Former Miss Universe contestent weighs in on the Watson Affair

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The former Miss Singapore, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, now domiciled in Sweden, takes a crack at analyzing the Watson Affair. She’s clearly not a reactionary in that she tries to understand what Watson was saying and she goes to some effort to look at background information but along the way she falls into many of the expected traps that await those who rely on inaccurate information, to wit:

So, why do we need to assume that Watson is wrong if he says that “all testing shows that Blacks or Africans indicate that they are less intelligent”? Aren’t we missing the small detail of how and by whom these tests were made? IQ tests, though widely accepted as a standard indicator of how “intelligent” an individual is, still comes with a white / western / male bias, because that is from where the tests originated. I don’t think we need to doubt that white, western male scientists whose socio-cultural, historical and political backgrounds are different from those of the Africans or Black Americans. So, while these IQ tests cannot be “universal”, they are often referred to as if they were.

PS: – If you have time to kill and wish to see the amazing Ms. Cordeiro model her outfit of the day, then spend some time exploring her blog and marvel at the limitless wardrobe she’s accumulated.

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38 Comments

  1. Why , after 300 years ( or more) of AMericanization would the “socio-cultural, historical and political backgrounds” have any affect on black American IQs? Why would it after the first generation, or second at a long shot? And why would Polish, Yiddish, Gaelic, German, French, Spanish, Welsh and English speakers ( very few speking “standard English” by today’s criteria) produce offspring with similar results after said generations, or less, most having arrived after the slaves. Unless she thinks that “socio-cultural, historical and political backgrounds” have long term genetic effects, which would, in fact, be what the opposition is saying. 
     
    (Note: I could secde that discrimination may play a part, but that is not the argument she is making).

  2. Americanization of 300 years???? 
     
    50 years ago, they cant go to a university. So you are talking about what, 1 or 2 generations of a small percentage of blacks who went to college.

  3. I guess those White, Western male scientists plotted to make non-White, Singaporean females look smarter than White, Western males, on average. Since that’s what the tests say. 
     
    Maybe the nerd fetish for Asian girls goes back that far, and the test designers were trying to flatter their targets.

  4. Hello Tangoman,  
     
    I appreciate you giving me the time of day.  
     
    It’s a little nerve wrecking to see so many visitors from the USA actually, when previously most of my readers come from Sweden.  
     
    I see that there’s an entire debate about the standards of IQ tests and how they’re done. Admittedly, I have not studied this field, much. *smile* What I said was based on my observation that the IQ tests have its origins in the West.  
     
    There was somebody else who brought up the subject of cultural bias in IQ tests and I would certainly like to read up more on this subject. 
     
    Take care and as they say in Sweden, 
    Trevlig helg (have a good weekend),  
    Cheryl

  5. Tangoman = in love.

  6. cheryl, would you prefer an iq cap? as watson says, the clock is ticking, don’t get caught on the wrong side of history. that said, there is no benefit in admitting these things publicly now, it has cost watson his job after all. there’s no point in losing your job over a theory. galileo faced a slightly more extreme choice – recant or die, and wisely concluded that you die for country, family etc, not a bloody scientific theory. e pur si mouve. anyway, brainscans will eventually crush the cultural bias argument. but still – the faith groups will never bow or recant themselves in their own lifetimes, they can only die off.

  7. Razib, can you set up your blog to support video comments? Thanx.

  8. 50 years ago, they cant go to a university. 
     
    They, blacks, could go to university in 1957 and before. Blacks in the US went to universities in the 1800s and not only at the historically black colleges founded mostly in the 1860s after the Civil War. 
     
    But lets not confuse university attendance with intelligence. Many people retain their intelligence despite 4+ years at a university.

  9. Blah impulsively spurts out: 
     
     
    50 years ago, they cant go to a university. 
     
     
    Hmmm, fifty or so years ago, Japanese and Chinese immigrants also had difficulty being able to afford to go to college, I believe. 
     
    They now have a very big presence in colleges across the US despite their small percentage of the US population.

  10. Also, Japanese and Chinese seem to do very well on this IQ test stuff, despite it being invented in the West and possibly carrying some sort of Western Cultural bias. 
     
