In a recent post I concluded:
So far everything Ron has presented is utterly dismissible.
That said, a strong case against global hereditarianism of even a modest amount can be made (forthcoming, perhaps). Ron just isn’t making it.
As for the first part, I think we, Ron excepting, can agree. Ron has offered a slew of specious arguments. Were it not obvious that he had little intent in crafting a logically sound, empirically grounded case –that he was intentionally engaging in rhetoric of a type befitting of Gould — we would be forced to question his analytic capacities. But Ron’s no buffoon, rhetoric was the game. Moreover, he was not entirely disingenuous. He is, no doubt, sincere in his belief that only a weak hereditarian position is tenable — and he probably sees his sophistry justified in light of this conviction. Nothing new here. As it is, he recognized the critical defect of the racial hereditarian case — certain migrant performance. And he astutely grasped the limits imposed by the phenomena of regression to the mean on selection-based hereditarian explanations for anomalous, from the evolutionary genetic perspective, migrant performance. His major failing was his Procrustean attempt to fit the migrant argument to the American scene. And because it doesn’t fit — for whatever reason — he has failed miserably, at least from a logical, empirical perspective. Though, perhaps the argument has been a rhetorical success amongst the quarters it was was directed to.
Now, some have argued that this issue of racial hereditarianism versus environmentalism is best resolved through allele counting. I disagree for the following reason: The magnitude of the plausible genotypic differences seriously under contention is relatively small (on average about 5 to 20 IQ points, equivalent to about 3 to 30% of the within population phenotype variance. And a significant portion of the heritability of IQ is non-additive (about 20%). And this non-additive portion is riddled with gene-gene interactions and so forth. As such, determining the underlying genetics of this portion of intelligence will be long in coming, as behavioral geneticists agree. So, even if it is found that the additive allele frequency differs between populations, it can always be argued, given the percent of possible genotypic variance under question, that the non-additive frequencies are such that the net difference is zero (or non-zero, depending on the results and one’s position). One will only be able to make a probabilistic argument for population differences based on allele differences alone (i.e., given the known additive differences, the chance that the non-additive differences…). So, unless I am missing something, gene-counting, of the type possible with the next two decades, would not suffice to convince the masses of determined environmentalism (or minority of determined hereditarians, again results depending).
Assuming that the above analysis is correct, the genetic-environmental uncertainty will not be eliminated by gene counting. Additional evidence will be needed. The most obvious such evidence is that which Ron has been discussing, migrant performance. Racial hereditarians themselves maintain that migrant performance is a strong test of their (and my) hypothesis, at least the evolutionary version. As noted prior, one of the main proponents of this hypothesis has stated flat out:
The evolutionary theory does however predict that when different races occupy approximately similar environments, such as for instance in the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, the intelligence differences will remain. This prediction has been examined in twenty three societies worldwide in Lynn (2008) and has been confirmed in every case. If a multiracial society is found where these race differences in intelligence are absent, the evolutionary and genetic theory of these differences would be falsified. Those who maintain that there are no genetic differences in intelligence between the races are urged to attempt this task. (Consistency of race differences in intelligence over millennia: A comment on Wicherts, Borsboom and Dolan).
Now, as with Ron, I have tried to decisively falsify the racial evolutionary hypothesis on the basis of migrant performance, but have, as yet, failed. My main problem has been the lack of good data and more critically, literally a chronic shortage of energy, as a result of my own own dysgenics.
Some, though, have recently offered to help with this endeavor. In light of the interest shown,
I propose, for those interested, a collaborative project, where we attempt to determine the correlation between National IQs, as indexed by international test performance, and second and third generate migrant IQs across nations. To this end, we can use the PISA 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 and other international or national data banks to make this determination. Previously, I showed a modest correlation between general migrant performance in Europe and National IQ, but I did not limit results to 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants — let alone to country of destination language speakers — nor did I adjust for selection. The latter is important because migrant performance on cognitive tests, not surprisingly, has been shown to be a function of immigrant selectivity. As for the latter, we can make rough adjustments using educational attainment figures or less rough adjustments using country of origin/destination cross comparisons — see, for example, here and here (note that the authors’ discussion in these papers is riddled with the sociologist fallacy)– for those countries which the data permits such. Here, for example, were unweighted PISA 2006 results for migrants to Portugal and Belgium broken down by region of origin and generation based on one math plausible value. Aggregating scores across surveys and supplementing with additional sources with increase the sample sizes. For example, the UK Pakistan sample is only n=26, but aggregating results across four studies will provide a reportable n=100. Aggregating results across countries will cancel out sampling bias, due to idiosyncratic factors (e.g., Chinese in the UK being extra motivated by policy X.)
To note, such a project would not be without worth outside the fringe HBD sphere. Richard Lynn’s claims, concerning immigrant performance, have not been completely ignored. Here, for example, is an excerpt from a just published paper co-authored by prominent intelligence researcher Roberto Colom:
Although Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006) maintained, correctly, that human intelligence is significantly influenced by genetic factors, and that, therefore, the national intelligence differences possibly can be explained, at least in part, by these genetic factors The reality of the Flynn effect shows that the intellectual capacity of the populations is sensitive to certain environmental factors or non-genetic…
Lynn (2006) sets out a number of evidences to be optimistic about the aim of improving the IQ of populations:
1. – A neglected nutrition can reduce a population’s IQ at least 15 points.
2. – The SSA have an average IQ of 67 when living in Africa, but 85 if residing in the United States.
3. – The SSA have an average IQ of 67 when living in Africa, but 86 when living in the UK.
4. – The SSA have an average IQ of 67 when living in Africa, but 85 if residing in the Netherlands.
I imagine that Colom would be interested in a more accurate assessment of comparative migrant performance.
As Ron has correctly pointed out, much of the reticence concerning discussions, in academia and out, of National IQ differences, which are of nontrivial importance, stems from concerns about possible genetic differences of non-trivial magnitudes. Such an analysis — which I am sure that Ron would be willing to cite (if the results favored his position) — could alleviate much of such concern (or alternatively that of those of us who take the contrary position).
Anyways, the analysis itself should be fairly simple. One can download the survey data online. And one merely needs to do a three layer mean comparison. Knock off versions of SPSS or SAS can also be downloaded online as can free trial versions which allow such simple computations. This analysis will most likely not be dispositive, as information for some migrant origin regions will be sparse (e.g., Africa), but it won’t be uninformative. At least we will get a sense about for which regions a genetic hypothesis, of a modest magnitude, is tenable. Again, I would do it myself, but I am shy of energy and to do it well — by the standards of dilettante online scientific racism — requires more than I have at the present.
If interested, drop a comment. And we can begin discussing if this is a worthwhile endeavor, and, if so, methodology and so on.