SAT bias?

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SAT biased against blacks?

Godless comments:

This article has some pretty sloppy passages, including:

For the high school class of 2002 the average score for a non-Hispanic white student on the 1600-point test was 1060. The average score for a black student was 857, or 203 points lower. (For Asians the average was 1070, and for Hispanics it was slightly over 900.) The gap between blacks and whites on the test is sixteen points greater today than it was in 1992. If minority students are at a disadvantage in taking the SAT, their choice of colleges will be significantly limited…

Asians are minorities too, and they have higher mean scores than whites. Rather than referring to “minorities”, a more precise term would be blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Here’s another careless bit:

He cited research showing minority students doing better than non-Hispanic whites on harder math items, which he attributed to the fact that those items used more textbook-like language and “more abstract concepts learned strictly in the classroom.” Minority students scored worse on the easier math items, just as they did on easier verbal items, because commoner words were used in those questions.

23 Comments

  1. Intel does have a chip plant in Latin America — in Costa Rica, which is 94% white.

  2. This pattern holds internationally. If these tests were not getting at some underlying truth, we would see semiconductor fabs opening up in Latin America rather than Taiwan, and software production moving to Nigeria rather than India.
    This is simply rubbish. India has nearly 10 times as many people as Nigeria, so one would expect the talent pool to be 10 times as deep, even if mean IQ in both countries were the same. Indeed, wasn’t it you, Razib, who put a post up mentioning that the mean IQ in India was 80?

    Having actually participated in the decision-making process in one or two international investments, I don’t think that “mean IQ” really has anything to do with it. People who don’t have a chance to be educated don’t make good software developers, and that applies whether we’re talking about Pakistan or Sierra Leone. To imply that this says anything about their innate abilities, as you seem to be doing, is an insult to those who lack the good fortune you’ve had in terms of educational opportunities.

    Touche :)
    Yeah, right. As if the social structure in Costa Rica had nothing to do with well-attested historical patterns of conquest. Those non-white Costa Ricans must have been playing on a level playing field from day one, mustn’t they, Godlesscapitalist? What incredibly shoddy reasoning.

  3. Actually, it seems to me that if I have a cohort chosen for a particular score (like 1200), and some subset of them do slightly better on the hard problems and slightly worse on the easier ones, then all I’m seeing is the effects of luck. That is, a black or hispanic person who scores 1200 on the SAT is measurably more likely to have had a small amount of luck in guessing correct answers. I have previously argued that luck does not play a significant role in SAT scores, but in a broad statistical analysis like this it seems you can see the effect. I imagine the author of the article didn’t understand this implication, however.

  4. The law of large numbers reduces the impact of luck on an one test to an insignificant number. One’s breakfast affects the multiple scores considerably more. Luck can be very significant for any one question, however.

  5. Razib Wrote:

    What about the fact that you need good SAT scores to make it into a good school in the first place? The real world is not as meritocratic as you believe. Students with low scores (for any reason) can’t make it to good schools and this will certainly have an adverse effect on their employment opportunities. You can argue that the low scores of the relevant minorities actually reflect their abilities. But saying that low scores (that may not be reflective of students’ abilities) is not a hinderance to highly sought-after jobs is totally nonsense.

  6. I’ve never seen an Atlantic article that self-destructed on the last page the way this one did, when it cited the wholly conclusive reply of the College Board that Razib cites above: this effect of the white-black gap getting smaller on very hard questions is wholly caused by the fact that the harder the question gets, the larger the fraction of the people who got the answer right did so by random guessing. (If you guess randomly on these five possible answer multiple choice tests, you’ll average 20% right on all questions, easy and hard. Thus, on very hard items, 31% of whites got the right answers vs. 22% of blacks, suggesting the real rato is 11% to 2%.

    The article’s only reply to the College Board was, I kid you not, “Shame on you.”

  7. hey all, i just posted the link. all the commentary was by godless ;)

  8. do you believe that there are biological differences between ethnic groups, and that these biological differences *could conceivably* include neurological differences
    Let me rephrase your question in a less loaded fashion, as the way you put it is excessively flattering to your position.

    Do I believe that there are variations in the distributions of biological traits amongst the myriad ethnic groupings that exist on this planet? Of course I do; it is a self-evident fact that such differences exist.

    To concede this much, which, in my view, is conceding very little, is not to buy into your position that the reason there is no software industry in, say, Zaire, as opposed to India, is because blacks are somehow intellectually inferior (because that’s what’s really at issue here) to Indians.

