Talk:Race and intelligence/Archive 63

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Archive 62 | Archive 63 | Archive 64

Proposal: Let's not have an article on "Race and intelligence"

Let's not have an article on "Race and intelligence". Before anyone cries "CENSORSHIP" or anything of that sort let me explain. The views of Rushon and Jensen belong in their biography articles, or in articles on their books and papers and the controversies that they have caused. The views on race and its nature as a social construct belong in the article on race, and the articles for the academics who holds those views. The discussion of test gaps belongs in the article in test gaps etc. I think there is an article call "achievement gap" -- It could be a starting point.

Our attempt to provide a summary of this topic has failed because it continues to result in an original synthesis of information, and because there is not a definitive position on the topic "race and intelligence" or even race and IQ. So we run in to a problem of being unable to write anything in the "voice of wikipeida" it's becomes a argument of "so and so wrote..." "But sos and so disagreed" etc. It muddles the presentation of the ideas in a clear and concise manner, it gives undue wight to fringe theories and even undue weight to the controversy itself--

My proposal is that we take the material in this article and move each item to its proper place so nothing is deleted and no information is lost and then delete this article. So we'd first request that the page be unprotected than start moving things out-- to ensure that nothing is being "censored" we could post links with the new locations of the information to the talk page. Once the article is gutted we'd request deletion. I'm ready willing to make this happen. futurebird (talk) 18:47, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Support I believe we should have an aticle on IQ and genetics that draws on the relevant literature (which is based on twin studies, not race) and we should have an article on the schloarly literature on the relation between IQ and SES. Lest's start by looking at the notable discussions among competent scholars and figure out how best to represent them in Wikipedia - rather than invent a title for an article and then go about looking for sources. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:54, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose A few months back I might have supported this, but the more activity that I see here the more convinced I am that WP can't avoid the topic under some name, maybe "IQ and genetics". I am very dissappointed that this has become a US-centric Black and White issue. I think that fixing this is going to require a lot of work, and cooperation. I think we need to find a middle ground, adopt strict standards for sources, and agree to more restrictive standards for unilateral editing than are generally applied at WP. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:03, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
    If you would support an article on IQ and genetics, it sounds to me like you are supporting this proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:21, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
    • The flaw I see in FB's proposal. I oppose her suggestion to: "The views of Rushon and Jensen belong in their biography articles, or in articles on their books and papers and the controversies that they have caused. The views on race and its nature as a social construct belong in the article on race, and the articles for the academics who holds those views. The discussion of test gaps belongs in the article in test gaps etc. I think there is an article call "achievement gap"" I have no problem finding a better name, but the topic itself is viable in scope if not in content. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:28, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
    Well, I think Jensen is more notable than Rushton. I do think non-notable views are best handled in articles on the proponents of those views or books authored by them, as NPOV insists that we include only notable views. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:00, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support I think we are going around in circles, we are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When the talk page descends into a discussion about the meaning of "race" then clearly the article is deeply flawed in it's fundamental conception. Mostly I agree with SLR, an article about twin studies seems the most obvious for discussing the hereditarian and genetic research in this subject, are IQ tests the only tests used though? Possibly we could call the article something like "Genetics and cognitive testing". On the other hand it makes complete sense to have an article that specifically discuses the roles of socio-economic status and test scores, I suppose much of this work includes studies on academic achievement as well as cognitive testing? On the whole I think the scope of this article is fundamentally flawed, this article does not appear to be about a coherent body of work. On the other hand I don't think this page should necessarily be deleted, if it is then some bright spark will only come along and create it again. This page should become a disambig page, or possibly a redirect to one of the other pages about cognitive ability. Alun (talk) 19:34, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I can see merit to a signpost article with a very brief description of the topic and sub-topics and then pointing off to other articles with the detail. Perhaps a collection of authors in the various camps, with links to their articles or articles about their works. --Kevin Murray (talk) 00:15, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support I believe a topic could be fashioned, but it would require the complete blanking of this page first - and then a structured rebuild (as per Kevin Murrays suggestion). I also support the ideas of Futurebird (namely putting things were they should be, rather than trying to create a mass of information). This is also not the topic in which to argue over the definition of Race, nor is it the topic for arguing over the definition of Intelligence (both should be covered by their own pages) though they may be relevant. Nor is the wiki here for interpretation of the science and testing, validity etc. The chief issue thereon is that if you actually remove the arguments over the definitions, science, testing and validity you actually end up with no topic at all. Probably the error lies in that "Race and Intelligence" is actually the generic interpretation/definition applied to many of the studies/tests on why IQ differs nationally/internationally/within social groups by uninterested media sources happy just to peg a result as either supporting a preconceived notion of racial superiority, or disproving the 'myth' as it suits.--Koncorde (talk) 20:16, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose The issue of differences of intelligence of the races is very significant, it has been written about ad nauseam in respectable publications, and it has received considerable attention from the public and from media sources. All of this attention and study has expressly considered the variable of race (NOT genetics) and its correlations with intelligence as measured by IQ and test scores. I vehemently oppose attempts to water down the issue and call it "IQ and genetics" and so forth, and I take such motions to be deliberate attempts by some to throw the issue into obscurity and to further mystify a topic that deserves clarity and accuracy in its own right. It is absurd to think that we are somehow creating an original synthesis of information when we use the same language which untold volumes of respectable books and articles have. Repackaging this article as "IQ and genetics" when the sources use the variable "race" is original synthesis. And repatriating bits of information in this article to other articles makes no more sense than dissecting the article on the IQ and rewriting it into the one on intelligence. I think we need to start this article from scratch, scrap the historical background, and simply represent the statistics as best we can. Where a given source says that "Caucasians have so-and-so a score on this test" that's what the article says; we start tripping ourselves up only when we try to inject little warnings about how some anthropologists dispute the biological meaningfulness of "Caucasian"—this kind of thing is intentionally brought up to affect a certain POV on the issue and we need to realize that there is no conflict between using a social category as a variable in statistical studies. This article isn't about genetics, it's about race. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 22:06, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
    If this is not about genetics, then the title of the article should be changed to "IQ and Socio-Economic Status" because that is what eh bulk of the literature is looking at, and SES is a more accurate and precise term than "race." Slrubenstein | Talk 02:02, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
    Except the sources don't talk about socio-economic status, they talk about race; that's why this article was created in the first place. It's not like people were reading all this information in books about IQ scores by income bracket and they just decided to reframe it as intelligence and race, they read it from sources that talk about IQ sources by race. You may rather talk about socio-economic status and IQ, but it seems like your problem is with the sources themselves and not with the substantial issue at hand. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 03:01, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I think those are the sources that we are suggesting should be discussed in the articles on the authors or on the books themselves. futurebird (talk) 03:04, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
That sounds very arbitrary to me; it's not just a dread few racist crackpots who acknowledge that there's a gap in IQ and test scores between certain races. Basically, it sounds like you're saying that even though there are copiously documented academic studies about the gap as it relates to race, these don't deserve their own article simply because they are using race as a variable. That is hardly an even-handed approach to the issue. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 03:21, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, I think you are confused. There seems to be a correlation between self-identified race and IQ score. This is what scientists must explain. Race itself is not part of the explanation - not a cause - it is an effect, part of what must be explained. The point that I think Futurebird and others - certainly I - raise is that biological explanations are fringe. you yourself seem to agree, that this discussion is not about genetics. If we subtract genetics, we are left with environmental factors. These environmental factors can include material causes, e.g. nutrition, especially prenatal and neonatal, and incidence of disease, but most notable discussions (even of nutrition and disease) focus on socio-economic status. There is nothing at all arbitrary here. Futurebird's proposal is responding to an evident problem in this article which is: in clear contravention of our NPOV policy, it has long privileged non-notable views (e.g. Rushton) and has ignored or downplayed the most notable views (those discussing socio-economic status as the key environmental cause for differences in IQ score). NB I have already acknolwedged that there are also non-environmental e.g. genetic causes for differences in IQ scores and I have cited many twin studies - notable scientific research that this article also ignores in favor of fringe views (but be that as it may you yourself have said you are not refering to the discussion of genetics and IQ, I am just reminding you that there is another body of literature on another set of causes out there). The basic issue is, this article privileges fringe theories and minimizes notable research, and we want to reorganize Wikipedia's treatment of the topic (variation in IQ score) in a way that adequately represents the notable points of view. Slrubenstein | Talk 03:37, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
You're still not getting it. It's very frustrating to try to explain the same thing over and over again to no avail, but I'll try again:
1) This article is about the well-known gap in IQ and test scores between persons of differing self-identified races. As I've pointed out before, that difference exists whether you believe that race is socially constructed or that has some biological meaning to it.
2) Many academics have published on the topic, whether they think that the gap is caused by SES (likely the majority) or by innate natural differences (likely the minority). It's not just Rushton and Jensen who have noted the race gap (let alone the SES gap), countless others have done so as well. That's why the U.S. Department of Education has spent billions of dollars trying to close the race gap in school performance (independently of the SES gap) because studies show that even when SES is screened for, there still exists a gap in performance by race (this isn't even wholly relevant to whether this article exists though).
3) In conjunction with the multitude of relevant, respectable publications, because the race gap in IQ itself has received notable media coverage it is thus entitled to its own Wikipedia article.
4) Nevertheless, the correlation between race and IQ deserves explanation—at this point in the article, we need to discuss the various explanations for the gap according to their respective merits. Thus, fringe theories are to be duly regarded, but it isn't true that all non-SES explanations are fringe. There are plenty of psychologists (see the APA) who regard the gap as being due to natural differences between individuals of different self-identified races. While they may not be the majority, they aren't fringe theorists.
I think the main point is that the race-IQ gap itself has received notable coverage, NOT just the SES-IQ gap. If you agree on this point, then you must acknowledge that the substance and impetus for the article (that is, the race gap, not the SES gap) deserves fair attention. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:39, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
My point is, that the race-IQ gap has received notable coverage only in the popular media because it is a politically hot topic. The scientific research on variation in IQ - yes, across self-identified races - focuses on SES. I think we need an article on the notable scientific research. I see the popular media coverage of race and IQ to be one more example of the range of debates about race in the US that would best be covered in an article on "Race in the US" that covers it as a social, cultural, and political phenomena. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:23, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, one more thing: it is not POV to acknowledge that there is an IQ gap between self-identified members of different races. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:48, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is talking about not acknowledging it. The gap is one of the two most important pieces of evidence that support the idea that social and economic status has an impact on test scores. Race or caste is a kind of social status and gaps in test scores arise, along racial and economic lines. The other piece of evidence is that modifying social status leads to improvements in test scores. These ideas aren't really disputed, as far as I know. So, we should have an article that explains this. futurebird (talk) 17:11, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
If you want to make an article that deals separately with this issue, then good luck (though I doubt you'll find that it's notable enough). The fact is though, the reason this article is possible or warranted is because the gap between race and IQ has received plenty of attention in itself, both from the media and respected publications, regardless of whether it is the same, the opposite, or in no way related to SES. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
WM, have you read the sections on "environmental explanations" in the article? Nearly all the the evidence there is talking about what I just described. The problem is we have it backwards. We need to make articles about the theory, not the phenomenon. The theory is "SES has an impact on test scores." The race IQ gap is one piece of evidence commonly cited to support this. futurebird (talk) 17:32, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
