Also, this post does not get into the topic of whether or not race is a valid classification for humans. If you want more information on that discussion, click here.]
The following is going to be a thorough response to a video made by LaughingMan0X, who we will now refer to for the sake of brevity as “John,” on YouTube in response to my good friend and colleague, Sam Owl, on the topic of race realism, specifically over the issue of racial genetic variation and its role or lack thereof in intelligence. Sam Owl has recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and has had multiple anxiety attacks within the past several days. This being said, I have no doubt in my mind that Sam would create a response to John if he were in any position to do so; however, in order to ensure that his health does not deteriorate, and he does not incur upon himself any more stress than need be, Sam has abandoned his channel and declined to make a response. Luckily though, I have been able to acquire the script Sam was working on before making the decision to not make any more videos on YouTube. Using this and the knowledge I have acquired from researching the topic, I have taken it upon myself to finish what Sam started. It is important to note that the majority of the arguments made in this refutation are not mine, but Sam’s. I have simply compiled them and organized them in a way that challenges John and his pompous, dishonest assertions.
First, let us get personal convictions out of the way. As I have observed, John is one of the most disingenuous, hypocritical and pretentious individuals I have encountered in quite some time. He furiously attempts to drag his opposition’s credibility through the mud, all the while being especially pedantic in what he decides to address. In Sam’s “Signing Off” video, he stated that he respected John for the extensive responses he made on the topic, showing that he was very dedicated to the subject. Such ardent dedication, in other words dogmatism, is not worth any of my respect, and thus I have no issues personally attacking John for his shameful behavior and explicitly stated intent to be an asshole. For this reason, I will not make any direct comments to John in this response, and will avoid directly quoting him. The purposes of this response are for the inquisitive public and for the closure of Sam’s viewers and friends, not for the closed-minded individuals who I am opposing.
The first 20 minutes of John’s video response is nothing more than as I said above – an attempt to drag Sam's credibility through the mud in such a way that is hypocritical to many of his own complaints, such as Sam making assumptions of his opposition’s intent. This was never an honest or civil debate, between either of them. John’s first video response was riddled with hasty assumptions of Sam’s knowledge, confidence, and intent, which further proves that such civil discourse was never intended even from the beginning. That doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I intend to make this response as shameless and direct as possible; for anyone who feels that an amateurish debate over YouTube with a person who enables the sickening behavior which surrounds his channel among his associates requires cordiality is delusional and naïve. To avoid battering the gates of drama in this debate any further, I will ignore the accusations made against Sam and will get straight to the substantive points in the debate.
The format will be under subject headlines. I will identify what aspect of the debate I will be discussing via subject name in brackets, and will respond to each in as much time as is necessary. I will avoid any trivial/insignificant points in the debate in order to save time and to maintain interest, although for those of you following by scanning John’s video, I will attempt to keep the subjects in that chronological order. I will cite sources in a partially annotated bibliography (that is, the annotations will be excluded if I explain the studies in this refutation), except for information which can be easily found in a Google search, or is common knowledge. If requested, I can provide sources for any claims that were not already cited. In the bibliography I will also include studies which aren't mentioned in this refutation, but are relevant to the debate over IQ. Those are the ones which will be annotated. So, let’s get started.
John argued against Sam’s point regarding MAO-A stating that his reference was a gene atlas, a secondary/tertiary source (which one it is, I'm unsure, I've heard both), and that gene expression is irrelevant.
A gene atlas is not the same as a world atlas in that a gene atlas is used as primary reference by scientists for the sake of ease and comfort. Gene atlases cite transcript data as reference for their summary data. Private analysis and conglomeration of these transcripts would be tedious and far too time consuming, thus gene atlases are the best way to get an accurate measure of the transcript data with much less work involved. Bearing this in mind, as one commenter has noted, I think it's interesting that John criticized Sam's use of a secondary/tertiary source, but John refers to Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns for many of his claims. We'll get to this later, but for now, it's a hypocritical nitpick that's worth mentioning.