    The truth is that you don’t have a single shred of biological evidence yet to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually less capable than other groups; all you have to go on is a scenario that already has an explanation which is as solidly attested to as can be, namely that most of the black diaspora got to where it is by slavery, and that the British empire gave favorable treatment to groups like the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia, and Indians in East and Southern Africa.

    Those successful Indians you like to boast so much about are largely of East African origin, Idi Amin’s gift to the Western world. I’ve done business with quite a few, so I know what I’m talking about here. These folks were already successful before they got to the West, and that success was due in large part to the favored minority status they enjoyed during the days of the British Empire. The India of 1.2 billion individuals, the one in which poverty, ignorance and disease still remain rampant today, is far from being some sort of showcase for Indian innate IQ. Even with the economic growth since Rajiv Ghandi’s reforms, per capita GDP is still lower than it is in much of Africa, and HIV is exploding across the subcontinent at such a pace that southern Africa will no longer be uniquely burdened by the disease.

    As long as there are 1.2 billion Indians and Chinese apiece, as opposed to 600 million Africans and perhaps 400 millon South Americans, and as long as it remains true that neither the Chinese nor the Indian diasporas were created through slavery (no, indentured servitude is not slavery), it will be nonsense to make the sorts of claims you’re making.

  9. hanno,

    one problem i have with the european-slavery-screwed-everything-up + european-colonialism-screwed-everything-up is that i see no correlation between no or little colonization = better country (ethiopia? the hausa regions of nigeria? mauritania? [where the "colonizers" are moors i guess]). you criticize godless’ simplistic representation. from what i know of his views, they are more complex than what you see above (brevity for ease of comprehension), but, he does not a priori discount biological factors. your rejoinder seems to be just as simplistic. i think the answers are probably multifacted-and biology, in a variety of ways (aside from pure IQ) might play a role.

    as for your opinions on east africa, you correct to the degree that you point out the prominence of gujarati traders, muslims and hindus, in this group. but again, you seem to be pointing to the-white-man-did-it, actually, gujarat had a strong mercentile tradtion before the british (or portuguese for that matter) showed up. also, you talk about the favored treatment that the british gave the chinese, again, the-white-man-did-it (the leg up that they gave the chinese), but the south chinese, have been hanging around the straits for well over a thousand years. like the gujaratis, they came from one section of china, the region between the fujian coast and the pearl river delta, and various factions control almost every southeast asian economy. including, yes, thailand, which was never colonized by europeans!

    as for your statement about india-yeah, it is the world’s armpit, and by some measures is worse off than africa (if you average the continent, there is obviously a difference between dem. congo & senegal for instance). nevertheless, godless’ point is that india has had a literate class of pre-knowledge workers for thousands of years and developed a highly vibrant culture that had international projections (thank you india for buddhism, new agey bullshit, etc.). the reasons are multi-faceted, and the vast majority of indians did not partake of this culture, but a literate class has existed in india prior to european colonization, and this class took over again after the british left. this might explain why india is relatively more stable than most african nations, who were often dominated by a few convent educated intellectuals who later gave way to semi-literates like idi amin or bakossa….

    blah, blah, blah…if you want godless to engage less in the sin of simplification, look in the mirror.

  10. Most of the Indians in the US and UK came from India

    i assume hanno here is speaking of the east african asians who came in the 1970s, who do form nearly half of the hindus in the U.K. hindus i believe though are 1/4 of south asians as a while (sikhs 1/4 and muslims 1/2). this group does tend to be successful in business in the U.K. like they were everywhere else…i believe the sikhs are more middle-class and the muslims are…well, muslims.

  11. Godless wrote:
    “1) most sub-saharans and latin americans were not pressed into slavery. Their main problem was poverty, like the indians and chinese. Also, not all blacks have been involuntary immigrants. Blacks in the UK are voluntary. (It is also true that certain groups – e.g. Ghanans – in the US do quite well. They are not numerically large, and the effects can be attributed to selection bias, but this is what I’d seize on if I were trying to argue your position)”

    Not all blacks have been involuntary migrants …yeah maybe like only 5% were voluntary? What percentage of Indians in other parts of the world that you frequently cite for their and brilliance and economic excellence are involuntary migrants?