No, the theories aren't notable, the phenomenon is. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:37, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose - We have to do it here. If the article was born from misconceptions then it can be written in a way that clears up the misconceptions. It seems to be that the mainstream view does not use the race stuff, so explain that. Brusegadi (talk) 22:22, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - The article should not focus solely on what scholars are publishing and cannot ignore what is being published in the media. As I have pointed out, what seems to be the mainstream view is deceptive because people are purposely not speaking out on the subject. In any case, the article cannot be limited to the supposed mainstream view. Some of the editors are making progress impossible because they are refusing to compromise. --Jagz (talk) 22:41, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - We should not speculate on what they dont publish. Brusegadi (talk) 23:35, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - Try to be cooperative so we can make progress. --Jagz (talk) 18:58, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - To make progress we should go to the point. One point is that the above is speculation. Brusegadi (talk) 01:43, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose This article has already survived multiple AFDs. Conducting an ad-hoc AFD on the talkpage is gaming the system.ausa کui × 23:58, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
This isn't eaxtcly the same concept of as an RfD and I don't appreciate the accusation that anyone is trying to "game" the system. I think we can all agree that we want to see the material her presented in a neutral manner. I only recently came to this idea, after trying many other ways to move this article forward and then while talking with slr I realized that he was right. If we frame the information in this way we are setting ourselves up to do original research. Putting Rushton on the same footing as Steele is original research. The synthesis is the problem. Universities don't have "race and intelligence" departments or divisions that do research on "race and intelligence" Race is handled by sociologist, occasional it comes up in medical fields, but most often as a socially constructed factor. Intelligence is studied under cognitive science. Genetics is a part of biology or medicine. There are links between each of these things but I feel we should avoiding constructing a tenuous paper chain in order to get from race to intelligence. futurebird (talk) 01:27, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I don't agree with FB on everything here, but she is certainly not gaming the system. A drastic change has been discussed and this is just a logical extension of the discussion. --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:50, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • We should keep in mind that this article is supposed to be about the observed differences in IQ according to race—the question of why this difference exists need not overwhelm the article. I think this is the reason that there are so many deadlocks, because editors go into the process of editing with a conclusion about the gaps' cause in mind, and they try to influence everything to that end. If we successfully disentangled the research data from the possible cause(s), then we might be able to confine editors' disagreements to the section on why the gap exists. From here, we proceed in the usual manner of offering the various theories in a way that reflects their respective merits. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 03:14, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • By your reasoning, we should have an article on why arrows shot into the air fall, and why planets orbit the sun, rather than an article on gravity. Or, articles on why whales use their forelimbs to swim and gorillas use their forelimbs to brachiae and bats use their forelimbs to fly, rather than an article on evolution. In science, we should favor articles on the theories that explain phenomena, not the wide range of phenomena these theories explain. The issue is the variation in IQ scores and the two main causal theories are genetics (via twin studies) and environment (via studies of socio-economic status). Let us put the horse before the cart. Putting the cart before the horse (differences in race are casued by differences in race) just sends us and our readers in circles. More to the point, it is an embarassment to the encyclopedia as it expresses an apparently willful ignorance of the notable scientific research on variation in IQ scores. Slrubenstein | Talk 03:43, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
    No, there is no basis for an article on "why arrows shot into the air fall" because there haven't been respectable publications or notable coverage on this kind of thing. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 04:55, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
    My point exactly. The notable sources on the variance in IQ scores are about SES. You insist that this article is about "race" because you are pushing a racialist POV that is supported by fringe theories in science. You seem to be unaware of the notable scholarship in science. Any Wikipedia article should highlight the notable science. This is a matter of fringe versus notable sources and the resepctable publications and notable coverage on IQ variance either focus on genetics (twin studies) or environment (primarily SES). That is what our articles should focus on - and not an editor's favorite POV. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:14, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • No, that's not your point; the difference is that there are publications on the race gap in IQ and publications on the SES gap in IQ and they don't always overlap—you're the one needlessly conflating the two. To say that the only notable sources about variance in IQ focus on SES is absurd—James Watson didn't catch hell the world over and spark a wave of media attention in the SES IQ variance, he did so in reference to the race gap. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:16, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Race is an important element of SES, perhaps one of the most important in cultures with racial divisions. (Such as the US) In many sense race is a form of SES there is no difference. futurebird (talk) 17:10, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
It's fine to make that inference for yourself, but if the sources talk about "race" and not SES, you have no license to take your inference and repackage what the sources say in those terms just because you prefer them. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
WM, have you read the sections on "environmental explanations" in the article? Nearly all the the evidence there is talking about what I just described. The problem is we have it backwards. We need to make articles about the theory, not the phenomenon. The theory is "SES has an impact on test scores." The race IQ gap is one piece of evidence commonly cited to support this. futurebird (talk) 17:30, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
No, the theories aren't notable, the phenomenon is. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:37, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • My point exactly. Watson earned his Nobel prize because he participated in serious, long-term research on the molecular structure of DNE, for which he was well-trained. This makes him famous among non-scientists. But notability among non-scientists is not the criteria for inclusion in an article on a scientific topic. His comments were ignored by scientists researching disparities in IQ scores because he neither has the training, nor has done any significant research, on the topic. He is therefore not a notable source on this topic, no more notable than Paris Hilton, who, whatever virtues she may have, is also not trained to research IQ disparities and has not done research on IQ disparities. There really are notabel views among scientists who conduct serious scientific research on this topic. We need editors who know or are willing to read those articles, and not just get their views on science from The Daily News or Time Magazine. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:46, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
You're very confused; I'm not saying anything about whether or not Watson is an authority on the subject, I'm using him as an example of why the topic of race and IQ is notable. His remarks sparked a torrent of media coverage of this issue and that makes the race-IQ issue significant enough to deserve a WP article. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:03, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
WM makes a good point that if a topic is being recognized then it becomes notable for a WP article. The question is: under what name is it most notable? , rather than under what name do we want to cover it? --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:08, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you WM Quinlan - I now see how we have misunderstood one another and perhaps I can follow your lead in moving beyond this confusion. Watson's comment was notable not because he has any authority on research in this matter, his comment was notable because a public figure was making a racist comment. In this sense it is indeed notable and should be part of a wikipedia article, but one on racism in the US. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:23, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
His remarks didn't just spark new talk of racism, they sparked discussions about the difference between races in terms of IQ and whether what he said was true or not; so it actually doesn't belong in "racism in the US." Plus, he made the comments in the UK and they set off global discussions of the matter. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:31, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't get me started on racism in the UK! I still see it as a political and cultural debate, not a scientific one. I do not know of any article concerning research meant to explain the IQ gap between races, in peer-reviewed journals, that refer to Watson. My point is only that he is not a notable source for an article on the scientific theories about race and IQ. If you want an article on popular (political and cultural) debates sure, he belongs in there. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:41, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
M.W. Quinlan, Watson's remarks certainly did not spark a new discussion in the UK about "race and intelligence". The only discussion I saw in the UK was about freedom of speech, ie should he have been so severely censured for his comments. The debate went something like, "Watson is obviously wrong, but did he have the right to make these statements because we have freedom of speech."[1] [2] Alun (talk) 18:34, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Those weren't the only reaction to his remarks, and nor did I say that reactions were limited to the UK (rather quite the opposite). Take the recent series of articles on [3]: this is but one example of how Watson's remarks sparked a discussion of the merits of racial differences in intelligence, and it is this kind of example that demonstrates the usefulness of an article specifically geared towards the differences in intelligence between members of different races. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 18:59, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
There's nothing "new" in these gibberrings, they just rehash the same old lies. Yes cleverness can be inherited, but heredity is at the family level and not the "racial" level. The fundamental lie is the contention that variation is at the "racial" level, the bulk of variation is at the within group level, that is the individual and family group level. Not only is this not new, it's the same old misunderstanding and lies that eugenicist racists were peddling in the 1920's when people like Madison Grant were claiming that "inferior" European "races" were "polluting" the "pure" North American "Nordic race". Not only is this "debate" not new, it's nearly a century out of date and is currently only peddled by the terminally bigoted or the willfully ignorant. Alun (talk) 03:42, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
There's definitely some gibbering going on around here, and a lot of irony too.
WM Quinlan, I really do not understand your position, and want to. I just do not see Watson sparking a discussion on the merit of racial difference in intelligence, because none of the people who participated in this dicussion were actually trained scientists drawing on their research in order to develop any kind of meaningful discussion about explaining disparities in intelligence. It's like people who think mark Twain should be banned from high school libraries (or Vonnegut, or even Antigone, whatever) - yes, yes, yes they spark a discussion about the meaning of the literary text ... but these discussions have nothing to do with academic discussions about how best to understand Huck Finn in its historical context, or how Huck Fin "workd" as a literary text, or aesthetic/formal versus substantive elements operating in Huck Finn ... in short, such discussions have nothing to do with scholarly literature (and yes, there is a lot!!) produced by people in English and Comparative Literature on Huck Finn. The first set of debates are not really about Huck Finn, they are about debates over banning books in the US. These debates are distinct from debates over Huck Finn as American literature. I see the discussions sparked by or exemplified by Watson's remarks and people's responses as being more like debates over banning books, raqther than scholarly debates over the meaning of Huck Finn. I see the discussions involving Watson to be discussions of the freedom of prominent people to make racist remarks - debates in liberal states like the US over both the limits of free speech and also debates over racism. And in this context yes yes yes it belongs in an encyclopedia article. But these debates have nothing to do with actual scientific debates over how to explain disparities in IQ scores. "this kind of example" may "demonstrate[s] the usefulness of an article specifically geared towards the differences in intelligence between members of different races" - but such an article for it to be effective must be based on notable scientific views which would exclude comments by Watson or the media debate over his comments. "this kind of example demonstrates the usefulness" of another kind of article - an article about debates over racism and fress speech in such liberal states as the US and UK. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:20, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I really wish people would stop labeling Dr. Watson as a racist. He is not advocating treating Africans or Americans of any race unfairly. He has simply made a series of true statements such as, “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so” and “there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level”. As far as I can tell he seems to an intelligent individual with an opinion not promoting hatered, but EQUAL rights. --Myrik (talk) 17:04, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I really wish people would stop using Wikipedia discussion pages as some kind of soapbox or forum. Mathsci (talk) 18:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support It tells us nothing but a bunch of gobblygook. - Jeeny (talk) 07:55, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Make a note of the word "Gobbledygook", I like it and want to use it more in conversation. (see Blackadder Goes Fourth) :) Alun (talk) 09:54, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you making fun of my spelling? Anyway, I use it all the time, as I speak fluent "Gobbledygook". :p Ooo, poppies! Goodbyeee..... - Jeeny (talk) 11:10, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually I wasn't, I didn't even notice it was spelt wrongly, it's just one of my favourite words. Alun (talk) 11:20, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent) People, I think we need to take this one apart to see how the pieces fit together:

  • There is an observed, documented gap in IQ scores between self-identified racial groups, especially Blacks and Whites, and especially well documented in the US - Notable
  • There have been studies suggesting that this IQ score gap was worldwide and systematic (Lynn, Rushton). Less notable and highly controversial (media controversy is notable)
  • There have been a large number of studies using a wide variety of hypotheses to try to explain this gap - Notable
  • Studies in SES disparity claim to explain most if not all of the IQ gap, and are generally closest to being the mainstream explanation - Notable
  • Some studies claim some genetic basis for racial differences causes a difference in IQ scores Less notable (media controversy is notable)
  • Some studies argue that the race IQ gap may be an artefacts of our incomplete understanding of intelligence and/or race (multiple intelligences, test bias, conflation of diverging definitions of race) - Less notable
  • There isn't at this point widespread agreement as to either the significance (i.e. is it real) even less the cause of this gap. - Scientifically notable but doesn't make for good media attention at all.

I'm not sure I agree 100% with FB that we must view this from the view of the underlying theory, as it hasn't gained the same degree of widespread acceptance as say, evolution or gravity. At this point, I'm not even sure all the factoids listed above belong in the same article, or whether this doesn't become OR or SYNT creep at some point we can't figure out. Maybe we should start from this far back and discuss how we want to build the article from these points, and whether or not we want to include all of these points, or only the most notable ones.--Ramdrake (talk) 18:13, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not even sure all the factoids listed above belong in the same article, or whether this doesn't become OR or SYNT creep at some point.
At this point I don't think they belong in the same article. I think we need to make articles that describe notable theories.
FB that we must view this from the view of the underlying theory, as it hasn't gained the same degree of widespread acceptance as say, evolution or gravity
Not true as even the fringe theory guys who want to say that genetics accounts for a significant part of the gap, acknowledge that SES plays an important role. How exactly this happens is another matter. For example, education level is also an element of SES and it has an impact on test scores. (No surprise there) What I'm talking about is the really basic theory that health, wealth, social advantage and education have a positive impact on test scores and school performance. I'm not talking about the position that "It is not likely that genetics plays significant role in creating the test gap." This second view is merely "well supported and mainstream" but the first view, that SES plays a role , is practically a statement of fact-- Even Jensen knows this. futurebird (talk) 18:27, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Paper chains

Paper chains:

  1. Race --> Genetics --> Cognitive ability --> IQ and test Scores gaps (genetics plays a role, there is a real difference)
  2. Race --> Social factors --> IQ and test Scores gaps (test scores do not represent cognitive ability)
  3. Race --> Social factors --> Cognitive ability --> IQ and test Scores gaps (Test scores represent cognitive ability, but are due to social factors)
  4. Race --> Social factors --> health --> Cognitive ability --> IQ and test Scores gaps (Test scores represent cognitive ability, but are due to social factors and non-genetic physical differences)
  5. Genetics --> Cognitive ability and 2,3 or 4, but for unrelated reasons.
  6. Some combination of any of these.

futurebird (talk) 01:27, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

It looks like you are just critiquing the idea of the correlation itself, which is, of course, irrelevant to whether or not it meets the criteria for having its own Wikipedia article. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 03:23, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm just trying to outline the possible positions. The question is what sources, if any describe the "full chain" -- what we want to avoid is making the chain ourselves-- and that's what the article seems to be doing at present. futurebird (talk) 03:30, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I take Quinlan seriously by taking the correlation seriously. But correlations are not causes. This correlation is an effect and the effect needs to be explained, and it cannot be explained by the correlation itself - that is circular. Futurebird's chains all illustrate the confusion that occurs when one thinks in circles, assuming that effects are causes and that correlations explain things, rather than need explaining. In most studies of race and IQ race is self-identified and as Quinlan himself has agreed, it is not about genetics. That means it is about environmental causes and the notable research explaining this correlation looks at socio-economic status. A good encyclopedia article should (and according to our NPOV policy a good Wikipedia article must) foreground the notable views, which is why this article should be renamed "IQ and SES" and show how SES affects IQ scores (as I have stated repeatedly, we need another article on how genetics affects IQ scores; that article should foreground the notable research using twin studies) Slrubenstein | Talk 03:49, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Well let's be careful here; the studies are not about genetics per se, and nor can they be reduced to genetics, but likewise, they're not about environment and social status either. You're still interchanging the correlation and its cause, which we need to avoid doing. To say that the article needs to take some predetermined stance on the causes of the correlation is incorrect. There is nothing circular about following the sources to where they lead; there is enough data (that is, raw, unbiased statistical evidence) that a correlation exists and those data are the basis for the current debate about racial differences in IQ that has been brought to the public's attention, and consequently, the basis for this article. Thus, I think all we need to do is present the statistical information (which itself, has little to say directly about the cause) in one section and then in the next section we should discuss the various interpretations of these data. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 04:52, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean by per se as the twin studies are all about calculating heritability which is an important part of population genetics. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:10, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
You still have to explain the race and IQ correlation, even if spurious. It has received enough attention in the media to merit mention, even if it is to show that it is not robust. Incorrect statements that receive attention are notable. Brusegadi (talk) 04:26, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you responding to me or to Quinlan? I do not understand what you mean when you say I still have to explain the correlation. It is a non-sequitor. Didn't you read what I just wrote, which is all about how to explain it? Slrubenstein | Talk 04:39, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I mean that SES and genetic stuff can be placed in one. We just have to build it properly. It is important to clear up any possible misconseption. That is, the reader should know what is public discourse (BS) and what is academic discourse. I thought you wanted to stick to SES too much, I dont think we have to do that as long as we show that it is the predominant stuff. Brusegadi (talk) 07:23, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
"I thought you wanted to stick to SES too much." Where did I ever say that? Please tell me what you were responding to. Besides, what is "too much?" You are missing my point: I want to stick to our NPOV policy which says that we include notable views and I want to stick to notable views not fringe ones. The Evolution article is not bogged down with Creationist views. The Physics article is not bogged down with Ptolemaic astronomy. Likewise this article should focus on notable scholarly views and yes, they exist. This is not "too much." However, like others I disagree with you that SES and genetics should go in one article. i am calling not for a POV fork but a content fork (because specialists in each scholarly field accept the findings of the other scholarly field). The scholarly work on twin studies and on SES are actually two distinct bodies of literature and to do justice to either one would bog this article down and make it too long. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:06, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
The statement that "I thought you wanted to stick to SES too much" is obviously not something you said. So, "where did I ever say that?" is rather confrontational. This page gets too heated up for my taste so I try to stay out. My point is that this link between race and intelligence exists in the minds of many, and it is notable enough to be controversial in the public arena, so we have to deal with it. In my eyes, the best way to deal with it is to treat it along with what the academics have to say. There is an article on creationism, and it is in great part dedicated to showing its BS, we should do the same. Brusegadi (talk) 01:49, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry to have wounded your feelings. You misrepresented me and I do not like being misrepresented, especially when I am trying to work towards a consensus. I have made it explicitly clear that I support an article on genetic causes of IQ variation, as well as some way for Wikipedia to cover the popular (cultural and poplitical) debates over race and IQ. You and I may disagree over the best way to do it, but please do not suggest I have taken a position I have not taken. You are quite correct that we have an article on Creationism. I think it is important to note that Creationism is dealt with in a different article than Evolution. Furthermore, there is a third article on the Creation-evolution controversy. I agree with you that this is a model worth following e.g. articles on scientific research on IQ variation, some discussion of some of this stuff, like Watson's comment, in the article on racism, and more specific and broader coverage in an article on the controversy over racial inequalities in the US (or elsewhere). Slrubenstein | Talk 12:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
If I can make one important distinction here, SLR, is that twin studies are very important in assessing the heritability of IQ within a group (such as between pairs of identical twins), but it doesn't allow us to generalize to between-group heritability (such as between racial or ehtnic groups). Thus, twin studies have only a very limited ability to explain the possible causes of the racial IQ test score gap.--Ramdrake (talk) 18:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Read this wikipedia section and note that the claims you make about there being virtual unanimity in favour of your assertions (which you say should be the basis of any article on this subject) are false. You need to sit down and work with other editors Rubinstein, and work towards an article that represents the current state of the research field, by describing the findings and then offering the various competing explanations for them in a NPOV way. Rather that your current MO, which seems to be to make up your own languauge and force everybody else to use it. Lobojo (talk) 16:36, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like It is clear that you did not read Alun's response to you in the antepenultimate section, nor that you understood what I just wrote. Unlike you, my method for researching a Wikipedia article is not just to read other Wikipedia articles. You do not seem to know much about anything relevant to this article and have nothing to contribute. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:50, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
You really are insufferably obnoxious and arrogant. Please address the substance of my point instead of the ad-hom. Lobojo (talk) 17:15, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