Continuing on, Sam’s reference of gene atlases, both for non-coding RNA and protein encoding RNA in his videos is anything but irrelevant. A friend of mine who is a veterinarian and biologist explained to me exactly why this is, and so I will reword her response here. Simply put, gene expression charts show the default frequency at which a gene synthesizes proteins in different parts of the body. Gene expression levels are used by scientists as a means of accurately predicting how a particular gene affects the observable traits, or phenotypes, of whatever organism you are monitoring – the case in point being humans, although there is genomic expression data for rats and mice as well for MAO-A. Gene expression can offer predictions for what phenotypes are expressed as a result of protein synthesis from a particular gene, and to what extent. If this particular enzyme shows high gene expression in the liver, but low expression in the brain, then it is justifiable to say that the greatest appearance of a particular phenotype should be in the area of higher gene expression – in this case, the liver. To suggest that gene expression is irrelevant based on the possibility of a "match in the forest" is nothing more than an ad hoc explanation and offers no legitimate reason as to why Sam’s rebuttal of MAO-A’s potential effect on criminal behavior is inaccurate. Similarly, even if we were to concede that the change in alleles in the promoter region of MAO-A could result in differences in gene expression, it's a moot point; as Sam pointed out, statistical analysis of different races reveals that with the available data, we can't reliably assert any differences between groups. As such, it's important to note that even if MAO-A were irrefutably linked to criminal behavior, it doesn't speak to the complex interaction that may be required with the environment or other non-genetic factors, or the potential existence of another "violence gene," or that the existence of this gene is a result of different evolutionary changes between races.
Lastly, when something is referred to as a “single-gene theory,” that does not imply that the person who suggested the theory also proposed that the gene is an exclusive explanation for whatever result they are testing for. When the liberal gene was proposed, nobody said that it was the only explanation for why someone is liberal. It’s called a single-gene theory because it is testing for a single gene. If you were to represent it in terms of a null and alternative hypothesis, your null would be for MAO-A alone. If you’re testing for one gene, it’s a single-gene theory, at least in the manner Sam and I use it. These tests, as said, are almost always tried and refuted.
[Correlation Coefficient between Race and Crime]
In John’s video, he displayed a correlation coefficient, calculated by analyzing the rate of crime committed by race as a percentage of their population in order to provide evidence for the claim that the more black or Hispanic people there are, the more crime there is. Unfortunately for him, all he did was, once again, show that blacks and Hispanics commit more crime on average than whites. Nobody has denied this thus far. What John is incurring upon himself is the need to provide a rigorous experimental test which tests the claim that introducing blacks or Hispanics to a population increases that area’s crime rate. In his original video, John said that his data remained unchanged when accounting for poverty, education or socioeconomic status, but provided no evidence for this. In fact, this suggestion goes against years of research in criminology, and thus I would be surprised if John's argument weren't either framed improperly, or simply baseless.
For the international crime correlation, John states that he referred to INTERPOL data. What he actually did was refer to a study which examined INTERPOL data, entitled: “Cross-National Variation in Violent Crime Rates: Race, r-K Theory and Income." Let’s examine how this study was conducted.
Rushton and Whitney assigned three categories or groups for the countries they examined. Countries fell within these categories if they qualified as being 90% one race, where race is defined by the three categories used. The three categories were East Asian, European and African/Black Caribbean. The sample sizes for each of these categories were 7, 45 and 22 respectively. The undersampling of East Asian and African/Black Caribbean countries is to be noted. We can also see that there was deliberate oversampling of the European countries. In this study, many non-European countries were still classified as being European, including but not limited to Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Chile. The low crime rates of some of these countries could further skew the data until it is pretty much meaningless for its original intentions. Also, it is important to note that the only control Rushton and Whitney used to account for socioeconomic status and poverty was the GDP of the countries observed.
This is a spectacularly inaccurate way to account for such factors, since a country’s GDP does not necessarily reflect other factors such as poverty. For example, according to the International Monetary Fund, Colombia’s GDP in 2012 was $369,018 in millions of USD, while the country’s poverty rate was 37.2% as of 2 years prior according to the World Bank and the CIA. I would suggest when reflecting on this study, also, to consider that regardless of whether or not INTERPOL uses standard definitions for the crimes they refer to, the cultural barriers between countries can alter one’s understanding of what it means to be seriously assaulted, for example, or whether or not there are any justifications for what happened to them. Despite the standard definitions as well, a cultural understanding of a crime based on how it's defined within their society can confound the results.
To me it seems that this study is pretty misleading, but this is only the beginning of data misrepresentation that exists within John’s video. We will see deliberate misrepresentation of studies and information even on John’s part as we continue on. Before we do that, however, there is something that needs to be addressed.
[Cold Winters Theory]
I believe concerning the validity of the Cold Winters Theory, another person on YouTube made a response to FringeElements regarding the environmental model used, and I feel it’s only appropriate to allude to this because FringeElements was another realist who liked to make obnoxiously long video responses that took up everyone’s time only to prove that he cherry picked data and really didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. Bearing this in mind, let us examine the facts which are conveniently overlooked in Lynn’s theory.
