Test it!

Here’s Nisbett again:

The achievement gap between blacks and whites owes nothing to genetics. It is not solely due to discrimination or social-class differences between blacks and whites. It is due in good part to environmental differences between blacks and whites stemming from family, neighborhood, and school socialization factors that are present even for middle-class blacks. The gap is closing slowly, but it could be closed much more rapidly, with interventions both large and small. Preschool programs exist that can produce enormous differences in outcomes in school and in later life…. Nisbett, 2011. The Achievement Gap: Past, Present & Future

Compare this with Reeves and Hakel (2002):

Although the evidence to date is far from complete, certain conclusions about the causes of observed racial differences are warranted. First, it is clear that group differences are not due solely to genetic, biological, or environmental factors. This is hardly surprising, however. Given the symbiotic relations among them, it would seem surprising if these factors were not all contributors to the manifestation of group differences. Second, the environmental and genetic factors that appear to be the most viable sources of group differences are those that influence biological and physiological factors associated with g. That is, microenvironmental factors (e.g., prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal conditions and nutritional factors) and genetic factors that have effects on the biological development of the nervous system appear to have the strongest empirical support as causes of racial differences. Reeves and Hakel, 2002. Asking the right questions.

Email him: nisbett@umich.edu

Re: “Achievement gap between blacks and whites owes nothing to genetics”


Every academic hereditarian of merit agrees that hybrid testing with modern genotypic analysis would provide an unequivocal test of the genetic hypothesis (Levin (1997); Rushton and Jensen (2005); Sesardic (2005); Murray (2005), etc). If you truly wish to resolve this issue, as I do, join me in calling for such tests.

As Lee (2009) has noted in his “Review of intelligence and how to get it: Why schools and cultures count, R.E. Nisbett, Norton, New York, NY,” the unwillingness that you and others show when it comes to calling for such tests speaks volumes about the sincerity of your claim that the “achievement gap between blacks and whites owes nothing to genetics.”

It’s time to resolve this issue. Help call for testing or let your refusal to do so speak for itself.



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3 Responses to Test it!

  1. JL says:

    Yeah, the race & intelligence debate is stuck in a rut, because no one’s publishing any studies that could further it. I wonder if any of the big ongoing longitudinal studies might enable the sort of hybrid testing you talk about, as some of them collect DNA data.

    • Chuck says:

      It’s stuck in a rut because no one who can test it will. Given this situation, it’s important for us to frame the issue correctly: we want to resolved the issue and move on. (I do, at least). Environmentalists are the ones dragging their feet.

  2. Doug1 says:

    Whereas Flynn has long struck me as biased, but honest, Nisbett seems downright disingenuous.

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