  12. Hanno said:“The truth is that you don’t have a single shred of biological evidence yet to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually less capable than other groups”,

    Ah, even if this were true, you must realize that this argument is a very pointy double-edged sword, my outraged friend, Hanno. See for all your trumped up, untested theories of “slavery” and “poverty” and “colonialism” the truth is is that you don’t have a single shred of “evidence” to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually as capable as other groups. Let me repeat this Hanno, because I want you to understand that you have no special credit in this debate:

    the truth is is that you don’t have a single-shred of “evidence” to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually as capable as other groups.

    Yep. Environment is not a default position. Just like genetic theories, environmental theories require the same burden of scientfic experiment in order to substantiate them. And as of right now Hanno, you have no such evidence to prove that those with African genetic ancestries have, on average, equal intellectual potential to other ancestory groups. There are no scientific studies that prove it. Your justifications for your position are not suitable for testing nor do they allow for controlled predictions. If they did then we would not be having this debate. The American Psychological Association has demured in this hot topic debate by essentially declaring in their special task-force Statement on Intelligence that there is no evidence for either environment or genetics for explaining the black intelligence gap:

    The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socio-economic status. Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct empirical support. There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation. At present, no one knows what causes this differential.

    Despite the snarky “certainly” this report taken at face-value would put you and us on equal footing, Hanno. Meaning that, if we were to go on just expert opinion, us GnXpers have just as much an intellectually justifiable right to assume that any black intelligence gap is a product of genetics as you think it is a product of some untested theory of racism. Of course I don’t take the task-force as the final word on expert opinion, because I have no idea how they determined what the expert consensus is. For that I turn to the only survey of its kind: Snyderman and Rothman’s 1987 study for the American Psychologist (house journal of the APA) Survey of Expert Opinion on Intelligence and Aptitude Testing in which 661 lottery selected experts in psychology and educational fields were polled on their conclusions concerning intelligence measurement. According to the survey:

    The source of black-white difference in IQ.
    This is perhaps the central question in the IQ controversy. Respondents were asked to express their opinion of the role of genetic differences in the black-white IQ differential. Forty-five percent believe the difference to be a product of both genetic and environmental variation, compared to only 15% who feel the difference is entirely due to environmental variation. Twenty-four percent of experts do not believe there are sufficient data to suport any reasonable opinion, and 14% did not respond to the question. Eight experts (1%) indicate a belief in an entirely genetic determination.

    So Hanno, if razib, godless, and I are wrong (and of course I entirely respect the fact that I could be based on my limited human knowledge, and am ready to ammend my position as any such pertinent evidence becomes available) at least we are in good company. The majority of those who have professional familiarity with all of the data are on our side with a ratio of three to one!

  13. “the British empire gave favorable treatment to groups like the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia”

    Yeah, but the Brits weren’t all that nice to China. For example, the Brits started “opium wars” to force China to allow the sale of British opium…that certainly didn’t help the Chinese. British opium both took resources away from China and reduced China’s productivity by making millions of its people addicted to opium.

    Also, how would the UK helping the Chinese in Malaysia or Indonesia help lead to the success of Chinese immigrants in the USA or elsewhere?

  14. That’s just not true – there is a ton of biological evidence, and we’ve gone into it at length in the archives. very brief, noncomprehensive review:
    Your “evidence” isn’t evidence for the particular claim you want to make: that blacks have lower innate intelligence than others.

    the-white-man-did-it
    This is as nonsensical an argument as they come. So what if “the white man did it?” If it happened, it happened, and let’s face it, “the white man” did do a hell of a lot of things over the last 500 years. Why are you carrying water for him anyway? I’m white, and I don’t feel a reflexive need to defend “the white man” against all accusations made against him.

  15. See for all your trumped up, untested theories of “slavery” and “poverty” and “colonialism”
    What a bullshit statement! Are you trying to say that these things didn’t happen, and that they didn’t have pernicious effects on the people they happened to? This has got to be one of the most ignorant and intellectually dishonest statements I have ever read anywhere.

    Your response just indicates to me that you seem to have an axe to grind where certain groups are concerned. Why should blacks or anyone else have to bear the burden of “proving” their intellectual capabilities to you? Who made you judge and juror over hundreds of millions of other souls? And how well do you think you’d do on any tests of intelligence if you were born to a poor mestizo or African family?

