Friday, April 29, 2011

Motivation and IQ among blacks

A critic has made an important point about my recent brief comment on motivation and IQ: That "acting white" is scorned among many American blacks and that presumably means that they are poorly motivated to do well on tests. And their poor motivation could account for their low average IQ scores. There is undoubtedly some truth in that but not enough to account for the evidence.

Tests are taken in many situations and motivation varies but many situations are ones where motivations are high and blacks do poorly there too. Blacks ALWAYS do poorly, regardless of the situation. Leftist psychologists have for decades now racked their brains trying to find some way to get black average IQ up to white levels and nothing works.

In one experiment, testees were given extra time after the allowed time. The amount of extra time taken was greatest among blacks -- suggesting that their motivation was high. They still did poorly of course.

Further, blacks in Africa and the Caribbean are in a very different situation from American blacks and are often very motivated to do well in any way that might help release them from their grinding poverty. Motivation is not their problem -- and those who manage to get to America or Britain do notably better educationally and otherwise than do blacks born in Britain or America. And in Africa particularly, the average black IQ score is abysmal, much lower even than the scores of American blacks -- presumably because there is around 20% white ancestry among American blacks overall. It is genes, not motivation that matters.

Finally, my critic was apparently unaware that his criticisms are not at all new. They are well-known and well-accounted for among psychometricians. It is in fact an old chestnut that blacks do poorly on IQ tests because of lack of motivation. Such claims have got progressively more weird, however. The latest version of the claim is what Leftist psychologists call "Stereotype threat". The claim is that blacks try less because they fear that their poor results will reflect badly on blacks generally. One would have thought that such fears would cause them to try HARDER but all that is brushed aside. A summary of that research points to large holes in it and concludes "Lack of evidence and grave methodological defects haven't prevented the stereotype threat industry from taking off. Distortions are now pervasive."

NOTE: I cover the above topics more comprehensively here.


I append below Chris Brand's comment on the original study that led to the above post. Chris Brand is a longtime student of IQ and related phenomena

In a mystificatory paper, including no references to Spearman, Burt or Jensen and a totally obscure version of g, published in a journal (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,*) with no reputation for psychological sophistication and with ‘acknowledgment’ of statistical help to a U. Texas psychologist (Elliot Tucker-Drob), ‘researchers’ Angela Duckworth (U. Pennsylvania) et al. persuaded the ever-environmentally-gullible BBC to claim that IQ was substantially affected by ‘motivation.’

In fact, the authors’ minimally mentioned data did not specify which tests or age-groups were involved; their recordings of ‘test enthusiasm’ would merely have reflected the fact that higher-IQ subjects coped better with testing; their Table 1 clearly showed IQ four times as important as ‘non-intellective traits’ in predicting academic performance; and – despite the BBC’s adulation – the authors themselves concluded:
"It is important not to overstate our conclusions. For all measured outcomes in Study 2, the predictive validity of intelligence remained statistically significant when controlling for the nonintellective traits underlying test motivation. Moreover, the predictive validity of intelligence was significantly stronger than was the predictive validity of test motivation for academic achievement. In addition, both Studies 1 and 2 indicate that test motivation is higher and less variable among participants who are above-average in measured IQ. These findings imply that earning a high IQ score requires high intelligence in addition to high motivation".


A ‘Royal Wedding’ the Victorians might approve of

I am not sure how much interest the Royal wedding today is attracting in the USA but the TV audience is expected to be 2 billion so I thought the backgrounder from Australia below may be of some interest. Australia is a monarchy too, of course, and Prince William will be Australia's monarch in due course

The last princess whose wedding I watched on telly ended up dying in car crash in Paris. So for Catherine Middleton’s sake, I won’t be tuning in to the Royal Wedding in London tonight.

However, there is much to interest those who are concerned not with dresses and fairytales but with the future of an important institution. For on the fate of Prince William’s marriage could rest the future of the British Crown.

Whatever one’s feelings about the monarchy, for a long time the royal family was respected as a good role model. This is because since the mid-nineteenth century the House of Windsor, nee Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, self-consciously promoted itself as a typical, traditional British family.

When Victoria became Queen, the British Crown, together with the rest of aristocracy, had a reputation for excess to rival their counterparts in pre-revolutionary France. To build the esteem of the monarchy, Victoria and her politically astute husband, Prince Albert, tied its fortunes to the rising force in British society.

The royals won favour with the masses by aping the respectable social values of ‘moral middle class,’ which the Industrial Revolution and Protestant religion summoned into existence. Out went debauchery and in came ideals such as duty to family and nation.

Queen Elizabeth is rightly held in high regard (even among Australian republicans) because, in word and deed, she has continued to model the exemplary behaviour expected of royalty. However, the reputation of the monarchy has been tarnished in recent years, mainly due to the breakdown of the marriages of both the queen’s sons.