New Ideas

Noting [4], again, why don't we nix all these silly semantic arguments which have ruined what was once a good article, and have an article called Populations and IQ or Ethnic groups and IQ or some such. Then we can get down to the business of describing the difference ans listing the explanations. Lobojo (talk) 16:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

This has already been discussed above, and no consensus has been reached. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:24, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure I agree with these suggestions but they are constructive and that at least is a big step in the right direction. We are still discussing these matters and I prefer the titles Genetics and IQ and Socio-Economic Status and IQ but it can't hurt to have a couple of other onstructive proposals on the table. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:27, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
WM makes a good point above in mentioning that a topic is notable and thus valid for inclusion at WP if it is noticed in credible sources. I would expand on that by saying that we should entitle our article based on the most notable name for the topic. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:28, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
(EC)Let's be clear about an important distinction: you and Quinlan are discussing what constitutes a notable topic for an encyclopedia article. I originally introduced the term "notable" in the context of our NPOV policy, which addresses not what constitutes a worthy topic for an encyclopedia article, but what constitutes a view that must be included in the article. There are serious scientific debates about the variation in IQ score and the notable views in these debates center around research on genetic explanations and research on environmental (SES) explanations, and these are the views that should be highlighted in any article on the scientific research into variation in IQ scores. Murray and Quinlan seem more interested in the political and media debates over race and IQ and I have no objection to an article that covers these discussions, but I believe that these discussions are subsets of more general political and cultural debates about race in the United States and should be in an article with that title. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:35, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
The theories about the causes for variation in IQ are only notable in the context of the media coverage of race and IQ. Moreover, the media coverage of race and IQ merits a discussion of its causes (after the phenomenon itself has been discussed), as these are also part of the ongoing public debate. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:42, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
"The theories about the causes for variation in IQ are only notable in the context of the media coverage of race and IQ" you cannot possible believe this - do you hold this standard to other articles? Are the only notable sources for an article on evolution ones that appear in the media? Are the only notable sources for an article on string theory those that appear in the media? Are the only notable sources for an article on Plautus those that appear in the media? Do you really believe that wikipedia should not have articles on areas of scientific research, and that those articles should not highliht notable scientific research? You seem very uncompromising: I have agreed with you that there is a place in Wilkipedia for topics of political and cultural debate. But you refuse to accept my point that there is also a place in Wikipedia for articles on scientific research? What would our Evolution article look like if the threshold for notable sources was notability in the media? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Haha, yeah, that's not what I meant to say; I just meant that even an article motivated by the popular debate requires a discussion of the causes, i.e. the theories on IQ variance, but as they relate to race, not simply SES. Apologies for that one. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:56, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
  • whew!* - thanks for the clarification, Slrubenstein | Talk 18:32, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh well, I must have missed that in the 500,000words on 30 archive pages! Lobojo (talk) 17:31, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Let me just throw an idea out there and hopefully it won't further distract us, but what if we rename this article "Race and intelligence controversy"? If this is a bad idea, I'll cross it out and we won't need to worry about it. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I think we should go with Genetics and IQ and Socio-Economic Status and IQ. The controversy can be covered on the articles on the specific things that caused the controversy: books such as The Bell Curve, and IQ and the Wealth of Nations etc. Or the people involved. Beyond that, synthesis can occur in the articles about racism and scientific racism. I think treating everything from The Bell Curve to Watson in one article on controversy is an original synthesis. Unless we have some source to guide us on this synthesis we'll get nowhere. I mean Gould, sort-of of dose this in his books, but, when you use him as the source it all becomes about "criticism of Gould" and we end up with an article that reads like a bad usenet debate again. futurebird (talk) 18:07, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it would be original synthesis to call it race and intelligence controversy, so I'm not interested in pursuing that idea. Also, I don't think an article about the controversy itself is jutsifiable. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 18:27, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


So, it seems that there is general agreement towards the following:

  • Create article titled SES and IQ and cover the relevant scientific literature.
  • Create article titled Genetics and IQ and cover the relevant scientific literature.
  • Rename this article and title it 'Race and intelligence controversy' and cover the public affair around this. This article should have a section linking and discussing the scientific literature (eg links to the articles to be created above.

I will also like to suggest that instead of IQ we say 'test scores' since IQ is a basically a spphisticated test score. Let me know what you think and please expand, I am a lazy bum. Brusegadi (talk) 02:34, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

"Rename this article and title it 'Race and intelligence controversy' and cover the public affair around this." I don't know about this. But I agree with everything else, and I think "test scores" is the right way to go. futurebird (talk) 02:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

There are several things that I disagree with as well, but consensus is not unanimity. I think dealing with the controversy is necessary, because it is notable. Covering it up does no good, it just pops up articles that are poorly sourced like the one in the section below.Brusegadi (talk) 02:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes I like "SES and test scores" and "Genetics and test scores", but I don't have any fundamental problems with using IQ, I just think "test scores" is more accurate. I would not support an article called "race and intelligence controversy". Alun (talk) 03:47, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
It sounds like we really are reaching a consensus at least concerning some issues. Do we all agree on one article on Socio-economic status and IQ test scores and Genetics and IQ test scores? (I think we need to specify IQ as there are many other tests people take besides intelligence. Or come up with something other than IQ, but we cannot just say test scores, that is too vague and broad). In the section above, Brusegadi makes the helpful point that we have an article on Creationism. I think it is important to note that Creationism is dealt with in a different article than Evolution. Furthermore, there is a third article on the Creation-evolution controversy. I agree with him that this is a model worth following e.g. articles on scientific research on IQ variation, some discussion of some of this stuff, like Watson's comment, in the article on racism, and more specific and broader coverage in an article on the controversy over racial inequalities in the US (or elsewhere). Slrubenstein | Talk 12:24, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Where in the world are people finding a consensus on this talk page for that?? If you reread all the "support" votes, they're not supporting the creation of those two articles (except maybe for Wobble and SLR), they're bemoaning the squabbling over this one. No one seems to take the idea seriously that the correlation between "race and intelligence" is one in itself which is notable, has respectable publications devoted to it (NOT just racialist/racist ones), and deserves clarification. Can someone tell me what's wrong with writing the article like this:
1) Present the major statistics on the performance gap between the self-identified members of different races on tests and IQ tests. (This should not be that controversial, since no one disputes that the performance gap exists--even those who dispute the biological meaningfulness of "race".)
2) Follow that statistical portrait up with a section of the various theories that seek to explain "why" this phenomenon is occurring; in this section, both the SES and natural/innate difference camps will be represented in a way that is honest to their prominence and respectability. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 12:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
WM. You're describing the the exact kind of novel synthesis that we are trying to avoid. I'm willing to go with this consensus dispite my reservations about having a controversey article. futurebird (talk) 12:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
That is NOT a novel synthesis—how in the world is that novel?? Have you looked at the kind of literature out there on the race-IQ gap? There's plenty of it that doesn't bother repackaging the issue as SES and IQ. The phenomenon of the race-IQ gap is well-established and there is nothing novel about explaining it—that's exactly why this article was created in the first place: because there is a wealth of published literature on the topic and the topic is notable. I really resent attempts to repackage this as SES and IQ because that completely and deliberately disregards a whole smattering of respectable books and articles that attempt to explain the specific issues of the race-IQ correlation. Please tell me how it is novel to reference books and other publications on race and IQ when they talk about race and IQ. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:14, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Brusegadi, Futurebird, and Alun all seemed to agree on at least two of the articles I suggested. I continue to insist that a good encyclopedia provide accurate accounts of notable scientific discussions, and the two articles we agree on (SES and IQ, Genetics and IQ) do that. I have already explained to you that the issue for scientists is not one thing that they are trying to explain, one thing which happens to be paid a lot of attention in the popular media for political reasons; scientists focus on powerful models that explain many things. This is why we have one article on evolution rather than an article on why pandas have thumbs and bats birds and butterflies all have very different kinds of wings. Are you advocating separate articles on all things covered by the theory of evolution? Scientists do not explain any correlation between race and IQ through the concept of race - that leads only to circular arguments; they address it by studying genetics and SES and if we are to provide accurate, verifiable accounts of scientific discussions drawing on notable sources, this is the best way to present it. And let me end by reminding you that most of us do indeed want Wikipedia to cover the popular debate over race and IQ. But as Futurebird points out, to conflate that popular debate with scientific ones is a novel synthesis and thus violates NOR - and would distort the science. Let's cover the debate over race and IQ accurately: it involves two things: fringe theories of racist scientists, and a politically charged public debate (at least in the US) about race, racial divisions, public policy and free speech. The question is how best to cover this? Slrubenstein | Talk 12:55, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I too would suport separate articles on "SES and IQ scores" (I could suggest, more broadly "Environmental factors affecting IQ scores" but I'll agree to whatever has consensus), and "Genetics and Intelligence", where I would like to suggest a strong section be devoted to explaining the difference between within-group heritability (WGH) and between-group heritability (BGH), in order that readers understand well why the concept of genetically-driven racial differences in intelligence is really a fringe concept. The article on the contrversy could be its own article, or maybe conceived as some content fork of Scientific Racism. Just my tuppence.--Ramdrake (talk) 13:48, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Ramdrake's suggestion. I suppose we do need somewhere to put the reaction of the frothing at the mouth response of the predominantly rabidly racist extreme right media. Alun (talk) 14:04, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
This is exactly the kind of comment that takes us two steps backwards. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:14, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't you recognise sarcasm? Alun (talk) 17:32, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, hence my comment. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:51, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
But sarcasm isn't meant to be taken seriously, or at least this wasn't. It certainly wasn't meant to be offensive. If it did offend you then I appologise, although I remain baffled by your over-reaction. Alun (talk) 18:23, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Race and intelligence in the United States