    ????????

  11. Razib, can you set up your blog to support video comments? Thanx. 
     
    http://xkcd.com/322/

  12. This has to be the most impressive “comments coup” since Philippine Judge Floro personally thanked C. Van Carter for defending his practice of consulting mystical dwarves in his jurisprudence.

  13. In some sense it is trivially true that IQ tests are not universal. 
     
    For example, they do not test the test-taker’s ability to survive and pass on their genes in a disease-infested, low-tech, low-civilization environment like much of Africa. 
     
    Of course, less and less of the world looks like that these days.

  14. Blah: Oberlin College, founded in 1833 by progressive Christians, has admitted blacks since 1835. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberlin_College
    There have been blacks in northern universities since the mid-1800s, and there have been black colleges in the southern states since after the Civil War. Many of these black colleges were started and endowed by whites, such as the Rankin family (Howard University). 
    Thomas Sowell has said he experienced no racism at Harvard during the 1950s. In those days you got in by merit only, not affirmative action (with the exception of a handful of “legacy places”.

  15. In those days you got in by merit only, not affirmative action (with the exception of a handful of “legacy places”. 
     
    that’s dumb. jew quotas? the incredible spike in SAT scores that occurred in the 1960s?

  16. What I have not seen is evidence that Watson necessarily said that some races had *more* or *less* intelligence than others; only that there were differences. In my experience, the term “intelligence” with no referent is almost meaningless. “Intelligent” at what? Some people are lousy at school, but brilliant in a workshop. Some are not so great at solid chains of logic, but great at creativity or at intuitiveness. And so on. There is a wide range of kinds of intelligence, and several known types of learning styles that are known to vary between individuals and between cultures. I certainly can see how different races (or other divisions or groups of people) in different environments could, would, and *should* develop different capacities for some kinds of intelligence, depending on what is most valuable for surviving and thriving in their particular environments. 
     
    Perhaps (likely, in fact) the particular types of intelligence valued by Europeans, and tested in an IQ test developed by European-descended people, are more prevalent in Europeans (and, by chance, Asians), while blacks or some others have evolved to focus their brainpower on somewhat different skills or abilities. If so, obviously blacks would not do as well on such a test, but conversely if African scholars developed their own IQ test, it might then show the reverse. This would not in any way imply superiority or inferiority of any particular group, and would be a legitimate and valuable course of inquiry for solving some of our world’s problems. If, for example, we are trying to force social models developed according to the intelligence patterns of Europeans upon people that have different intelligence patterns, it would be no surprise that it wouldn’t work so well. And refusing to acknowledge that this question could even be legitimately asked isn’t going to help anyone. It may be the case that, for instance, Africans will need to be allowed to develop their own social structures according to their own thought patterns and intelligence skills, rather than being expected to just culturally transform themselves into Europeans of a different skin color. 
     
    Even if Watson did say, and does believe, that blacks are somehow “lesser”, it still is important for the rest of us to look at the question raised and answer it rationally, with facts, rather than just shouting him down and punishing him for asking it.

  17. I thought and thought for a long time but I just cannot comprehend how a woman’s wardrobe can inversely affect her intelligence in any way? And oh, from a fellow blogger who’s wardrobe is just as unlimited, it’s contestant, not contestent.

  18.  
    And oh, from a fellow blogger who’s wardrobe is just as unlimited, it’s contestant, not contestent. 
     
     
    Wow, spelling Flames. 
     
    Isn’t that Spellwin’s law. If you can’t think of something reasonable to rebut them, pick on their spelling?

  19. Thanks TangoMan for introducing us Miss Cordeiro. I hope not to offend her (or others of her gender) by saying that she is very beautiful and intelligent. I only object to one point in her high-school essay: She feels that IQ tests cannot be universal because they were invented by Western Males. I wonder if she feels the same about, say, aspirin, also invented by the Rohrshach test or just plain aspirin, all invented by Western males and pretending to be applicable and good for everyone of us human. Why she thinks that female beauty accessories such as Vuitton or Versace are valid for all humanity, but not so a testing technique? BTW, I had met many Han Chinese people and they were all very proud of their IQs (and their GNP, another Western gauging invention).