The Cold Winters Theory relies on the hypothesis that because the cold climates of Europe during modern human evolution required planning to store food and create sustainable living conditions, these pressures may have selected the Europeans for greater intelligence. Now, even there, to assume that the genes selected for in Europeans to counter such an obstacle was for greater intelligence is already a hasty assumption, because it’s just a guess – although, John countered this by stating that Lynn makes testable predictions for his hypothesis. Some of these are legitimately testable, but I would have to agree with Sam on two parts: one is that most of the tests are circular, in that the hypothesis was created as an explanation of those phenomena, and two is that it says nothing about the selections that could occur in other environments. John originally claimed this to be a red herring, but this is an argument that has been brought against advocates of Lynn’s theory for quite some time, only it is usually worded as a failure to understand life evolution history.
One such example is that in Africa, hunters would have to develop a sense of planning, as they would have to monitor animal migration patterns. In these cases as well, hunters would have to compete with apex predators for the food which was available. Africa, also, does not have consistent rainfall, and most of the continent is water-stressed. Who is to say that these pressures would not require Africans to be selected for greater intelligence as well?
One more example of why Lynn’s theory falls short. According to Lynn’s theory, populations at higher altitudes would be selected for greater intelligence -- and yet, the Native Americans score substantially lower than the mean of 100, in some cases by a full standard deviation of 15 points. I would attribute this decrease in IQ to the years of oppression, death and subjugation that Native Americans have experienced, but who knows? It is certainly an interesting contradiction, considering Native Americans are most closely related genetically to East Asians, which are apparently the most intelligent (if you are judging intelligence based on IQ).
There are explanations and counter explanations for these thoughts, but the point is that to draw any conclusions about what selective pressures affected our ancestors thousands of years before us would be far too hasty, because at that point we’re just taking guesses. Lynn’s theory is something to be proposed once we have actually definitely determined that there is an inherent difference in intelligence between the races, that this difference is due to selection, and that IQ measures this trait. We've hardly even scratched at the mapping of human cognition, and somehow people believe that this overly assumptive hypothesis holds water -- when we don't even understand how intelligence has evolved, what mechanisms were involved, or exactly what entails evolution, or if our understanding of it is even the best way to interpret it. It is a hasty jump in the scientific method (ironic considering the pedantry of the opposition) and relies on many prior assumptions, and thus it is ridiculous to hold it with too much merit.
[IQ and the Wealth of Nations]
The only reason I am addressing this study is due to the implications it made about nations and their IQs. The results of this study were only validated by a collection of data on the average IQs of several countries throughout the world, but the results are extremely misleading and often just made up. Bear in mind that many of the arguments I am about to bring up can easily be found by doing a simple search on Google of the name of the study, or by scanning the Wikipedia page.
First of all, the idea of taking a test which was normed for British children ages 7 to 15 and using it to find a standard for people of an entirely different continent is absolutely ridiculous from the moment of its conception. To display this, in his last video, Sam alluded to a study which found that the correlation between FSIQ and literacy was anywhere between .79 and .99. The same study also found that the four subscales of the Verbal Comprehension Index showed the highest amount of racial variance, and the three core subscales of the VCI showed the largest Flynn Effect sizes.
Beyond that, Lynn and Vanhanen were very disingenuous in his tabulation of the data on national IQs. If they could not find the IQ score of a country, instead of omitting the country from the results, they used the average of neighboring countries to make an estimate. To understand how this is a faulty methodology, one only needs to look at their score for Finland, which was 97, compared to neighboring country Sweden, which was 101. Another example is the UK, which got an average score of 100, compared to Ireland, which had a score of 93. Concerning this, it is humorous to consider that Richard Lynn is British. Continuing, this methodology is what gave the IQ estimates for 56% of the nations in the book -- for 104 of the 185 nations in the book, no IQ studies had been conducted. Furthermore, even for some of the nations that allegedly did have tests, there were several methodological flaws, or Lynn and Vanhanen simply misrepresented their findings.
What we find, for example, is that the samples for the national IQs in many cases were not representative in the slightest. For Barbados, the sample size was 108. For Colombia, 50; for Ecuador, 104; for Egypt, 129; and for Equatorial Guinea, 48. Equatorial Guinea was a particularly suspect case -- the study Lynn and Vanhanen cited (Fernandez-Ballesteros et al. 1997) did study Africans in Equatorial Guinea, but their IQ data was not for those subjects. The 48 subjects for Equatorial Guinea were of 48 children, ages 10-14, from a hospital in Spain for the handicapped; and of the sample, half of them had brain organic disorders.