I started a new article named Race and intelligence in the United States. --Jagz (talk) 02:43, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

good idea. Lobojo (talk) 02:54, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Notice that the sources you used are old and do not seem to cover the US. One of them seems to be about SSA... I will wait to see what others think, but I think AfD is the way to go. Now, this is why I think all the stuff should be dealt with in one place. Else, articles will just pop up. Brusegadi (talk) 02:56, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Jagz, have you been following the conversations here? We're almost at a point where we have reached a consensus, and it seems like (to me) you've just gone off to do your own thing without asking for any input... I'll look at the article and see what I think. futurebird (talk) 04:15, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

It is not unusual in Wikipedia to have an article with a worldwide view on a subject and other articles from the perspective of specific countries. Press ahead with your efforts for an article with a worldwide view. --Jagz (talk) 04:50, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Huh? why in the world did you do that? Forget your poor rational, as it's nothing but a POV fork! To repeat Futurebird, have you been following the coversations here, and about POV forks related to race? *sigh*. - Jeeny (talk) 05:36, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest that this new article, created by Jagz apparently as a pov-fork, is a prime candidate for speedy deletion. It is not acceptable to go and create an article on Wikipedia so as to avoid consensus building. Alun (talk) 06:18, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
You say that there is no consensus for a new article, but you forget that you don't need consensus for a new article, you need consensus to delete one. It certainly isn't a POV fork either, its a viable topic no question. Lobojo (talk) 06:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually there is no need for a consensus for a speedy delete, and how is it a "viable" topic? It's clearly a pov-fork, where Jagz thinks he can express his pov free of the constraint of normal Wikipedia convention, as such it is a candidate for speedy deletion. You provide no actual evidence that it is either "viable" or not a pov-fork, you do need to provide evidence here you know. Furthermore Brusegadi has already pointed out that the sources Jagz has used do not specifically refer to the USA, which makes it even more clear that this is a pov-fork. Alun (talk) 07:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

We have been working towards consensus and Jagz creation of a new article with no discussion is a disruptive edit which many consider a POV fork. Here is the content:

The study of race and intelligence is the controversial study of how human intellectual capacities may vary among the different population groups commonly known as races. This study seeks to identify and explain the differences in manifestations of intelligence (e.g. IQ testing results), as well as the underlying causes of such variance.
Theories about the possibility of a relationship between race and intelligence have been the subject of speculation and debate since the 16th century.[1][2] According to J. Philippe Rushton the contemporary debate focuses on the nature, causes, and importance, or lack of importance, of ethnic differences in intelligence test scores and other measures of cognitive ability, and whether "race" is a meaningful biological construct with significance other than its correlation to membership of particular ethnic groups. Thus, Rushton writes, the question of the relative roles of nature and nurture in causing individual and group differences in cognitive ability is seen as fundamental to understanding the debate.[3]
The modern controversy surrounding intelligence and race focuses on the results of IQ studies conducted during the second half of the 20th century in the United States, Western Europe, and other industrialized nations.[4]

No one here wants to cover up or brush under the rug the political and cultural controversies surounding race and racism in the US, including debates in the popular media over race and IQ. The question is, what is the most appropriate way to do it? In an existing article or in a new article? What should it be titled - Race in the United States? Racism? Structural Racism? Or a specific article on the race and IQ controversy in the US? Let us have discussion and reach a consensus before we act. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:10, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

You deleted the article without following proper procedures or justification. You are also guilty of a conflict of interest. You are continuing to display a disruptive arrogance. --Jagz (talk) 14:41, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think that the fact that this was a POV-fork is enough to justify speedy-deleting it, even if SLR was involved in the conversation. Also, please refrain from personal attacks as you are then placing yourself in a position where you could be subject in turn to personal attacks yourself.--Ramdrake (talk) 14:45, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that those who are calling the article a POV fork are just plain and simply ignorant. You can't just go around and call everything you don't like a POV fork. --Jagz (talk) 14:11, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Jagz, the article becomes a POV fork the moment you frame stuff like Rushton's hypotheses (or Lynn's or Gottftredson) as if they had significant scientific acceptance with the community (i.e. mainstream) when in fact it is clearly demonstrable that they are fringe hypotheses with only a very limited following (for example, compare the number of signatories to Gottfredson's "Manifest on Intelligence" (about 50) to the number of people in either the APA or the AAA, which is over 10,000 in each case). It is of course a POV fork also if you present them without saying that they are fringe opinions within the community.--Ramdrake (talk) 14:45, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
That's very prejudicial of you to assume that my sole purpose on Wikipedia and anything I do is to push forward the views of Rushton, etc. You are dead wrong and I request that you stop it immediately. By the way, you seem to consider deleting an article to be a better alternative than simply editing it. The article that Rubinstein just deleted improperly used the same introduction as this article so you must be using a double standard. --Jagz (talk) 15:58, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
What I saw was what SLR copied to this page, and it certainly talks mostly about Rushton, as if he were an authority in the field, instead of a scientist with fringe theories. And I didn't say that your sole purpose on Wikipedia and anything you do is to push forward the views of Rushton, etc. What I said is that the specific article which you created yesterday and which SLR deleted seemed to present Rushton's work and opinions as if he were an acknowledged authority on the subject, when in fact he's a controversial, even fringe theorist. And that advancing someone's ideas without putting them in proper context (like saying he's fringe, or at least a minority position) is a POV fork. That's all.--Ramdrake (talk) 16:09, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Rubinstein should clearly have is admin powers removed. He speedy deleted an article on a topic that he is so heavily involved in. He could have asked another admin to do it. That kind of abuse cant be tolerated. After the bitter personal attacks he made, including telling me something to the extend of I am a useless moron who knows nothing and shouldn't dare to try and contribute to this article (especially if I don't agree with him) I am flabbergasted to find out he is an admin. "You do not seem to know much about anything relevant to this article and have nothing to contribute." That was the quote.Lobojo (talk) 14:53, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Lobojo and Jagz, do you think the article should be reinstated? It was not so much that the article was POV fork, but rather that it was created despite and the process of reaching consensus on this page. As I said before, it seemed like Jagz was going off to do his own thing and ignoring the plans being made here. (maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it seemed) We might even end up with an article with that name at a later date-- but, it would be "Race and intelligence controversies in the United States" I think such an article could be good because it could talk about how much of the US controversy started in response to Brown vs. Board of Ed and backlash against school integration.

As for slr's rude comment, I think he put a strike through on the comment (look back), so um... that should be water under the bridge at this point. These discussions can get heated and I think we should all work hard to keep our cool. futurebird (talk) 16:24, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I didn't see the article in time but, given that this article covers to a great extent the science, then a "X in the United States" is almost by definition a POV fork. Scientific questions of "race and intelligence" are no different across national borders. History, sociology, and so on, do differ across geography, but then an article title and its content should reflect that more limited focus, e.g., "History of eugenic science in the United States" -- and such an article wouldn't generally discuss in detail the substance of the science. --Lquilter (talk) 16:32, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
You'd be correct if everyone defined the word race the same way. That is not the case. --Jagz (talk) 17:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
But the variant uses of the word "race" do not break down along national lines. --Lquilter (talk) 17:54, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
They do in the USA. --Jagz (talk) 20:33, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd like the page reinstated because I'd like to find out how all the information about Rushton that Ramdrake is referring to got put into the article. All I recall doing is copying in the first 3 paragraphs of this article. If it is speedy deleted, then someone not involved with this article should do it. --Jagz (talk) 17:34, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
If the entire content of the article was a verbatim copy of this article, then it should stay deleted, as it is a copy of already existing material, therefore redundant.--Ramdrake (talk) 17:52, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Discussions of African-Americans belong primarily in an article relating the United States. They can be discussed briefly in another article using a worldwide view but not in depth because of concerns regarding worldwide view and article length. --Jagz (talk) 20:31, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Wait, are you saying the B-W IQ gap only exists in the Untied States???--Ramdrake (talk) 20:34, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
If someone is planning on turning the present article into one with a worldwide view they have a lot of work to do, which means not giving disproportionate coverage to the black-white issue in the US. --Jagz (talk) 20:43, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

A Straight-forward Approach

I don't want this proposal to be lost in the give-and-take above so I'll repeat it here. Can someone tell me what's wrong with writing the article like this:

  • 1) Present the major statistics on the performance gap between the self-identified members of different races on tests and IQ tests. (This should not be that controversial, since no one disputes that the performance gap exists--even those who dispute the biological meaningfulness of "race".)
  • 2) Follow that statistical portrait up with a section of the various theories that seek to explain "why" this phenomenon is occurring; in this section, both the SES and natural/innate difference camps will be represented in a way that is honest to their prominence and respectability. (For instance, in the account of the hereditarian explanation, we might simply provide links to the articles on Rushton, Jensen, Lynn, Murray, Vanhanen, etc. instead of trying to take up space explaining them.)

