Talk:Race and intelligence/Archive 13

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Missing views

As I've pointed out on the featured article nomination, this article is heavily slanted toward the research results of Jensen and Rushton. Such criticism as is mentioned comes mostly from Gould, and the article makes a point of footnoting several counter-criticisms of Gould in turn while carefully emphasizing that the criticism of Jensen and Rushton is ad hominem (so is the criticism of Gould, but I guess that's considered fair play). Clearly there is some dispute in the scientific community over this research, but I don't think the article has covered the critical point of view very well at all.

So, in an attempt to point people in a direction where they may be able to find this, may I suggest a few works to consider. I don't know exactly what they contain, as I don't have immediate access to them, but it seems that they do have views that contrast with the general tenor of this article. Without better coverage here, the article will not adequately represent the different points of view in the scientific community. A quick selection of suggestions:

  • Leon Kamin, The Science and Politics of IQ
  • Ashley Montagu, ed., Race & IQ
  • Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh, The IQ Mythology: Class, Race, Gender and Inequality
  • Alexander Alland, Jr., Race in Mind: Race, IQ, and Other Racisms

I hope this helps people make this a more balanced article. --Michael Snow 07:02, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Do you have a reason to believe that those sources are particularly relevant, other than the fact that they present an alternative view? Like the comments on the FAC page, intelligent design presents an "alternative" to evolution, but that doesn't make it relevant to the Wikipedia article on evolution, or POV for Wikipedia to side with evolutionists. This is hard for me to guess about, since this isn't my "field". I guess that's a long way of asking what your credentials in this area are. This is a highly technical subject where common knowlege has very little to do with reality, so I'm suggesting that we let the people who have background in the field do the editing. --Malathion 07:27, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
What do my credentials matter? I've never claimed any, but as I pointed out on the featured article nomination, nobody else involved here seems to have particular credentials in the area either. So I really doubt that anyone here is qualified to say what "reality" is for this "highly technical subject". The constant analogies to intelligent design vs. evolution are seriously flawed, and smack of rhetorical attempts to marginalize criticism of the article. Evolutionary theory has been around for a lot longer and its premises examined and debated much more thoroughly.
With respect to these sources, they're relevant because they present alternative views, mostly from scientists who have considered the same issues. Kamin is a psychologist, Montagu and Alland are anthropologists, and I'm not sure what the Mensh's credentials are; I understand Montagu's book contains a mixture of contributions from specialists like Kamin and writers more in the popular science vein like Gould. My point is that there's a significant body of critical literature that the editors of this article have been ignoring, and if they're not willing to examine it then there's no way this can be considered a balanced, neutral article. --Michael Snow 15:53, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I strongly suspect that the views expressed in these books are not in fact missing. Unlike the evolution and global warming article we have put the contrarian views at the top of the article. For example:
Some researchers have argued that race and intelligence research is fundamentally flawed. Stephen Jay Gould expressed this view in his 1981 book The Mismeasure of Man. Tate & Audette (2001) argue that issues of "race" and "intelligence" are pseudo-questions because both concepts are arbitrary social constructions. Similarly, in a 2005 review paper Sternberg and colleagues question the basis of race and intelligence research[1]: In this article, the authors argue that the overwhelming portion of the literature on intelligence, race, and genetics is based on folk taxonomies rather than scientific analysis. They suggest that because theorists working on intelligence disagree as to what it is, any consideration of its relationships to other constructs must be tentative at best. They further argue that race is a social construction with no scientific definition. Thus, studies of the relationship between race and other constructs may serve social ends but cannot serve scientific ends.
We give a brief history of this field of research, criticisms of The Pioneer Fund, and a litany of moral criticisms. I believe that covers the major range of contrarian views. What else is missing?
But what we cannot do is treat the contrarian views as a major alternative scientific POV because we have documented evidence of what the scientific consensus really is. --Rikurzhen 16:21, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
  • "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" a report from the American Psychological Association [1] -- later published as Neisser et al (1996)
  • "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" [2] -- later published as Gottfredson (1997) -- a statement signed by 52 intelligence researchers meant to outline "conclusions regarded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence".
  • Snyderman, M., & Rothman, S. (1987). "Survey of expert opinion on intelligence and aptitude testing". American Psychologist, 42, 137–144. (some details in this section)

A somewhat old book that discusses the breakdown between expert and public opinion can be read thru Google Print here. --Rikurzhen 17:25, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

The views may not be entirely missing, but as I pointed out in the featured article nomination, the construction of the article skews the result by setting up the popular science of Gould as the only major critic of the "serious science" of Jensen. I am suggesting that it needs to attribute some of the criticism to specialists in the field like Kamin, and these are some of the sources you should look at.

Take, for example, this sentence, following a detailed exposition of Jensen's views: "The critics have counter arguments to all of this and a definite answer may not be possible until intelligence is directly linked to specific genes." The implication appears to be that the counter-arguments are not worth mentioning in detail. The kinds of sources I'm suggesting are a place to start looking for those arguments, so they can be stated properly.

I also don't understand why you keep repeating, mantra-like, these same three sources as "evidence of scientific consensus". A significant number of scientists seem to have views that do not coincide with these sources, and one side of a debate saying "we're mainstream and consensus" does not make it so. I don't know the breakdown, and while public opinion may not match up with expert opinion, it doesn't mean the experts all agree either. The last item in your list is particularly bogus as evidence of consensus because it's a survey, and the survey results are an average of individual opinions that were obviously all over the map. It's like asking a bunch of physicists for their best estimate of the age of the universe, and saying that the average of these figures represents a consensus. --Michael Snow 17:42, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Short answer... check the dates. Kamin's book and many of the others rely on articles published in the 1970s for their scientific arguments; the consensus statements are meant to be direct rebuttals of these past characterizations of the state of the research. (A consensus statement from the APA is about as consensus as you can get. Would you argue that the IPCC statement on climate change isn't a consensus because Michael Crichton published a rebuttal?) Your characterization of the survey paper is just wrong; the most salient questions are multiple choice. Regarding the blanket criticism of Jensen, the counter-arguments are not singular enough to be summarizable as they are very topic-specific and wide-ranging (see the lengthy table in the sub-article). But more to the point, that 3 paragraph summary section dedicates the 1st paragraph to what's old consensus, the 2nd to environmental theories, and the 3rd paragraph to genetic theories; that's the size limit. The 2nd paragraph isn't bothered with criticisms, so in fact Jenen's is the only view is that is even mentioned to be in any doubt. --Rikurzhen 18:00, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Longer answer: The repetition of these consensus statements reflects a reliance on primary evidence. Like any scientific discipline, cognitive psychology doesn't routinely sit down and say, "Where do we agree and disagree?" That these consensus statements exist at all is a function of the extreme level of public debate. They're repeated because a) they are clear evidence of consensus, and b) certain contributors keep asking for consensus statements, and there are only a limited number. I'm unaware of consensus statements that contradict these, and I'm reasonably sure that such contrary consensus statements would have been produced if such a consensus existed.
Your claim that a survey is a bogus way of establishing consensus positions is almost beyond belief, as well as being pure POV and rhetorically slanted. Surveys do establish consensus, almost by definition. Your example regarding the age of the earth is a rhetorical red herring: the article does not report average numerical "consensus" values. Instead, the survey at issue not only shows where there is broad agreement (e.g., >95% responding say that "intelligence" involves abstract thinking and reasoning, problem solving and learning) but also where there is disagreement but general consensus (67% of those responding say that intelligence is best described as a single general factor with subsidiaries) and where there is significant disagreement (52% of those responding say that the source of black/white IQ differences is both genetic and environmental).
The implication that these consensus statements are simply like-minded scientists getting together is your own conspiracy theory. Without supporting evidence, we cannot give your theory any weight. Remember, Cite your sources.
Incidentally, here's a chapter on group differences from a mainstream textbook, Intelligence. --DAD T 18:15, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
The most popular answer in a multiple-choice situation is not consensus either when, for the one such question cited in the article, it is only chosen by 45% of those participating. Regarding dates, the history section seems to pretend that nothing happened and nobody paid attention between Jensen's 1969 paper and The Bell Curve. The sources I've mentioned are reacting to one or both of these. From what I can tell, an ongoing debate in the scientific community would be a far better characterization; we're not talking about a Michael Crichton here, even Gould has a better claim to authority than that. If the "consensus" statements are meant to be rebuttals to a previous state of scholarship, this article does a poor job of describing that previous state and how it was rebutted. --Michael Snow 18:42, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
To put it kindly, your arguments are logical but not accurate. (1) The source of group differences issue is presented as an open question in this article. (2) The history section could be greatly expanded into a sub-article, as other sections have. I have proposed this in the past, but I don't have time for it myself. However, this doesn't diminish the discussion of the current science. (3) The contrarian view isn't an ongoing debate in the scientific community, but an rather in the public sphere. Attacking the Crichton analogy is a straw man and doesn't address this issue. The "consensus" statements are aimed not aimed at "a previous state of scholarship", but at misunderstanding among the public and public intellecutals. --Rikurzhen 18:59, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Sternberg, Grigorenko, and Kidd, who apparently contend that the entire line of research linking race and intelligence is invalid, doesn't qualify as an ongoing debate in the scientific community? Has anybody read their article, or are you just relying on the paragraph summary available on the internet, which is the source of the quote used here? --Michael Snow 20:00, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
What's your point? The view of Sternberg et al regarding intelligence is a minority POV among IQ researchers, nonetheless we give it plenty of space and a top position in the article. How many ways can you say that some people think the research is fundamentally flawed? What more needs to be said? --Rikurzhen 20:41, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
How do you know it's a minority point of view? I would think the publication is too recent for it to even be clear how widely accepted their contentions are. Are IQ researchers the only people to be granted scientific credibility on this subject? It would seem that if some psychologists consider this fundamentally flawed, they're not likely to be IQ researchers. --Michael Snow 21:18, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Because it's a review paper that describes older research, which was even discussed in the APA taskforce report. Because I'm generally famaliar with the work in this field. --Rikurzhen 21:22, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
How do you know it's a minority point of view? How do you know it isn't? That's why I'm asking for your credentials here. It seems that you don't actually know what is or isn't a minority view in this field. --Malathion 03:42, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
In fact, it strikes me that the only people who think this article is POV are people who admit that they have no background in this field. --Malathion 03:56, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Hispanic is not a race

--The term "Hispanic" does not, in any way, refer to a race of people but rather a collection of people from a wide variety of races. This seems to be a result of a culturally induced misunderstanding based on the American-colloquial use of the word "Hispanic." Hence, the images should probably be removed until more accurate ones can be created. --Jleon 15:58, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

As discussed previously on this talk page, and as discussed in the article, we know and note this but the average IQ of "Hispanics" is reported in the literature in the same context as that of "Whites", "Blacks", and "Asians". It's thus not up to us the enforce a contrarian POV by exluding the use of the label Hispanic as if it referred to a racial group. If more accurate data existed, we would use it, but it doesn't so we're stuck with what we've got. --Rikurzhen 16:09, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Frankly, this is indicative of serious flaws in the title of the article itself. While it purports to be about "race" and "intelligence", the evidence mostly seems to be about ethnic groups and IQ. The notion that either in the first set of terms can be equated with the second is a matter of considerable doubt at best. The article should probably be renamed as well as rewritten. --Michael Snow 16:11, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
This has been discussed and rejected. We don't get to decide what terms to use: that must be dictated by the research literature. --Rikurzhen 16:25, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

BTW, please read the article before suggesting massive changes. The first paragraph immediately begins to break down terms, going from race to racial-ethnic groups. By the background section, intelligence has been disambiguated to cognitive ability and g. Demanding changes to the article that already exist is frustrating, as this pissy comment probably indicates ;) --Rikurzhen 16:38, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

I can speak to the use of "intelligence". The literature uses a wide variety of terms and measures: "intelligence", "cognitive ability", "general mental ability", "g", "IQ", "mental competence", and raw scores on various intelligence tests (SAT, Raven's, AFQT, and ASVAB, to name but a few). The article, in the Background Information section, fixes terms. The use of "intelligence" in the title reflects its broad use in the literature, its accessibility ("cognitive ability" is unnecessarily technical) and the finding that virtually any cognitive test (so long as it is not specifically designed to test a narrow ability such as spatial visualization) shows the differences discussed in the article; these tests range from pushing lighted buttons to the National Adult Literacy Survey (which tests the ability to carry out tasks such as filling in background information on an application for a social security card). Using "IQ" implies that the results only concern IQ tests.
This discussion has been had before (from recent discussions, here is one example; here is a case where one editor actually changed the title and was admonished). The article has been through months of debate, peer-review and a VfD; the title and use of intelligence have passed muster. Retitling and rewriting, as you suggest, has also been proposed; the results of a recent straw poll are unambiguous. I would ask that you familiarize yourself with the debates that have already occurred before re-opening them. --DAD T 17:07, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

The terms "race" and "intelligence" are not consensus terms, even within the current literature in the field. They may be what Jensen and Rushton use, but their validity is disputed. See, for example, these criticisms from Sternberg. --Michael Snow 19:51, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Michael, even the books you cite above use the term "race". What are you getting at? --Rikurzhen 20:34, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
The books cited above often use the term race, I'm guessing, in trying to repudiate its validity because they contend it is a social construct with no scientific value. Certainly Ashley Montagu is known for taking that position. --Michael Snow 20:57, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Explain to me how the idea that race is a social construct has anything to do with what's written in article? The concept of extended families could equally be called a social construct, yet that's not a reason to not discuss within and between family variation in this article. --Rikurzhen 21:04, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

"Similar clustering" in lead section.

I recently added this:

Similar clustering is seen amoung racial groups in related variables, such as school achievement or reaction time, and within other groups of people, such as sex or religion. Given only racial information, no meaningful conclusions about the IQ of an individual can be drawn; however differences of average IQs among groups has been pronounced enough to merit a great deal of scientific investigation.

This got changed, with an edit description of "a few modification to recent addition -- there are no average sex differences in g; other touch-ups", to:

Similar clustering is seen amoung racial-ethnic groups in related variables, such as school achievement or reaction time. In the U.S., most variation in IQ occurs within individual familes, not between races. However, differences of average IQs among groups has been pronounced enough to merit a scientific investigation.

