Monday, November 06, 2006

David Rowe's final paper   posted by the @ 11/06/2006 08:46:00 PM

The January 2005 issue of American Psychologist was devoted to the subject of race. As Steve pointed out at the time, most of the issue was complete fluff, with the exception of the paper by David C. Rowe. Rowe had died 2 years earlier, and wrote the paper during the convalescence prior to his death.

The article makes several points, which might have been better presented as a series of article. We can forgive Rowe for not taking the time. The final point is an outline of a research project that could "convincingly demonstrate a genetic origin of racial [IQ] differences." Rowe first suggests the use of multilocus DNA tests to estimate individual ancestry among African Americans. The measures of individual ancestry would then by compared with IQ scores and other measures to control for social/cultural confounding (Rowe suggests skin color). Moving beyond bulk comparisons of individual ancestry, Rowe suggests that MALD (mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium) be used to associate ancestry at individual regions of the genome to IQ. MALD is the technique that Rowe suggests would "convincingly demonstrate a genetic origin of racial differences." I agree that this would work, but I don't know if any research finding could "convince" people.

R.C. Cooper thinks this is a terrible idea. In fact, Cooper seems to say that everything about Rowe's suggestion is a bad idea, including the utility of MALD. This appears to be a version of the Cavalli-Sforza squid ink effect. Cooper has subsequently published studies using MALD to examine hypertension among African Americans. If executed, Rowe's proposal would taint Cooper's research platform with charges of racism. His kitchen-sink refutation of Rowe's proposal makes sense in this light.