The Fallacy of Hereditarian Racial IQ Gap Theory

Repost from the old site.

I am republishing this piece which I published earlier. I am including some links and some more data making the case for a 6 pt. Flynn Effect gain for US NE Asians from the 1970’s to today. They went from about 97.5 IQ to 103.5 IQ (or 100.5 IQ to 106.5 IQ renormed) over 30 years, meeting and then surpassing US Whites, a gain of approximately 6 full points, purely by the environment.

In the comments section, Alan Weiss, a very smart guy, says it is either intellectually lazy or racist to assume that the B-W IQ gap, now at 13.5 points, not 15 points, as is frequently reported, is genetic. I don’t agree that it’s automatically racist or lazy to assume that the B-W gap is genetic. The hereditarians have done some excellent work in proving their case.

I guess my argument is that the hereditarian case is not necessarily relevant. Saying that “the gap is genetic” doesn’t really mean much.

The hereditarians say that 70% of the B-W IQ gap is genetic?

Ok, look.

James Flynn points out that in the 1940’s in the US, the IQ gap between NE Asians and Whites in the US was 3.5 points. The scores were US White = 100, US NE Asian = 97.5. Now, the hereditarians say that 70% of that racial gap is genetic, and it’s insurmountable. US NE Asians could never come within 1.5 pts. of US Whites, no matter what happened in their environment.

But look what happened.

In the next generation, they not only met Whites, but they surpassed them. They gained anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5 IQ points on Whites. Now, with renorming, Whites are at 103 and US NE Asians are at 108. So an “insurmountable” gap that was “70% genetic” was not only surmounted, but it was actually surpassed.

Flynn says that US Chinese had an IQ no greater than Whites in 1949, (actually their IQ was 97.5) yet got better jobs due to extra-IQ factors such as stronger work ethic and higher motivation. They used these new jobs to provide a better environment for their kids, which raised their kids IQ’s to 109 in children, falling to 103 by adolescence as parental influence wore off.

In his book, Asian Americans, Achievement Beyond IQ (The book is available for browsing online, and you are free to look through it). Flynn notes that the average US NE Asian American IQ may have risen 10 points over 30 years. From 1943-1975, average IQ was ~97.5 for Chinese and Japanese.

Flynn also found that Chinese-Americans in earlier decades were working at occupations that suggested IQ’s fully 21 points higher than what their actual IQ’s were.

This shows right there that IQ is not destiny, and there are extra-IQ factors that figure in occupational success. Now it is 103 according to Flynn (106 renormed), and others pretty much concur. This chart shows a US Asian IQ of 106 (Reynolds and Chastain, 1987, p.330). With an IQ of 106, it appears that US Asian IQ may have risen fully 6 points relative to other scores in 20-30 years.

Flynn also suggested an Asian IQ (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) of 104 in the last few years. With renorming, that should be 107. With renorming, all scores point to a US Asian IQ of 106-107.

There is support for Flynn’s data from hardcore hereditarians. Richard Lynn reports that Japanese IQ was significantly higher than average IQ in the United States, and that Japanese IQ scores had risen over the past generation (Lynn 1982).

Herrnstein and Murray 1994, Rushton and Jensen 2005 and Lynn 2006 all find that the average IQ scores of East Asians in Asia, North America and Europe are significantly higher than 100. Lynn has US Asian IQ at 106 and rising in this article.

About the Flynn Effect, Flynn notes that our vocabularies and information are no greater than our ancestors, so we can’t do any better at reading an adult novel.

The Dickens-Flynn Model shows that all of so-called pure genetic aspects of IQ can actually be explained by the environment.

Smaller families have had an IQ effect that looks like better nutrition – they can provide a better environment for their kids.

Studies have also shown that Asians enjoy studying more than other groups. This may explain their superior performance even relative to IQ.

This is what I mean when I say that when they say that racial gaps are “70% genetic” or whatever, it doesn’t necessarily mean all that much. Now the hereditarians have to look at the 5.5 point gain that US NE Asians have over US Whites (US NE Asians = 108.5, US Whites = 103) and say that gap is 70% genetic. Does that make any sense either? Of course not.

Once these “wholly genetic” gaps are not only overcome but even surpassed by purely environmental actions, the whole hereditarian argument gets a bit silly.

References

Flynn, James R. 1991. Asian Americans: Achievement Beyond IQ. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Herrnstein, RJ and Murray, C. 1994. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York: Free Press

Lynn, R. 1982. IQ In Japan And The United States Shows A Growing Disparity. Nature, 297:222-3.