For other examples of flawed sampling here are two:
- The sample from Suriname was of Surinamese immigrants in the Netherlands.
- The sample for Ethiopia was of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, and were anything but random (highly selected).
In the test, there were also scores that didn't support the theory, but Lynn feebly tried to argue against them. One example of this is Qatar, which had an exceptionally high GDP per capita of $17,000, but a national IQ of 78.
I hold this study to have absolutely no merit. As I mentioned, many of the criticisms I brought up are things you can easily find from a simple search on Google. This raises some questions. John has been on YouTube for a decent amount of time, and has surely seen plenty of the arguments against race realism. He has surely come across opposition to this study, so why did he include it? One can only guess, but as we continue on, I will give you reason to think one way over another.
Ron Unz made quite an extensive response to Lynn and Vanhanen here, and although I can't say I agree with Unz on every aspect of his argument, he does raise some pretty convincing arguments in analyzing the raw data. I'd give it a look. Similarly, Wicherts et al. (2010) examined studies on African IQ, and that can be found here.
Ron Unz made quite an extensive response to Lynn and Vanhanen here, and although I can't say I agree with Unz on every aspect of his argument, he does raise some pretty convincing arguments in analyzing the raw data. I'd give it a look. Similarly, Wicherts et al. (2010) examined studies on African IQ, and that can be found here.
[European Admixture from One White and One Black Parent]
The way John took Sam’s point out of context was incredibly disingenuous. I think it was pretty clear that the point being made was that by having one white and one black parent, you still have no way of knowing what amount of genes you’ll receive from either parent as it pertains to racial admixture. To understand what is meant by this, one only needs to understand that it is very unlikely for one to have a 100% European parent and 100% African parent with the degree of intermixing humans have participated in. This understanding of Sam’s argument is substantiated when he continues on to mention that a more accurate way of measuring such admixture would be via DNA-based ancestry. John acknowledged this, but went on a rant about how egalitarians are too scared to do such a test, so I’ll just keep going.
The truth is, studies have been conducted on blood group genes to determine the level of admixture in black children for the purposes of measuring the correlation between that admixture and their IQ scores. One such study is “Blood-group genes and Negro-White ability differences,” conducted in 1973 and published in Behavioral Genetics. In this study, Loehlin, Vandenberg and Osborne took a sample of 40 and 44 black adolescents from two separate twin studies to test the hypothesis proposed by Shockley and Jensen that a higher frequency of blood group genes more characteristic of European than African populations in blacks would be associated with higher cognitive ability. There was no statistically significant correlate, and in fact, one of the tests they conducted showed a negative correlation between European ancestry and IQ scores.
We can see the same general results in another study entitled “Absence of a relationship between degree of white ancestry and intellectual skills within a black population,” conducted by Scarr et al. and published in Human Genetics. Scarr et al. used a sample of 405 pairs of black adolescent twins ages 10 to 16. The researchers managed to get full blood data for 280 of the individuals, and analyzed their European admixture based on what blood group genes were most strongly characteristic of European rather than African populations. The results were that the correlation between blood group markers by ancestry and general intellectual skills was -0.02 – not reliably different from zero. This gives strong evidence to suggest that the hypothesis suggesting that higher European admixture results in higher cognitive ability is not accurate. There was one more study conducted in 1936, but since it is outdated, I won’t make specific reference to it here. I’ll include it, however, in the bibliography.
Now, what is incredibly interesting about both of these studies is that both were referenced in the APA report “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” which was the same report John used to support his own claims. When it came to admixture studies, John quickly deviates from referring to the APA’s statements on the matter and cites other studies. This tells me that either John is unfamiliar with the full contents of the report, or he intentionally cherry picked the data they referenced. The three studies John cites (I don’t believe I’ve left any out) are the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, a study by Owen in South Africa and a study by David Rowe. This is where the sheer intensity of John’s blatant dishonesty becomes clear. I will not address the Rowe study for the reason that I have already addressed the high variance in verbal IQ scores with my earlier citation in their large skewness towards literacy. This is applicable due to the fact that the Rowe study only examined verbal IQ scores. So, let’s start with the Minnesota Study.
[Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study]
Now, there are many arguments I could bring up for the findings of this study, but we will only here address arguments Sam and John made to each other. If you want a list of legitimate objections, Richard Nisbett, a renowned psychologist in the field of intelligence research, wrote an article for the New York Times about the whole race and intelligence debate, and mentions the Minnesota Study. I will include it in the bibliography.
