Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nisbett answered by Rushton & Jensen

When the first publicity for Nisbett's recent book on IQ came out, I said: "I have not read the book and nothing in the review encourages me to do so but I assume that some of my colleagues who specialize in IQ studies will read it and dissect it in due course. Meanwhile, I just offer a few comments that occur to me".

My expectation has now been fulfilled. I have just received from J.P. Rushton the draft of a paper which dissects Nisbett's arguments in detail. It is in the form of a book review so should see academic publication fairly soon.

As I also expected, the liberties taken with the facts by Nisbett are enormous. If there is only one finding out of 5 that suits Nisbett, he will quote that one finding and ignore the other 4. That is a caricature of how real science is done.

Many of the points that Rushton & Jensen make are similar to points I have made in my various comments on Nisbett (See here, here and here) but Rushton & Jensen give the actual figures complete with full references.

As the paper is in draft, I cannot quote any of it directly but I can quote an excerpt that they provide from Flynn. Flynn has been one of the chief proponents of environmental rather than genetic influences on IQ and Nisbett relies on him heavily for some of his arguments. Flynn does however listen to those on the genetic side of the debate and he has recently changed his tune considerably. The following is from page 85 of Flynn's 2008 book.
There are two messages. The first is familiar: You cannot dismiss black gains on whites just because they do not tally with the g loadings of subtests. But the second is new and unexpected. The brute fact that black gains on whites do not tally with g loadings tells us something about causes. The causes of the black gains are like hearing aids. They do cut the cognitive gap but they are not eliminating the root causes. And conversely, if the root causes are somehow eliminated, we can be confident that the IQ gap and the g gap will both disappear".

In other words, Flynn accepts that there is an underlying black/white difference in IQ that cannot be traced to environmental factors. Nisbett quotes a lot from Flynn but he does NOT quote that conclusion.

And Rushton & Jensen also report empirical tests of the arm-waving assertions that emanate from Leftists about black environmental disadvantage. None of the assertions are in fact borne out by the research findings.

In that connection I found out about a quite remarkable fact that I was not previously aware of. What if a little kid came from such a poor environment that he had to be hospitalized for malnutrition and was then adopted out into a white family? One would think that a kid from such a background would be permanently handicapped. They obviously would not come from an elite family to start with and nutrition during infancy is known to be very important to subsequent development. Yet precisely that experience has happened to considerable numbers of children from East Asian backgrounds (Korea etc.). I think you know what I am going to say: Far from being dumb, these kids were after only a few years scoring ABOVE the white average on IQ! Genetics triumph! East Asians are of course in general smarter than we Anglos. Their weakness is that they respect authority too much.

Leftists will of course argue that the finding simply show what a wonderful job white adoptive parents do but isn't it odd that blacks adopted by whites still stay close to THEIR average racial IQ -- i.e. around a whole standard deviation below whites -- particularly if we look at adult IQ rather than IQ measured during childhood. It is an old truth that efforts to raise black IQ sometimes seem to be doing some good during childhood but by adulthood the improvement vanishes. Needless to say, Nisbett quotes adoption studies where IQ was measured in childhood and ignores major studies where IQ was measured in adulthood.

In most fields of science, work as incompetent as Nisbett's would earn him nothing but scorn from his colleagues but Nisbett is already heavily laden with honours and will no doubt receive even more honours before long. The human race loves its myths far more than it loves facts.


Karl Marx on “The Russian Loan”

It was in his article, “The Russian Loan,” published in the New-York Daily Tribune on January 4, 1856, that the grotesque antisemitism of Karl Marx’s writing was on full display:
Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every pope by a Jesuit. In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to ransack pockets.

… the real work is done by the Jews, and can only be done by them, as they monopolize the machinery of the loanmongering mysteries by concentrating their energies upon the barter trade in securities… Here and there and everywhere that a little capital courts investment, there is ever one of these little Jews ready to make a little suggestion or place a little bit of a loan. The smartest highwayman in the Abruzzi is not better posted up about the locale of the hard cash in a traveler’s valise or pocket than those Jews about any loose capital in the hands of a trader… The language spoken smells strongly of Babel, and the perfume which otherwise pervades the place is by no means of a choice kind.

… Thus do these loans, which are a curse to the people, a ruin to the holders, and a danger to the governments, become a blessing to the houses of the children of Judah. This Jew organization of loan-mongers is as dangerous to the people as the aristocratic organization of landowners… The fortunes amassed by these loan-mongers are immense, but the wrongs and sufferings thus entailed on the people and the encouragement thus afforded to their oppressors still remain to be told.

… The fact that 1855 years ago Christ drove the Jewish moneychangers out of the temple, and that the moneychangers of our age enlisted on the side of tyranny happen again chiefly to be Jews, is perhaps no more than a historical coincidence. The loan-mongering Jews of Europe do only on a larger and more obnoxious scale what many others do on one smaller and less significant. But it is only because the Jews are so strong that it is timely and expedient to expose and stigmatize their organization.

A Marxist website has provided a list of articles written by Karl Marx between 1852 and 1861 for the New York Daily Tribune. It does not surprise me that “The Russian Loan” does not appear on this list. When apologists for Marx’s antisemitism run out of explanations, they simply ignore his words.