There is no significant difference in average IQ between the sexes; however, the statement referred to "clustering". There is a great difference in the standard deviations of IQs between the sexes. That's what I had meant by that statement. There is also a measurable, though less pronounced, difference among religions (though this may be merely a reflection of other differences, such as racial differences.) Anyway, since "similar clustering" between race and other factors related to intelligence are mentioned, I thought "similar clustering" between intelligence and other factors related to race should be mentioned as well. See why I put that in?

I thought the statement "Given only racial information, no meaningful conclusions about the IQ of an individual can be drawn" is an important caveat. It is mentioned repeatedly, for example, in The Bell Curve, and it helps to soften the tone. I think it helps to say what the research does not show, so as to allay some objections. I like the addition of "In the U.S., most variation in IQ occurs within individual familes, not between races." -- but don't you mean "between individual families"? There's rather little variation within individual families.

I would suggest the following:

Differences in averages or standard deviations is seen between racial groups in related variables, such as school achievement or reaction time, and between other groups of people, such as sex or religion. Given only racial information, however, no meaningful conclusions about the IQ of an individual can be drawn, and most variation in the U.S. occurs within individual familes, not between races. Still, differences of average IQs among groups has been pronounced enough to merit scientific inquiry.

Maybe it doesn't flow as well, but it contains all the info. What do you think?

Those are good point, but may be going beyond summarizing the current article content. We don't really talk about StdDev in the article, so I wanted to take out sex where the difference is mostly SD. (Besides, we don't mention sex differences in this article, but there is a separate article on that.) Jewish IQ gets a few mentions, but as you point out ethinic differences can describe that phenomena, so I wanted to limit the possible misinterpretation of "religious" differences.
but don't you mean "between individual families"? -- no acutally within families, the average IQ difference between two siblings is a full 12 points because siblings only share half of their genetic identity by descent; Jensen 1998 does the analysis, which is described in the Significance section of the article. I wanted to replace the "Given only racial information" bit because actually given only racial information you will guess different expected IQs for people, but there will be huge error on those estimates. Turning the point around and focusing on variance is, I think, the better way to sell that point. --Rikurzhen 19:26, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Sternberg and Davis

For somebody to attribute a "moralistic fallacy" to Sternberg, without any kind of source to support it, is a personal point of view and yet another attempt to marginalize the critical views in this article. As I mentioned in my edit summary, Davis predates Sternberg and is obviously not commenting on him. If this kind of editorializing is to be included, it must be cited, as is done with the criticisms of Gould. --Michael Snow 21:03, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Obviously Davis isn't responding direclty to Sternberg, but the fact is that Davis was talking about the same thing. See the quotation from Davis below on what he means. --Rikurzhen 21:23, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Davis on Davis

Philosophers have used the term "naturalistic fallacy" for efforts to derive an "ought" from an "is." Since the subordination of science to ideology that I discuss here tries to derive an "is" from an "ought," I have suggested that it be called the "moralistic fallacy" (1, 2). That article was suggested by a lecture in which George Steiner proposed that certain kinds of studies should not be pursued. His example was identification of genetic components of human behavior, since these might differ statistically among races, and this knowledge could threaten beliefs that support ethical convictions of great value to society. [3] --Rikurzhen 21:16, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

I've seen the quote. It still is not directed to Sternberg, and the connection does not follow automatically. The phrase "moralistic fallacy" does not appear to have much currency either. You're the one drawing the connection, and that's not acceptable. --Michael Snow 21:26, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Davis's views on role of moralizing in science are famous and should be included. If you insist, a paragraph mark can be introduced to make it clear that Davis isn't aimed directly at Sternberg, but it is 100% clear that he's talking about race and intelligence research. Secondarily, Davis has been cited previously in the literature in this context; I can hunt up the references if you insist. --Rikurzhen 21:30, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Please do hunt it up. It is not at all clear that he's talking about intelligence research. Given the reference to behavior, my first assumption is that it's talking about studies that might show certain races are genetically predisposed to commit crimes, or something like that. Not intelligence. --Michael Snow 21:50, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, Rushton and Jenson (PPPL 2005) here certainly a) use the phrase in the title of their work, and b) direct a significant portion of a section on "The Moralistic Fallacy and Public Policy" at Sternberg, where they are obviously implying that his arguments reflect the fallacy. See p.333-4. Appears to be more than enough to connect them. Of course, the way the article frames it now, Davis is clearly not talking about Sternberg anyway, making the whole point quite moot. --DAD T 21:58, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
If the phrase was coming from Rushton and Jensen, the article should have attributed it that way in the first place. Bringing Davis into it is off-topic. --Michael Snow 22:05, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
The phrase clearly comes from Davis. Davis even says that he was prompted by a colleague who said we shouldn't research "genetic components of human behavior, since these might differ statistically among races". Narrowing the focus to just Jensen vs Sternberg is actually less informative and so we should paint the bigger picture. --Rikurzhen 22:08, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Using Davis is just a rhetorical attempt to invoke the authority of someone who's not a party to the debate. I've already pointed out the flaws in your suggestion that his allusion to human behavior (not intelligence) would make it relevant. --Michael Snow 22:15, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
What else could Davis be talking about? Because it's slightly ambiguous doesn't make it any less applicable. Davis is obviously talking about race and intelligence research. Davis clearly had an opinion on this subject. --Rikurzhen 22:28, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Ohh... I remember where I first heard of Davis. Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate. For example [[4]] --Rikurzhen 22:32, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Yes. The moralistic fallacy has repeatedly been used to characterize the entire genes/culture debate. Attempting to narrow its focus to the point where it must be attributed to a particular scientist taking aim at another particular scientist ceases to provide general insight about how the sides have morally criticized one another (the section's topic). If you're arguing that the moralistic fallacy doesn't characterize the debate, then I'm glad you can now see that it has been used in just that way. --DAD T 22:35, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

NPOV policy

Because we now have a NPOV tag, I thought I would point out some important points from WP:NPOV policy that apply to this article, just as they do the articles on evolution and global warming. In light of these policies, and the strong documentation of which views are majority versus minority, I refute the validity of the NPOV tag claims on FAC. --Rikurzhen 00:04, July 15, 2005 (UTC)


How are we to write articles about pseudoscientific topics, about which majority scientific opinion is that the pseudoscientific opinion is not credible and doesn't even really deserve serious mention?

If we're going to represent the sum total of human knowledge, then we must concede that we will be describing views repugnant to us without asserting that they are false. Things are not, however, as bad as that sounds. The task before us is not to describe disputes as though, for example, pseudoscience were on a par with science; rather, the task is to represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view; and, moreover, to explain how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories. This is all in the purview of the task of describing a dispute fairly.

Pseudoscience can be seen as a social phenomenon and therefore significant. However, pseudoscience should not obfuscate the description of the main views, and any mention should be proportional to the rest of the article.

There is a minority of Wikipedians who feel so strongly about this problem that they believe Wikipedia should adopt a "scientific point of view" rather than a "neutral point of view." However, it has not been established that there is really a need for such a policy, given that the scientists' view of pseudoscience can be clearly, fully, and fairly explained to believers of pseudoscience.

Giving "equal validity"

But wait. I find the optimism about science vs. pseudo-science to be baseless. History has shown that pseudo-science can beat out facts, as those who rely on pseudo-science use lies, slander, innuendo and numerical majorities of followers to force their views on anyone they can. If this project gives equal validity to those who literally claim that the Earth is flat, or those who claim that the Holocaust never occurred, the result is that it will (inadvertently) legitimize and help promote that which only can be termed evil.

Please be clear on one thing: the Wikipedia neutrality policy certainly does not state, or imply, that we must "give equal validity" to minority views. It does state that we must not take a stand on them qua encyclopedia writers; but that does not stop us from describing the majority views as such; from fairly explaining the strong arguments against the pseudoscientific theory; from describing the strong moral repugnance that many people feel toward some morally repugnant views; and so forth.

See this humorous illustration of the "equal validity" issue.

Making necessary assumptions

What about the case where, in order to write any of a long series of articles on some general subject, we must make some controversial assumptions? That's the case, e.g., in writing about evolution. Surely we won't have to hash out the evolution-vs.-creationism debate on every such page?

No, surely not. There are virtually no topics that could proceed without making some assumptions that someone would find controversial. This is true not only in evolutionary biology, but also philosophy, history, physics, etc.

It is difficult to draw up general principles on which to rule in specific cases, but the following might help: there is probably not a good reason to discuss some assumption on a given page, if an assumption is best discussed in depth on some other page. Some brief, unobtrusive pointer might be apropos, however. E.g., in an article about the evolutionary development of horses, we might have one brief sentence to the effect that some creationists do not believe that horses (or any other animals) underwent any evolution, and point the reader to the relevant article. If there is much specific argument over some particular point, it might be placed on a special page of its own.

Removing the tag

I'm tempted to remove the NPOV tag but I know that would just result in an edit war. I don't think the objections are informed or even actionable. To be honest, I fear that this debate will end in ArbCom. How can we resolve this without it getting to that point? This is a very emotionally-loaded issue where laypersons think their opinions are just as important as those of the experts. --Malathion 03:51, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I believe there was an ArbCom event a while back with the ZenMaster affair, but it really had little impact once people understood what was going on. However, it will of course depend on the good behavior of whomever is administering things. --Rikurzhen 05:01, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
His recent post was the straw, for me, and I posted a comment [5]. Though sounds like this is water under the bridge if ArbCom met? I'm still a newbie. --DAD T 05:09, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Oh... I have no idea. --Rikurzhen 05:20, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Do you have a link to that ArbCom ruling? Maybe seeing that they have already given an opinion on this would cool off this wave of activists. --Malathion 05:49, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
here. I don't know if a ruling has been made yet. Or if this is what you had in mind. --Rikurzhen 05:52, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

A moment of levity?

I do wish objectors on the FAC page could decide between the seemingly mutually exclusive "crypto-racist" and "ultra racist" labels.  ;) How painful. In all seriousness, that is the kind of poisonous attack that makes me really upset after all the work. Really upset. --DAD T 04:54, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Considering the speed at which the name calling started, and the errors of missing many things that are clearly spelled out in the text, I have to assume that most people didn't read the article past the introductory figure. It is sad to see evidence that people aren't reading the article that we've spent so much energy crafting. However, it seems that at least a few people have taken time to engage the material, which is heartening. --Rikurzhen 04:59, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't completely despair...but boy, I thought being a scientist under our present administration was hard. Nothing compared to WP.  ;) --DAD T 05:15, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Right... the 2006 NIH budget looks rosey by comparison. --Rikurzhen 05:19, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
ROTFL --DAD T 05:21, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Contested assumptions


The bit about contested assumptions was recently added. I think it's fine, but in its original form it mischaracterized the actual assumptions. That intelligence can be "reduced" is POV language; one might instead say that the assumption is that intelligence "encompasses" most definitions. But this is beside the point; the actual assumption (and finding) of the classicists is that intelligence is measurable and mostly (but not entirely) unitary -- that is, there is a g-factor hierarchy with g at the top and important group factors below. I have edited these "assumptions" accordingly. --DAD T 17:00, 15 July 2005 (UTC)


I would challenge the uncited claim that race needs to be scientifically defined and not an arbitrary social distinction in order to study race and intelligence. Why are the methods of science limited to things that have scientific definitions, whatever that mean? Researchers study "consciousness" without any solid definition of what it really means, and many claim it may be arbitrary and illusional; yet we keep scanning brains looking for it. That is, I see no reason that race cannot be an arbitrary social distinction and yet it still be studied by the methods of science. --Rikurzhen 17:08, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

The, I think better put, assumptions listed in the background section of the article are: The debates described in the following sections assume that cognitive ability tests measure some interesting aspect of intelligence, and that some information may be gained by studying racial group differences. --Rikurzhen 17:10, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Whoever added "useful information may be gained by studying "racial-ethnic group" differences" is missing the point. This is not a contested assumption. Entire fields of inquiry do this. What is contested is that "race" has any scientific validity. The number of "races" have changed over the years, and the thresholds for who is or isn't this or that "race" also change with the times. These terms need to be defined with scientific precision if one is to make scientific claims. Further, there is a difference between "race" and "ethnicity" that's getting conflated in the recent revisions. I'll make some changes and we can continue this. Jokestress 17:39, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Why would you try to draw unnecessary distinctions. As I point out above, either provide a citations for your claims (who says we need a precise definition?), or give me a justification that we can all accept as common sense. Why does race need to be a natural kind variable (that's what I think you mean by scientific definition) in order to be studied? Why is self-identified race not sufficient, as I see it used everwhere in social and biomedical science? Would you say that we couldn't study the effects of racism in the U.S. because defintions of race are vague and change over time? Explain why the distinction you're claiming is essential and contested is even important for doing this kind of research. --Rikurzhen 17:42, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Jokestress --- learn the use the talk page before deleting things or this will be an unenjoyable experience for all of us. --Rikurzhen 17:46, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

[Edit conflict with Rikurzhen, so forgive beating of same horse.] "These terms need to be defined with scientific precision if one is to make scientific claims". It is scientifically precise to say that race is self-reported, and many studies do exactly this. There is no scientific "special sauce" in genetic definitions of race; it is only the case that certain claims (e.g., regarding common ancestry) require stronger definitions than others (e.g., regarding educational achievement gaps). Many of the points in the article have nothing to do with common ancestry. The implication that anything short of deep phylogenetic fingerprinting is "non-scientific" is simply not supportable. You might have better luck in targeting biological definitions of race. Certainly the article should make clear which definitions are being used when. --DAD T 17:53, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Also, Jokestress, kindly refrain from using "Minor edit" to characterize complete rewrites of contentious sentences [6][7] --DAD T 17:58, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I have been using the talk page and noting why I am changing things on each revision. To answer your question above, watch this. It's pretty hard to say something with scientific validity when the terms aren't clearly defined. Since both "race" and "intelligence" are both nebulous terms, it's a pretty shaky foundation for any scientific claims. Jokestress 18:03, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Jokestress, DAD and I are both highly educated on the topic of evolution and the controversy over human races. So let's step the conversation up a level and get this problem solved. --Rikurzhen 18:06, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Drummond writes of his revision: "studies using self-reported race make no taxonomic assumption." The taxonomic assumption is implicit in the self-reporting. You need to go a level deeper than self-reporting. The problem is that "race" is not considered scientifically valid by most evolutionary biologists. Jokestress 18:17, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I don't get what you mean about going a level deeper. But you're statement about evolutionary biologists is contradicted by the race article here. --Rikurzhen 18:22, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
I think I have a good compromise on the first assumption. It makes my point while making the requested distinction between types of taxonomy. The level deeper comment is that self-reporting does not address the root of the issue, which is the validity of the entire classification system. As you note, there is a disagreement about this, so assuming it as fact (which this article does throughout) is not NPOV. Jokestress 18:36, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