What is important to note here is that Sam’s argument to this study, as mentioned later in his video, was that the interracial children were adopted at an earlier time than the black children, and that the quality of placement of the interracial children in terms of SES was superior to that of the black children, thus explaining the mean IQ inequality at least in part. John’s opposition to these arguments were the following:
1) Arthur Jensen, in his book “The g-Factor” found that the date at which the children were adopted had no effect on their IQs past the age of 7.
This just goes to show how evasive John needs to be to prove his point. Let us defer to “The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study: A Follow-Up of IQ Test Performance at Adolescence.” This was a follow-up study and analysis of the findings by the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study from 1975 by the same researchers. In this study, Weinberg, Scarr and Waldman conducted another analysis of 93 of the original 101 families from the original study conducted over a decade before, recording their educational attainment, IQ and other factors. In the follow-up study, it elucidated that the interracial children had been adopted into greater quality placement than that of the black children, and that the black children were adopted at a later time. From Table 2 of this study, we see that children placed into adoptive families at a later date had a lower score at Time 2 by about 7.5 IQ points than the children placed into adoptive families at an earlier date. This was one of the primary factors that Scarr and Weinberg stressed upon in their results, and the fact that John, once again, deferred to another source to uphold his claims shows that he is either deliberately cherry picking data, or he has not read the study. His second point was this:
2) Arthur Jensen and the American Psychological Association have found that parental SES does not significantly affect IQ.
For a refutation of this, I would like to refer to the APA’s report “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns” under the section “Social status and income.” It reads the following, emphasis my own:
“How well do IQ scores (which can be obtained before individuals enter the labor force) predict such outcome measures as the social status or income of adults? This question is complex, in part because another variable also predicts such outcomes: namely, the socioeconomic status (SES) of one’s parents. Unsurprisingly, children of privileged families are more likely to attain high social status than those whose parents are poor and less educated. These two predictors (IQ and parental SES) are by no means independent of one another, the correlation between them is around .33 (White, 1982).”
To even further show John’s dishonesty, we shall refer to the follow-up study of the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study once again. It was found that black/interracial adoptees placed into white upper-middle class families had a mean IQ score of about 106.3 points at Time 1 and 96.8 points at Time 2 – a substantial increase from the typical mean of black adolescents. These data sets are also found in Table 2.
Furthermore, the fact that the interracial adoptees received greater quality placement as well as earlier placement dates provides strong explanation for the study’s finding that interracial children scored higher than black children. If this hypothesis were true, we would see comparable scores between the black children and later adoptees and between the interracial children and earlier adoptees. Using data from the same table, the former comparison has IQ means within 1.5 points of each other, while the latter comparison has IQ means within 2.5 points of each other. In conclusion, Weinberg, Scarr and Waldman state that the longest lasting effect on IQ in their tests on that of the black children were a result of the environmental factors mentioned.
So John has now just made a statement which is at odds with both the findings of the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study and the APA report, both of which he cited as being supportive of his arguments, in the same damn breathe. If it isn’t obvious that he is a disingenuous and manipulative douchebag at this point, let us go to the next source – the Owen study.
[Owen Study of White, Black, Indian and Coloured Children in South Africa]
It is important to note two things here. One is that there are many different people who qualify as being “coloured” in southern Africa. The second is that coloured people in southern Africa are considered the most genetically diverse group on the planet. These, however, are actually irrelevant once we see what the actual contention is with the study John cited.
The full title of the study by Owen is “The suitability of Raven’s standard progressive matrices for various groups in South Africa.” Please note that the SPM is not the same thing as an IQ test. Raven’s SPM test is used to measure general intelligence or “g”. What Owen used in this study was the “nonverbal” Progressive Matrices test. The test’s author, John Raven, has repeatedly insisted that the results of this test cannot be converted into IQ, the reason especially being that the scores of Raven’s SPM do not equally fall around a mean (there is no bell curve). These contentions are discussed in a criticism by Leon Kamin, which I will cite in the bibliography.
Beyond this, the title itself struck me as being odd when I saw it. Luckily my university allows free access to hundreds of thousands of scholarly articles, this being included. In this study of South African secondary school students, the results of the test fell within the typical means found for each group, as to be expected. However, it upheld the findings that the variance between the groups is extraordinarily high, and does not fall within the same standard of analyses. The conclusion was, as I will quote from the abstract, “Despite the similar properties of Progressive Matrices for the various groups, the test is unsuitable for use as a common test with common norms for Black and White secondary school students due to the large mean differences.”
