My Thoughts On the Heritability of Intelligence and Eugenics

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  • #51
selfAdjoint
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Here's a comment from a site that is pretty fanatical about genes and g: GNXP on Lynn .
 
  • #52
Nereid
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint Here's a comment from a site that is pretty fanatical about genes and g: GNXP on Lynn .
Thanks SelfAdjoint.

One of the contributors to the page made a technical critique of Lynn et al's work (http://www.suz.unizh.ch/volken/pdfs/IQWealthNation.pdf [Broken]);
(Note that Volken looked at only one aspect; this footnote suggests other aspects would be worth examining: "For the authors the concept of race seems to be so clear that they see no need to make it explicit at all.")

To quote from Volken's conclusion:

"In this paper I have explored the influence of national IQ on income and growth. In contrast to Lynn and Vanhanen, I find no empirical and statistically significant support for their claim that IQ is the most relevant factor explaining cross-country variations in income and growth. In the case of income, the authors simply fail to consider the influence structure of the explanatory variables, leading them to the wrong conclusion that economic freedom and the level of democracy account for only a small amount of the variance explained.
Furthermore, Lynn and Vanhanen confuse IQ with human capital. Once one controls for the educational opportunity structure, the link between IQ and income disappears.
Also, their case for economic growth and IQ is not supported by the empirical evidence presented for the two growth periods 1976-1998 and 1983-1996. Once control variables are entered, and a more theoretically adequate growth model is specified, the effect of national IQ levels on growth cannot be substantiated. Therefore the correlation between IQ and growth which has been found by Lynn and Vanhanen must be considered as spurious. In short, the simple message is that national IQ has neither an effect on income nor on economic growth.
In the light of these findings, it is hardly worthwhile for any researcher to further consider national IQs as an engine of economic development and growth. If the IQ effect is spurious, why should we still bother? Firstly, the answer of course has to do with the questionable research methods applied by Lynn and Vanhanen. Secondly, part one of Lynn and Vanhanen s argument however weak its methodological fundament may be must be subject to strict scientific tests.
Polemics alone will not advance the knowledge of the scientific community."
 
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  • #53
selfAdjoint
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Nereid, I am really glad that you've done this careful explication of Volken's critique. "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" is so often cited online, and it's such a weak argument. Somewhere there ought to be a FAQ on this stuff, giving the fair and scientific facts about g, heritability and such, but I haven't found any. Just different camps of fanatics.
 
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And of course, we all know that fanatics are all just wrong, as are extremists and reductionists.

The author of the article you posted seems to believe that, unless we firmly establish what the heritability of IQ between nations is, it must equal zero. Because if the heritability is anything greater than zero, Lynn's and Vanhanan's arguments about causality are perfectly legitimate.

This issue echoes the black-white IQ gap, which it turns out is best explained by the Default Hypothesis (so named by Jensen). The default hypothesis explaining IQ differences between nations (that being, that they are roughly as heritable as IQ differences between individuals) is not, and ultimately need not, be stated, precisely because it is default. Since the 0% genetic hypothesis which you might prefer is very specific - and I should point out that it is a fanatical, extreme position - and since it would require the gene frequencies to be evenly interspersed throughout the vastly different populations discussed in Wealth of Nations, there is nothing even especially remarkable about relying on an unstated the default hypothesis here.

This default hypothesis for the causes of national disparities for measured IQ may be incorrect, and for all its extreme unlikeliness the 100% environmental hypothesis is probably worth considering. But in the absence of any reason to believe IQ differences between nations are totally and completely environmental, there's nothing fanatic about the assumption that national IQ is a cause of national wealth. Instead, the reverse is true.


--Mark
 
  • #55
Nereid
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Nachtwolf wrote: This default hypothesis for the causes of national disparities for measured IQ may be incorrect, and for all its extreme unlikeliness the 100% environmental hypothesis is probably worth considering. But in the absence of any reason to believe IQ differences between nations are totally and completely environmental, there's nothing fanatic about the assumption that national IQ is a cause of national wealth. Instead, the reverse is true.
In the case of Lynn and Vanhanen, we're not even at first base - no identification of possible systematic errors and biases, no attempts to estimate the size or importance of these effects and biases, just a simple-minded "we've got the SPM norm tables, and the various reported mean (or median) results from various studies done by various people in various countries at various times; we've got some simple secular trends (never mind that they've not been verified in most of the countries whose IQ we're trying to determine), turn the handle ... voilà! a bright shiny table of National IQs!"