BTW, the view that "common racial classifications are not meaningful" is now found three times in slightly different forms in the top half of the article. Can we perhaps condense this a little? --Rikurzhen 21:45, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Folk vs Scientific

I generally understand the distinction between a folk concept and a scientific concept, but I'm not sure that all or any of the research in this article depends on the POV that race is one or the other. Perhaps then the contention is on whether the folk concept of race is useful. --Rikurzhen 18:42, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

I think the contention is whether anything scientifically objective can be derived from the folk concept. For instance (off the top of my head, so maybe not a great example), is there anything scientifically useful if a study found intelligence differences between Capricorns and Geminis? Jokestress 18:56, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes! There absolutely would be. The whole point of this kind of scientific enquiry is to collect facts and then develop theories that explain them. If a modern scientific study could demonstrate a causal relationship betwenn date of birth and intelligence it would shake the scientific community to the core. That's the whole basis of scientific method; the facts always come before the explanation, and if your theory contradicts the facts, then it's time to get a better theory. This article is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Most people have a theory about race that predicts there will be no correlation between race and intelligence, but the facts contradict that: So instead of following proper scientific method by discrediting the theory that is inconsistent with the facts, they discredit the facts. That's just not sensible. --malathion talk 20:00, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I didn't say "date of birth," I said astrological sign. The question is whether that finding reifies astrology in the way the findings discussed on this page reify "race." Jokestress 20:14, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
That's mostly irrelevant. If it were truly impossible to study race, then we couldn't study (for example) racial disparites in economic outcomes. The study of racism would likewise be impossible. That's seemingly an untenable position. Clearly you can study race without committing to a particular taxonomic theory. ... Expanding on that: only when it comes time to generate a causal theory (for example, to explain economic disparities) does an analysis of "race" entails need to be made. --Rikurzhen 20:20, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Again, of course it does (reify astrology). That study would show that astrology has predictive value. The reason that astrology is considered ridiculous by scientists is precisely the fact that it doesn't have predictive value. We can't demonstrate a priori that astrology is wrong, and we can't demonstrate a priori that race and intelligence correlations are wrong. Only direct obvervation can tell us. If it turns out that there are noticeable and system-wide correlations, then that is scientifically interesting.
You have attacked the process of categorization, which is interesting, because you could have made the same objection to Darwin for how he categorized entire species (a process that, as I understand it, is still somewhat contentious among biologists). The truth is that once you dig deep enough into the philosophy of all this, you're going to discover that all categorization by humans -- even to distinguish one "thing" from another -- is of this very same kind. We do it because it's how we understand the world. If I can show you a correlation between geographic origin of ancestors and intelligence, then I've given you evidence, not proof, but evidence that there is some causal force at work beneath the surface that is not at work elsewhere. We do this all the time at the level of species, which (when you are talking about organisms with very simple or highly similar genetic sequences) can be rather subjective as well. But that doesn't mean it isn't good science. --malathion talk 04:42, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Well said. P0M 16:58, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

A few concerns: --Rikurzhen 20:02, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure that "scientifically meaningful conclusions" are any different from simply meaningful conclusions.
Religionists would disagree. I would not. The fundamental question is whether we believe something that somebody else tells us we must believe, or whether we believe on the basis of objective evidence. I can form meaningful conclusions on the basis of individual experiences that are not "inter-subjective objects" because nobody else was a witness and it was a one-time phenomenon.
  • I think that "utility" is a major arguing point about race and should be mentioned.
  • I'm not sure there is a good reason from the literature to unequivocally call race a folk taxonomy w/o the qualifier of self-reported race. Perhaps "fuzzy category" is a better way to describe "race" overall (see the race article for other useful adjectives).
One of the problems in the "politics" of the thing is that the average well-informed person will probably have his/her own definition of "race," and may unthinkingly apply that understanding to studies pertaining to [race] that appear in print or get reported in the mass media. Within the sciences any study may be well designed or it may fail to be well designed, and one important part of the design of the study is its operational definition of race. And then across scientific studies a potential source of foggy thinking is the possibility that the studies use different operational definitions so they aren't really studying the same thing.
I doubt that any of the operational definitions are either intentional or de facto instances of truly fuzzy (in the sense used in fuzzy logic) categories. I think it is more like the difference between the way Chinese cooks sometimes cut chickens (cleaver through the bones at approximately one inch intervals) and the way somebody else might do an anatomical dissection (separating the joints carefully, etc.) There is no need for precision in chopping apart the human branch of the tree of life if you only want a general impression of characteristics of north-pointing twigs and south-pointing twigs. You are going for a rough study and the average of very many data points and a few cells on the wrong side of a saw kerf will not significantly change the result. Maybe these categorizations should be called "low precision" or "raggedy" instead of "fuzzy."P0M 16:58, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Re: Astrology

It's odd, but I saw a news report not too long ago saying that there was a correlation between people born during winter months and depression. Seems that the time of year someone is born can have an effect on his or her mental state later on in life. Personally I find it inconcievable that astrology would have gained the following it did in previous centuries were it not for there being some sort of correlation between the time of year a person is born and the outcome of his or her personality.

The fact of the matter is, is that if modern day scientists don't want to accept astrology, it will be "demonstrated" by "empirical evidence" that it doesn't have any predictive value. If they do want to accept astrology, the "evidence" will go the other way. With very few exceptions, there is nothing "empirical" or "objective" about what goes on in the scientific community. The major point of contention in this and many other matters is that regardless of the validity of the scientific method for discovering truth, individual scientists are no more objective than anyone else, and history has shown us again and again that scientific consensus is less a reflection of objective truth than simply whatever the majority of scientists are most comfortable believing. Only rarely does the scientific community come to accept an idea that challenges its own preconceptions, and even then it does so grudgingly.

Just wait, in another 100 years the scientific community will be saying that astrology does have predictive value. In 200 years, someone will prove that idea wrong. 500 years after that, astrology will be back "in" again. In another 800 years it will again be disproved, and so on. The only real difference between folk "belief" and scientific "knowledge", is the presence of clip-boards and lab coats, which when worn, make these scientists feel so much more important and authoritative as they sit around telling eachother, "I'm not wrong, you're wrong!" Personally, I find it laughable that someone would take the word of the average psychologist over any old bum off the street. --Corvun 07:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

top figure legend changes

1. What's the point of removing mention of "ethnic" and "U.S." from the figure legend? These terms add needed precision. --Rikurzhen 19:56, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Though the chart is a visual representation of findings from one, I consider both charts here examples rather than evidence. Kind of like the example on the scientific racism page. Lemme think about how to get that specific info back in. Jokestress 20:27, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

2. It's inappropriate to add one POV to the figure legend without including the contrasting POV. The view that studying race differences in cognitive ability is scientific racism should be balanced by the view that such studies are actually widely done and are of importance to the public in situations like education. (See yesterday's NYTimes report on the latest NAEP data for an example.) --Rikurzhen 20:08, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

The contrasting POV is represented visually in the chart. The third sentence is just a bandwagon fallacy that does not assist a reader in understanding the chart or its significance. Jokestress 20:27, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
The contrasting POV is represented visually in the chart. I don't understand what this refers to. --Rikurzhen 20:29, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
The third sentence ... does not assist a reader in understanding the chart or its significance. It establishes the significance of this data in a easy to understand content: education. --Rikurzhen 20:31, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
The chart makes no statements about education. If you feel it is significant, make a separate chart that shows "intelligence and achievement testing is used widely" and cite your sources. As it stands, I agree that this chart is an excellent example of the issues this article raises. Jokestress 20:37, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
If that's your standard, then explain why the figure legend should mention scientific racism. If there is a reason to mention criticisms of the data, then there is surely reason to mention praise for its collection. --Rikurzhen 20:42, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Because it's an example of the questionable findings covered in the article. Jokestress 20:47, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Then why should the contrary POV be excluded? (Here's a cleaner sentence: Nonetheless, intelligence and achievement testing is used widely, and differences in average performance of people by race is a subject of public concern (e.g., the achievement gap in education).) --Rikurzhen 20:49, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
I just took a crack at citing it as an example rather than evidence. The visual representation itself is a POV and does not need to be counter-countered. The first sentence explains that POV a second time; the second sentence explains the other POV. Jokestress 20:58, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe I'm just dense, but I don't see how the claim that "this kind of finding is an example of scientific racism" is an alternative POV to the claim that "these findings produced overlapping distributions, but differences in average test scores." They seem to be independent kinds of claims, rather than alternatives. Thus, we need to offer a real alternative POV to the "scientific racism" claim. --Rikurzhen 21:20, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Propose what you believe this chart demonstrates that isn't already demonstrated visually. The chart itself is part of the controversy here: scientific racism is about making racism look scientific, like the skull illustration on the scientific racism page. As we both know, a chart or visual representation is a powerful persuader, but if you feel that the visual needs additional explanation, take a crack and we'll see. I would ask that you make the comment directly relevant to interpreting the chart, though. Jokestress 21:32, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
It's standard practice to give a text description of a figure, even when its interpretation is obvious. I don't see why this should be controverisal. Maybe someone can explain this to me. (p.s. I'm still wait for explanations for many other questions, but I'll be patient.) --Rikurzhen 21:37, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

precision of language

Proponents argue that IQ does not correlate with race or ethnicity on an individual level -- This does not make sense. Correlation does not occur at the level of individual data points. The original text was accurate and made sense. --Rikurzhen 21:34, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

It was pretty inaccurate language before: passive voice, "any IQ level" (even 3 or 419+?), etc. If you want to change it to:
Proponents argue that an individual's IQ can fall anywhere on their scale, regardless of race or ethnicity, but that averages among groups often differ. They believe that similar clustering accurs amongracial-ethnic groups in related variables, such as school achievement or reaction time.... Jokestress 21:46, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
The proponents language is unnecessary. Observations don't have proponents, theories do. --Rikurzhen 21:50, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
"Observers" isn't right, either, though. What would you say in apposition to "critics"? It needs to be something that suggests that some scientists believe and others don't. Jokestress 21:59, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Which scientists don't believe that IQ tests report such and such? (The consensus statements do not mention such a view.) They do differ in their interpretation of what IQ differences mean, but not that the score differences exist. --Rikurzhen 22:03, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Jokestress, maybe you and I aren't on the same page here. These are the consensus scientific statments and surveys on which this article is/must be based:

  • "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" a report from the American Psychological Association [8] -- later published as Neisser et al (1996)
  • "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" [9] -- later published as Gottfredson (1997) -- a statement signed by 52 intelligence researchers meant to outline "conclusions regarded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence".
  • Snyderman, M., & Rothman, S. (1987). "Survey of expert opinion on intelligence and aptitude testing". American Psychologist, 42, 137–144. (some details in this section)

--Rikurzhen 21:54, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Just a few brief hours ago you were citing the need to include "the current lack of consensus" on another matter of contention. That consensus may be the basis for this article, but that does not mean it is indisputable or should be presented as such. The same types of "experts" have claimed all kinds of stuff in the past now considered spurious (homosexuality = mental illness, etc.). Jokestress 22:10, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Setting aside whether that last claim is true (what exactly is the "same type" of expert?), the implication -- I should say, rank speculation -- that this research will someday be considered spurious has no place on WP. We cannot treat the future. If you've got a citation that makes this claim, cite away; we can file it under "...and all the science could be wrong," which is embedded in the modern understanding of science. --DAD T 23:34, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Just a few brief hours ago... No, I was saying you were incorrect about what is and is not the concensus view of evolutionary scientists. --Rikurzhen 22:16, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
I don't know how I can say this any clearer. Like the articles on evolution and global warming, this article must accurately report the published consensus view of experts as such. You're off handed disregard of the science of psychology is not an acceptable way to craft this or any other article. --Rikurzhen 22:13, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
A related perspective: there are at least three POVs here. I'm quite skeptical that scientific racism is being properly applied. A broad characterization of these POVs:
  • 1) The research is meaningful and results reflect the action of culture/environment/genes in some combination
  • 2) The research, whatever the results, is meaningless because "race" is invalid and "intelligence" can't be measured
  • 3) The research is scientific racism: science distorted by racist ideology (which includes "races are real" and "group differences should be studied")
I can find little support that scientific racism proponents are a small but vocal minority. The vast majority of the literature, spanning journals from personnel selection to medicine to brain research, freely uses race or racial-ethnic categorization and examines group differences; the literature on how racism and stereotype threat influences performance is an example of 1). A significant number of researchers, typified by Sternberg, straddle 1) and 2), though their views are given less weight in consensus statements. An unknown number, generally non-specialists and typified by Gould, support 3). The article should certainly note the accusations of scientific racism, but recent discussions here, generally citation-free, treat this POV as if it were dominant or even widely shared. Evidence for that is presently lacking. --DAD T 23:23, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
That sounds right to me, at least with regard to making decisions about this article based on WP NPOV policy. To make that list easier to understand for those less famaliar with this topic, I can draw a parallel to global warming:
  • 1) The majority/consensus scientific POV: global warming is real, humans are contributing, etc. as outlined in the IPCC consensus statements and elsewhere
  • 2) The minority scientific POV: global warming is uncertain, or future warming should be small, or its mostly due to increased solar output
  • 3) The finge minority POV: climate science is rubbish; climate scientists are spreading politically motivated misinformation and are their pronoucements about future warming are mostly aimed at increasing funding for their own research
WP:NPOV policy requires the proper distinction between majority and minority views:
  • If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not.
--Rikurzhen 00:51, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

You guys have been toiling away on these interrelated Pioneer Fund themes with minimal input from differing viewpoints. If you want to demonstrate you commitment to NPOV, you can format these while I am away:

  • Deutsch, Martin. Happenings on the way back to the forum: social science, IQ, and race differences revisited. New York: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1969. NOTES: "Reprinted from Harvard Educational Review, v.39, no.3, summer 1969.".
  • Dubow, Saul. "Mental testing and the understanding of race in 20th-century Africa, colonialism." In Science, medicine and cultural imperialism. Edited by Teresa Meade and Mark Walker. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991. 148-177.
  • Fraser, Steven. The Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  • Gokyigit, Emel Aileen. "The Reception of Francis Galton's Hereditary Genius in the Victorian Periodical Press." Journal of the History of Biology 27.2 (1994):215-30.
  • Gray, James Philip. The race science of J. Philippe Rushton: professors, protesters, and the press. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliotheque nationale du Canada, 1993.
  • Jacoby, Russell, Naomi Glauberman, and Richard J. Bell curve Herrnstein. The Bell curve debate: history, documents, opinions. New York: Times Books, 1995.
  • The IQ Controversy: A Critical Reader. Edited by N. J. Block and Gerald Dworkin. New York: Pantheon, 1976. 93-106. NOTES: Reply to Lewontin (1976). Also see Lewontin's "Further Remarks...".
  • Jensen, Arthur Robert. Bias in Mental Testing. New York: Free Press, 1980.
  • Joseph, Andre. Intelligence, IQ, and race: When, how, and why they became associated. San Francisco: R & E Research Associates, 1977.
  • Kevles, Daniel J. "Genetics, race, and IQ: Historical reflections from Binet to "The Bell Curve"." Contention: Debates in Society, Culture, and Science 5.1 (1995):3-18.
  • Kincheloe, Joe L., Shirley R. Steinberg, and Aaron David Gresson. Measured lies: The bell curve examined. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  • Lewontin, Richard. "Race and Intelligence." In The IQ Controversy: A Critical Reader. Edited by N. J. Block and Gerald Dworkin. New York: Pantheon, 1976. 78-92.
  • Lewontin, Richard. "Further Remarks on Race and the Genetics of Intelligence." In The IQ Controversy: A Critical Reader. Edited by N. J. Block and Gerald Dworkin. New York: Pantheon, 1976. 107-12. NOTES: Response to Jensen (1976).
  • Lewontin, R.C., Steven Roxe, and Leon Kamin. "IQ: The Rank Ordering of the World." In The "Racial" Economy of Science. Edited by Sandra Harding. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. 142-160.
  • Morris, Frank L. The Jensen Hypothesis: Social Science Research or Social Science Racism. Monograph 2. Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, 1971.
  • Rosenthal, Steven J. "The pioneer fund: financier of fascist research.(The Bell Curve: Laying Bare the Resurgence of Scientific Racism)." American Behavioral Scientist 39.1 (1995):44-62.
  • Ryan, Patrick J. "Unnatural selection: intelligence testing, eugenics, and American political cultures." Journal of Social History 30.3 (1997):669-86.
  • Shockley, William and Roger Pearson. Shockley on Eugenics and Race: The Application of Science to the Solution of Human Problems. Washington, DC: Scott-Townsend Publishers, 1992.
  • Takaki, R. "Brains over muscles: the meaning of intelligence and race in American history." Halcyon 6 (1984):45-54.

I'd do it myself, but I have to go to the premiere of Hate Crime. ;) Byeeeeee! Jokestress 01:13, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

So you have no intention of actually addressing the existence of consensus statements from within the scientific community, and instead insist that the truth must be found in trade books? The mean publication data of that list is 1986-7. That's about the time Snyderman & Rothman were publishing their suvey of expert opinion. The mode is 1995 (i.e., right after The Bell Curve). Which is around the time of the publication of the APA and WSJ consensus statements. In contrast, the mean publication year of the reference list for this article is 1990 (1992 if you exclude the really old stuff). So I will again express my doubt that there is very much in your book list that isn't (1) better taken from the concensus statements or (2) already presented in the article. --Rikurzhen 01:31, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the offer, Jokestress, but my fingers are tired and I can't find anything on the NPOV page about "formatting contributions". These references look like worthy additions to the References page. Also, yes, summing up my contributions as toil on "Pioneer Fund themes" stings; congratulations! I'd prefer that we keep things non-personal. And -- ditto Rikurzhen on the science (which, shockingly, is why I'm actually here). Buh-bye! --DAD T 02:01, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Simply dropping critics object bombs all over the article is not appropriate. It tends to obscure the relative weight (majority vs minority) of opinions. Careful crafting is needed. --Rikurzhen 17:56, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Civility and neutrality check

Is everything okay here? No problems that I can see.... Uncle Ed 21:43, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

The FAC page has sucked up most of the vitriol lately ;) --Rikurzhen 21:47, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I think everything's OK! I just want to get this NPOVed in the first few paragraphs (the rest needs it, too), but I think this process of negotiation is going well given volatility of the topic. Jokestress 21:50, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
D--- it, what the f--- are you talking...<ahem> Ed! Hi! Yes, looks like we've got a productive dialogue. Thanks, Unc.  ;) --DAD T 23:38, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Further reading section

What would you think of a "further reading" section, where we could list some books on this topic? Dd2 23:16, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

It looks like other articles have them. --Rikurzhen 23:33, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

"Race hierarchy"

I reverted newly added material referring to a "hierarchy" of races. This material was unsourced and did not concern intelligence but rather some sort of general race ordering, which is off-topic. Discuss disagreements here. --DAD T 02:42, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

It might not be 100% related but I thought it might be helpful in helping to understand the history of thought on this subject. Dd2 02:59, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
This sounds ostensibly related, but is probably at the level of detail that would go best in a Race and intelligence (History) sub-article, if one were ever written. --Rikurzhen 03:43, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
Apologies for brusqueness. I am not familiar with race hierarchy notions (particularly modern ones) specifically and am in picky/patrol mode right now. Not trying to shut down edits, just asking for above-average verifiability. --DAD T 04:17, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Verify obviously, but we probably need a sub-article if the history section is going to grow much more. I get the impression these ideas are historical and/or what people like Gould were afraid would reemerge from R&I research. --Rikurzhen 04:20, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
Agree. Personally, I think the History section has been consistently high-quality, and that the rest of the article has only recently started coming up to standard (mostly because of the Summary Style push), so I'm also loathe to mess with it. [Perhaps I overreacted to word choice: "revived the hierarchical view" implied (to me) a revival of the hierarchical view -- and I'm aware of no such thing, except among fringe elements -- whereas perhaps "caused many to fear a revival of the hierarchical view" was meant.] --DAD T 04:38, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
That's what I would think would be meant. We need a citation. --Rikurzhen 07:51, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Length of talk page is indigestible on my old computer

I wanted to say a couple of things before knocking off for the night, but to do so I'd have to move to a different OS. Maybe I should give up and buy a new computer. Archiving does have its benefits as long as we don't move stuff that is still being activ ely referred to.

I've done some archiving here but many recent active threads made me hesitant. A more courageous soul might also take a pass. Hopefully your OS can handle the present page.  ;) --DAD T 16:36, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Regarding the scientific validity of the categorizations used to study intelligence and race (let's change the article title, by the way), I see the some of the same problems that Jokestress has mentioned. Clearly there are rhetorical p roblems involved with the word. You just can't cleanse it of its connotations by fiat. Clearly there are problems with reifying (hypostatizing) what is not even a clear and consistent fiction (in the sense of that word used by the Vienna Circle guys). And clearly in any one study there must be a well thought out operational definition for [race]. Such a study depends on statistical measurements, so if you don't know how the members of the group are chosen, if you can't reproduce a statistically very simil ar group, you are going to be in trouble.

Practically speaking, if different studies use different operational definitions for the [races] they study, then the results cannot be compared. At best one could go back to the raw data and pull out consistent ly defined [races] from studies that were organized following differently defined [races].

All of that being said, the fact that when even a pretty helter-skelter definition of [race] is employed one gets consistently different results depending on whic h [race] is being tested is not a null result. It isn't a final answer either. It says that either there is something wrong with the tests or there is something interesting going on in the whole constellation of factors that prepare the members of the various groups being tested to do the tasks contained in the test instruments. If the tests are well designed and give reasonably good predictions on who will benefit from the resources present in a college environment, and the tests indicate that "green folks do great and pink people do poorly," we ought to want to know why -- especially if the more we refine the tests and the more times we perform the experiments the steadier the needle comes to rest at some points on the test scale that are different f or the different [races]. We ought to be asking ourselves, as a nation, "What is going wrong here? What is acting to short-change some groups and give advantages to other groups? We won't find out that, e.g., "Whites don't do as well as Chinese on IQ tests because Whites drink too much milk" unless we notice that something is going on and dig out the reasons why it is happening. P0M 07:45, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

The IQ Controversy, the Media and Public Policy

The "Race and Class Differences in IQ" chapter of The IQ Controversy, the Media and Public Policy by Mark Snyderman & Stanley Rothman reads remarkably like parts of this article. (I've been stealing peaks at it w/ Google Print.) Someone (or I guess me) should try to get a copy from a library; it should contain a lot of useful (but old) polling data. --Rikurzhen 07:54, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

I've got a print copy b/c google print doesn't let you see all the pages. First blush, there is a lot of interesting data. Let me know if you are looking for something in particular. Also, my library seems to have every book I've ever heard mentioned on this subject, so let me know if I should get anything else. (p.s., I really don't want to read every book in their collection.) --Rikurzhen 19:10, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
Wow! This book has so much useful detail and exposition in it. F-ing copyrights!!! --Rikurzhen 19:15, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Vote: "Intelligence and race" versus "Race and intelligence"

There appears to be some support for retitling the article "Intelligence and race" (here, bottom and immediately above). The motivation for the change is, in part, to reduce the implicitly causal "sugar and tooth decay" connotation inferred by some contributors. Intelligence and race already links here.

Change title to "Intelligence and race"

  1. Change: Easy fix for important problem, and I'm happy to help edit referring pages. --DAD T 17:02, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
  2. Change: It will help head off misinterpretations. P0M 17:12, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
  3. Change: 'Race and intelligence' may put the psycholinguistic emphasis on the first term (race) for many readers. If this is happening, it would be contributing needlessly to some readers having the emotional response that their race is being attacked. One of the issues that we deal with in this topic is that it has a real effect on people's lives, and this is an easy and free way to soften that effect --much better than resisting or otherwise compromising the findings, as may have happened in some places in the current version.--Nectarflowed T 09:45, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Keep "Race and intelligence"

  1. Keep. I'm pretty sure this article is discussing two issues:
    • The presence of a general correlation between race and IQ
    • Theories about the causal factors that produce the correlation
So I really don't see the problem with using a title that implies a causal connection. That's what this article is about. --malathion talk 21:31, 16 July 2005 (UTC)


  1. Abstain: For the moment, I'll abstain. While at one level it makes sense that people would read the two phrases different, I haven't yet gotten over the fact feeling that the two are logically identicial. --Rikurzhen 17:10, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
  2. Abstain. Exactly the same reason, even though it's tongue-in-cheek. I teach formal logics, and it would be professionally embarrassing for me to advocate a change to something that is equivalent, because conjunction is (as we all know, class) commutative. (After a beer or two, I might admit that the change is, actually, quite a good idea.) Arbor 19:51, 27 July 2005 (UTC)


While I'm sure many will argue that such a change doesn't go nearly far enough, I'm proposing this change because I feel it has a good chance of being implemented, while several previous discussions about title changes have led to little advancement on the issue. --DAD T 17:02, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Also give some thought to the (related) discussion I pasted below from the FAC page. --Rikurzhen 17:14, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Parham that public/media/non-specialist perspectives are not merely historical, and should not be relegated to History. They are not well-covered in the article yet, and what coverage there is tends toward the shrill (researchers are racists or comparable to Hitler or are funded by Nazi sympathizers) rather than the more measured and persuasive criticisms (racial definitions are mixed, inferences are over-general, analytical techniques are troublesome). I'd like to see coverage expand in a unified way that does the content justice, rather than the kind of piecewise "critics instead say" previous-sentence-qualifier approach. In other words, give the science and the commentators their space. --DAD T 17:28, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
If they can be so organized, I'd love to see it done. My suggestion of using history is that it would provide a ready-made context for describing what researchers did and what others thought of that. (But again, just a suggestion.) What do people think about the example of global warming using two articles? (I suppose the equivalents would be Race and intelligence and Race and intelligence controversy or IQ test controversy. Is there anyone interested in doing this work?)--Rikurzhen 17:35, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

As for "logically identical," I don't think so. Logic deals with "and", but only as a conjunction that links two propositions. Set theory deals with the kinds of things that are perhaps most easily understood by using Venn diagrams. But interpreting a title like this one actually requires the reader to fill out the meaning. If a book had a title like Neutrinos and Fungal Infections, the reader would not be cheated if it had one chapter on neutrinos and thirty-one chapters on fungal infections that were bound into one book but otherwise had no connection. Nevertheless, I think most people would feel even more puzzled by the lack of connection than by the supposed causal connection they anticipated upon reading the title. When we interpret telegraph style communications like this one, we depend on internalized rules that we may be unaware of. The rule here seems to be that we follow the temporal and/or causal order so that the spoken words more closely mirror the outside world. "Maturation and Birth" suggests one thing, and "Birth and Maturation" suggests another. P0M 18:08, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm perfectly willing to accept the idea that people read things like that differently than I do. For some reason, it just doesn't click in my head that way. It all tends to sound like "tea and biscuits" vs "biscuits and tea" to me... which to me sounds like (there exists tea AND there exists bisciuts), or maybe P(tea,biscuits) vs P(biscuits,tea), where P is an unknown predicate. So, don't worry, it's probably just something wrong with me. --Rikurzhen 18:21, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
I had a dissertation advisor who had an immense talent for reading things the wrong way. It was benefitial to me to adopt the principle, "I will write this so that even Dr. XXX can't misconstrue it. ;-) P0M 23:03, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

a comment on title/content from FAC

I copied and pasted the thread here --Rikurzhen 17:13, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

  • Object. The article should be moved to Research on race and intelligence or should be expanded to discuss popular beliefs and arguments on the issue from outside the scientific community. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:50, 2005 July 16 (UTC)
    • Comment. I think the root of that suggestion is very good. (For example, both global warming and global warming controversy exist.) But I think in practice it would be better to expand the current History section of this article into Race and intelligence (History), and use that article to detail the ideas/writings/etc inside and outside the field and up to the present, which would include popular beliefs, criticisms, etc. I've been not-so-subtly trying to tempt people to work on this idea. --Rikurzhen 05:25, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
      • I'm glad to see you're receptive, but I'm not sure why current popular viewpoints would be filed under History. Really, I just think the article should make clearer that the belief that race and intelligence are not connected is widespread and give some suggestions for why that is (especially when 200 years ago it almost certainly was not so widespread). Is there any polling data available on this issue? Christopher Parham (talk) 05:49, 2005 July 16 (UTC)
        • I have seen polling data on experts and heard of polling data on public intellectuals like newspaper editors, but nothing on the general public. The idea that history is a good context to explain current popular views is just a suggestion, but it makes sense to me in the context of Gould's The Mismeasure of Man and the fact that the present is a product of history. (Not that we need to debate that point on the FAC page.) --Rikurzhen 05:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Poll: "Race and intelligence research"

Do you like the idea of naming this article Research on race and intelligence or Race and intelligence research or some variation?