The conclusion of the study was that the test is unsuitable for common usage between the groups due to the variance. Like the Minnesota study, John has cited a common dataset from the study and ignored the conclusions that the results imply in what is one of the finest evidences of cherry picking since HeyRuka.
Now, we have one thing left to address. Rushton and Jensen’s paper “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability.” This is also my personal favorite, thus it will be the most extensively addressed.
[Thirty Years of Bullshit (TYB)]
After reading this paper in its entirety, I noticed a trend in that Rushton cited many of the same sources John did in his videos, thus much of the information in Rushton’s paper is sourced from studies which I have already addressed in this refutation. I’m somewhat disappointed by this, because it means there is less content for me to address, as much of it has already been addressed by myself and by others. This, however, says to me that the majority of John’s information probably comes from this single work. This is very dangerous because it's somewhat Randian. If I were to show why Rushton and/or Jensen are not credible researchers, or were to display where the results of their findings would be heavily biased, much of the foundation for this argument would be destroyed. However, we will get into bias later. For now, I want to do what Sam neglected to do at first and address the arguments John made in his original video on the topic.
John referred to TYB to cite three studies, attempting to show that malnourishment and other environmental factors play little-to-no role in IQ. The studies occur on pages 259 and 260 of the actual journal, pages 25 and 26 of the paper. The first study was by Clark and Hanisee in 1982 entitled “Intellectual and adaptive performance of Asian children in adoptive American settings.” The final sample size of the study was 25 in total – 12 from Vietnam, 8 from Korea, 3 from Cambodia and 2 from Thailand. The subjects were collected via records for people with cross-national relatives, and all were adopted into American families prior to the age of 3, and had to have been in the adoptive families for at least 23 months. The oldest child in the sample was 71 months, or nearly 6 years old.
The emphasis John placed on this study was that the majority of the children were extremely malnourished prior to their adoption in the United States, half of them requiring hospitalization prior to their adoption; but when they were tested, they scored an IQ mean of about 120. So, what is wrong with the conclusion drawn from this study?
Firstly, the study was conducted by calculating the subjects’ PPVT and VSMS scores, which were then translated into IQ scores, although these tests and the Stanford-Binet test draw high correlates most of the time. However, the issue with this is that in order to calculate the predicted IQs for the subjects, the researchers used the outdated formula of Mental Age divided by Chronological Age times 100. The researchers concluded in the results page that the chaos surrounding the children’s early lives may have resulted in an underestimation of their chronological age, and thus would skew the scores to be higher.
We should also consider that the sample size was 25, and as John frequently likes to mention, the young age of these children would reflect the fact that their genes would not be fully expressed at the time of testing. The standard deviation of the scores for these subjects was 16 and 20 respective to the tests mentioned, while the standardization group’s standard deviations were 15 and 10 respectively. So the variance in the scores was even higher for this small sample group, that of the VSMS actually being twice the standard. The individual scores for the PPVT ranged from 89 to 143, while the scores for the VSMS ranged from 86 to 186, thus the averaging of these results can be highly misleading.
Lastly, the researchers conceded that the high results may have been due to home environment. They state that the adoptive families were highly educated, and they were also higher than average in income and occupational status. Only one child was adopted into a family which had an income of less than $15,000 per year as calculated in 1978, which equates to approximately $52,000 in 2012 dollars, which is still a nice income. Rushton excluded these factors in the study and proceeded to use the study as evidence for a genetic explanation, even though the researchers suggested that the reason for these high results would most likely be to the contrary.
The second study was one conducted by Winick, Meyer and Harris in 1975 entitled “Malnutrition and Environmental Enrichment by Early Adoption.” In this study, 141 Korean children were divided into three groups – malnourished, moderately nourished and adequately nourished – to discover the effects of malnutrition on these children. I should note before I continue that the sample included only female children. The results in IQ scores were for group 1, 102; for group 2, 106; and for group 3, 112. It was found that only the difference between group 1 and group 3 was statistically significant, and the researchers did not control for the environment of the adoption homes that these children spent a significant amount of their developmental life in, nor did they control for the environment of the homes they were adopted into. In actuality, the only thing this study provides evidence for is of a statistically significant difference in IQs between malnourished and adequately nourished young adopted female Korean children.
The third study is one conducted by Frydman and Lynn in 1989 entitled “The intelligence of Korean children adopted in Belgium.” The sample size of this study was a mere 19 children, so like the first study which had a low sample size, I have no reason to suspect that the mean was not affected by environmental factors or had a high standard deviation. I say this only because I do not have direct access to the study, but based on what information I do have, I would say there is nothing significant to be taken from the results.