This is NOT an original synthesis because nothing here is being synthesized originally (go figure): what we have is a phenomenon which is significant by virtue of its public coverage and the wealth of literature devoted specifically and decidedly to the phenomenon itself (that is, to the correlation of IQ with self-reported membership in so-called races). W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:22, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I think the article should be about the theory that explains the gap. Not about the gap ...and then a list of "possible explanations." What this format you are proposing does is give undue weight to the genetic theories if racial difference in intelligence by offering them on equal footing with facts about the way that SES has an impact on test scores. That is an original synthsis. futurebird (talk) 16:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Argh! How can you describe the "theory that explains the gap" if you haven't first "explianed what the gap is"! That is just incoherent, like the current article. What you and others object to is that wikipedia should describe the gap at all, since it can be hurtful, though you wont admit this and instead resort to endless obfuscation. This is why this is going nowhere, and yes I completely support your idea Quinlan. Lobojo (talk) 16:41, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Um, you're wrong about what I object to... I mean, don't try to read my mind. I think the gap is of incredible importance and it should be highlighted in the article that explains the well supported and wildly accepted theory that SES has an impact on test scores. The impact with respect to race is some of the best evidence we have that inequalities still exist in the education system, it shows that the disparities in health, school funding and neighbored ecology are having a real impact on people's lives. A lot of the material I've added is from studies that describe how this works, there is debate about exactly how the effect happens and what variables matter the most, and the article will cover the full spectrum.
What I object to is the idea that theories about the genetic inferiority of people of African decent deserve equal footing and equal time alongside real research. futurebird (talk) 16:52, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Who says they deserve equal time or equal footing to the majority opinion (I dispute your characterization of the two sides)? It's true that hereditarian explanations are not as widely held as some other views, but they aren't in the fringe of fringes that you might like to think they are; they don't deserve no mention at all, and the ideas behind them merit some explanation as well. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 17:01, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I think the article should be about the theory that explains the gap. Not about the gap ...and then a list of "possible explanations.

But the gap itself is notable. That's what I've said over and over again and no one has disputed this.

Your reasoning goes like this: it is a fringe position to even look at the correlation between race and IQ as not being the same thing as the correlation between SES and IQ. Therefore, because the majority of people have one explanation or interpretation for a significant phenomenon, the phenomenon is to be treated as that interpretation. This is not how Wikipedia works. Take for example, UFOs: most people believe they are not in fact extra-terrestrials, rather they are either atmospheric phenomena or man-made aircraft. By your logic, Wikipedia shouldn't have an article on UFOs and instead it should only mention UFOs in the article on atmospheric phenomena and airplanes. This is absurd though, because "UFOs" are notable in their own right and there is plenty that has been written on them. The correlation between race and IQ is even less fringe because there are plenty of respected professionals and academics who write about it (perhaps not the majority, but plenty nonetheless). W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 16:45, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Therefore, because the majority of people have one explanation or interpretation for a significant phenomenon, the phenomenon is to be treated as that interpretation. This is not how Wikipedia works.
I think it is, isn't this why we specifically have a policy that states that we do not give undue weight to minority points of view? Isn't it in fact why we don't need to mention tiny minority points of view at all? WP:UNDUE Your analogy doesn't make sense. Indeed analogies rarely do, it is not correct that we can take any odd example and extrapolate onto the current topic. Stick to the point, UFOs are irrelevant. Alun (talk) 18:30, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
The analogy absolutely makes sense, I'm sorry you don't understand it. And no one is "extrapolating" anything either, I'm just offering a description of the double-standard at work here. If you don't think it makes sense, explain why. And Undue weight is not being given in the model for the article that I am proposing—I specifically said that the explanations should be given weight according to their merits. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 18:40, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Well I cannot see that your analogy clarifies your argument, nor does it make it more coherent. It just confuses things. On the other hand we are back to discussing the difference between a "minority point of view" and a "tiny minority point of view". If the eugenics of a century ago, as resurrected by certain racist scientists, is to be treated as an appropriate subject for the article, then it needs to be at least a minority point of view, and even then it can only get a tiny part of the article, as per WP:UNDUE. If it is only a tiny minority point of view then we don't need to mention it at all. I have no idea what the difference is between a minority and a tiny minority point of view. I do know that I can provide a cornucopia of genetic evidence to show that it is virtually impossible for the genes that affect "intelligence" to be substantially different between groups. This is obvious because as anyone who has even a basic understanding of human population genetics knows, the vast majority of genetic variation is at the local level, and not at the continental level. Alun (talk) 18:58, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll try to explain the analogy by putting this as elementarily as possible:
1) We have a significant phenomenon, namely the correlation between race and IQ--the analogue for this is the phenomenon of UFO sightings
2) The phenomenon has a number of explanations, some more widely held than others; in the case of the race-IQ phemonenon, it is the SES crowd, with the minority position being the hereditary explanation--the analogue for the majority position on UFOs is the crowd that thinks UFOs are atmospheric phenomena or misidentified airplanes; the minority point of view is that UFOs are extra-terrestrials (hopefully you feel as dumb having to read this as I do having to write it).
(I'll pause here to point out that no one would dispute that there is sufficient cause for WP to have an article on UFOs; likewise, there is sufficient cause for an article on race and IQ--I've already been through this on the talk page, see above.)
3) It is being proposed that this article be scrapped and in its place there is to be created an article on SES and IQ because SES is the majority opinion on the explanation of variance in IQ. If this is a valid reason for scrapping this article, then in order to be consistent, we ought to scrap the article on UFOs and repatriate all of its information to the analogous majority opinion-explanations, namely to the articles on atmospheric phenomena and airplanes—this is, of course absurd. So if we realize that just as UFOs are notable enough to have an article in their own right (as opposed to merely being rewritten into their respective majority opinion-explanation articles), then we must similarly realize that the comparably significant phenomenon of race-IQ discrepancy deserves an article in its own right. I have already proposed a model for how this may be done in a fair and accurate way (read: not giving undue weight to the minority position).
Your characterization of the hereditarian position seems to demonstrate such a profound ignorance of the topic, it seems obvious your POV is getting the better of you. However I've already agreed that it shouldn't get undue weight in the explanations section. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 19:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I haven't "characterised" the "hereditarian position" at all. It is a demonstrable fact that clever people are more likely to produce clever children, this is an "hereditarian position". But I made no reference to it whatsoever. The only reference I make is to the fact that the overwhelming majority of genetic variation is within group, that the vast majority of alleles are shared over the whole global human population and that there are a vast amounts of publications and data to support my observation. I don't know what you mean by the "hereditarian position", but clearly you mean something else. We share inherited characteristics with other members of our families and not with a larger group. Heredity (the adjective is hereditary) is the transfer of characteristics from parent to offspring through their genes,, from Heredity. Alun (talk) 06:23, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
If the eugenics of a century ago, as resurrected by certain racist scientists, is to be treated as an appropriate subject for the article...
This is how you characterized either some completely irrelevant position (in which case why?) or this was your attempt at summarizing the nature of the position which denies that IQ correlation to race is merely SES. No one has even mentioned eugenics so I could only guess that it was your way of characterizing the hereditarian position. And your comment on genetic variation is also irrelevant to my proposed plan for the article. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 02:33, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I think there is a simple miscommunication between Alun and W.M. O'Quinlan. "Hereditarian" is being applied to two very different positions. I think when W.M. O'Quinlan writes, "Your characterization of the hereditarian position seems to demonstrate such a profound ignorance of the topic," he means Alun's characterizations of people like Rushton. I think Alun does indeed liken Rushton's position to that of older eugenicists. The miscommunication is that (I think) Alun does not consider Rushton to be representing a hereditarian position. I think when Alun refers to the hereditarian position when he writes, "It is a demonstrable fact that clever people are more likely to produce clever children, this is an "hereditarian position"," he is not referring to Rushton and others like Rushton. I think this is because Rushton either does not understand (perhaps not surprising, as he is a social psychologists and has no training in genetics) or willfully misuses the concept of heritability. Now, at least i can speak for myself and not Alun: there are a groups of population geneticists and biologists who do use the concept of heritability and who have used twin studies to measure the heritability of race. I would call their work "hereditarian" but their methods and conclusions have nothing to do with those of Rushton. In short, I am suggesting that O'Quinlan uses hereditarian to refer to Rushton and Alun does not. Therefore, when Alun criticizes Rushton O'Quinlan thinks he is criticizing the hereditarian position, and Alun does not think he is criticizing the hereditarian position. And when Alun defends or talks about the hereditarian position, he is not refering to Rushton. If O'Quinlan thinks Alun is refering to Rushton, I am suggesting, O'Quinlan will be misunderstanding Alun. I think this is what is going on. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I think you have hit the nail firmly on the head. The opinions of the likes of Rushton and Jensen are "racialist" (in the sense that they assume a real difference between so called "races"). An hereditarian position would be a demonstration that "intelligence" is something that can be passed from parent to child. I'd just like to point out that heredity per se is not necessarily "genetic". One can inherit one's parent's attitudes or money, and in the UK one can inherit a title. Even when we discuss heredity in terms of genetically transmitted abilities, this does not apply to "races", because "races" are not composed of people who form a recognisable family group. So hereditarian theories do not necessarily support a differential ability in "races". I possibly use heredity very specifically when I use it to refer to the transmission of genetic elements from generation to generation, because I have a background in genetics. Alun (talk) 12:32, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

What makes the gap notable? This UFO stuff seems like a tangent. futurebird (talk) 19:45, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