Lynn, R. 2006. Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit Books.

Reynolds, C. R., Chastain R. L., Kaufman, A. S., & McLean, J. E. 1987. Demographic Characteristics And IQ Among Adults: Analysis Of The WAIS-R Standardization Sample As A Function Of The Stratification Variables. Journal of Social Psychology, 25:323-342.

Rushton, J. P. & Jensen, A. R. 2005. Thirty Years Of Research On Black-White Differences In Cognitive Ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

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5 thoughts on “The Fallacy of Hereditarian Racial IQ Gap Theory”

  1. As I mentioned before I think to some degree this calls into question the ability of the IQ (especially when administered on a very broad scale..) the true effectiveness of IQ test.

    There seem to be declines in Verbal and Mathematical ability if one uses the SAT test. (The counter point is that more people and hence less able people are now taking the SAT test..)

    All scores are recentered.
    Total Male Female
    Verbal Math Verbal Math Verbal Math
    1967 543 516 540 535 545 495
    1968 543 516 541 533 543 497
    1969 540 517 536 534 543 498
    1970 537 512 536 531 538 493
    1971 532 513 531 529 534 494
    1972 530 509 531 527 529 489
    1973 523 506 523 525 521 489
    1974 521 505 524 524 520 488
    1975 512 498 515 518 509 479
    1976 509 497 511 520 508 475
    1977 507 496 509 520 505 474
    1978 507 494 511 517 503 474
    1979 505 493 509 516 501 473
    1980 502 492 506 515 498 473
    1981 502 492 508 516 496 473
    1982 504 493 509 516 499 473
    1983 503 494 508 516 498 474
    1984 504 497 511 518 498 478
    1985 509 500 514 522 503 480
    1986 509 500 515 523 504 479
    1987 507 501 512 523 502 481
    1988 505 501 512 521 499 483
    1989 504 502 510 523 498 482
    1990 500 501 505 521 496 483
    1991 499 500 503 520 495 482
    1992 500 501 504 521 496 484
    1993 500 501 504 524 497 484
    1994 499 504 501 523 497 487
    1995 504 506 505 525 502 490
    1996 505 508 507 527 503 492
    1997 505 511 507 530 503 494
    1998 505 512 509 531 502 496
    1999 505 512 509 531 502 495
    2000 505 514 507 533 504 498
    2001 506 514 509 533 502 498

    Read more: How Educated are We: Data Presentation – Education, Statistics, Source, School, Hispanic, and Average http://social.jrank.org/pages/1024/How-Educated-are-We-Data-Presentation.html#ixzz109bIBqO6

    1. The counter point is that more people and hence less able people are now taking the SAT test.

      Of course this is the answer. Which is why all of the screaming about failing schools is retarded and frankly just reactionary propaganda.

      1. The number of people graduating from High School has declined markedly since 1970. The data is curious.. there was a marked rise in standardized college tests in 1950s.. (when colleges were moving away from being such elite institutions to more for the broad public..) with a peak in the mid 60s and then a decline until the 80s when there was another rise.

        I’d also like to see the composition of the test required to graduate from High School.. I have heard they have become a bit weaker.

      2. Which is why all of the screaming about failing schools is retarded and frankly just reactionary propaganda.

        So that school that you taught at in LA was not a failing school…? They exist certainly.. but there is a great deal of propaganda being thrown around.

  2. There seem to be pretty clear increases in reading ability but not so for math:

    Average Student Mathematics Proficiency Scores for 17 Year Olds, 1973-2000
    1973 1978 1982 1986 1990 1992 1994 1996 1999 2000
    Average score, overall 304.0 300.4 298.5 302.0 304.6 306.7 306.2 307.2 308.2 301.0
    White, non-Hispanic 310.0 305.9 303.7 307.5 309.5 311.9 312.3 313.4 314.8 308.0
    Black, non-Hispanic 270.0 268.4 271.8 278.6 288.5 285.8 285.5 286.4 283.3 274.0
    Hispanic 277.0 276.3 276.7 283.1 283.5 292.2 290.8 292.0 292.7 283.0
    Minimum score for “proficient” reading ability 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0 336.0
    Minimum score for “basic” reading ability 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0 288.0
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education. Digest of Education Statistics, 2001. National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education. The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2000.

    Read more: How Educated are We: Data Presentation – Education, Statistics, Source, School, Hispanic, and Average http://social.jrank.org/pages/1024/How-Educated-are-We-Data-Presentation.html#ixzz109boTEd0

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