So, I would say that the truth behind these studies accurately reflects Rushton and Jensen’s misinterpretation of data for the sake of confirming their own biases. Although I have to wonder why John doesn’t treat these studies with the same pedantic skepticism that he treats his opposition. Based on the examples made earlier in this refutation, we can probably guess why this would be the case. In any case, where else can we find fault on Rushton and Jensen’s part?
Rushton and Jensen often make allusions to the correlation between brain size and IQ. Simply put, the theory is that larger brain size is correlated with higher intelligence. However, this is contradicted when we consider that women have smaller brain sizes than men, but typically score the same as men on IQ tests, in some cases higher. These and other points have been brought up in a paper by Leonard Lieberman entitled “How ‘Caucasoids’ Got Such Big Crania and Why They Shrank.”
As stated earlier, in this paper, Rushton and Jensen often misrepresent studies, many of which we have already addressed. Now comes the next issue: what of Sam’s argument for research bias, due to the influence of the Pioneer Fund? John’s argument against this was that it was committing a genetic fallacy. This, to me, just settles the argument. John has absolutely no formal knowledge or experience in proper scientific research or proper research methodology.
To stress the definition of the genetic fallacy, it means to draw conclusions about someone or something – in this case, Rushton’s research – based on where it came from, when that origin has no bearing on what subject you’re talking about. However, what we’re actually talking about is a legitimate objection in the field of research, and it’s called just that: research bias. The funding research receives often has great bearing on the results of the research. A very common example of this would be the research on the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes. The results of these studies finding that cigarettes do cause cancer were often withheld, or some of the results were even excluded, because the research being conducted on them was being funded by tobacco companies.
The aim of the Pioneer Fund is to promote studies which explore race differences and heredity. The racist disposition of the Pioneer Fund has been discussed by many people, and I will cite one such discussion in the bibliography. What is even further important to note is that the Pioneer Fund was directed up until 2012 by Rushton, and continues to be directed by Richard Lynn. This in itself may explain why they omitted information which was directly contradictory to their own hypotheses and views in many of their works. Whether it be because of ownership bias, or by research bias from the Pioneer Fund itself, the research it funds can greatly be affected by the goals of the organization or its directors. This is not a genetic fallacy. This is a generally agreed upon concept by most researchers and people who are familiar with how to differ between scholarly, unbiased studies and those which are heavily influenced by bias. To suggest otherwise is just idiotic, and is like denying that the sky is blue.
So, despite that he would accuse Sam of the same, what we have concluded here is that John shows as much relentless bias, dishonesty and cherry picking as his research heroes Lynn, Rushton, Jensen, and so on do. This fact is greatly evinced by the data he chooses to omit or ignore from his own sources. I saw the task of refuting him as being tedious and pathetically easy, but important for several reasons.
I simply cannot allow people to so foolishly and easily believe that the arguments proposed in a debate have been crushed by a video response which was riddled with ad hominems, overt lies and pure bullshit. Even if you want to deny that John gave any such special treatment to Sam directly, I would argue in opposition that he certainly showed no reluctance for the inflammatory comments being left on his video. All that has been displayed by the opposition is condescension, harassment and delusions of grandeur. The fact that Sam’s “Signing Off” video and his final comments on YouTube were anything but inflammatory, and instead showed high respect for his opposition, should reflect the real attitude Sam had toward this entire debate. I have no such attitude. John’s bias and dishonesty is very clear, and for this reason, I have no interest in perpetuating this debate. “I am officially done with John A.”
He ended his last video with the phrase “Game Over.” Given what we now know, I think the game was over the moment he drew his first breathe in this debate.
Thank you all for reading, and have a nice day.
Campbell, F. A. and Ramey, C. T. (1994). Effects of Early Intervention on Intellectual and Academic Achievement: A Follow-Up Study of Children from Low-Income Families. Child Development, 65, 684-698.
In this study, Campbell and Ramey conduct a follow-up analysis of children who participated in the Abecedarian Project from their previous sample – approximately 4-7 years after their intervention, now at the age of 12. Data for 90 of the original 111 in the sample for IQ was available, and 88 were available for academic progress. They concluded that intervention with the Abecedarian Project resulted in approximately 87% of the black children falling within an IQ score range above 85, compared to 56% of those who did not. None of them fell below the line of “mildly retarded”, while 7% of the controls did. This and the next study by Campbell et al. provide sufficient evidence to show that intervention in academic achievement can result in substantial increases in IQ scores.
Campbell et al. (2002). Early Childhood Education: Young Adult Outcomes From the Abecedarian Project. Applied Developmental Science, 6(1), 42-57.