  20. 50 years ago, they cant go to a university. 
     
    Despite the points of others above, it would be hard to make a case that blacks had equal opportunity to attend university in the past, but one could argue that university itself is not relevant to this issue. 
     
    The Amish are a group were most (if not all) have not even attended high school. What have measurements of Amish IQs shown? 
     
    Well, I can’t find much data. There is this 1966 paper that measured/estimated IQ of Amish children in grades 1, 3, and 5 to be 85.3, 92.8, and 101.1 respectively. The second piece is a U.S. Office of Education study referenced in the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder. The study was conducted by Dr. John A. Hostetler of Temple University who testified at the trial that Amish children “test above the norm on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and their I.Q. is above the norm.” 
     
    Although the data is limited, what data we have seems to indicate that the lack of education of adults in a community does not negatively influence the education and/or intelligence of children, at least up to the 8th grade. 
     
    It would be nice to get modern and accurate IQ data on Amish children at the completion of their schooling. If we get similar results to the above, i.e. no significant difference from the mainstream mean, it has the potential to tell us a lot about the relative importance of different environmental factors. For instance, the Amish modestly fund their own schools and use their own teachers. There are no prospects for higher education. Without any first-hand knowledge it’s hard to know, but I wouldn’t think it out of the question that Amish children are even discouraged from excess studying (unless it’s the Bible? :)) or intellectual interest. At the very least, they’re not being pressured to get into MIT or Harvard. Therefore, we could perhaps discount such factors as funding in schools and parental involvement and focus on what is shared with the mainstream which could be good nutrition, a pleasant and stress-free environment, a loving family, yadda, yadda. 
     
    Reasons to study the Amish: 
     
    1) endogamous community for ~four(?) centuries 
    2) simple and uniform culture, i.e. little enviromental variation between individauls 
    3) extensive genealogical records 
    4) shed light on the importance of education in intelligence. For instance, could compare differences in IQ between Amish and mainstream at end of Amish schooling (about age 13) and 5, 10 years later. 
    5) they would cooperate with any and all tests – they wouldn’t resist ;) 
     
    As an added bonus, they are one of the few other groups besides Ashkenazi Jews with a high incidence of Tay-Sachs. The other groups are certain French-Canadian communities, which carry different mututations than AJs, and the Cajun population of Louisiana, which carries the same mututations most common in AJs. I don’t know if the Amish mutations are the same or not, but either way it could be relevant to the Cochran-Harpending hypothesis. 
     
    (Wow, looks like I got carried away again. One idea leads into another…)

  21. Just realized that points 1 to 4 could apply to any number of other groups around the world so in that respect they’re not unique, but there are few such Caucasian groups (and that are in the U.S. as well).

  22. Henri, 
     
    According to this article on Tay-Sachs
     
    Among Jews of Sephardic origin and in the general, non-Jewish population, the carrier rate is about one in 250. There are certain exceptions. French-Canadian and the Cajun community of Louisiana have the same carrier rate as Ashkenazi Jews, one in 27. Also, individuals with ancestry from Ireland are at increased risk for the Tay-Sachs gene. Current research indicates that among Irish Americans, the carrier rate is about one in 50. 
     
    What is the carrier rate among the Amish?

  23. Ziel , since you are on stories of old men who suddenly turned weird and do stupid things… 
     
    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2184245.html?menu= 
    http://www.mysteriouspeople.com/suspended_animation.htm 
     
    Aging is a disease. So I think instead of celebrating the “Genius” of this scientist by being “frank”, it should be considered as a curable disease. Give him more vitamins and more rest. Know when its time to retire before you make a fool out of yourself.

  24. pconroy, 
     
    About the Amish:  
     
    Tay-Sachs disease: high gene frequency in a non-Jewish population. 
    T E Kelly, G A Chase, M M Kaback, K Kumor, and V A McKusick 
    Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205. 
     
    Some 30% of a community carried the gene. One of the original group of German-Swiss settlers in the year 1700 brought it. poor people, it is a terrible disease.