What makes the gap notable?...Seriously? For starters, the volumes of books about it, the recent torrent of international media attention and coverage of it vis-a-vis James Watson's remarks on it, the fact that the US Dept of Education spends billions of dollars trying to close it...the criteria for notability aren't really all that rigorous. And, again, the UFO "stuff" is an analogy, plain and simple—it shows how your position and proposal to rewrite this article as SES and IQ is flawed because there is ample precedent for a notable phenomenon having its own article. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 20:01, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone else want to weigh in on this idea? So far only a couple people have done so and I'd like to hear more (especially from SLRubinstein, Aron Foster, and Kevin Murray). W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 02:23, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Sure, I will weigh in. If we have two articles for the notable scientific literature on genetics and IQ scores, and SES and IQ scores, then that leaves us with two types of sources I think: first, fringe scientific theories - I agree with Futurebird's suggestion that these be presented in articles on the theorists (e.g. the article on Rushton) or in articles on their books (e.g. an article on Race, Evolution and Behavior). Second, sources on the notable popular, by which I mean political and cultural, debate on race and racial inequality in the US - my idea would be to include a section in the article on Race in the United States on controversies over race and intelligence. If (or if you prefer, as soon as) this section gets too big, it can be spun off as its own article. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:44, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. However, you still aren't recognizing that the debate over whether the so-called races differ in intelligence is itself notable, as I have time and again shown by pointing to the copious independent coverage of it. The idea of putting all this material on race and intelligence back into other articles just doesn't make sense when you look at all that has been published specifically about it. W.M. O'Quinlan (talk) 14:02, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the differences in intelligence of race are notable and deserve their own wikipedia article. However, putting everything into one article obviously hasn't worked. There's too much disagreement among us as to the inclusion of the genetics/IQ component of the difference. Therefore, to improve the article, I think it makes sense to detail the intelligence differences and offer summaries of and links to SES/IQ and genetics/IQ. The wording of the 'genetics/IQ' summary will need to be done carefully so that people who read only the summary and not the linked article understand that it's a minority viewpoint. Aron.Foster (talk) 23:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Hereditarian theories of racial differences in intelligence

Horribly long name, but if we have an article on the SES theory we could have one on this one too. Or would it be a POV fork? We could treat it in the same way as other fringe theories. The word "Hereditarian" has good currency and it might work better than having a "controversy" article. Thoughts?

I'm saying to have this article instead of "race and intelligence controversies" then have a (large) section of this article that deals with controversy. All of the controversies have been about these theories anyway. futurebird (talk) 16:38, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm sure we can do better, how about Racial theories on the test score gap and their historical relationship to the eugenics movement of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Now that's a good title. Alun (talk) 18:33, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Ha! futurebird (talk) 18:44, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Hereditarian theories of racial difference should be a topic in the article on Scientific racism, which disucsses fringe theories that are plitically notable. Current science should be in an article called something like Genetics and IQ scores which would draw on a whole oher body of scientific research. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:27, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I see a lot of talk belittling the Hereditarian stance and assuming the SES stance is a foregone conclusion. From what I understand of the field, most experts (once they get past arguing about 'what is intelligence' and 'what is race') believe that racial differences in intelligence is part social and part hereditary. After all, intelligence is (generally assumed to be) partly heritable, and members of race A are more likely to procreate with other members of race A, QED heritability is a factor in continuing intelligence differences between the races. I think it's good to keep discussion about race, intelligence, SES, and genetics together because humanity's understanding hasn't separated them yet. Aron.Foster (talk) 00:15, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

While certainly done in good faith, your assumptions are misleading you in several ways: first, you seem to conceive of "races" as discrete, separate subpopulations, akin to subspecies. While this is true with many other species, "races" in the human species don't differ by that much. Also, while intelligence has been shown to be heritable within groups (twin studies), its heritability between groups (i.e. between races) isn't supported by any direct evidence so far. Finally, you assume that "race A" and "race B" started out with differing levels of intelligence. If we instead assume that we are all descendants from the same small group of proto-humans a few hundreds thousand years ago, there is no good reason to assume there ever was a difference in intelligence between "race A" and "race B", and the mechanism you suggest wouldn't generate a difference in intelligence between races per se. And lastly,we should be writing articles based on the references that exist, rather than build an article to suit our preconceptions which you come across as saying, even thought this may not have been your intent.--Ramdrake (talk) 00:36, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Certainly, the argument on 'what is race' isn't resolved. There are few, if any, genetic differences between people who identify themselves as Race A versus Race B. Regardless, there is a measureable intelligence difference of average intelligence between people who identify themselves with certain races, most notably black and white. Also, doesn't the article start off saying it's grounded in two controversial assumptions one of which is that race is genetic?

Forgive my laziness; rather than read and search for information on my own, do you have a link handy that supports while intelligence has been shown to be heritable within groups (twin studies), its heritability between groups (i.e. between races) isn't supported by any direct evidence so far, because my understanding is that there is no reason the two are different. If no link, could you expand on what exactly you mean? 'Cause I'm confused...

There's plenty of good reason to assume Race A and Race B have different intelligence: there could be a period of time during which one race was more inclined to favor intelligence for reproductive selection. The IQ of groups is believed to change over time ala Flynn_effect.

I wholeheartedly agree that we should write based on existing references and not our preconceptions. It's obvious my opinion on the debate; I'm fairly certain that it's an opinion more substantial and more widely held than "UFO's are aliens", so I'm left feeling like other's preconceptions are outweighing references on this matter. Aron.Foster (talk) 01:26, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

In the US I think more people believe in creationism than evoloution... Also, even if there is a genetic difference in intelligence between groups, you still need to show that the difference is making the gap in test scores wider. For all we know it could be making the gap smaller. futurebird (talk) 01:48, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
(EC) Welcome to the discussion Aron.Foster. Since you are a newcomer you have missed much discussion. I am not sure what you mean when you say that people assume "the SES stance is a foregone conclusion." Wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth. It is not a foregone conclusion that SES is a cause for variation in IQ score, it is a fact that a good deal of the research on variation in IQ scores studies socio-economic factors. Since a good deal of scientific research explores this, i.e. it is represented in notable sources, Wikipedia must provide an account of this research. Wikipedia does not claim that the findings of these scholars is true, it only claims that it is true that a group of scholars have reached certain findings. Moreover, I assure you that no one has belittled the hereditarian stance. The question is, what is the hereditarian stance? As Ramdfrake points out, heritability applies only to variation within a population, and never between populations - this is an uncontroversial statement, it is how evolutionary scientists and population geneticists define the term. It is no more controversial than saying that the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle is . Here is my main point, which I have argued consistently and which I believe Ramdrake, Alun, Futurebird, and others support at least in some form: good articles on scientific topics ought to provide an accurate account of any major debte or trends in research. One major explanation for variation in IQ scores is genetic. An article on this research must be organized around the most notable and mainstream views on the matter - it should include all notable views, but i think that the major notable views should be the principle factor in the organization and presentation of the article. Virtually all scientific research on the genetic determinants of variation in IQ scores is based on twin studies and above (perhaps now in archived talk) I provided a bibliography of major (i.e. from major peer-reviewed journal journals, and which are frequently cited) articles. These studies indicate an ongoing debate between scientists who measure the heritability of intelligence at .40, and others who measure it at between .60 and .70. In addition to these contrasting calculations, there is a debate over the effects of of the shared prenatal environment - some argue that identical blood supply should lead to greater similarities between monochoriatic twins than dichorionic twins; others argue that competition for blood supply should lead to greater differences between monochorionic twins than dichorionic twins. I think we need to have a good article that provides a clear account of this research and these controversies. But scientists who study the genetic influence on variation in IQ also acknolwedge that in addition to genetic causes, there are also environmental (effectively, SES) causes. Although scientists conducting research on these different causes agree that both innate (genetic) and exogenous (environmental) factors play a role in variation in IQ scores, the scientists who conduct this research come from different academic disciplines and really contribute to two distinct bodies of literature. There has been so much published on genetic and environmental causes that no good article can provide a good account of the research and debates in both bodies of literature. Therefore, I advocate two articles, one covering the literature on the genetic caues, and one on the environmental causes. Since these are not competeing theories (at least, not among the scientists doing the actual research - just as gravity and inertia together account for the orbits of the planets, two very different causes modeled by two very different theoretical approaches combine, rather than compete, to explain the observed effects) this is not a POV fork but a content fork. I have been forwarding this proposal for months and as far as i can tell no one has objected to my call for an article to cover the literature on twin-studies that provides the basis for calculations for the heritability of IQ. So I really fail to see anyone belittling attention to research on the genetic component. (inter alia, I do see some people who seem to think that genetic and SES explanations are competing or even mutually exclusive. I know of no notable scientific article that makes this claim so I think it indicaes a misunderstanding of, or unfamiliarity with, the mainstream scientific research and to present these two bodies of research as competing in a Wikipedia article would violate NOR. I do acknowledge that the popular media often presentes these two views as competing which is why I think that this particular view is accurately characterized as a cultural or political phenomenon and should be addressed in another article on the politics of race in America). Slrubenstein | Talk 02:09, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Excelent response. I've been digging through the above discussions and a rehash of issues at hand is very welcome. I agree with you on all points, although I've never given much thought to heritability between populations and learning about it on my personal to-do list. From the current Wikipedia Race and Intelligence article and the books and papers I've thusfar read, it appears that one major explanation for variation in IQ scores is indeed genetic, but some people seem to be advocating WP:UNDUE and that the genetic component is such a fringe minority view that it shouldn't be included at all. Above quotes like futurebird's

...give undue weight to the genetic theories if racial difference in intelligence by offering them on equal footing with facts about the way that SES has an impact on test scores.

perhaps got me a little too emotionally riled up. Looking back I probably should have read a little more before posting.