    Mr. Malloy, you really are a piece of work. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with dismissing the capacities of hundreds of millions of people, but when anyone dares to point out that you’re full of it, you suddenly get all snippy and defensive; one would think a person who likes dishing it out ought to be able to take a little of his own medicine, but you and Razib are extremely thin-skinned individuals.

    I’m sorry that I didn’t realize this was supposed to be the court of Louis XIV, with fawning sycophants uttering affirmations of your every thoughts, however shoddy, but I don’t see myself playing the online equivalent of a Versailles courtier anytime soon. This post is simply a farrago of unsubstantiated, pejorative insinuations, and undeserving of being taken seriously by anyone with half a brain.

    The majority of those who have professional familiarity with all of the data are on our side with a ratio of three to one!
    Whoo haa! Argumentum ad Populam alert! You’ve gotta be kidding me if you think this proves anything whatsoever. Quite apart from the question of who exactly you think has “professional familiarity with all of the data”, which I’m sure you’d define in such a manner as to tilt the playing field in your direction, it is still a fact that popularity proves nothing about the correctness of an argument. The biblical account of the creation, the notion of a flat earth, and the ptolemaic system with its epicycles, were all accepted wisdom amongst those with “professional familiarity” with such questions at some point, as was Newtonian physics and the notion that germs were spontaneously generated. I’d be ashamed of myself if I were ever caught out putting such nonsensical debating tactics to use on a public forum.

  16. Hanno,

    Like you I am white. Unlike you I tend to bat for my own people. I can do that in good conscience because I believe it’s normal and I’m not an egalitarian. It makes me less than objective, of course, and opens me up to the usual screeching accusations when (not if) I voice my opinions. Still, I acknowledge the inherent partiality of my position and I do make an effort to listen to all sides of the argument.

    Down the years I’ve heard plenty of doggedly environmentalist argument. Some folks simply have no knowledge of genetics or sociobiology but disbelieve in them anyway. Some have been brainwashed or intimidated into self-censorship by the political-intellectual establishment. Some won’t listen because the consequences would be socially or professionally inhibiting or embarrassing. And some won’t listen because they hate themselves with a will and, lacking the honesty to confront the reasons for this, externalise their hatred onto their parents, their social class, their race.

    I can’t prove it – no one can prove it – but I do wonder if among caucasians self hatred and a yearning for moral justification accounts for most agitated and aggressive purveyors of anti-white politics.

    The point is that in such polarising issues as race and IQ it’s not safe simply to speak from what we may know. We should examine our own motives, all of us. When we are prepared to declare them to ourselves and others then, and only then, should we speak.

  17. Hanno writes:
    The truth is that you don’t have a single shred of biological evidence yet to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually less capable than other groups;

    Mainly because we have no direct, biological way of measuring intellectual abilities. And indeed it may never be possible to do so in a way that will satisfy all critics. For this reason it’s customary in the field of psychometrics to test intellectual capabilities through tests devised for the purpose. And in that area the evidence for racial differences is overwhelming.

    In any case I think you really meant ‘genetic’ when you wrote ‘biological’, since I *can* present evidence for more lead poisoning and lower rates of breastfeeding as sources for some of the difference in observed B/W IQ (in the USA). Malnutrition and disease in Africa also has a measurable effect on human development. Is that biological enough for you? I imagine so, since it supports your thesis that environment is the only important factor. But the difference in the US data that can be accounted for that way only comes to maybe 3-4 points.

    In any case, as gc has previously noted, some people prefer very elaborate environmental theories to relatively simple genetic ones (ergo, ‘Modern-day epicyclists’). But I see no reason to do so.

    And for what it’s worth, razib has a pretty thick skin from what I’ve seen. Certainly thicker than yours, in this venue.

  18. Unlike you I tend to bat for my own people
    But who are “my people?” Unlike you, I can’t identify my interests with those of more than a billion others who share little in common with me other than their skin color.

    I prefer to deal in the concrete rather than racial abstractions, and I certainly don’t hate myself or feel the slightest bit of guilt about anything. To say that certain white people did bad things at some point in time is not to implicate myself in their deeds, any more than to say that Beethoven and Michelangelo created great art is to seek for myself a share in their glory.

    And in that area the evidence for racial differences is overwhelming.
    Nobody is arguing about what we perceive in testing today, and to pretend otherwise is to introduce a red herring into the discussion. Let us stick to the main issue, namely, whether or not these differences are due to innate shortcomings of poorly-performing groups, or to other causes. Any theory that argues for the former will also have to account for the historical performance shortfalls of groups like the Irish in the UK, and the Burakumin in Japan, both of which tended to be about a standard deviation below the mean of the larger population, but differed hardly at all from the rest of the populace in any observable genetic traits. It is interesting to note, by the way, that the Irish test gap has disappeared as Ireland has grown wealthier; what “genetic” theory can explain that?

    In any case, as gc has previously noted, some people prefer very elaborate environmental theories to relatively simple genetic ones (ergo, ‘Modern-day epicyclists’). But I see no reason to do so.
    Some people prefer simplistic and braindead theories to elaborate ones because such theories are the only ones they can comprehend. Newtonian physics is a lot simpler than general relativity, so by your criterion it ought to be preferable to Einstein’s thingamabob, ought it not? As Einstein himself is supposed to have once said, “things should be explained as simply as possible – but no simpler.”

    And for what it’s worth, razib has a pretty thick skin from what I’ve seen. Certainly thicker than yours, in this venue.
    So you say, but he’s the one who has resorted to foul language in the past in response to criticism, not I. A different gloss on your statement is that since you find his ideas simpatico with your own, you’re more willing to overlook his shortcomings.

  19. HB,
    The theory of relativity has more explaining power than Newtonian physics. Environmental theories of behaviour don’t have any more explaining power than behaviour ones in spite of their complication.

    What you describeed as argument ad populatum was not really that, but instead argument by authority which is a often a perfectly valid form of argument.

    Your response just indicates to me that you seem to have an axe to grind where certain groups are concerned. Why should blacks or anyone else have to bear the burden of “proving” their intellectual capabilities to you?

    What is wrong with my asking blacks to prove it? I think its an eminently fair thing to ask given that black people blame white people for their present-day failures. Also, for someone to say that he is good at something without being willing to demonstrate it, is egotistical. Unchallenged egotism could have a morally corrosive effect on society.

  20. Me: See for all your trumped up, untested theories of “slavery” and “poverty” and “colonialism” . . .
    Hanno: What a bullshit statement! Are you trying to say that these things didn’t happen, and that they didn’t have pernicious effects on the people they happened to? This has got to be one of the most ignorant and intellectually dishonest statements I have ever read anywhere.

    No, not bullshit at all. I didn’t say they didn’t happen; but I do, rightly, claim that these events have no utility beyond theory generation for explaining the black-white intelligence gap, without any empirical data demonstrating the pathways of their effects. Or, as it says in the comprehensive academic resource, Encyclopedia of Human Intelligence, in an entry on the b-w score gap:

    Historical and Social Factors. – White racism, a past history of slavery, consciousness of being a disliked and feared racial minority, caste status, social prejudice and discrimination, restricted opportunity that results in lowered levels of aspiration, peer pressure against “acting white” and “the black experience” – all these have been claimed as causes of the difference in average IQ and scholastic achievement between blacks and whites (Ogbu, 1978). This class of variables, however, has not been investigated scientifically, and few specific or empirically testable hypothesis have been proposed. Indeed, many of these hypothesized causes are probably not empirically testable. This is not to argue the reality of these historical conditions per se, but only to question the possibility of ever demonstrating that they are causally related to the present mean difference in IQ between blacks and whites.

    We can’t conclude that slavery causes modern test-score gaps directly now can we? That’s a pretty incoherent explanation. So we have to elaborate on the general theory to demonstate a more direct method of causation. Does slavery cause test-score gaps because a historical memory of slavery gives people a motivation defecit? Can this motivation defecit be measured? If it’s there does it result from peer, family, or cultural learning or is it the effect of being treated a certain way? Or maybe slavery affects test-scores indirectly through the preservation of historical attitudes creating a hostile caste structure. But, again, how does this work? What is the pathway from racism to IQ, Hanno? Do you know? Of course you don’t. The scientists and sociologists don’t either. If there were a 1:1 relationship between historical oppression and test-scores then Jews would be one of the lowest scoring minorities, but they’re not, they’re the highest. In other words, slavery is not an answer, it’s an ambiguously expressed hunch. A hunch that may eventually lead to productive social or cultural theories which can be tested (and weighed against and in accordance with evidence generated from other theories), but a hunch never-the-less at this point.

    Why should blacks or anyone else have to bear the burden of “proving” their intellectual capabilities to you?