Much more HERE

The Marx article concerned was however reprinted in "Karl Marx, The Eastern Question" (ed. by Eleanor Marx & Edward Aveling, 1897: new ed. 1969). pp. 600-606. I have also previously excerpted it here



Obama’s new fuel economy rules deadly for both people and carmakers: "Today President Obama will unveil a plan to sharply increase federal gas mileage rules for vehicles sold in the United States, eventually bringing the requirement up to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, these rules — known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards — have the deadly effect of causing new cars to be lighter, smaller and less crashworthy. ‘CAFE is among the deadliest government regulations we have, and with today’s announcement it’s going to get even deadlier,’ said Competitive Enterprise Institute General Counsel Sam Kazman.”

Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep the State spending: "A smattering of California voters on Tuesday soundly rejected five ballot measures designed to keep the state solvent through the rest of the year. The results dealt a severe setback to the state’s fragile fiscal structure and to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislators who cobbled together the measures as part of a last-minute budget deal passed in February. The measures, which would have prolonged tax increases, capped state spending, earmarked money for education and involved the state in a complex borrowing scheme against its lottery, were rejected by roughly 60 percent of those who voted. The failure of the measures, combined with falling revenues since the state passed its budget, leaves California with a $21 billion new hole to fill, while foreclosure rates and unemployment remain vexing problems here. “Tonight we have heard from the voters, and I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system,” Governor. Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. “Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said." [Like firing some bureaucrats?]

Netanyahu stands firm against demands from Obama: "Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in his first meeting with the US president, made it clear that while he welcomed Mr Obama's commitment to the region, he was more concerned about dealing with the threat of Iran than peace talks. Mr Obama was unable to secure any commitments on ceasing the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or embracing the "two-state solution" to achieving peace in the Middle East.... Though Mr Netanyahu made clear he wanted to hold peace talks with the Palestinians, he refused to utter the words "two-state solution", the consensus approach towards peace agreed by previous Israeli governments and US administrations...."The terminology will take care of itself," said Mr Netanyahu. "The important thing is to resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible. The issue is less one of terminology than of substance." He said that if a peace deal delivered a "terror base next door" to Israel than it would be worthless, and insisted that Hamas, the militant group that controlled Gaza, had to recognise Israel before he was ready to make concessions. The prime minister dwelt at length on the threat posed to Israel by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. His goal is to persuade the Americans that Tehran must be reined in before peacemaking with the Palestinians can progress."

Senate OKs bill to regulate credit card industry: “The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to rein in credit card rate increases and excessive fees, hoping to give voters some breathing room amid a recession that has left hundreds of thousands of Americans jobless or facing foreclosure. The House was on track to pass the measure as early as Wednesday, paving the way for President Barack Obama to see the bill on his desk by week’s end.” [Lots of low income people will now have their cards cancelled or have very low limits imposed]

Senate Dems won’t fund Gitmo closing: “President Barack Obama’s allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison until the administration comes up with a satisfactory plan for transferring the detainees held there, top Democrats said Tuesday. And in a further break with Obama, the Senate’s top Democrat said he opposes transferring any Guantanamo prisoners to the United States for their trials or to serve their sentences. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said 50 to 100 Guantanamo detainees may be transferred to U.S. facilities. ‘I can’t make it any more clear,’ Reid said. ‘We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.’”

GPS system needs stimulating: “Mismanagement and underinvestment by the U.S. Air Force could possibly lead to the failure and blackout of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a federal watchdog agency says. The risk of failure starts in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report quoted by PC World. The failure would impact not only military operations, but also the millions of people and businesses who rely on the satellite-based navigation systems built into cars, boats and cell phones. ‘If the Air Force does not meet its schedule goals for development of GPS IIIA satellites, there will be an increased likelihood that in 2010, as old satellites begin to fail, the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to,’ the GAO report states. The report says the Air Force has struggled to build successful GPS satellites within cost and on schedule.”

Ireland: Child abuse report to be released: “The findings of a nine-year inquiry into abuse suffered by children in Catholic institutions in Ireland over a 60-year period are due to be published. About 35,000 children were placed in a network of reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses up to the 1980s. More than 2,000 told the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse they suffered physical and sexual abuse while there.”

Why journalists deserve low pay: “Journalists like to think of their work in moral or even sacred terms. With each new layoff or paper closing, they tell themselves that no business model could adequately compensate the holy work of enriching democratic society, speaking truth to power, and comforting the afflicted. Actually, journalists deserve low pay. Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren’t creating much value these days. Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, twittering or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models.”

“Parasitic” new media beats old media to the punch: “Last week, I covered the arrest of three independent journalists in Jones County, Mississippi, who appear to have been scooped up for the non-crime of photographing police during a traffic stop. The first ‘old media’ story on the arrests appeared today, in the Laurel Leader-Call. In related news, over the weekend, the Christian Science Monitor reported that bloggers ‘outnumbered national reporters by a good margin’ in the press box at the National Rifle Association convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Even as fans of ink-stained fingers and bloated, institutional journalism bemoan the rise of individualistic and often partisan new media journalists, the old pros they defend barely seem to be making the effort — and when they do get off their duffs, they often do a poor job.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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