Stop Talking About Race and IQ
Does WILLIAM SALETAN deny the humanity of blacks?
My heading above is copied from a recent, very long-winded article by Saletan, who is a sort of token conservative among prominent journalists. Saletan accepts that there are large differences between black and white IQ averages but thinks we should not talk about it. To help us think about the matter, let us look at some hypothetical statements about dogs:
Long tails in dogs are hereditary
Great Danes have long tails
Therefore long tails in Great Danes are hereditary
That conclusion seems pretty reasonable, does it not? From my memory of my studies in formal logic of over 50 years ago, I think it is in fact a valid syllogism.
Here is another syllogism that refers to the centrepiece of the Saletan article.
Low IQs are hereditary
Blacks have low IQs
Therefore low IQs in blacks are hereditary.
Saletan wants to say that that conclusion is not logical or is at least unproven. The only way he can do that, however, is to attack one or both of the premises. He attacks the statement that low IQs are hereditary. He says that statement is overly broad. It may be that among blacks IQ is not hereditary or is hereditary in some different way.
But there have now been many studies of brain function (GWAS studies) which show that IQ involves a large number of brain components and the most recent studies have in fact shown that neuron size is heavily involved in IQ. Smart people have bigger neurons. And note that the brain is almost entirely composed of neurons.
So Saletan is saying that all those GWAS features are different in blacks. He is denying the humanity of blacks. He is in effect saying that blacks are a different species, almost something extra-terrestrial. I am betting that he does NOT want to say that but his argument leads to it. He would not want to say that because he places great stress on kindness to blacks as being a big issue in the debate. Telling blacks that they are on average dumber and can't change that is unkind.
I don't think it is unkind. It is lies that are unkind. As Eysenck often said, the policies you derive from low average black IQs could as well be kind as anything else. By having lower expectations of blacks, you could be relieving stresses on them to keep up in various ways, for instance.
And we do in any case ordinarily make it very clear to all blacks that they are on average dumber. That is the famous educational "gap". In their school studies, blacks lag behind white pupils by about the degree you would expect from their much lower average IQ. And the best brains among American educators have for years striven mightily to find ways of closing that gap. Many things have been tried but nothing works. The gap remains no matter what is tried. It remains just as it has to be if it is genetically-based on IQ
And all that educational failure is vividly brought home to blacks time and time again. They are repeatedly shown that they are on average dumber than whites and that nothing will fix that. Many blacks drop out of education as as result. They just can't do the work but know that whites can.
Saletan also bows down to convention in saying: “Race science, the old idea that race is a biologically causal trait, may live on as an ideology of hate. But as an academic matter, it’s been discredited"
It is Saletan who has been discredited. In recent years, there have been a number of factor-analytic and other studies which have shown that the traditional racial categories do emerge in international data. Saletan might want to start here if he wants to catch up with the research concerned. Does he really believe that there is no biological cause for the many obvious differences between blacks and whites? Do you get born black or white at random? Insane.
Note that I am not the lone psychometrician in pointing to genetics as the cause of black/white differences. In 2013, a survey of 228 intelligence researchers found that the typical scientist in this field agrees: