Talk:Race and intelligence

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Former good article nominee Race and intelligence was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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This should be titled RACE and IQ .... not RACE and INTELLIGENCE[edit]

This should be titled RACE and IQ .... not RACE and INTELLIGENCE. The author(s) conflate IQ and Intelligence, while intelligence is a broader concept, and a social construct that is not bound by modern psychometric definitions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:882:180:9A4D:19DA:80F1:6579:7088 (talk) 21:05, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Nah I disagree. IQ is used as an operationalisation of intellignce, where intelligence is the point at issue. Also scholarly works use the word intelligence in the titles so it`s the common name. Ethicosian (talk) 14:47, 7 March 2017 (UTC) strike sock puppet EvergreenFir (talk) 15:22, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


The article claims there is a consensus race is not biological. I checked the reference and it`s Daley referencing Smedley about anthropologists. Surely most anthropologists are cultural anthropologists and not qualified to answer questions of biological validity? Cultural anthropologists would for example be ignorant of typical genetic variation ratios among other species and be more likely to mindlessly parrot Lewontin's fallacy. This is like claiming a consensus regarding the Higgs boson among sports scientists. Ethicosian (talk) 14:58, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Race is not understood to be solely genetic. EvergreenFir (talk) 17:19, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
The question is whether some race concept is biological. Obviously one can invent some non biological concept and call it race. The question is whether the race concept used by scholars in this area is biological. That is a question for biologists, not people studying South American face painting styles. Ethicosian (talk) 18:23, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Nobody is interested in fixing this? Are editors here biased and trying to present a false picture? Ethicosian (talk) 19:30, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes. We are all biased and try to hide the truth. There are two main raisins for this - first, we are naturally inclined to insincerity, and secondly, the Conspiracy To Present a False Picture on Race and Intelligence Ltd. pays us for it. Can I be of further assistance? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:59, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Most anthropologists are qualified, to answer questions of biological validity. Race, in some senses, is a social concept. Human populations groups are very diverse, and there are no clear genetic divisors, other than that of appearance to divide us into races. For example, some people think Turkish people aren't white. What are they then? Brown? Does not look like it. At one point in history, Italians and Spanish people were not considered white. At one point the Irish were not. Race is false, because, human populations are greatly diverse in appearance and intelligent, and to lump people into races, is a biological fallacy, if they only hold some common traits like appearance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:58, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
You are wrong. Cultural anthropologists are not qualified to answer questions of biological validity. That's why we see a low incidence of race denial among biologists, and a high incidence among cultural anthropologists. Cultural anthropologists tend to mindlessly parrot Lewontin's Fallacy, going on about "more variation within groups", presumably unaware of Fst ratios among non-human taxa. They even come out with nonsense such as "some reordering entirely invalidates a taxonomy" or sophistry such as "some people think dolphins are fish, mammals don't exist". They go on about irrelevant legal definitions, as if the government classifying tomatoes as vegetables means they are not fruits, and if that wasn't ridiculous enough, claim that invalidates biological taxonomy. Needless to say actual biologists would laugh at this utter stupidity. It's just a shame "most people" repeat it. Ethicosian (talk) 09:39, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Anthropology includes the study of genetics and biology, and an anthropologist would be expected to be up-to-date on the relevant aspects of those fields, so yes, an anthropologist summarizing the relevant literature is a sufficient source. But regardless of how you feel about the source, you have to provide what you feel is a better source if you want to change it. If you want to argue that a hypothetical "pure" biologist untainted by the softness of anthropology would disagree, you have to actually provide a cite to that hypothetical biologist to back that up - you can't just remove the source because you don't like it and change the sentence to say the opposite of what it did before without providing any alternative sourcing for your version at all. For the record, if you want other sources, here is a source from a biological anthropologist stating that race is a social construct. Here is a paper published in a journal dedicated to genetics that describes race as a social identity, a "largely social construct", and one of a number of "poorly defined social proxies of genetic relatedness." Actually, I think I'll add that one as a source to the section in question.
EDIT: Here's the key quote from that second paper (which, I'll reiterate, was published in a genetics journal, and cited three high-profile papers on genetics for this particular point): "Two facts are relevant: (i) as a result of different evolutionary forces, including natural selection, there are geographical patterns of genetic variations that correspond, for the most part, to continental origin; and (ii) observed patterns of geographical differences in genetic information do not correspond to our notion of social identities, including 'race' and 'ethnicity." Note that the scare-quotes around race and ethnicity are in the original. Unless you have an up-to-date source that disagrees with this, I think that that settles the issue? --Aquillion (talk) 08:41, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
We're discussing surveys of the fields, so presenting individual sources is of no relevance. Looking through various surveys in this it's clear biologists tend to support the biological race concept, while cultural anthropologists don't. I am referencing all of those surveys, I could copy paste all of the surveys referenced there here if that made a difference to you. Your link to one 2004 opinion is pointless. Writing in this article that there is a consensus among anthropologists would be misleading, as I'm sure it's intended to be, even if it wasn't false. Should we reference the surveys of Lieberman or Ann Morning to show that a majority of biologists support the biological human race concept? As a compromise we can also write that a majority of American cultural anthropologists don't support the biological human race concept. We can leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide which group knows what they are talking about. Ethicosian (talk) 14:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Huh, that page was definitely misrepresenting Morning's survey - she specifically shows that there is not a majority among biologists supporting race as a concept (she has it at a slight minority, 45%, and goes into detail on how stark the divide is. Key quote from her conclusion: "At best, one can conclude that biologists and anthro­pologists now appear equally divided in their beliefs about the nature of race.") You need to read the actual papers, not just the abstracts - there's absolutely no way you could read Morning's paper and come away with the view that race-as-biology can be accurately called "the mainstream view among biologists" today, and your implication that there is a sharp divide between biologists and anthropologists is clearly wrong, since she says the exact opposite. I think your confusion might be because Morning was writing in response to an assumption that constructionism was "of course" the obvious mainstream viewpoint; her conclusion is that there's still a lot of debate. But she definitely isn't saying that biologists are all constructionists the way you're implying, either. (If you read the paper, you might have been confused because she splits biologists who don't agree that race is primarily biological into three subgroups, which makes it look like essentialism has a plurality? But they still make up a slight majority overall, 55% - 45% - that's of biologists, not anthropologists. Hence why she says in her conclusion that biologists now reflect the split among anthropologists.) --Aquillion (talk) 22:14, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I'll respond to this in more detail after going through the relevant papers, but I think we agree there isn't a "consensus" at least. Ethicosian (talk) 07:18, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