  25. that’s dumb. jew quotas? the incredible spike in SAT scores that occurred in the 1960s? 
     
    what do you mean? ‘m not dumb. I can talk. 
    My point was that there were blacks who attended college as long ago as 1835. You’d be amazed at the number of people who think women were not allowed to attend school until the 20th century.  
    As far as quotas, weren’t the Jew quotas over by the 50s? I went to GWU in D.C., and found out that that was a popular alma mater for Jews, because they could not attend many other universities for decades. GWU admitted women, Jews, blacks and others, at the turn of the 20th century. It was quite remarkable for that. As for the SAT spikes: that means what? 
    For what it’s worth, I once saw an exam from 1893, for 8th graders, that they would have had to take to graduate. Few university attendees would be able to pass it today and the questions were not about things germaine only to that era. The questions were math problems, algebra, essays, grammar, geography (lots), history, etc. I maintain, not without reference to professors themselves from that era, that it was harder to get in to most universities prior to the 1960s.

  26. The thing about Cheryl’s comments about IQ tests being defined ( and therefor biased) towards favoring white males is the fact that both men and women of Cheryl’s race tend to score higher on those tests than most white males. This is quite entertaining to me. 
     
    Watson has a history of making provocative comments and presentations simply for the purpose of stirring up controversy. Several years ago, he made a presentation about how the bio-molecule responsible for skin pigmentation (melanin) and another bio-molecule responsible for sexual arousal were derived from the same precurser in the human body. He then continued to have lots of fun with the implications that darker-skinned people are more sexually aroused than lighter-skinned people as well as the resultant cultural adaptations to this (e.g. veiled muslim women).

  27. Several years ago. Someone should have intervened and retired him that time. If you are a scientist and you start voicing out conclusions for controversy, you are just a sad old man begging for attention.

  28. May says: 
     
     
    Someone should have intervened and retired him that time. If you are a scientist and you start voicing out conclusions for controversy, you are just a sad old man begging for attention. 
     
     
    Well, I think it is fortunate that people don’t pay too much attention to your opinions, then May.

  29. Kurt: 
     
     
    The thing about Cheryl’s comments about IQ tests being defined ( and therefor biased) towards favoring white males is the fact that both men and women of Cheryl’s race tend to score higher on those tests than most white males. This is quite entertaining to me. 
     
     
    I have not yet indulged in viewing Chery’s photos, but based on her name I would imagine that she is only half east asian. Of course, she might have been adopted.

  30. As far as quotas, weren’t the Jew quotas over by the 50s? I went to GWU in D.C., and found out that that was a popular alma mater for Jews, because they could not attend many other universities for decades. GWU admitted women, Jews, blacks and others, at the turn of the 20th century. It was quite remarkable for that. As for the SAT spikes: that means what? 
     
    your history is off by 10 years. it was in the 1960s see that you see the year to year discontinuities in SAT scores and the shift from WASP establishment “good family” admission to hyper-academic admissions. at yale it was in the mid, 60s, 65 or 66 i think. i think a bit earlier at harvard. but just because other people are obviously wrong doesn’t mean that you can fudge the history and offer a weighted counter-narrative. see here
     
     
    Karabel does not slight the social revolution of the 1960s and early ’70s, when the Big Three opened themselves to Jews and African Americans and admitted women for the first time.
     
     
    additionally, i’m sure you know that there were implicit bars on blacks at some ivies, especially princeton. and the explicit ban on women was there relatively late too.

  31. http://www.vdare.com/Sailer/kerry_iq_lower.htm 
    During the 1960s, Yale tightened up entrance requirements for sons of graduates considerably, especially in the year after Bush was admitted. The late historian Jim Chapin, who taught at Yale during those years, told me that the intellectual quality of his students leapt upwards the next year. 
     
    (steve is talking about the transition from ’64 to ’65).

  32.  
    I have not yet indulged in viewing Chery’s photos, but based on her name I would imagine that she is only half east asian. Of course, she might have been adopted. 
     
     
    Now that I have seen what I take to be her photo, I guess it was adoption or marriage :-)

  33. ^ Her mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro is Chinese (Hakka) and her father, Adrian Cordeiro, is of Portuguese descent. 
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheryl_Marie_Cordeiro

  34. Speaking of IQ, when is someone here going to make any remarks on Cosma Shalizi’s assault on g? A whole lot of that is over my head, so I’m counting on you guys.