    Whether the intelligence gap is 100% environmental or in some part genetic is an open question. The position that it is not is dishonest. The positon that it is unimportant is naive or nihilistic. The position that it is unethical to consider or somehow inherently “anti-black” is absurd.

    And how well do you think you’d do on any tests of intelligence if you were born to a poor mestizo or African family?

    The scores cluster around a bell-curve. For each group the differences in one family are nearly as diverse as the population at random. The differences in one family are much greater than the differences between economic groups. So my test scores could be very diverse indeed.

    Mr. Malloy, you really are a piece of work. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with dismissing the capacities of hundreds of millions of people, but when anyone dares to point out that you’re full of it, you suddenly get all snippy and defensive

    I get snippy because you have one of the most annoying personalities I’ve dealt with on the Internet. You have not pointed out any thin points in my position, your arguments are uniformly terrible. And if you accept all the solid evidence from behavioral genetics, you are dismissing the “capacities” of billions, not millions, of people, beacuse individual differences in intelligence are in large part due to genetics. So you’ve fallen into your own moralized trap. Why are you so full of hate, Hanno? Pray with me brother. ;)

    I’m sorry that I didn’t realize this was supposed to be the court of Louis XIV, with fawning sycophants uttering affirmations of your every thoughts,

    No Hanno. David B, Zizka, Dienekes, J. Soon, and most people who hang out here don’t share the same opions on race that a few of us hold. We discuss those opinions. Your participation wouldn’t be such a problem if a) you thought through your arguments b) did not turn what should be intellectual arguments into moral lectures c) were flexible (i.e discussion instead of quibbling, arguing). humility. d) showed respect for people here (for instance brow-beating David B. for a position he doesn’t hold, and then not apologizing when called out on it)

    Me:The majority of those who have professional familiarity with all of the data are on our side with a ratio of three to one!
    You:Whoo haa! Argumentum ad Populam alert! You’ve gotta be kidding me if you think this proves anything whatsoever.

    Hmm . . . I don’t recall saying it proved anything. At least not in the sense you’re using the word (definitive, undisputed). It does demonstrate the respectability of our position, if anywhere, among qualified professionals. The strength of a position of fact lies in the quality of the arguments alone; of course that doesn’t help you much because I simply have a greater familiarity than you , not only of the psychological data which supports my position, but of the sociological data that might support yours. Also I am not making as many wierd errors as you (poverty is the cause of the gap, environment must be the default position, why do you hate african-americans so much, etc.). Also Argument um ad Populam doesn’t apply as much as you would like it to here because we (and especially you) are non-experts:

    Myth: Scientific consensus is not the best way to discern truth.

    Fact: The alternatives — truth by fiat, individual intuition, minority verdict, or non-expert verdict — are worse.

    Summary

    There are three commonly cited ways to identify truth. The first is God — but which God, and which divine message, is a controversial question. Christianity alone features 2,500 different denominations in the U.S., many of them quite different and opposed to each other. The second way is individual recognition of the truth — but the mere existence of error in history disproves the notion that individuals have an innate capacity to recognize absolute truth. The third is scientific consensus, or the general agreement of our best and brightest minds. This does not eliminate the possibility of error, of course, but it does reduce it to the smallest degree possible. The alternative is minority agreement, or the agreement of our worst and dullest minds, which obviously raises the chances of error

    This is probably why many of, what I’m sure you think are fine ripostes are really just arguments from incredulity*, ad hominem**, non-sequiturs***, post hoc****, ad hoc*****; and also why you frequently choose to interpet inductive claims as deductive ones******.

    * “Your “evidence” isn’t evidence for the particular claim you want to make: that blacks have lower innate intelligence than others” (this is also an example of using the mathematical definition of evidence instead of the appropriate inducitve one) – You don’t demonstrate why the evidence shows nothing, you just dismiss it.

    ** “Your response just indicates to me that you seem to have an axe to grind where certain groups are concerned.

    *** “And how well do you think you’d do on any tests of intelligence if you were born to a poor mestizo or African family?

    **** “ Are you trying to say that these things didn’t happen, and that they didn’t have pernicious effects on the people they happened to?” – IQ gap happens after slavery therefore slavery is the cause of IQ gap.