So, if you'll forgive my Wikipedia ignorance, why haven't we already split the articles? Aron.Foster (talk) 03:22, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I was talking about genetic differences between racial groups in that comment, btw. futurebird (talk) 03:29, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Without meaning to speak for Futurebird, i would just add to her comment that there are certain people (and their books) that are - at least among scientists - fringe theories that thus fail to meet the notability standard in our NPOV policy, Rushton being a premier example. I agree with Futurebird that we need not exclude him from Wikipedia merely because his views are frings among scientists - we can present them via an article on him or his books (we have many articles that do this e.g. Guns, Germs and Steel (i just mean, presenting someone's views via an article on his or her book is not in and of itself a judgement on the veracity of the views of the book). As best I can tell, the counter-argument is that Rushton's views are not fringe they are notable, but it is evident to me that if his views are in any way notable it is not within scientific discussions but rather in popular discussions e.g. the mass media 9this is certainly the case with Murry and Hernstein's The Bell Curve). Again I tend to favor Futurebird's approach of covering these views in articles on the books (like we do for Guns, Germs, and Steel). An alternative would be to have an article on popular debates concerning race in America - I am not sure what the best title would be, but my point is simply that there are some views that are notable for political or cultural reasons that are not notable in scientific discussions. As I pointed out earlier, we have an article on Evolution. Creationism and Intelligent Design are most definitely "notable" ib you judge by newspaper articles and court cases ... but they are just not notable in scientific debates. That is why they are given practically no space in the article on evolution. Instead, there is an article on creationism, and another article on the creationism-evolution controversy which is presented as a political and cultural controversy, not a scientific one. I think this is a model we should follow, and it is why I think there is no room for a discussion of Rushton or Murry/Hernstein's views in the articles on scientific discussions of variation in IQ. This is not because i am "anti-hereditarian" - I think we ought to have an article on genetics and IQ drawing on the vast literature on twin studies, and an article on SES and IQ drawing on a whole other and equally if not more vast literature on SES. I just think Rushton and M/H's views don't belong in those articles because they are not notable sources in those scientific debates. As to your question, why hasn't the article been split like this before? Well, you need to ask people who are opposed to Futurebird's or my proposals. But one obvious answer is that this is a controversial topic and some people feel very strongly about it. Frankly - and I do not say this with any disrespect to anyone here - Wikipedia has a great diversity of contributors. Many people do not have access to libraries with subscriptions to journals like The Lancet, Cognition, Behavior Genetics, Twin Research and Human Genetics, or Nature. They do however have access to popular media and to the web, and I think this means that they are far more familiar with popular debates (which I believe are rooted in cultural and political debates) (also I do not think I am alone in believing that the popular media prefers to report on socially or politically controvesial views over technically complex scientific research) than with debates among active researchers. And you know, people write about what they are most familiar with. Anyway, I am just speculating about how to answer your question. Slrubenstein | Talk 03:47, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, I certainly feel like I'll be playing catch-up for a while. My background is in math and not genetics or social sciences, and the reason I'm here is because I care about the issue, want to learn more, and want to contribute to Wikipedia. Initially, my knowledge was from popular media and the web mixed with personal experiences, but (I'd like to believe that) I'm slowly getting a better grasp of the current state of human knowledge on this issue. I'm trudging through the Race (classification of human beings) page and through the references on Race and Intelligence. I'm surprised to see you dismiss so quickly Rushton and Murray's views, since most of what I've been able to find against their arguments has consisted of name-calling and complaints about their funding rather than their actual science. Aron.Foster (talk) 04:17, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

off topic: I'm a grad student in math too. I'd give you a longer answer. But, I have finals next week. futurebird (talk) 04:26, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

(EC) Well, with all due respect, if you do not mind some advice i would say that if you want to know what scientists think of Rushton or Murray and Hernstein, you should see how their books have been reviewed in the major journals. Most research in human evolution and population genetics is done by anthropologists - see if their books have been reviewed in the major journals, American Anthropologist and Current Anthropology and more specialized journals, American Journal of Physical Anthropology and Annals of Human Genetics. If they do not review the books at all, well, that silence itself would speak volumes. However, i would think that at least one of these journals has reviewed at least one of their books and I bet that their reviews will not focus on who funded them ... unless the science is considered so fringe that reviewers invoke the funding sources to explain the nature of the bias (if you do not know, one way that scientific researchers accrue prestige is by receiving highly competitive research grants from highly competitive sources e.g. the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health - these are the most notable, but there are of course others. Some private foundations - like MacArthur - are also very very very well-considered. I know this sounds pretentious or snobbish but scientists are pretty competiive and money and prestige go hand in hand. Scientists are impressed by someone who can get funding from the NSF (or its UK or Canadian or whatever equivalent). They are correspondingly skeptical of someone who cannot get funding from the NSF or an equally prestigious foundation. I think the reasoning goes like this (again, I admit it is snobbish): Rushton needs to get funding from the Pioneer fund because he cannot get funding from Canadian equivalent of the NSF. He cannot get funding from NSF because he is not good enough to compete at that level. And so on. Of course, there are other factors: the Pioneer Fund was founded with a fairly explicit racist agenca. But more salient is the fact that Rushton heads the Pioneer Fund meaning - it is not that hard for him to get a grant from that foundation. I am trying to make two points. One is that Western scientists, like most Westerners, are competitive and respect people who win difficult competitions more than people who win easy competitions. For better or worse this is one reason why the source of funding matters. But i have a second point: these foundations really are important mechanisms for policing the quality of the science. I am not saying that they are perfect mechanisms, they are not, I am only saying that the source of funding for research is not arbitrary or unrelated to the quality of the science. NSF is so competitive because they seek to fund only the most rigorous research proposed by the best qualified researchers. To get a grant from the NSF means that a panel of very prestigious scientists read your proposal (and the proposals are very detailed) and judged it to be original, rigorous, and significant. I would agree with you that it is lazy to dismiss Rushton's work because he did not get funding from NSF (rather, the Canadian equivalent). Making such a claim is using "rejected by NSF" as shorthand for what would be a much longer explanation of what is bad about the science. My point is, if (assuming Rushton actually did apply to the Canadian equivalent of the NSF) you read the reviewer's comments that explained why his proposal was rejected, you would be reading a detailed explanation fo what is wrong with his science. Now, we editors of Wikipedia do not have access to those reviews (they are confidential though perhaps one could petition for them under the FOI act). But it would not be hard for a trained geneticist to reconstruct the rationale for rejecting his proposal. I am just saying that (1) such a reconstruction would in fact be a detailed explanation of what is wrong with his science and (2) it would take a while to write that reconstruction and it saves time - like I said, laziness - just to say "NSF rejected his proposal. But for scientists, just knowing that means that his science didn't cut the mustard. Anyway, if you can find reviews of his books or the Bell Curve in the journals I mentioned, you will probably find the substantive critiques you are looking for. Slrubenstein | Talk 04:53, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Try this: Racialism and Racist Agendas: Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, J. Philippe Rushton. Review author[s]: C. Loring Brace American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 1. (Mar., 1996), pp. 176-177. Slrubenstein | Talk 05:00, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
And this: Race, evolution, and behavior: A life history perspective. By J. Philippe Rushton. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. 1995. 334 pp. ISBN 1-56000-146-1. $34.95 (cloth) American Journal of Physical Anthropology Volume 98, Issue 1, Date: September 1995, Pages: 91-94 John H. Relethford Slrubenstein | Talk 05:10, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, if you want a crash-course on the topic, read this book: Race in Mind: Race, IQ, and Other Racisms. Alexander Alland Jr. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 219 pp. - it specifically goes into detail on the difference between good and bad science. Slrubenstein | Talk 05:04, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not think you are lazy! I think you take this topic seriously and i appreciate your candor. i believe that if you read these two book reviews and Alland's book (which was very well-reviewed, and is fairly accessible) you will understand why so many consider Rushton to be a pseudoscientist (caveat: his training was in social psychology and I have no reason to question the research he did for which he was trained; it is only his publication on topics outside of his field of expertise - genetics and evolution - that I consider him a pseudoscientist). I grant that the book by Alland will take you a few days but if you are serious about this topic as you seem to be, I am sure you will find it very informative and enjoyable, and it will be well worth your while. Slrubenstein | Talk 05:35, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Regretfully, I won't have access to a library (or at least an English one) for another year thanks to my job, but I'll grab a book or two from Amazon. I don't plan to subscribe to any major journals just to read a few of their articles, so I'm going to stick with what I can find or steal online for free. You mention a lot from the field of Anthropology (your own field, methinks?), and I'm also checking out Sociology and Psychology since they've weighed in on the issue.

Thus proving my point about the systematic bias in Wikipedia owing to the fact that a large number of contributors (if not a majority) do not have access to good libraries. Does the military not have electronic subscriptions to major journals through J-stor? Or a good inter-library loan system? Be that as it may, I would not expect you to subscribe to these journals! If you want to e-mail me at slrubenstein dot yahoo dot com I can send you pdfs of the book reviews. Yes, I am an anthropologist, but not a physical anthropologist (and it is they who are the real experts on human evolution and population genetics). For what it is worth, I think sociologists have done the best research on SES factors. Those psychologists who are specifically trained are indeed the best experts in IQ testing specifically; psychologists and neuropsychologists on human cognition more generally. From what I have read, few psychologists have expertise in human evolution or genetics, and it is usually when psychologists who may well be very competent scholars in their own areas of expertise begin making arguments involving genetics and evolution that they are accused of bad or pseudo-science. The best research on the heritability of intelligence comes from population geneticists either from physical anthropology or evolutionary biology. AJPA is the top journal in physical anthropology, see also Behavior Genetics and Nature. For psychology, the journals Cognition, and Applied Psychology. The top journals in sociology are American Journal of Sociology and American Sociological Review. I am not sure what is available on-line, but I hope you have access to a good library or at least a library with a good inter-library loan service and reference librarian. If you read the Alland book I personally would like to know what you think of it. Slrubenstein | Talk 06:32, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

And on a quasi-unrelated note, if all the Race and Intelligence (xxxxx) sections have been merged into Race and Intelligence, shouldn't the links from the main page be removed? Aron.Foster (talk) 06:15, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi Aron. I got hold of a second hand copy of "Race and IQ" edited by Ashley Montague from Amazon for just a couple of quid. This contains a lot of very good essays by very well respected scientists.[5] I was pleased with my copy, it' an old copy from Leeds University library, and knowing how hard UK university students work, I was unsurprised to find that the volume is like new!!! Alun (talk) 06:54, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Race, Evolution, and Behavior

Since everyone is still talking about Rushton, here is a link to his book: Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective; 2nd Special Abridged Edition. --Jagz (talk) 06:03, 11 December 2007 (UTC)