  35. ^ Her mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro is Chinese (Hakka) and her father, Adrian Cordeiro, is of Portuguese descent. 
     
     
    he is eurasian. if you look at the photos it is pretty obvious he is mixed, and looks a bit more asian than the typical eurasian i’ve met from singapore (one of my college roommates was a singaporean eurasian). in singapore your race is defined by your father, so she is officially eurasian.

  36. Speaking of IQ, when is someone here going to make any remarks on Cosma Shalizi’s assault on g? A whole lot of that is over my head, so I’m counting on you guys. 
     
    Don’t have much time right now, but the random correlation matrix seems fishy. In any real set of data, you don’t just get a random set of correlations averaging (say) .5. Two variables correlate, above chance, because they are in some way actually related. Of course two variables are not necessarily causally related–the old correlation is not causation thing. But they are somehow actually related–if not causally related, then they at some level measure the same thing.

  37. On Shalizi’s post: 
     
    First of all, I’d agree that g doesn’t tell us much about the evolution of the mind, or how the brain gives rise to reason, etc – by definition, g is about individual differences, not about human universals. But that’s precisely why people are so (rightfully) worked up about it – what Shalizi derides as “labor market sociology” is the whole reason why most of us care about g: why some people (or groups) might be richer or poorer or more successful than others. 
     
    Now, in his simulation, Shalizi has 11 tests, each of which draws upon from 1 to 500 shared abilities. From a psychologist’s point of view, this has no single “g factor” – but from the labor market sociologist’s point of view, who cares? What matters is that there is a set of abilities that affects _all_ the tests – we could take the average of the 500 shared abilities and label it “IQ”. A common factor is important because it means that there _is_ a single number you can use to predict all outcomes, and “multiple intelligences” and the like will not erase the predictive power of the common factor. And, if there are individual or group differences in this factor, then we should expect to see differences in outcomes. 
     
    Finally, Shalizi doesn’t mention the sheer diversity of the types of tests that show a common factor – not just the usual academic tests, but also of musical ability, reaction time, etc. Sternberg spent a lot of time trying to come up with a test of “practical” or “emotional” intelligence that does _not_ load on g, without much success. I seem to recall that only rhythmic ability does not load on g – if there really are all these independent abilities, why hasn’t anyone come up with lots of tests that don’t load on g? 
     
    Also, he says: The question is whether the index measures the trait the same way in the two groups. What people have gone to great lengths to establish is that IQ predicts other variables the same way for the two groups, i.e., that when you plug it into regressions you get the same coefficients. This is not the same thing, but it does have a bearing on the question of measurement bias: it provides strong reason to think it exists. As Roger Millsap and co-authors have shown in a series of papers going back to the early 1990s (e.g. this one from 1997, or this early treatment of the non-parametric case), if there really is a difference on the unobserved trait between groups, and the test has no measurement bias, then the predictive regression coefficients should, generally, be different. [15] Despite the argument being demonstrably wrong, however, people keep pointing to the lack of predictive bias as a sign that the tests have no measurement bias. 
     
    This has been addressed. From the conclusion: 
    We conclude that strict factorial invariance is tenable in comparisons of IQ test scores of blacks and whites. We base this conclusion on the finding that model A4, i.e., the least restrictive model incorporating SFI, fits reasonably well (see also Dolan, 2000). This is an important conclusion, because it implies that measurement bias, as defined by Mellenbergh (1989), is absent. Measurement bias, or content bias as Jencks and Phillips (1998) call it, is generally assumed to be absent (Jencks, 1998). It is nice to find support for this using the appropriate methodology.

  38. Razib, I don’t have the statistics in front of me now, but Jews were massively over represented at all the Ivy leage schools well before the 1960′s. Even during the eras at specific schools where Jews were subject to a quota, they were represented at several times their share in the general population. 
     
    Well before 1960, many (German)Jews were very assimilated and were part of the American elite. What happened in the 1960′s was that the doors were opened to people of non-elite backgrounds in general. This group included a lot of Eastern European Jews, but also whites of other ethnic groups.

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