In response to my post about the UK Black-White difference (or lack thereof) – and its implications for race realism, I received a virtual laundry list of environmentalist explanations:
The negative effect of White UK culture:
The big thing to look into is the emergence of a gender gap over the last generation in Britain favoring teen girls in run-of-the-mill tests like the GSCE. It’s significantly bigger than in the U.S., and seems to hold across most ethnicities. It’s a smoking gun that something is going wrong with white British culture.
The positive effect of Black Mulatto culture:
Another thing to keep in mind is that while I don’t know about the UK, I know that in the U.S., a lot of West Indians are from the mulatto elite: Attorney General Eric Holder, General Colin Powell, singer Rhianna, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, etc.
I think a likely (partial?) explanation is that the Black students tended to be more motivated to get good grades. They probably took less challenging courses since we can see that the White advantage is much greater when English and Math are included (these are probably more rigorous subjects).
That the tests don’t measure intelligence:
The GCSE data in the Deary et al. study are from 2002. In 2002, about 47% of all students obtained fewer than 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, whereas in 2009 the proportion was only 25% (see graph 1). It’s obvious that there’s been lots of grade inflation
Low expectations for Whites:
So, my overall model of Britain’s social system v. America’s is that the former is dominated by class and the latter by race. The British system tends to be better for blacks because they have less pressure on them to Act Black all the time, while it’s worse for poorer whites because they are constantly pressured by their peers not to Act Toff by like, you know, reading.
And systematic scientific anti-racism and biased research:
The British establishment is so extreme in its anti-white position, and so desperate to degrade its own native population in favor of blacks and Asians, that we should not take any official figures from Britain seriously
Let’s put aside the fact that my original estimate of little difference now seems questionable (i.e., there possibly seems to be a UK Black-White difference of 0.5 or so standard deviations.) The first couple of responses were somewhat unbelievable, given what is typically argued by hereditarians: High within population heritability limits between population environmental influences. This is a staple hereditarian argument, which goes:
The heritability of IQ for both Blacks and Whites is high at older ages. For example, in an analysis of the nationally representative ADD health data, Guo and Stearns (2002) found respective Black and White adolescent heritabilities of .57 and .71 and respective between family environmentalities of .16 and .03; similarly high within population heritabilities have been found in other studies (Rushton and Jensen, 2005). In absence of measurement bias and unique factors which uniformly raise or lower one or the other population’s scores (i.e. X-factors), high within population heritabilities constrain between population environmental influences. . If, for example, two populations have between family within population environmentalities of 0.16 and strict measurement invariance holds, for environmental influences to create a 1 SD difference, 2.5 SDs of environmental influence are needed (i.e., 1/ sqrt(0.16)). Several studies have shown that, in the case of Blacks and Whites, there are no detectable X-factors (e.g. Rowe et al., 1994; Rowe et al., 1995; Carretta, 1995; Carretta and Ree, 1995) and several other studies have shown that differences between Blacks and Whites are not due to measurement bias (Dolan, 2000; Dolan and Hamaker, 2001; Lubke, et al 2003)…..
(See, Jensen, 1973; Jensen, 1998; Murray and Herrnstein, 1994; Levin, 1997; Sesardic, 2005…)
This applies to the presence of differences just as much as it does to the absence. Given a hereditarian model, and given the magnitude of differences typically proposed, the said environmental explanations for an absence are simply implausible.
There is, of course, an out. Flynn and Dickens (2001) have provided it. Flynn and Dickens’ social multipliers model – which is frequently cited by quasi-environmentalists — works just as well in defense of “race realism” as it does in defense of environmentalism, if one is willing to adopt what we might call “geneticism,” where this simply refers to the view that race differences are caused, directly and/or indirectly, by genes.
By the Flynn and Dickens model, small genotypic differences between individuals and/or populations (say, 0.2 SD) can multiply, by way of gene-environment covariance, to produce large phenotypic differences (Say, 1 SD). To the extent that this gene-environment covariance is active, in the sense of individuals selecting their own phenotypic shaping environments, the resulting differences can be said to be causally genetic, in an indirect sense. This model can be applied to numerous behavioral traits. Moreover, between population multiplication is not heavily contingent on within population multiplication. Now that Flynn and Dickens have established the a priori plausibility of this model, it can only be ruled out, as a mechanism of between population phenotypic differentiation, by testing populations and showing the absence of the prerequisite small genetic differences.
Geneticism, as so conceptualized, is not exclusive of hereditarianism. Hereditarianism is just a subtype of geneticism; it’s the view that race differences are largely caused by additive genetic differences (e.g., a 0.8 geneotypic SD difference to a 1 phenotypic SD difference.)
Adopting a geneticist view, expands greatly the scope of “race realism.” Doing so also changes the contours of the race-genes debate. Arguments which are potent against hereditarianism are impotent against geneticism. Malleability of between group differences; absences of differences in certain environments; unusually small differences between mixed race individuals – are all consistent with variants of geneticism that don’t posit large hereditarian differences. Such models make predictions, of course; they predict the probable occurrence of differences – as opposed to the necessary occurrence (in absence of implausibly large countervailing environmental factors) (i.e., across environmental regimes, difference of various magnitude, going in the same direction., will tend to emerge.)
The responses above, then, are not inherently unreasonable. The explanations offered are plausible given some forms of geneticism, particularly weakly hereditarian forms. I would guess, though, that these forms were not being entertained when the reposes were written.