  1. Yes. It's growing on me. --Rikurzhen 19:40, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
  2. Yes. I don't see why not. --malathion talk 21:21, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
  3. Yes. No objection. But see comments. --DAD T 21:31, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
  4. Yes. A definite improvement. P0M 22:58, 17 July 2005 (UTC)


  1. Well, it's a weak no, and I see that I am in the minority anyway (and late, to boot!) but here are my reasons: First, the current title is short and sweet, and compatible with what other sources (textbooks, encyclopedia articles) call this. Second, the Evolution article isn't called Evolution research either. Third, there are quite a number of issues in the current article that aren't actually surveying he "research" but rather the controversy, public reception, history, etc. surrounding the issue. Much of that is certainly not research, but I think the article benefits from that material. So I would like to maintain Race and intelligence (or any grammatically correct permutation of those words—conjunction is commutative, after all) for the title of the summary style article. The subarticles then are about history, research, controversy, and whatnot. To put this differently, I am afraid the label research will skew the article too much towards the scientific viewpoint—a viewpoint I myself endorse, but "writing for the enemy" is what makes this entire endeavour so much fun. (And we are still having fun, aren't we?) For a good article on Race and intelligence research we could just make a REDIRECT to the Rushton and Jensen survey paper, couldn't we? Arbor 13:44, 26 July 2005 (UTC)


This would seem to open up room for Race and intelligence controversy in the same form as global warming and global warming controversy, but with less of the feeling of it being a POV split. However, deciding what's research and what's controversy might not always be obvious. The best scheme for deciding that I can think of is based on audience: if the audience for a publication is other researchers, then it goes in research; if the audience is predominantly not researchers, then it goes in controversy. Obviously that won't work 100% of the time. --Rikurzhen 19:50, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

I know what you're getting at, something about "in psychology and related disciplines"; my support is predicated on acceptance from the "teach the controversy" side, as adding a word to the title that doesn't significantly alter the debate over article content/form accomplishes little. And I'm all aboard on the Controversy article. I'm pickling some content on the controversy, as I do think it's not well-covered by the present article. --DAD T 21:31, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I just think it would be too hard to write a single article that covers both topics, so yes this very much depends on having two articles. --Rikurzhen 22:52, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Back to paragraph one

Since I see this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, I will dip in once in a while until this and the related pages acknowledge the controversies more thoroughly. I have just broken the contested assumptions into three bullet points, since the third proceeds only if the first two are assumed. I also added back in the folk vs.scientific taxonomy, which is a central tenet to the criticism of "race science." Jokestress 17:49, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Don't do that. Address the existing unanswered questions above before making further changes. Note the edit comments that were left by others after your last edits. Simply dropping by once and while to make unilateral changes, leaving a note, and then disappearing is not a good way to edit an already-highly-developed article. --Rikurzhen 17:54, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Here are Jokestress's three assumptions:

  1. race is a scientific classification rather than a folk taxonomy.
  2. intelligence is measurable and/or is dominated by a unitary general cognitive ability.
  3. comparing intelligence and race can produce useful and scientifically meaningful conclusions.

(1) is a problem for all the reason discussed previous -- not clear that's assummed, etc. (2) is okay (3) is ambigious, but by one reading it seems to be begging the question --Rikurzhen 18:07, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Rikurzhen, this "highly developed article" has developed with minimal discussion of the extensive criticism. You average about 20 edits a day on this topic (nearly exclusively), and I have worked with others who have a sense of ownership of an article like this. I will concede that I do not have the zeal or time you do for this topic, and I can't take the time to answer twenty replies a day on this. This is a hobby for me.
The first sentence is an OK compromise for now. So let's go one bullet point at a time on the central assumptions. We will start with the assumption about race required to produce this kind of knowledge. The validity of human races article is a NPOV mess that should not be linked. Even the title is not NPOV: it's like having an article called "validity of astrology." Now, the main issue in terms of race is the same issue in terms of intelligence: is race something that can be defined in a scientific manner? Some say yes, some say no. Those who say yes claim it is a scientific classification. Those who say no claim it is a folk taxonomy. Can we agree on that? I will check in much later today, and we will do this one bullet point at a time. FYI, I think bullet 2 is fine. It seems to follow that 3 is the assumption for those who assume 1 and 2. Jokestress 18:22, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Jokestress, I'm glad you've got my psychology figured out, but let's cut the B.S. I don't want to have a conversation with you. When I say there are unanswered question, I don't literally mean you have to answer them. Rather, I mean you have to (a) do your homework (i.e. specific citations) and (b) play by the rules (e.g., WP:NPOV, which I've highlighted in a section above). This will probably be the last WP article I have time to do any significant work on, and I'd like to have something to show for it. So please, read and consider the comments on this page and the edit comments. I got the impression that you hadn't, which is why I reverted you (i.e., you seemd to simply put your text back).
My primary concern is that the scientific concensus is presented accurately in this article. WP:NPOV seems to favor the scientific concensus over other POVs in the crafting of articles, and as a scientist I am very attached to the idea of distilling the truth. DAD, I and others are discussing how to get the non-scientific-concensus POV into this article (see above). I believe it will require great care and carefully balancing; I (and others) have suggested a separate controversy article. Your input would--of course--be appreciated, especially if your willling to contribute.
I would really need to see a good/reputable citation to support the claim that folk vs scientific taxonomy is an assumption here / the right way to describe the assumption. I'm a biologist, and prima facia that doesn't seem like a sound distinction to me (e.g., was Aristotle's categorization of organsims folk or scientific; what's the dividing line). Moreover, I have the impression that most IQ research uses self-reported race. A modest amount of biomedical research supports the validity of self-reported race for some bioscience/medical applications; that is, the validity is context specific. So I'm highly dubious of any claim that self-reported race is across-the-board unusable by science. --Rikurzhen 18:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

My take on the 3 assumptions (written before Rikurzhen's remarks above were posted):

As Malathion has already clearly pointed out above, all concepts and all categories are free constructs of the human mind. How well they map the territory depends on lots of factors. How well they need to map the territory to be useful depends on what you are trying to do. Do we have any examples of the operational definitions actually used in these studies? Somehow we need to be less abstract. We need to be able to avoid "valid" and "scientific" in favor of more empirical terms. That will prepare the way for considerations of the statistical reliability of experimental data. If the standard is "self identification," and we find a 1% presence of lactose intolerance in that group, will it turn out that the 1% consists mainly of people whose actual genetic heritage is not what their self identifications led researchers to assume? Or will any "mistakes" in self-identification wash out or yield statistically insignificant distortions? Writing the introduction as though there is a widely gapped dichotomy between scientifically valid categorizations and folkloric team choosing misrepresents the continuum between one-by-one gene scans on one end and "they look more Cyprian than Sardinian to me" on the other end. P0M 19:10, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

[edit conflict w/ P0M, but it looks like he and I are on the same page about using better terms to avoid distinctions that may be unnecessary/incorrect] My suggested first assumption is:

  • self-identified race is a useful categorization for social science research, which can produce scientifically meaningful conclusions.

I recommend this because:

  • self-identified indicates folk racial identification within a social context w/o the problems of supporting a folk/scientific divide; seldom do be people get genotyped before taking an IQ test and I know of no reports that would have used a panel of ancestry informative markers needed to infer ancestry, so there is really no attempt to use a uniquely scientific categorization system
  • I know what useful means, but never in a science class have I been told what valid means; I suppose angels would not be a valid scientific category, but I don't think we're treading on the naturalism/supernaturalism divide here
  • social science is not perfect because the line between psychology and biology is fuzzy (as most lines are), but it gives it some context, and race is a context dependent category
  • scientifically meaningful conclusions is really the heart of the disagreement over race, not what kind of category it is or isn't

--Rikurzhen 19:17, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Your suggested first assumption misses the point. That's why each assumption needs to be a simple sentence with no dependent clauses. I don't think this is the issue here:
  • self-identified race is a useful categorization for social science research
I'll let this percolate, but that's not really the contested assumption. It's really whether race is a biological reality (in a hard science kind of way) as well as a social reality (which isn't contested to my knowledge).
That said, I think adding "social science" up front is a splendid idea. In fact, I suggest we replace "research" with it in the first sentence:
  • Race and intelligence is an area of social science studying the nature, origins, and practical consequences of group differences in intelligence.
Jokestress 22:30, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for giving that some thought. I think we're now on "the same page" so to say, but I think we disagree slightly (interestingly in opposite directions than you might think). I don't think the entire field operates under the assumption that "race is a biological reality" (or in the language of philosophy that race is a "natural kind"). Certainly, a subset of researchers on this topic accept that assumption (e.g. Jensen), but others seem very much not to (probably many who think the cause of the IQ gap is entirely environment). On the other hand, I think Sternberg (e.g., in the paper quoted in the background section) is really saying that self-identified race is not a useful categorization for (at least this) social science research. So, at the very least, I think we cannot use your assumptions to divide those who do R&I research from those who don't. A more qualified opening statment about assumptions could probably accomodate these many levels of POV about race. As far as I can see there are at least three:
  1. race is a valid biological category at least with resepct to R&I research (e.g. Jensen)
  2. race is not a valid biological category for this field, but it is a valid social category (e.g. Nisbett)
  3. (Sternberg's view) that self-identified race is a folk cateogory, not a scientific category and so no or few meaningful conclusions can be made
Can anyone else chime in and tell us what they think? --Rikurzhen 22:50, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
A great many authors make no assumption whatsoever about race being a "biological reality." None of the disparate impact research makes biological claims. It is entirely possible to understand, and perhaps even explain, most of the canonical research results on the IQ gap without any biological definition of race. The work on heredity of IQ, even the examination of differentially segregating gene clusters in Ashkenazim, does not require or even use a biological definition of race. All these results require is some kind of group identification. Whether Jensen believes race is a valid biological category or not, the bulk of his research does not depend on race having any biological reality. (E.g., Spearman's hypothesis and attendant results make no biological assumption about "black" and "white".) Rushton's research does depend on such an assumption, since he routinely makes claims about human evolution.
Thus I would rephrase point 1 to a least say, "Race is a valid category". By the way, doesn't "social science" exclude research in genetics and evolutionary biology, among others? --DAD T 23:10, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, ignore the rephrasing; I hadn't read carefully enough. The claim that race can be a valid social category, yet not valid for studies of IQ, is at issue. I'm having trouble separating this from studies of income inequality by race, stereotype threat by race, and educational achievement by race, all of which appear to proceed with minimal objections. What am I missing? --DAD T 23:32, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
In a word, heritability. Genetics and evolutionary biology long ago moved away from the idea of "race," which is why I like the suggestion of indicating this school of thought is a social science. The other articles on "race" you cite do not seem to claim innate inequality, though they have their own problems. As I said, the pro-"race" POV has really gotten out front on all these articles. Someone please shoot me the Sternberg to jokestress at gmail dot com and I'll look it over next week. Sounds like he sums up my points pretty well. Jokestress 01:12, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I've tried several times to understand this paper, maybe if we try again we can figure this out: Robert J. Sternberg, Elena L. Grigorenko, and Kenneth K. Kidd, "Intelligence, Race, and Genetics," American Psychologist 60, no. 1 (January 2005): 46–51. The abstract has the strongest conclusions about R&I research that I've read in a recent scholarly paper; however, the text of the article doesn't seem to fully support the conclusions until they are simply asserted. ("Race is a social construction with no scientific definition. Thus, studies of the relationship between race and [intelligence] may serve social ends but cannot serve scientific ends.") If we can somehow distill what Sternberg (dude has his name on so many papers I truly doubt he wrote them all) is saying, we may have the assumption we're looking for. ... Or maybe I'm just reading the abstract incorrectly. --Rikurzhen 23:55, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
I don't have access to the APA journal thru school. If you're feeling subversive, I'm a willing partner, as I'm dying to read the paper after seeing the abstract. --DAD T 00:01, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I wiki-emailed the text; there are no figures. --Rikurzhen 00:07, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
Oh... duh! Sternberg is saying that IQ is crap and race is crap, so crap X crap = total crap. That's what different about IQ and race for him. Is that it??? --Rikurzhen 23:58, July 16, 2005 (UTC)
I'm very much convinced that Sternberg's conclusions don't seem to be connected to the data he presents. He also makes some rather dubious claims, which while logically true, are misleading -- like something you'd expect from a lawyer rather than a researcher. Because his conclusions are rather disparate from the published concensus statements, especially with regard to the IQ-intelligence relationship, I think he must be called a minority POV. --Rikurzhen 05:06, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
I'm sympathetic to Sternberg's POV regarding "intelligence." Even Jensen, in The g Factor, discusses the problems with that particular word. That's why I favor using "cognitive ability" or "IQ" or "g" in the article, and "intelligence" only for the title/intro (as it's the only word that is accessible and encompassing enough). I was most interested in Sternberg's treatment of heritability, but he has nothing new to say. (His key points, that heritability is environment-dependent and that high heritability does not mean a trait is not malleable, are featured prominently in the WSJ consensus statement.) My opinion of him is unchanged: rhetorically, he's brilliant, unless you can actually independently evaluate his arguments. Still, my POV is beside the point; as a citable within-field critic, he merits air time. --DAD T 18:45, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
FYI: the abstract is already block-quoted in the background section. --Rikurzhen 18:51, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Again skipping over what Rikurzhen and Drummond have said, here is my "take" on the matter.