- - - Dear Aquillon. - I am not MikeMV or any clone thereof, but it's clear to be he cut you a new one. There is NO "Consensus". Additionally, YOUR Morning citation/quote should be in the article. """KEY quote from her conclusion: "At best, one can conclude that biologists and anthro­pologists now appear EQUALLY DIVIDED in their beliefs about the nature of race.""" So there is NO "consensus" and BARELY a "Majority", by your own Dishonest words. and YOU omit a "KEY quote".. Scandalous and blatant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:20, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

Under the heading "Race" the claim "However, the mainstream view among biologists is that race is a biological concept, similar to other taxonomic divisions. " Has no source and should be properly cited or removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnarlesincharge (talkcontribs) 00:22, 29 April 2017 (UTC)


Since someone re-added the graph from several years ago, I suppose we might as well restart the discussion from back then. My objections are more or less the same as the ones people had in the discussion back then; as presented, the graph violates WP:SYNTH - especially in this case, where the representation and interpretation of the data is extremely controversial. We could potentially use a chart from a particular source, citing it specifically as the position of that source, but it would require considerably more context than was given here - it can't just be dropped at the top of the article with no context in the article voice. Charts and graphs are particularly tricky because if not used carefully they are inherently devoid of context, which is why I think the figures are better placed in the text where the exact controversies and context (who, exactly, is saying what about which data at which point in time) can be clearly expressed. --Aquillion (talk) 06:21, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

In other words the one coherent representation of actual data is just too controversial for a rambling thread which consists almost entirely of context rather than on topic exposition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:05, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Ethicosian blocked[edit]

as a suspected sockpuppet of Mikemikev (talk · contribs). Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Mikemikev Doug Weller talk 09:13, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Who supports radically simplifying this article?[edit]

This article seems extremely bloated, convoluted, and full of synthesis. Do you agree?

From my perspective, pages 65-72 of Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America is approximately what I would hope to see. The passage is written by the book's editors (two well-respected left-leaning academics), not by the white nationalists they interview. It mentions specific researchers and research methods where they are particularly relevant, but it mostly sticks to scientific consensus and popular metareviews. Franzboas (talk) 01:45, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

In case you are unaware, this article (and many others) were the subject of a knock-down battle, see WP:ARBR&I. If you are planning to edit here, someone should leave the traditional notification of that on your talk. I mention this only to say that the article is the way it is partially due to its highly contentious history. As a strategy in such a topic, it might be best to start with some text thought to be problematic (and WP:SYNTH would be a big problem), and either edit it to show a proposal, or discuss an outline of proposed changes to the text here. Johnuniq (talk) 07:44, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
@Franzboas:. Johnuniq’s message means you should run for your life, don’t look back, and kick free anyone clinging to your ankles. Like Neil deGrasse Tyson once wrote: Imagine a world in which we are enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them. Note the operative word “imagine.” The number of citations here exceed by over a factor of two those on our already exceedingly complex Spacetime article. Greg L (talk) 01:43, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
@Greg L: I'm going to wander into forum speak because the OP won't be responding (indeffed a month ago, what a surprise). I've been fondly recalling your sewer cover after noticing some nonsense being rekindled. I was also wondering if you had a connection with Category:Persecution by atheists but I'm probably thinking of someone else. Johnuniq (talk) 04:10, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
@Johnuniq: I see now why that dispute over bilateral relations-related articles being deleted reminded you of my sewer cover essay. Hang-by-your-fingernails tidbits like “Australia helped evacuate 4000 people from Albania” rates up there with “On this date, Tyne Daly was born.” As for the Category:Persecution by atheists, you’re thinking of someone else. Later. Greg L (talk) 05:20, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