It may be that "National IQ" is one cause of "National wealth"; it may be that it's an extremely minor cause, #2,567 in a ranked list of causes; it may be that it's a fairly important cause, say #6; but L+V's work doesn't get us far in trying to find out.
Nachtwolf wrote: Because if the heritability is anything greater than zero, Lynn's and Vanhanan's arguments about causality are perfectly legitimate.
Lynn and Vanhanen (note: Vanhanen is Finnish, I rather doubt -nan is found in any Finnish family name) waved their hands about IQ, SES, incomes etc and how this plausibly translated to nations with a high average IQ tending to become nations with high real per capita GDP. Leave aside for the moment that the data they present do not support their case, there are serious logical flaws in their argument. One example: even if IQ and SES were shown to correlate strongly in each of a large number of nations all engaged in (fairly) free trade of goods and services, and with freedom of capital movement, it does NOT follow logically that mean IQ differences would result in differences in national wealth - countries are not people. The (economic) theory of comparative advantage alone implies that that would be a most unlikely outcome.
 
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  • #56
russ_watters
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Scientific flaws aside, is anyone else disturbed at some of the implications and courses of action being insinuated here?
Njorl, this is just systematic denial. No research is being done (after all those extracts hitsquad posted), it's all just rehashing old data (proves you haven't looked), everybody has a (bad) agenda (smear the messenger), no test can be culture-free (where is the culture value in Raven matrices)? and so on. You don't want to look at the good science and good data upon which these facts are based so you just color them ugly in your mind.
When there is so much here that is questionable (at best), I don't think it is unreasonable (in fact, I think its extremely important) to investigate why.
 
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Originally posted by russ_watters
there is so much here that is questionable
What did you have in mind?





-Chris
 
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It may be that "National IQ" is one cause of "National wealth"; it may be that it's an extremely minor cause, #2,567 in a ranked list of causes; it may be that it's a fairly important cause, say #6; but L+V's work doesn't get us far in trying to find out.
I agree that more research needs to be done - and frankly I think this approaches the most important topic for research, and it's a shame that Pioneer is just about the only source of funding for most IQ studies - but in order for IQ not to be a major cause, you would have to have one of two things:

1. A reverse-causal relatoinship, which as I've said very unlikely
2. A third factor which affects both national wealth and IQ.

The second possibility is unlikely in light of the huge correlation between IQ and national wealth. The unknown third factor would have to have a highly significant correlation with both wealth and IQ. Can you even imagine such a third factor to formulate a hypothesis? Maybe I'm just not very creative, but I honestly can't. Religion? Climate? Extraterrestrial involvement? I'm tapped out.


there is so much here that is questionable
What did you have in mind?
Yeah seriously, Russ, what "scientific flaws" are you talking about? The IQ test used has been well established and refined over the last century, representative samples of the population were used, and Lynn knows how to perform the statistical analyses required to come up with correlational coefficients, so what do you have in mind?


--Mark
 
  • #59
Nereid
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Nachtwolf wrote: I agree that more research needs to be done - and frankly I think this approaches the most important topic for research, and it's a shame that Pioneer is just about the only source of funding for most IQ studies - but in order for IQ not to be a major cause, you would have to have one of two things:

1. A reverse-causal relatoinship
[sic], which as I've said very unlikely
2. A third factor which affects both national wealth and IQ.

The second possibility is unlikely in light of the huge correlation between IQ and national wealth. The unknown third factor would have to have a highly significant correlation with both wealth and IQ. Can you even imagine such a third factor to formulate a hypothesis? Maybe I'm just not very creative, but I honestly can't. Religion? Climate? Extraterrestrial involvement? I'm tapped out.
Er, no. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the 'significant correlation' doesn't exist; Lynn and Vanhanen's work contains serious flaws (some details here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=147112#post147112)

I can construct half a dozen plausible reasons why "National IQ" may be a result rather than a cause; you may disagree with me. I can present a dozen 'correlations' which have nothing to do with "National IQ" but which explain the differences in 1998 real per capita GDP; you may disagree with me. When you come to present data which support your case, unless there's more than Lynn and Vanhanen's study, you're back to generalising from Jensen's work, which he states very clearly is limited in scope to
a) the US, and
b) 'black-white' differences
.

[Edit: fixed formats]
 
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Er, no. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the 'significant correlation' doesn't exist; Lynn and Vanhanen's work contains serious flaws (some details here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showth...7112#post147112 [Broken])
Haven't we already laughed at those details? Seriously, Nereid, you simply have no case here. Can you see why the details you raise which we haven't already refuted aren't even relevant to the situation?

Here's just an example of why I don't feel like addressing every single point you raise:

L+V assert that the "National IQ" of Ghana is 62.
If "IQ 70-75 [is] often [...] considered the threshold for mental retardation", I would guess that 40-50 would be the threshold for severe retardation, perhaps those with Down’s Syndrome have IQs in this range? Would people with such low IQs – of whom there must have been at least 100 in the sample which lead L+V to their determination - to be able to do CPM or SPM?
Someone with an IQ of 50 has a mental ability roughly corresponding to an eight-year-old white child. A five year old child could do the CPM or SPM. And get a very small number of correct answers.