Malathion has already stated the crucial issue. Theories are about reality. They are not reality just as an image is a real reflection -- but if you shoot the guy in the mirror you won't get the man holding a gun on you. Even the reality of many (it sometimes seems like almost all) subspecies of spiders is in question. And fairly often the reality of species distinctions is in question. It's not that spiders are not real. It's that the lines we draw on the map to separate them are not there before we draw them. In a sense, the reality of genetic differences among humans is one of the most quantifiable things you could ever expect to see. You can express the genetic identity of a single human in a long string of base-four numbers. Those numbers almost all have a history. Unless a mutation has occurred you can trace the numbers back to the parents, and back and back and back to Adam and Eve (or whatever the original group of mutants called themselves). But the differences that have arises among the people who migrated to the Americas, the people who migrated to Australia, the people who stayed put in Africa, etc., etc. do not even raise to the level of subspecies distinctions. There are no dotted lines that say "cut here."
Given that fact, whatever we do to deal with the fact that people who moved to Area X have evolved a propensity to disease Y may gain us utility in allocating resources and other activities concerned with public medicine, but at the same time we create a false picture. It's a little like claiming third cousin Roberta who has just been elected Secretary General of the UN as "family" and denying that Uncle Blinky the sop has any biological connection with the rest of the family. I should come clean and annotate my own "essays." Lots of what I get comes from a specialist philosopher, Phillip Frank, who wrote The Philosophy of Science some time ago. P0M 23:14, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Good points. Even while trying to add some distinctions, I haven't been precise enough... I'll fix when I get a sec. --Rikurzhen 23:20, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Here's something I do know. Sternberg (in the paper under discussion above), Lewotin (originally), Gould, and many others argue that (1) there is more genetic variation within socially-delinated "races" than between them, and (2) human evolution hasn't had enough time to produce major differences between populations. From this they conclude that race must not a biologically interesting/meaningful category, and it is implausbile that signficant differences between races in heritable traits could exist (except for skin color?). Or something like that. Thus, they argue, a partly genetic explanation for race differences in IQ is implausble. The problem of course, is that current discussion on race has moved away from these points (also seemingly acknowledged in the Sternberg paper???), because (1) 10% of total variation is still a ton of variation, and (2) lots of biological things really do differ between races and it doesn't even seem necessary for selection to exist for large differences to have evolved (neutrally) or by some local assimilation w/ pre-modern humans. So... unlike in the 1970s, when these arguements were being framed... you can adopt a very modest position on the biology of race and still logically accomodate Jensen's partly genetic hypothesis. (Rushton's hypothesis is a different matter, but not something for the first paragraph.) Thus, I think we need a very modest assumption about race in the first paragraph, even to accomodate Jensen. --Rikurzhen 00:19, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

I think my understanding of the argument is still deficient. Unless the world has gone completely nonlinear, everyone agrees that self-identified races are partly delineated, to the extent a fuzzy set can be delineated, by heritable traits with a genetic basis, most obviously skin/eye/hair color, but possibly (debatably!) others as well. No contested assumption yet. The hypothesis that self-identified blacks differ in mean skin color from self-identified whites because of partly genetic causes edges beyond plausible into painfully obvious, even though (presumably) some whites have darker skin than some blacks. None of this requires "race" to be biologically defined; self-identification is fine. I'm not aware of any claim that researchers have manipulated the racial self-identification of their subjects. While I'm not going to pitch a fit if a properly validated assumption is made, I continue to view the "race must be biologically defined" claim as an essentially implausible, but rhetorically useful, straw man. --DAD T 01:15, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I continue to view the "race must be biologically defined" claim as an essentially implausible. Agreed. --Rikurzhen 01:29, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
Is something missing from the sentence quoted above? I can read it to mean, "Surely, race is biologically defined." I can also read it, in context at least, to mean "The only kind of 'racial' category that could be used in ways that would produce good science would be those defined in biological terms." Actually, I think I've seen both points of view expressed in this discussion page and in the one on race. P0M 03:38, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
No. I interpreted it to mean that the claim that R&I research depends on the existence and validity of some biological definintion of race is implausible. That is, R&I research does not depend on any biology-based definition of race, thus a biological defintion of race is not an assumption of this research. --Rikurzhen 03:54, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
No? Is what you are saying different from my second version? P0M 04:27, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe I've had one too many margaritas. Let's see what DAD has to say, or I'll chime in tomorrow. --Rikurzhen 04:29, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
I think we're saying the same thing. I'm diverting myself from the bigger problem (the 3 guys) above. I think I can explain what they're trying to do and what is problematical about it, but not this late at night. P0M 06:07, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Rikurzhen's interpretation of 03:54 is correct. P0M, both your interpretations have been expressed, but neither reflect my intended meaning. To be clear: while some specific hypotheses, such as Rushton's r-K model, depend on race having biological reality, the vast majority of R&I research does not, any more than research on affirmative action depends on race having biological reality. --DAD T 18:06, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
w.r.t the first paragraph where we're talking about simply doing the research... that's correct. of course, a causal theory in science is probably going to be dependent on some assumptions that are not direct empirical findings of the researcher; the same will be true of causal theories in R&I research, but that's beyond the scope of paragraph 1 and varies within the field. --Rikurzhen 18:37, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Interesting finding

Morton drawing.png

One of the most interesting things I've found so far is this 1839 drawing. This shows that Black-White-East Asian differences have a deep evolutionary basis. It would be pretty hard to explain how environmental factors could cause this type of difference in the skull shape. Of special interest is this caption:

The first of these figures represents a Negro head, .... The second is a Caucasian skull .... The third figure is taken from a Mongol head, in which the orbits and cheek bones are exposed, as in the Negro, and the zygomae arched and expanded; but the forehead is much broader, the face more retracted, and the whole cranium larger. [emphasis added] Dd2 07:44, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for scanning that. I just added it to the scientific racism page with the other skull illustration. Jokestress 17:40, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Jokestress, do you have any citation for that, or is it merely your opinion that this picture constitutes scientific racism? --DAD T 18:09, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Gould. Read the caption on that page. Jokestress 18:17, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I don't get it. Is this scanned from something Gould wrote? --Rikurzhen 18:38, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
No. I cropped it from a scan of Morton's Crania Americana, found here: [10] Dd2 18:41, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
You can read all about Morton in craniometry. Every time I come on here, I find a new non-NPOV article involving race. I'm going to stick with this one primarily, since it seems the most POV'd at the moment. Jokestress 18:56, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I actually wrote most of that stuff about Morton in the craniometry article. It was moved there from this article. Dd2 18:59, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Intro again

The intro says, "However, differences of average IQs among groups has been pronounced enough to merit a scientific investigation. /para/ Findings demonstrating differences of average IQs among groups have prompted further investigation." Holy redundancy. The statement about "meriting" a scientific investigation is silly and POV; all that matters for the intro is that investigations have occurred. Then, "Causation theorists have proposed..." Huh? What's a causation theorist, and why are their hypotheses limited to non-genetic causes? Easier to simply state what hypotheses are being considered, and not try to label the researchers. The label "very" for controversial is sloppy; "controversial" is enough.

The APA report was 1996; why does the article say 1995? Any evidence that the consensus has changed, which would make the date is important? --DAD T 19:22, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

WSJ cited was 1994, APA was 1995. Dates place the responses as contemporaneous with Bell Curve. Jokestress 20:40, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

The APA report was published as Nisbett et al (1996), but why does the date matter? --Rikurzhen 20:45, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

a few other problems:

  • consensus view among social scientists is unnecessary; for example, why would the hypothetical concensus view of natural scientists on group IQ differences matter, and is there any evidence it would differ from the view of social scientists?
  • Certain environmental factors ... and other influences have been hypothesized To do what? Right now it sounds like individuals differences. We seem to have lost the indication that these are causal theories about group differences. --Rikurzhen 19:42, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

also... a reminder: the intro should be about 3 paragraph long and should act like a summary style section for the rest of the article: like an abstract. --Rikurzhen 19:52, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

I am going to get to the fact that it is the consensus view of evolutionary biologists and geneticists that race is a folk taxonomy, and that their consensus differs from APA types. Too much to address in this article. Marathon not sprint. Soft not hard. Typing in fragments just to keep up... Jokestress 20:40, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Marathon not sprint. ... cute, but you've made a mess out of the intro paragraph fast enough. why not take your article editing as slowly as your responses to our objections? --Rikurzhen 20:54, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
I found a "mess" when I arrived. I am letting about 50 things stand in the intro while I go through point by point. I find many of these belabored objections above and below (like this 1995 quibble- check the original APA release date) to be "irrelevant," in the way other POV objections are deemed "irrelevant" by the editors who got this article to its present state. I am going to come here every day for the next eleven months until this thing is NPOV. Jokestress 21:16, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe if you would consider collaborating with us, rather than railing against us, we would all be able to improve the article without getting headaches. At the moment, the single most important thing, IMHO, that you need to do, is to consider that you may misunderstand the scientific-concensus POV. As a result, you are adding content that argues against a POV that isn't present (i.e., that isn't the scientific concensus POV). I don't know how to get us past this point, without asking you to do some more reading. --Rikurzhen 21:27, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
The 1995 "quibble" wasn't a quibble, nor an edit, but a question. Thanks for the answer. --DAD T 23:31, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
AFAIK, there is no published concensus view on race among geneticists (I'm one of them), but that's actually irrelvant. As we're discussing in the sections above, there is no contest over what you call the folk/scientific dichotomy. R&I research doesn't presuppose a ground-up, biology-based definition of racial classification, it relies on self-reported race. --Rikurzhen 20:45, July 17, 2005 (UTC)
Also... Sternberg was one of the authors of the APA report. --Rikurzhen 20:48, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

"While the distribution of IQ scores of different racial-ethnic groups overlap considerably, groups differ in where their members tend to cluster along the IQ scale." There is no significant disagreement with this statement in any of the literature, correct? --DAD T 23:31, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

AFAIK, that is correct. --Rikurzhen 00:51, July 18, 2005 (UTC)

missing reference

Regarding the first picture caption, I can't find the "Rushton 1995" reference among the refs. What's the actual reference? I just read the Roth 2001 paper. Holy data. --DAD T 00:56, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

DAD speculates a bit

I'm going to speculate a bit; I hate doing this, but with this particular group it may do more good than harm. I hypothesize that Rikurzhen, Jokestress, P0M and I (at least) are all: 1) highly educated, 2) strongly liberal, 3) familiar with general scientific practice, 4) deeply concerned with the social consequences of the research, and 5) [it must at least be speculated] not deluded by any forms of racism save those unremovable subconscious types. Rikurzhen and I, and perhaps others, are practicing scientists in cognitive science and/or genetics. It seems implausible to me that a crew with this kind of talent and (admittedly hypothesized) shared values can't cooperate, enjoy each other's company, and build an exemplary article.

I'll speculate that Rikurzhen and I know the scientific literature better than Jokestress right now, but we're both energetic and delighted to inform. I speculate that she knows the scientific racism literature better than we do, and I hope she'll be just as energetic in educating us. The vast majority of new editors who show up here appear to react viscerally -- and with scads of ill-informed edits -- to the seeming incompatibility of the science with their worldview; I went through a similar crisis when I first encountered the material. The antidotes are mutual trust, flexibility and, above all, knowledge. It's not a marathon or a sprint; this isn't a race. It's a project that's larger than any of us. --DAD T 01:13, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Amen to that. By the way, you can add me to your list, except for (2). I'm European, and liberal still means "the opposite of socialist" around here, so I always choke on that label. Call me an unrepentant leftist or a social democrat. (And I'm a practicing scientist as well, but in the "hard" sciences.) Arbor 13:51, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Questions about group understandings of fundamental matters

This discussion page is starting to look like the trees and connections among trees in a tropical jungle. One of the primary causes of trouble among people who argue about [race] and [intelligence] in the world outside Wikipedia (as well as within) is that there are contending ideas about what referents the word "race" has, if any. Reading over a series of diffs I started getting the feeling that we are not clear on the connections between empirical evidence, statistical evidence, constituted entities (or social constructs, by which I mean concepts and the words that label them that create accounts for what things are "out there," how and why those things work, etc.).

It would be a great contribution if we could describe clearly and persuasively why the study of connections between [race] and [intelligence] so easily becomes controversial.

I am also beginning to wonder whether I have a minority take on the nature of genetic connections among all human beings -- that it is a rich tapestry with a few billion threads peeking out at this end of the loom, and that it's not a simple weave where all threads go straight up and down the cloth.

Take the issue of the skulls. Unless the great archeologists who study ancient China were failing to describe accurately what they were digging up, there are enough similarities among Chinese skulls going back thousands of years to constitute a "type." The same goes for Native American skulls. But there is not absolute uniformity among them, and occasionally skulls have been discovered that have suggested to people like Herlee Creel that there were both a couple of "negro" skulls and a couple of "caucasian" skulls among the "Chinese" skulls. I don't want to get into what it means for there to have been these atypical skulls there, but simply to point out that people who devoted their lives to trying to puzzle out the ancient origins of a great civilization had enough of an idea of what a typical skull was to have been puzzled by a few odd ones. So let's take the skulls as the basis for a kind of thought experiment, at least until someone comes up with evidence that indicates that one can't make a good guess on what DNA evidence will show just by looking at a skull. (One book that I have at hand that talks about "skulls of pronounced Chinese type" at the time of the Shang dynasty, is William Watson's Early Civilization in China, p. 64.)

If one were to look at one skull from an American Indian, one from a native of Mali, etc., etc., you might not get an idea of what was typical of the groups that they came from. For instance, if you looked at the skull of a Taiwanese whose parents had made him sleep on his back on a board, you might decide that Chinese skulls had rectangular rear aspect. If you examine a large number of skulls you will find commonalities that can't be accounted for by the application of external forces to deform skulls in different ways depending on the culture. That's probably what the pictures of the 3 skulls are intended to illustrate. For some skull features to pop out at you, you don't even have to wait until the skin is removed. Everybody calls us Anglo types "da4 bi2zi" (big nose) (or "hook nose, beak nose" if you speak Taiwanese). A Chinese kid who sprouted a "witch's nose" like mine might have a hard time growing up.

If one is being "scientific" in one popular sense of the word, one may become concerned to measure dimensions of the skulls with micrometer precision, measure millions of skulls, etc. The practical person who measures a few skulls from a few different widely separated points on the globe will fairly soon notice that the average distances center around certain values for each group, and will realize that taking a thousand more or even a hundred more is not going to change the average enough to make any great difference. If Anglo average nose length is 2.03 inches after you've done a thousand, and Chinese average nose length is 1.1 inches after a thousand, it's not going to matter if after you take 10,000 measurements the "real" averages turn out to be 2.0296 and 1.0973 inches. There is nothing racist in the simple accumulation of empirical evidence.

If one were a computer and just cranked out the numbers, that would be the end of the story, but humans do what I've already started to do: They say something like, "The characteristic nose length of Chinese is 1 inch plus or minus .3 inches." That judgment is already a construct on two grounds, (1) you've already singled the Chinese out as "a group" and you're treating them as though there were a discontinuity between them and the northern Europeans, and (2) you've conceptualized the group as "Those people whose average nose length is about an inch."