I strongly agree with simplifying this article. Currently it gives the impression that there is a scientific debate on this topic, when in fact the only debate is between white nationalists and everyone else. futurebird (talk) 16:17, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

I'll let others review your edits but I think that the lead tone is not an improvement. I also suggest adding references like after the Arthur Jensen criticism. I agree however that the article should not present it as a current scientific debate. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 18:11, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
I'd like to second (conceivably third, at this point) the vote on simplifying the article. I think it's important to clearly delineate discussion of historic pseudo-science; getting into the weeds on something that was debunked 40 years ago is neither especially informative or clear. – 20:39, 6 September 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I agree it needs simplified. Consider the last sentence of the first paragraph: "Currently, there is no non-circumstantial evidence that these differences in test scores have a genetic component, although some researchers believe that the existing circumstantial evidence makes it plausible that hard evidence for a genetic component will eventually appear." That makes my eyes glaze over more than my college science textbooks. It could simply say, "There is no clear evidence that genetics causes intelligence differences among races, but research is ongoing." Parts of this article are currently obfuscated, which may function as a form of censorship. Krehel (talk) 01:29, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

I attempted to simplify the first paragraph, but it was quickly reverted on the basis of neutral POV. I had tried to maintain the same meaning as the original text. Therefore, unless I failed to maintain meaning, the original text currently in place needs fixed for the same reason my edit was reverted! But it seems not my place to do so. Krehel (talk) 00:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
No, you did not "simplify" it, you replaced carefully neutral language with POV language. The article said:

The connection between race and intelligence has been a subject of debate in both popular science and academic research since the inception of IQ testing in the early 20th century. While tests have broadly shown differences in average scores based on self-identified race, there is considerable debate as to whether (and to what extent) those differences reflect environmental or genetic factors, as well as to the definitions of "race" and "intelligence" and whether they can be objectively defined. Currently, there is no non-circumstantial evidence that these differences in test scores have a genetic component, although some researchers believe that the existing circumstantial evidence makes it plausible that hard evidence for a genetic component will eventually appear.

which you replace with

The connection between race and intelligence has been a subject of debate in both popular science and academic research since the inception of IQ testing in the early 20th century. While race and intelligence are related, there is great controversy about how much this is caused by environmental and genetic factors, as well as about how race and intelligence should be defined. There is no clear evidence that genetic differences among races have any effect on their relative intelligence, but research is ongoing.

Your change was clearly a declaratory statement "Race and intelligence are related", when, actually, that's a major part of the controversy, whether or not they are related, and what those terms mean, all of which are clearly stated in the original language. Your "simplification" thus distorted the lede to say something that was untrue. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
It's pretty well established that there are relationships between people's race and their intelligence. That's not really what the controversy is about, aside from a few fringe voices. And this is far from the only place in this article where the existence of relationships between race and intelligence is stated as accepted fact. My intent was to make the article comprehensible. Krehel (talk) 04:22, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Nope. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:08, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

United States Test Scores section a mess.[edit]

Is there a reason this section is written so poorly? Why is the fact that tested black IQs are lower than whites only vaguely mentioned at the end when this is clearly the point of the section, and the whole article for that matter? Why is the irrelevance of a guess at the percent of blacks above the median mentioned rather than below? Just because you don't like the conclusions doesn't mean you should attempt to alter them through misrepresentation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:03, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

This quote is dubious.[edit]

On the other hand, Ulrich Neisser writes that "Pioneer has sometimes sponsored useful research—research that otherwise might not have been done at all."[1]

Some wikipedia articles say it was Ulrich Neisser others say it was Lynn. Obviously if it's Lynn that isn't notable.

futurebird (talk) 20:53, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

I've removed it for now; given the controversial nature of the statement, it's one we should only attribute to Ulrich Neisser if we are completely certain he said it. EDIT: After tracking down the article, I think I figured it out - it looks like Neisser was quoting Lynn talking about himself. Here's the full quote: "All things considered, I doubt that the Pioneer Fund's political activities have made much difference one way or the other. The world would have been much the same without them. On the other hand, Lynn reminds us that Pioneer has sometimes sponsored useful research—research that otherwise might not have been done at all." Obviously that's not really useful as a quote here, and it was presented in a particularly misleading manner. On top of that, it's a book review, which makes it a poor source to quote here in any case. --Aquillion (talk) 00:13, 11 September 2017 (UTC)


Futurebird's reversion of my edits[edit]

Recently, I came across the lead sentence in this article (which was the same then as it is now) and decided that it was too biased, and so changed it. I edited the page so the lead sentence said "The relationship between race and intelligence has been a controversial subject for hundreds of years." instead of "Establishing a link between race and intelligence has been a primary goal of white supremacist pseudoscience for hundreds of years." [1] In this and other edits made around that time, I also added two studies to the article. Futurebird just effectively reverted these edits, claiming that "You didn't change just the quote you deleted a bunch of citations." (You in this case is me.) This is not true, however: I did not delete any citations; instead I just added 2 studies as citations. Therefore, I think my edits should be restored. Everymorning (talk) 02:13, 7 September 2017 (UTC)