    ***** “India has nearly 10 times as many people as Nigeria, so one would expect the talent pool to be 10 times as deep

    ****** “The truth is that you don’t have a single shred of biological evidence yet to support the notion that blacks are somehow intellectually less capable than other groups” – ‘evidence’ used to mean irrefutable, eternal, etc. In reality scientific truths are eternally open-ended and often decided over time by a process of confirmation and disconfirmation of theories as multiple threads of data converge. Almost all the tested popular theories of the black gap have failed (SES, family environment, school funding, test bias, etc.), while genetic ones continue to make confirmed predictions (brain size, pattern of inbreeding depression). Which is why the APA study found broad sympathy among experts with a partially genetic explanation (as do I). Or maybe Hanno can just say its all just academic racism so he doesn’t have to think about it.

  21. Also, for good measure, Guessed Worker’s racialist “batting for my own people” comment does not represent my position. It also adds nothing to this debate.

  22. My read of the HER article was much akin to razib’s, i.e., it seems a little too implausable to adjust scores for students who scored so low. It would be one thing if Freedle was talking about adjusting scores of those who scored 400, but I believe many the scores he was adjusting were below 200, which does tend to let one think that if such a person correctly answered a question with a high difficulty, than it was either due to a) guessing, or b) special circumstance (e.g., his/her Math class just talked about that particular topic). The later is usually washed out by having multiple items of similar difficulty on the test, and the former by scaling appropriately. Adjusting for these effects, then, would be allowing for more error, instead of less….the antithesis of what most psychometricians want to do.

    As far as the brouhaha about environment/genetics, the best way to ever come to grips with this is to develop hypotheses, gather data, and test the hypotheses. For example, if there were systematic environmental differences that had a major affect on measureable (latent) variables (i.e., personality, intelligence), then one would expect covariance matrices to differ signifigantly between the groups, i.e., mediation by the systematic environmental influence (e.g., racism, etc.)

    As far as I know, there have only been a few that have gathered the appropriate data to test this hypothesis. David Rowe is one I know who has collected data here, and his results seem to indicate that there is not systematic environmental mediation in covariance matrices between Black and White children/teens, at least in the data he has analyzed. Thus, the differences that exist seem not to be due to systematic environmental factors.

    This of course, does not necessarily mean that the differences between groups are totally genetic in origin, but it tends to give support that there is genetic influence.

    Sporon’s comments on the simplicity of the theories seem appropos. To say that any differences are due to only environmental influences, one would have to develop a very complex theory of environmental effects, that explains the current data better that a behavior genetic model (which includes both genetic and environmental factors). Not that this cannot be done, but, at least at this point, it seems terribly unlikely.

  23. Hello all,

    Im a black african man and found this string quite interesting.

    The B/W IQ gap – Environmental or Genetical?

    My question is lets take this to the next level of abstraction and ask What’s the motive to have this proven?

    I imagine the motives of the IQ tests are for state planning and development. Thats for the state to use, but on this board the result of these tests are for individuals to prove their inherent superiority, discountenance their perceived inferiority or disseminate their own beliefs that all humans are equal. Its a personal thing.

    Personally, I believe the world is a complex interaction of entities. Too complex for any entity to comprehend, because of our limited capabilities and constraints. Thus we have come up with structures to define scopes and objectives to give our existence meaning. Entities come in various forms of distinction and aggregation, each having their own interpretations of various basic concepts. My motive for arguing on this board is to prove to myself that I am not inferior inspite of historical and contemporary events that say I am. However these events did not happen in my sphere of existence. In my sphere of existence, I have always believed that I was as great as any other human being could be, and I have found no event or person that i have related with in my sphere of existence that can dispute this. I also have interacted with various black africans and have found nothing suggesting that I am special in this category so for me that is the proof I need to satisfy my personal motive.

    Your proof to satisfy whatever your motives are should also be based on your personal sphere of existence. Try not to use state IQ results which were designed for use by the state to achieve state motives to satsify your personal motives. Everything you learn, the IQ results, historical and contemporary events are a means to an end but the end and the means are created by an entity trying to give its existence meaning, there are many entities and thus many existences and thus many meanings for each existence. Each having its own validity based on the entity which formed the existence in the first place. This is why these boards go on and on because the truth is everyone is trying to satisfy his personal motive using data which was designed for a different entity (aggregate entity: state, polity, cultural group, …) as evidence to win an argument over a different individual personal entity who obviously has a different existence, different meaning and different motive.

    When what you should be doing is borrowing the information or data from the aggregate entity to formulate your own existence data and realising that you will never be right or wrong, because the world is too complex for us to comprehend, you will only be more enlightened as you get the right and true data to satisfy your personal motives

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