The next stage may be to ask why the group that adapted to living on the edges of the ice-age glaciers have big, long noses, and the other group is characterized by noses that are much more economical of raw material, less likely to get caught in door jambs, etc.

I don't see how any of the above is racist. They involve constituted entities, social constructs, and racist conceptualizations are also social constructs. The difference is that the racist conceptualizations include a strong axiological component that is not grounded in empirical observations. It is one thing to say, e.g., Northern European noses are good for warming and moisturizing sub-freezing air, and another thing to say that Northern European noses suit their owners for prying into the business of honest people who are minding their own business, and so the people are bad.

If memory serves, the people who have been most interested in skulls from an ideological standpoint have concentrated on measuring brain case volume and arguing from that dimension to the physical size of the brain, and then from that to the intelligence of the owner of the skull. It's a simplistic argument to say that volume = intelligence. Humans are not, I think, the organisms with the biggest brains. I suspect that the people who used information on brain volumes to racist ends voiced the conclusion that some groups have to be less intelligent than other groups simply because their brains were of a lower volume.

Politically it probably would be wise to avoid the skull illustrations. There are plenty of other heritable characteristics that are known to be different among different populations but not to be accelerants for controversy and ill feeling.

I thought these matters were clearly explained in the article on Race, maybe I'd better check.P0M 00:41, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

rikurzhen comments

It would be a great contribution if we could describe clearly and persuasively why the study of connections between [race] and [intelligence] so easily becomes controversial. -- I agree strongly, and I think that idea could be the basis for an entire article called something like Race and intelligence controversy.

re: the skull illustration. ... look here

re: your description of statistical reasoning from individuals to groups: is absolutely correct, and is probably an important aspect of a controversy article. let me add something to the idea. people w/o the training in science that would famaliarize them with the concepts you've described probably have a typological/Platonic concept of categories. What they need to have instead is a statistical/populational/fuzzy concept of categories. For example, the idea that racial-ethnic groups differ in average IQ is probably easily misunderstood to mean that all members of one race are more intelligent than all members of another race: a product of categorical thinking rather than populationist thinking. Likewise, people probably don't understand the idea of complex (multigenic, QTL, multifactorial) biological traits. Folk genetics concepts don't handle non-typological traits very well. All of these things will lead people to misunderstand any research that explores differences between groups of anything, but race and intelligence is particularly subject to misunderstanding. --Rikurzhen 01:12, July 18, 2005 (UTC)

DAD comment

I agree, broadly, with your whole tract. Tidbits: nobody claims brain size = intelligence, and published size-IQ correlations are low, on the order of 0.1-0.4 IIRC; humans have smaller brains than several megafauna, but the proper question is whether elephants with larger brains are smarter than their cerebrally underendowed herdmates; the skull measurement material may have value (I understand that forensics on bones and blood can correctly identify racial identity) but is probably irretrievably associated with quack craniometry and early attempts to justify racism.

I'm not surprised by the controversy, outside or here on WP. To a set of people, anything that arms racists (and many research findings in this field clearly arm racists) must be fought by any means available. The same thing happens w.r.t. evolution, which clearly arms anti-creationists or (yikes!) atheists. To another set, the findings are so obviously false, or the questions so ill-defined, that it's just a matter of time and effort to expose the rotten core of the so-called "science". To another set of people, the good that can come of understanding the roots of inequality more than compensates for arming racists, who are pariahs in our society anyway. Another set just wishes knowledge could be compiled without all this slinging of value judgments and policy implications. Whether we admit it or not, I'm fairly certain that our little group of authors subscribes quite fervently to one or more of these positions, and we can't just leave them at the home page. --DAD T 01:45, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps. What you say reminds me that one of the nicest people I've ever known was one of my students in the disciplinary school. He was said to have suffered some kind of marginal brain damage, and was not a whiz kid, but I'd rather have him as a neighbor and a friend than some of the guys in finance who were crowing about how their financial manipulations were ripping off the pensions of old ladies. I think I'm more fervent in appreciating the cultural/nurture things that can be done to produce the nice guys and influence people against becoming sociopaths. P0M 02:08, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Right -- intelligence and personality are largely unrelated. In personnel selection, it's (in order): select on 1) intelligence and 2) conscientiousness and emotional stability. But my boss used to say, "One rule: no a--holes."  ;) --DAD T 02:36, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

A quibble or a question

The intro says:

self-identified race is a useful categorization for social science research and can produce scientifically meaningful conclusions

I suspect that this statement mischaracterizes the nature of the studies of [race] and [intelligence]. Nobody has made a study that did not use self-identified race as its sole means of categorizing the subjects of the study into [racial] groups? P0M 00:54, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Can this be right?

The intro says:

most variation in IQ occurs within individual familes

I thought that intelligence was shown to be highly heritable, that if someone's parents had a high IQ then the person would very likely have a high IQ. But the sentence quoted above indicates that one should expect to find high, medium, and low levels of intelligence within the same family, and that having their individual intelligences near to the average of their intelligences would be an anomolous situation. P0M 01:02, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

From Jensen (1998, p.357) if you had equal sized samples of Whites and Blacks, and then did an ANOVA for IQ scores:


the reason is that siblings (and parent-child pairs) only have a genetic correlation of 0.5, in a scale where strangers from the same population are 0 and identical twins are 1. so large differences would occur in families even if heritability were 100%.

--Rikurzhen 01:17, July 18, 2005 (UTC)

Is "variance" defined somewhere? Thanks. P0M 02:23, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
You mean anywhere in WP? There's Variance, but that's not going to help the statistically naive reader. --Rikurzhen 02:42, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
The way I read the sentence, as a naive reader, is that if the difference between mode intelligence in Blacks and Asians is 20 IQ points, then the variations in IQs in individual families would exhibit an even greater gap in IQ scores. If one son scored 100 his older brother might score 75 and his sister might score 125. P0M 02:38, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Oh? Can we clear that up somehow? --Rikurzhen 02:42, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps this can help. Variance and mean difference are independent: variance (or variation) quantifies dispersion, while mean difference quantifies relative position. Imagine a case in which all Pinks have IQ 100 and all Blues have IQ 130. Then the mean difference is 30, but the between-color variation is zero -- between any Pink and Blue, the difference never varies. Okay? The families stuff is a bit more complicated, but becomes clearer once you know what's being quantified. --DAD T 03:08, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Back in the 80s the best technical writing I've ever seen appeared in a magazine called Microcornucopia, a kind of one-family operation devoted to people who were working on the single-board computer that became the engine for the Kaypro and the Xerox 820. The writing never failed to use the exact technical term when that was what was needed, and never tried to use technical language to snow the novice computer wirer. (Yes, we made computers with printed circuit boards, chip sockets, soldering irons...) I think we can match that high standard if we can incorporate the kind of illustrations DAD has given above into the article. Thanks P0M 03:49, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Surely you're wrong, Mr. Artery.

Apologies to Gene Autry, Pat Butram, and Slim Pickens!

Seriously, the intro says:

The primary focus of the scientific debate is whether group IQ differences also reflect a genetic component, such as genes linked to neuron proliferation, brain size, and brain metabolism, that varies with ancestral background.

I thought we had gained some ground, and some clarity, when we said that [race] (whatever the heck it is) is not to be equated with genetic constitution -- that when we study a [race] we are inevitably drawing in non-genetic factors. Two issues need to be highlighted. (1) Some [races] are systematically mistreated because of racism. (2) Some genotypes may make the individual atypically responsive to surplus or deficit conditions in some environmental variable. It's not directly related to intelligence, I guess, but whites can tolerate a much higher vitamin D deficiency in their diet in northern climes. It is very easy to read the sentence quoted above to mean that there is a simple dichotomy: Either population genetics is irrelevant to intelligence, or inherited genetic characteristics determine one's maximum potential.

By the way, there is an interesting article on epigenetic modification. Science News, 9 July 2005, p. 19. P0M 01:22, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

That's definitely not what it's intended to mean. Perhaps it would be more precise to say that the loudest noises are made in the debate over whether the IQ gap is caused in part by genetics. --Rikurzhen 01:29, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
The words "also" and "component" in the sentence in question seem to directly contradict the purported dichotomy. --DAD T 02:16, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
I can see that, but I think it would be better to reformulate it. I can try later, but I wanted to make sure what the actual intent was. P0M 02:27, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Another question regarding words

The article says:

overall the culture-only hypothesis is not "progressive" but "degenerating"

These words must have conveyed a clear meaning in their original context. When I see them in isolation, however, I start wondering if "progressive" means "politically progressive" or what. Rather than make the reader guess, I think it would be better to paraphrase the original so that one can easily understand what is not being caused to progress and instead is caused to degenerate. P0M 03:35, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Just to clarify for you, so that you may decide what to do: the immediately following link to philosopher of science Lakatos discusses the meaning of these terms in the sense intended by Rushton and Jensen. In Lakatos' view, research programs progress or degenerate, not hypotheses, so that is one easy fix. --DAD T 04:07, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

A little farther on it says:

...the magnitude of Black-White-East Asian average IQ differences on those subtests (called Spearman's hypothesis), and measures of those subtests' heritability;...

The fact that there are differences on subtests does not constitute a hypothesis. Spearman's hypothesis either needs to be stated or else the reference to it should be removed. P0M 03:39, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

I realized that was not clear when I wrote it, but I haven't really got anything to suggest as an improvement. Spearman's hypothesis predicts that the magnitude of the score gap on a sub-test will correlate with the degree to which that subtest measures g. --Rikurzhen 04:24, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
I tweaked that sentence, moving Spearman's hypothesis to a footnote. Cool? --Rikurzhen 23:48, July 18, 2005 (UTC)

style guide

I did the easy thing and updated instances of "white" and "black" to "White" and "Black". That matches with the contents of Whites and Blacks, so at least WP will be consistent. --Rikurzhen 13:23, July 18, 2005 (UTC)

Assumptions about race

This may get clearer as I work with others on a concise NPOV intro to the race article, but I'd like to get back to these interesting proposals by Rikuzhen (I took out "self-identified" for now):

  • 1. Race is a valid biological category at least with respect to R&I research (e.g. Jensen)
  • 2. Race is not a valid biological category for this field, but it is a valid social category (e.g. Nisbett)
  • 3. Race is a folk cateogory, not a scientific category and so no or few meaningful conclusions can be made. (e.g. Sternberg) [which I glanced at but did not absorb]

Seems like it is missing the simple declarative sentence at the crux of this matter:

  • 0. Race is a valid biological category in humans. (e.g. Brand)