In this study, Campbell et al. examined the IQ scores of a sample of 111 infants, 104 of which came for a follow-up test, for the effect of the Abecedarian Project on IQ scores. The Abecedarian Project is a program providing extended educational attention to young students. The results showed that for black students at age 21, intervention from the Project resulted in an IQ score increase which narrowed the black-white test score gap by about one third. This shows that higher educational standards can have a substantial effect on IQ, although there are most likely other factors which play into it.
Hunt, E. and Whittmann, W. (2008). National intelligence and national prosperity. Intelligence, 36(1), 1- 9.
Kamin, Leon. (1995). Scientific American, 272(2), 99-103.
Lieberman, L. (2001). How “Caucasoids” Got Such Big Crania and Why They Shrank. Current Anthropology, 42(1), 69-95.
In this article, Leonard Lieberman goes over a refutation of Rushton’s correlation between cranial capacity and intelligence. I’ll let his words speak for themselves.
Loehlin, J. C., Vandenberg, S. G. and Osborne, R. T. (1973). Blood-group genes and Negro-White ability differences. Behavioral Genetics, 3, 263-277.
Marks, D. F. (2010). IQ Variations across Time, Race and Nationality: An Artifact of Differences in Literacy Skills. Psychological Reports, 106, 643-664.
Nisbett, R. E. (2007). All Brains Are The Same Color. New York Times.
Ogbu, J. U. (1992). Understanding Cultural Diversity and Learning. Educational Researcher, 21(8), 5-14; 24.
In this article, John Ogbu makes reference to multiple studies regarding the Burakumin IQ gap in Japan. The first of which are studies by Hirasawa in 1989 and Shimahara in 1991. These two studies examine the Burakumin IQ and education gap in Japan, compared to the natives. He then cites two studies by DeVos and Ito in 1973 and 1967 respectively. These two studies examine the Ippan and Burakumin educational/IQ achievements after they migrate to America, and finds that the gap closes. This offers a comparison to the black-white gap, because the IQ gap between the Buraku and the Japanese is approximately 1 standard deviation as well, but closes when leaving the oppressive society.
Owen, K. (1992). The suitability of Raven’s standard progressive matrices for various groups in South Africa. Personality and Individual Differences, 13(2), 149-159.
Passer, M., Smith, R., Holt, N., Bremner, A., Sutherland, E., & Vliek, M. (2009). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill Education. 99; 459-462.
In this book on psychology, the authors explore the results of childhood intervention programs much like the Abecedarian Program and their effect on behavior. They found that early intervention can improve IQ by as much as 15 to 20 points – more than one standard deviation – can decrease likelihood of being arrested or collecting welfare, to have their own home, etc. compared to the controls. This provides strong evidence that the longest lasting effects on IQ are a result of environment, and those effects are quite large.
Scarr et al. (1977). Absence of a relationship between degree of white ancestry and intellectual skills within a black population. Human Genetics, 39(1), 69-86.
Turkheimer et al. (2003). Socioeconomic Status Modifies Heritability of IQ in Young Children. Psychological Science, 14(6), 623-628.
Turkheimer et al. examined a sample of 319 pairs of 7 year-old twins, of which 114 were monozygotic and 205 were dizygotic, from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project. 43% of the twins were white, 54% were black, and 3% were “other.” With a 95% level of confidence, Turkheimer determined the heritability for IQ of children from low-income families to be between 10% and 20%, while the heritability of IQ for children from higher-income families was approximately the opposite. This reflects that although general heritability estimates for IQ are usually set at around 50% or higher, it can vary greatly with environmental factors.
Weinberg, R. A., Scarr, S. and Waldman, I. D. (1992). The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study: A Follow-Up of IQ Test Performance at Adolescence. Intelligence, 16(1), 117-135.
White, K. R. (1982). The relation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement. Psychological Bulletin, 91(3), 461-481.
Witty, P. A. and Jenkins, M. D. (1936). Intra-Race Testing and Negro Intelligence. Journal of Psychology, 1, 179-192.
This study is rather outdated, but serves the point. In this study, Witty and Jenkins observed the IQ (according to Stanford-Binet intelligence scores) correlate with European ancestry in high-scoring black students. Of 8,000 randomly selected black students in Chicago public schools, 103 had an IQ of over 120, and were thus chosen for the sample. They compared their results with other studies of black IQ scores and determined that the European ancestry of the “superior” black subjects was actually lower than that of the typical African American. They conclude, thus, that the theory of higher European admixture contributing to higher IQ scores is not sufficiently supported.