Would the test protocol have to be changed to administer either test to such people?
None. And if you think about it briefly, you'll realize that if such people were excluded from the sample, this would only result in inflated IQ scores for these nations, thus implying that they are even dumber than Lynn finds. And since Ghana and other African nations actually make more money than the straight-up linear correlation predicts, this would only strengthen Lynn's case.

What sort of sampling technique was used to ensure that such severely retarded people (if indeed they were) could be included as test subjects?
None was necessary.



--Mark
 
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  • #61
Nereid
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And the rest?

Originally posted by Nachtwolf
Haven't we already laughed at those details? Seriously, Nereid, you simply have no case here. Can you see why the details you raise which we haven't already refuted aren't even relevant to the situation?

Here's just an example of why I don't feel like addressing every single point you raise:

Someone with an IQ of 50 has a mental ability roughly corresponding to an eight-year-old white child. A five year old child could do the CPM or SPM. And get a very small number of correct answers.

None. And if you think about it briefly, you'll realize that if such people were excluded from the sample, this would only result in inflated IQ scores for these nations, thus implying that they are even dumber than Lynn finds. And since Ghana and other African nations actually make more money than the straight-up linear correlation predicts, this would only strengthen Lynn's case.

None was necessary.
That's some (partial) answers to a few questions, thanks for that.

May we expect answers to the others? After all, seeing as how important Lynn and Vanhanen's conclusions are to your program, I'd've thought you'd be only too pleased to explain in excruciating detail why and how their work is sound.

IMHO, arrogant dismissal of serious questions tends to heighten a reader's suspicion that the aggression is a debating tactic to divert attention from topics the speaker would rather not have exposed.
 
  • #62
russ_watters
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Originally posted by hitssquad
What did you have in mind?
Yeah seriously, Russ, what "scientific flaws" are you talking about?
Nereid has it covered pretty well - and you guys are pretty much dodging all of her questions/objections. Like she said - all that does is make people more skeptical of your claims.
 
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  • #63
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Voyage of the Questrist

Originally posted by russ_watters
Originally posted by hitssquad
Originally posted by russ_watters
there is so much here that is questionable
What did you have in mind?
Nereid has it covered pretty well
Russ Watters' opinion of Nereid's coverage has not been questioned.

The question in question spoke to what Russ Watters had in mind when he said there is so much here that is questionable .

What was it that you found questionable, Russ?





-Chris
 
  • #64
russ_watters
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Originally posted by hitssquad
What did you have in mind?
Nereid has it covered pretty well
Russ Watters' opinion of Nereid's coverage has not been questioned.

The question in question spoke to what Russ Watters had in mind when he said there is so much here that is questionable .

What was it that you found questionable, Russ?

-Chris
Sorry, I'm not going to play your games. You can't use me as an excuse to dodge Nereid's questions. She's put an enormous amount of energy into debunking your claims, something I'm not willing to do. You have my opinion, and its based on what you have already read from Nereid. Your next comeback of course is "don't you think for yourself?" I do: I read two sides of an argument and made a choice. One side is far stronger than the other.

edit: removed foot and lower leg from throat.
 
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  • #65
Nereid
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(this exchange has been edited; I believe the key points are retained, but the original is earlier in this thread if the reader wishes to see the whole exchange).

[Nereid] Would people with such low IQs [~40-50] – of whom there must have been at least 100 in the [Ghana] sample which lead L+V to their determination - to be able to do CPM or SPM?

[Nachtwolf, sans the gratuitous arrogance] Someone with an IQ of 50 has a mental ability roughly corresponding to an eight-year-old white child. A five year old child could do the CPM or SPM. And get a very small number of correct answers.

[Nereid] Would the test protocol have to be changed to administer either test to such people?

[Nachtwolf] None.

[Nereid] What sort of sampling technique was used to ensure that such severely retarded people (if indeed they were) could be included as test subjects?

[Nachtwolf] None was necessary.

[Lynn and Vanhanen] It has been suggested by a referee that the mean IQs of sub-Saharan African countries are so low that they cannot be valid and that they spuriously inflate the correlations between the national IQs and the measures of per capita income and economic growth.

[a hitssquad quote, Nereid’s emphasis] ”The greater B-W differences on the RT and RTSD components of the ECTs in the South African study is best explained by the fact that this group of South African blacks scored, on average, about 2ó below British (or South African) whites, while there is only about 1ó difference between American blacks and whites. 59 In the Lynn and Holmshaw study, the W-B difference on Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) was about 2.5ó. But we cannot be very confident of this value, because the SPM appeared to be too difficult for the African blacks. Their mean raw score on the SPM was only about three points above the chance guessing score, which casts doubt on the reliability and validity of the SPM as a measure of individual differences in g for this sample."

So, the Ghana study (according to Nachtwolf) produced OK results; the South African study produced questionable results (at least for the blacks in the sample). The mean IQs for the two?

Ghana: 62
South African blacks: 66

It would seem that the study’s flaws include systematic ones.
 

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