The crux of the controversy is the underlying implication that "intelligence" is a heritable trait that is measurably different by "race." It is also problematic because of the quantification. There is a connotative difference between saying someone is "totally gay" and a "Kinsey 6." Biologizing or taxonomizing human difference starts getting into tricky territory, especially when there is quantification involved. Jokestress 05:12, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Hmm... Sternberg certain seems to profess a belief in (3), or something like (3). But I'm not sure that the difference between (1) and (2), in the context of this topic and those examples, is actually a matter of having different assumptions, but rather reaching different conclusions (i.e., making different interpretations of data). At least, that's my reading of the literature. What makes me question even Sternberg, is that at the end of his 2005 American Psychologist paper he says pretty straightforwardly that when genes are linked with IQ that would be sufficient evidence to resolve the question for him. So, even though he seems to profess (3), he seems willing to consider something that would seem (to me) as pointing towards (1).
I'm still a little skeptical that assumptions about race are a significant cause of disagreement. There must be some differences in some assumptions that cause the current disagreement. The meaning and significance of IQ scores and g is a fairly common one, which we've covered. It also seems that weighing the relevance of the various indirect experimental data may be one (e.g., opinions about the merits of behavioral genetics, or more precisely how much attention is paid to behavioral genetics). But -- something that might point towards different assumptions about race is Rowe (2005, [11] same issue as Sternberg), which seems to argue that assigning different Bayesian prior weights to the probability of a genetic cause to IQ differences by race is a cause of disagreement. Whether this logically implies different assumptions is not 100% clear to me after reading his article, but it is one plausible reading. --Rikurzhen 05:44, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
So perhaps it would be better to say that A believes X is "likely" and Y is unlikely, and B believes the opposite. --Rikurzhen 06:35, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
This is way too simplistic, but maybe this will help. Here are the possibilities if we limit to two binaries for the categorization (I agree this is a false dichotomy as discussed earlier, but bear with me):
  • 1. race folk/intelligence folk
  • 2. race folk/intelligence science
  • 3. race science/intelligence folk
  • 4. race science/intelligence science
The concern centers around 4, primarily from people who agree with 1. It's the heritability issue. The two assumptions as they stand in the intro now would be roughly 2. That's not especially controversial compared to 4. It seems if you accept 3 or 4, you allow the possibility that hereditary intelligence may be measurably different among races. I guess this is what I want to make clear for casual readers. Jokestress 08:05, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Can we say something like: "opinions vary significantly on the extent to which racial categories divide humans into populations with concordant variation in heritable traits". Pointing at the idea that they differ in their view on the plausibility that group differences in IQ are heritable. --Rikurzhen 15:56, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
This seems close. I need to synthesize this good suggestion and some of the concerns raised in P0M's post. It's not really the plausibility. I believe it is entirely plausible that there is a heritable component to capacity for learning, and I believe it is entirely plausible that this could vary by demographic. My concern (and that of some more knowledgeable experts than I) is that these data do not demonstrate this, but are sometimes interpreted to mean this. Visual representations (photos, illustrations, charts) are powerful persuaders for a lay audience and must be created and explained carefully to avoid POV pushing. Jokestress 17:46, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, when you say "the data do not demonstrate this" I wonder what you mean. Data never demonstrate anything. Data are, loosely defined, facts organized into tables. The interpretation of the data is a secodary part of science and is always POV. Therefore I think Wikipedia should report on what scientists think the data mean, but not on what they actually mean; because without someone to interpret them, data by themselves mean nothing. To the second point you make, I don't think Wikipedia should censor itself because it is afraid that people reading the article will not read it carefully, and may misinterpret it. Someone who only looks an the pictures is bound to misunderstand this stuff no matter what you do. --malathion talk 20:28, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
You make my point about inclusion of the charts. If a casual reader only reads the charts and captions (which many will), they should get the same information as if they only read the summary, or if they read the whole thing. NPOV needs to work at all of those levels. One thing that drives me crazy with many proponents of this kind of research is that they seem to think that the push for POV balance is "censorship" or "fear" or "P.C." etc. Believe me, I am probably a bigger First Amendment proponent than 99.99% of the population. I do not want censorship, I want inclusion. This article is disputed right now because the balance is off. I am claiming it suffers throughout from confirmation bias, where the criticisms receive intense scrutiny and views that support the hypothesis of the editors who developed this get expansive coverage with minimal criticism. I don't feel the sense of urgency on this as I did when it was a FAC, so we will take it slow now. Jokestress 23:09, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm much happier with the debate now; sorry for playing hooky. Just to offer an alternative claim: My impression of the field, and this article, is that bias falls exactly opposite your claim. Widely accepted concepts and techniques, when applied to this subject, suddenly become controversial. Identification of people as black or white poses no apparent problem when the topic is affirmative action (check the article), but is highly controversial -- and suddenly requires a biological basis -- when an IQ test is given. Heritability measurements from countless studies (see Bouchard 1981 if you're curious) become dubious. Consensus statements become conspiracies of like-minded scientists. Surveys become suspect. Findings of studies with N=10,000 - 6,000,000 human subjects, almost unheard-of in science, become tentative or suggestive. The only reason this article exists at all, and hasn't been VfD'd, is that the data and findings (and researchers) have survived an almost unimaginable onslaught which continues even among this article's editors. That confirmation bias is the big concern makes me almost laugh. Almost. --DAD T 00:37, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Indeed. The only kind of bias which is demonstrated in the construction of this article is to discriminate between the scientific consensus POV (and the various majority/minority scientific theories therein) and the non-concensus views of so-called "critics". However, this kind of discrimination is required by NPOV policy (outlined in a section above). Perhaps we need to continue our discussion about branching the public controversy details into Race and intelligence controversy. Using different articles spaces to distinguish between expert and public opinions would allow for the clean distinction of which POVs are which. --Rikurzhen 01:25, July 21, 2005 (UTC)
This research is based on two sets of disputed terminologies, so any attempt to separate the research from the dispute is POV-pushing. Sternberg and Gardner are not just critics or mavericks or crackpots-- these guys are considered leading lights in this kind of research. As we get further along in this process, I believe it will become more clear how deeply this article is not NPOV. There's just too much to address very quickly with once- or twice-a-day visits. Jokestress 08:03, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Simultaneous (w/a light change now) with writing the above from Malathion:
Right! The data indicate pretty convincingly (to me) that something very significant is going on. But the connections between genetic characteristics and environmental factors (in the broadest sense)should not be assumed to be simple. Socially, it is not justifiable to regard anybody's intelligence to have been fated at birth to be what it is at maturity. Just recently it has become well enough established that heart medicine that isn't a good first thing to try on white patients is the most likely to succeed on black patients. That is one way in which environmental factors can interact with genetic characteristics to determine growth and healing. There may be similar environmental factors that affect brain growth and development differently depending on the genetic characteristics of the individual. And the latest thing seems to be the epigenetic modification idea that, to me, is absolutely stunning. They are actually talking about programming the operating system of the human body on a molecular level in reaction to stresses encountered and other such factors. What does it do to the molecular programming of a child living with toxic parents? What does it do to a Black child to live his/her entire life in a society in which his/her self esteem is systematically torn down? It significant enough if it effects the software of the human biocomputer, but if it is actually getting in an burning PROMs in there, it may be something that cannot be remedied and at best can only be compensated for. So if we are measuring "intelligence" then what are we really measuring? It does give us an indication of competency. But it may also be a measure of the amount of abuse and neglect that the individual has absorbed in his/her life. And how, short of thoroughly understanding the genetics of brain structure and function, can we ever know how much is innate and how much is nurture? P0M 20:49, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
P0M, you have made several good points below which I am still mulling over, but as far as the comment above, nature/nurture is kind of the issue here with race. Are some people congenitally predisposed to be less intelligent? That hypothesis doesn't scare me, and I do not want the research censored, but given the potential impact, it is critical that this sort of work proceed with more rigor than any other type of work. As far as "intelligence," the argument is that what constitutes "competency" (to use your word) is culturally determined. I can imagine in a society that valued musical ability above all else, where there would be "music quotient" that would affect your position in society, or perhaps a beauty-oriented society would lead to a "beauty quotient." The people who were aced out in those quantified systems would say, "but you just have a different idea of what is good music than I do," or "you have a different conception of beauty!"
I can imagine a different society where "intelligence" is measured by how well you can remember and recite the tribe's epic poem, or how well you can find berries in the woods, or can settle disputes between two parties. What is valued in a society changes over time, even in something as seemingly objective as "intelligence." Jokestress 23:26, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Edit conflict again. I didn't see the posting immediately above, and it's time to hit the hay. Here is what I was writing why Jokestress was writing her contribution:

Let me be sure that I understand what Jokestress was saying above:

The crux of the controversy is the underlying implication that "intelligence" is a heritable trait that is measurably different by "race." It is also problematic because of the quantification. There is a connotative difference between saying someone is "totally gay" and a "Kinsey 6." Biologizing or taxonomizing human difference starts getting into tricky territory, especially when there is quantification involved.

Let me reword the quoted text to make sure that the intended meaning is coming through:

There are several problematical propositions being made with respect to [race] and [intelligence]: (1) That the term "intelligence" can be given an operational definition understood by and agreeable to everybody. (2) That when "intelligence" is defined that way and studied appropriately it is measurable in some meaningful way. (3) That "intelligence" when so defined can be demonstrated to be heritable. (4) That the term "race" can be given an operational definition understood by and agreeable to everybody. (5) That when populations are segregated by "race" as so defined, the several [races] have different average [intelligences] as so defined above. (6) That besides the discovery of some kind of correlation between [races] and average [intelligences] the implication exists that [race] determines [intelligence].

I realize that pulling things to pieces this way may make the picture look different. I think the two paragraphs actually try to communicate the same thing. If not, please instruct me.

I don't think the controversy is caused by quantification. Simply the implication of a qualitative difference in the [intelligences] of the various [races] must be controversial because of the social effects of that pronouncement, and especially the logically incorrect implication that all members of one [race] are more or are less intelligent than all members of another [race]. To me, the biggest problems are that [race] is only a quasi-biological category, a "mushy" category, and that there is the ever-present danger that differences in outcomes for the various [races] will be simplistically attributed to the genotypes of the members of these [races]. Anyway, here is what I think about the several components of the controversy as I have listed them above. FWIW:

The sources of controversy I see are:

(1) That the definition of "intelligence" that measures suitability to academic performance automatically privileges some talents. For instance, what is called "intuition" in the vernacular seems to be a kind of "neural net" processing that is very valuable in practical situations but cannot be checked out by means of formal logic. It doesn't get measured in IQ tests.
Pure speculation. Citation, please. --DAD T 02:01, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
(1) Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, by Antonio Damasio, HarperCollins, 1994, p. 193. P0M 18:14, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
This article currently takes the Vernon & Carroll model as the basic premise, but it is not "pure speculation" that IQ tests do not measure intelligences identified by prominent researchers:
Howard Gardner: seven intelligences are: verbal, mathematical, musical, spatial, kinaesthetic, interpersonal (social skills) and intrapersonal (self-understanding) functioning.
Robert Sternberg: three intelligences are: academic, practical, creative
We're all trying to get this sorted out, so assume good faith always. Jokestress 02:56, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Jokestress, you have to read the APA and WSJ concensus statements before we can do this correctly. They are quite complementary. The WSJ statement is short and direct and charts the majority/plurality POV among researchers. The APA report takes the time to point out minority views (e.g., Sternberg and Gardner) as well. The reason you need to read them is to see that neither Gardner's nor Sternberg's theories have actually made much of an impact on the practice of mental testing. Not all theories that get ignored by one's peers are bad, but because we're WP, we have to just stick with the facts. AFAIK, few would argue that there aren't aspects of the common sense meaning of "intelligence" that aren't measured well by IQ tests. This widely recognized problem is not generally believed to make IQ a poor indicator of cognitive ability in general; external predictive validity for IQ is very high nonetheless. --Rikurzhen 16:59, July 21, 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, where in Sternberg and Gardner's work, which I pretend to know something about, does it say that "intuition" is a kind of "neural net processing" that is "very valuable in practical situations" but "cannot be checked out by means of formal logic" and "doesn't get measured by IQ tests"? Particularly regarding P0M, I always assume good faith. But we must all trust, but verify. P0M's statement a) doesn't ring true to me, and b) is not verifiable. --DAD T 17:54, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
(2) It is easy to assert that examinations are not biased in favor of one or another kind of life experience, socialization, etc., but there is no independent way of testing intelligence to verify the validity of the IQ-type tests. For instance, I've been studying Chinese for 40 years, so by the standards of formal education I ought to be ahead of 6th grade native speakers of Chinese. Sorry to say, not having absorbed millions of communications in Chinese in infancy and childhood, and not having the characters drilled into my head before my language centers started to "crystallized" at around age 12, I am not ahead of even average children. My intelligence as measured by a Chinese IQ test would be vastly different from my intelligence measured by an English IQ test. However, my math ability (as long as I could puzzle out word problems quickly) would turn out to be about the same.
a) independent confirmation of validity is provided by reaction-time tests (which essentially all children can perform in less than a second without error), and in the world at large by measures such as job performance; b) see the vast literature on test bias (or just the consensus statements) -- your concern regarding language has long since been dispatched and is not a concern with modern tests. --DAD T 02:01, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
(3) The contention that [intelligence] is heritable is not accepted by all people, and the factors that influence the development and expression of whatever is there at conception are so complex that the reasonable assumption would seem to me to be that short of finding the genetic basis for [intelligence] and varying it experimentally the potential intelligence (the genotypic state) can only be approached statistically and indirectly.
That heritability is not accepted by all people is an improper standard; neither is evolution or the moon landing. The precise statement that intelligence is heritable, and with a heritability of 0.5-0.8, is beyond significant dispute even among critics. --DAD T 02:01, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
(4) Any time one makes discrete entities out of a continuum one is thereafter dealing not with reality but with social constructs. If that were not enough to give caution, the main problem with even getting a common understanding of what may be the hypotheses to be examined scientifically is that in practice almost nobody agrees on the definition of "race" and so they are always talking on skewed lines. That is a potent source of controversy that may be invisible to combatants.
(5) Even if one averaged the IQs of members of the same [race], in a series of exams it would be remarkable if the results were always exactly the same. But if the same exam always produced similar differentials across [races], then that would stand as a solid indication of differences of outcomes among the [races]. Controversy would then have to center around whether the measured differences are truly meaningful.
You have just described the actual state of affairs; your use of conditionals is unnecessary. --DAD T 02:01, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
(6) There then would remain the question of whether there are systematic difference in the suitability of factors necessary for nurture among the various [races] and/or whether there are relevant genotypic differences. So there are plenty of opportunities for controversy on this point.P0M 08:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Race and intelligence controversy

I've started a Race and intelligence controversy article. Experimenting with the idea is probably the best way to decide if it is worthwhile. Have at it! --Rikurzhen 03:48, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

Doesn't that indirectly signify that this article is uncontroversial which would be a mistake? Isn't it unnecessarily redundant to have 2 such articles? What about the point of non neutral presentation regardless of the word "controversy", focusing on just "race" and "intelligence" misframes the issue in a completely non neutral presumption inducing way. zen master T 06:43, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Consider these example articles:

--Rikurzhen 07:12, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

But none of the titles you list present the subject with a presumption inducing conclusion in the title, they are all straight forward and simply stated. Wouldn't it be redundant and POV (both conclusive) to have two titles such as Sugar and tooth decay and Sugar and tooth decay controversy? This article should be renamed to Intelligence research controversy, there is already an Intelligence research article so we would actually be following your plan above, what do you think? zen master T 09:35, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
We've had this discussion already countless times. Others do not share the view that the title is "presumption inducing". The straw poll on this subject shows only one vote (ZM's) for this position. Support for renaming the article, even to reverse the terms, has been flimsy at best. Time to move on. --DAD T 14:46, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
The recent feature article candidate vote is evidence to the contrary to what you are saying. zen master T 14:58, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Hm -- I can find no consensus on the FAC comment page that the article's title is "presumption inducing". Anything else? --DAD T 17:41, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

A shorter reply

I wrote something and then realized that I'm using the old computer, which used to work o.k. with Wikipedia until they made the most recent software upgrade. Hopefully if I add it this way now and move it where it belongs later the extra spaces will not mess other things up. If spaces appear above, please revert it for me.

I wrote something long and decided to can it. My main point is that the 5 things I listed in rephrasing Jokestress’s paragraph are things that hang people up, whether they should get hung up on them or not. It was my understanding that Jokestress was trying to identify the sticking points so as to be able to both acknowledge them and also to provide the information that would best enable readers to get over them. Points 1 and and 4 both ask for the moon as the price for ending controversy. Point 2 is, I think, very naturally and unavoidably open to question, even though some people may be convinced that they are measuring intelligence in a perfectly appropriate way. Point 3 is the most plausible to me, but I can understand why many people might find it dubious. Point 5 is dependent upon points 1 and 4, the definitions of “race” and “intelligence.” It reflects “the actual state of affairs,” but only, perhaps, for those who find no problem with the operational definitions of “race” and “intelligence.” And 6 is a misapprehension that must be warded off.

Be aware that I am not arguing with the science. I don’t have the depth to be able to do so. Although I might like to do some experiments with regard to “the power of the hunch in real-world problem solving and the apprehension of criminals,” that would be original research. I am arguing, however, that the six factors I have listed are the stumbling blocks to communicating with the average well-informed reader. I still aspire to ‘’Microcornucopia’’ level technical writing. At this point about all I can do is point out the things like the statement about “variance” that are not communicating clearly to me and then hope that others can write them so that even I can understand. Jokestress seems to be sincerely motivated to work some of these problems of misapprehension out. P0M 09:28, 21 July 2005 (UTC)m

It is very important to try to anticipate misunderstanding and correct it. IMHO, the best way to handle it is to say something of the form, X doesn't mean Y, it means Z. And leave it unstated why someone might think that X means Y. That formulation should minimize problems with WP:NOR. For example, we might point out that tests of cognitive ability do not measure creativity, personality, character, or wisdom, without having to directly say that people might mistakenly believe that they would. --Rikurzhen 18:35, July 21, 2005 (UTC)
I agree Slrubenstein | Talk 22:18, 21 July 2005 (UTC)