trying to squelch racial research.
I just reviewed the last thread-it's Tejas of whom I was critical.

tejas offered the following empirical observations in support of his hypothesis:
[Quoting Tejas]
"Here are the details on the following awards.

1. Fields Medals: 43 recipients - 39 Whites, 4 East Asians, 0 South Asians
2. The Rolf Nevanlinna Prize: 5 Whites, 1 South Asian.
3. National Medal(s) of Science: Of the 73 Tau Bate among the 401 recipients there are exactly 2 East Asians and 0 South Asians. Assuming America had critical mass of Asian scientists by 1980, the statistic reduces to 37 medals awarded Post 1980, with 2 East Asian recipients."

All I'm saying is these facts are too naked to work with-that's why I called them trivia, and asserted we might just as well know the eye color as well. Perhaps you feel differently.

So-forget everything that has preceded jason-let me pose a simple query:

From Tejas' empirical observations-do you believe hypothesi as to racial abilities/intelligence can be formulated?
Conversely-what possible hypothesi could these phenomena be cited to support?

MaryClaire-sorry for the wrong figure. What does it mean to be 16% black anyway?

Posted by: martin at April 25, 2003 12:50 PM


I apologize for being snippy martin, I now understand what you intended to communicate:)

I'll run through a few things:

I must say that other thread was hilarious when Asians were accused of lower IQs...The instinct to group into tribes is strong no doubt. In the filming of the original Planet of the Apes....

1)To be fair to Tejas, I doubt he was trying to degrade Asians or feel better about himself by cheerleading "his tribe". He says he is South Asian, and he is probably from a population of South Asians with a higher measured average IQ than that of white Europeans so I doubt he is trying to "sit at the gorilla table" so to speak. Also I don't think he is trying to disparage East Asians, just argue that g is distributed differently in that population than in that of Europeans.

2) Re-examining the thread I see it was Godless who first raised the logic which you consider suspect, but he didn't really raise it to prove anything - the intent was just to express why he was skeptical of Tejas unsupported claim. As in he was doubtful that Asians weren't competitive with whites at the highest levels of IQ, b/c what he was seeing from the most high IQ demanding occupations/achievements was that Asians _were_ at a competetive level with whites:

I work at a very selective university. Let's just say that there are few - if any - universities that are more selective at the graduate level. I look at the enrollment in engineering and science graduate school, and I see a sea of East Asian and South Asian names. Pick any quantitative, objective metric you desire (publications, patents, Nat. Academy membership, etc.), and I guarantee that the (foreign & American born) East/South Asian students will stack up favorably against the Eastern Europeans, Jews, and native born white Americans. I have participated in faculty searches and done resume checks on hundreds if not thousands of applicants - judged on the basis of creativity and quality of research - and the differences between E/S Asian, Jewish, and European portfolios of graduates of selective universities are either negligible or statistically subtle...My point is basically that if the cutoff you speak of exists, it must kick in at a very high performance level...Personally, I'm skeptical but open to the possibility that your hypothesis (more Euro geniuses) is true... [bold ending added]

Such agnosticism hardly seems much to make a big deal out of. So to answer your question:

From Tejas' empirical observations-do you believe hypothesi[s] as to racial abilities/intelligence can be formulated?

'No', but I'm not sure that is exactly what Tejas was trying to demonstrate anyhow. I think he was just trying to show godless that at the _highest_ levels the data [of the type godless was using] actually fit his previous assumptions better than Godless.

I'm not sure anyone actually claimed that # of medals actually proved something beyond how well it fit the original data asserton in their mind. [the fact that that initial assertion was unsupported to begin with is the biggest error worthy of note IMO]

Posted by: Jason Malloy at April 25, 2003 02:00 PM


I really wasn't trying to make a big deal out of this-I blame myself for just scanning that other thread-then posting some toss off comment that has entailed this further elaboration. My basic riff on the Planet of the Apes was simply meant to denigrate people who reason like " A. smart white guys win Fields medals B. I'm white. C. therefore I'm smart."
Anyway-let me ask you another query since i see in that other thread you too talk about this mystical (oneday) FAQ.
Do g genes vary among races, or are the human high g genes transracial, i.e. are high iq people more similar to each other on the g axis or just a variant of their particular racial group?

Posted by: martin at April 25, 2003 02:23 PM


Do g genes vary among races

Genes for intelligence (except for one) have yet to be identified.

are high iq people more similar to each other

in what way?

Posted by: Jason Malloy at April 25, 2003 02:42 PM


well-correct me if i'm wrong in any of this: i assume no new genes have been created since the original human beings evolved, i.e. the human genome we just unveiled is the same one that was being expressed in 100,000 B.C.E. Geographic clustering later caused the evolution of distinct "races" after the dawn of the proto-humans-but we're not talking different genes just new arrangements of alleles best suited to the environment. So assuming certain genes encode for g-those genes are always present in a given human population, with some populations being smarter on average than others based solely on the particular distribution of g genes. So genetic/allele assembly x produces an IQ of 175, and genetic assembly y produces 95. Now if a black man has hemophilia and a white man has hemophilia-we know it's the identical genetic defect. Genetic assembly z produces hemophilia regardless of whatever other racial genes are in one's individual genome. If you take the individuals with identical g, say an Eskimo, a Bantu, and a white guy all with the same IQ and/or g, will they have the exact same gentic/allele assembly as far as g goes a la hemophilia-or will they have still different racial assemblages/alleles that just get expressed as identical g due to lack of finely enough tuned racial distinction measuring devices? IOW is Asian g identical to European g?

Posted by: martin at April 25, 2003 03:23 PM


I would also like to add that even if genes that confer a cognitive advantage are not recessive, one should not look at genes individually, but against the genetic background on which they operate. For example there are some mitochondrial mutations which when present against the background of mtDNA haplogroup J lead to LHON and sudden blindness; when combined with other backgrounds they have no effect.

In general, we know almost nothing about such genes: their identity, their mode of expression, their interaction, their origin in space and time.

For these reasons, we cannot say that intermarriage between racially distant high-IQ elements will result in a high-IQ population.

Posted by: Dienekes at April 25, 2003 05:54 PM