One hundred and fifty years of PR was destroyed when Diana gave an unprecedented television interview in the mid-1990s and told the world about confronting Charles over his straying ways. Charles’ insouciant response – ‘Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?’ – was hardly the prerogative of a modern-day British king-in-waiting.

This might have sufficed in more deferential times when the media ignored royal indiscretions. But in this intrusive age, exposing the gap between private acts and the public image exposed the Crown to ridicule and charges of hypocrisy. This is ironic given the permissive attitudes to personal morality that otherwise prevail today. Contemporary society expects royalty to model values that the rest of society is free to disregard!

Nevertheless, one senses that Prince William has grasped the double standard and understands that the monarchy would struggle to survive another scandalous divorce.

Having realised he will be held to the high standards of the past (and keen not to repeat the heartache of his parents), William appears determined to have a ‘Royal Wedding’ in the conventional Victorian senses of both those terms. After a long courtship that included a shared university education, it seems he is marrying for life a woman he loves and respects.

I guess this is a fairytale of sorts. But if ‘Will and Kate’ can use their long and happy marriage to help shore up the foundations of the monarchy, their political achievement will rival that of their famous ancestors ‘Vicki and Bert.’

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 29 April. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


A Critique of a New York Times Editorial Opinion about Obama

The article below is from my old friend Keith Burgess-Jackson. Keith always writes incisively -- JR

With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.
KBJ: How rational can this man be if he waited three years to release his birth certificate? And why is it irrational to be skeptical about a president's (or presidential candidate's) place of birth when our Constitution clearly requires that the president be "a natural born Citizen"? One would think that what's irrational is dogmatism of the sort displayed by the New York Times and other journalistic organs, which did almost nothing to investigate the background of this strange man.
The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.
KBJ: People are out of work because of Barack Obama. People are dying overseas because of Barack Obama. Had Obama released his birth certificate three years ago, when he began running for president, he wouldn't have had to take time from his busy (golf-playing, campaigning) schedule to discuss the matter. And why interject race into a discussion that has nothing to do with race, other than to impugn the character and motives of those who are (rightly) skeptical of the man's qualifications for office? By the way, how does Obama know where he was born? Does he remember his own birth? His evidence is the same as anyone else's.
Mr. Obama practically begged the public to set aside these distractions, expressing hope that his gesture would end the “silliness” and allow a national debate about budget priorities. It won’t, of course.
KBJ: If it's a distraction, it's self-imposed. Obama has nobody to blame but himself.
If there was ever any doubt about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, which there was not, the issue was settled years ago when Hawaii released his birth certificate. The fuller document that Mr. Obama had to request contains some extra information, including his mother’s signature and the name of the hospital where he was born, but it was unnecessary to show his legitimacy.
KBJ: Thank you, editorial board, for informing us that there was no doubt about Obama's citizenship. You are the arbiter of knowledge and justification. We look to you to tell us what attitude we should take (skeptical, gullible, dogmatic) toward the issues of the day. In fact, there was reasonable doubt about Obama's citizenship. The man has a checkered past. He lived in many different places around the globe, by his own admission. His parents were born on different continents. As for the claim that Hawaii released Obama's birth certificate "years ago," it did not. It released a computer printout containing some (but not all) of the information on the original birth certificate. Why are you misleading your readers? How did you know what the original birth certificate said, before it was released? Do you have extrasensory perception?
So it will not quiet the most avid attackers. Several quickly questioned its authenticity. That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.
KBJ: Nobody is "attacking," unless wanting the Constitution to be complied with constitutes attacking; in which case, let there be more attacking. Who (exactly) questioned the authenticity of the original birth certificate? How many is several? Did you ever complain about "several" people questioning whether the United States government was behind the attacks of 9-11? And when did you complain about those who "never accepted [George W. Bush's] legitimacy" after the 2000 election? I don't recall one peep from you about this. As for interjecting race into the discussion, there you go again. Why are you obsessed with race? Why do you see racism everywhere? Is it possible, in your view, to criticize the president without being racist? Do blacks get a pass, merely because they're black? How is that not racism? And you are flat-out wrong about the "attack" being "originally promulgated" by "fringe figures of the radical right," unless, of course, you consider Hillary Clinton to be on the radical right. Do you do research? Do you know how to use Google? Does the word "journalism" mean anything to you?
Sarah Palin said the birth certificate issue was “fair game,” and the public was “rightfully” making it an issue. The House speaker, John Boehner, grudgingly said in February that he would take Mr. Obama “at his word” that he was a citizen, a suggestion that the proof was insufficient. He said, however, that it was not his job to end the nonsensical attacks. “The American people have the right to think what they want to think,” he said at the time. That signal was clearly received. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to release their full birth certificates.
KBJ: Once again, skepticism about constitutional qualifications is a good thing, not a bad thing. We are lucky to have public officials and figures such as Sarah Palin and John Boehner who care about the Constitution.
It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.
KBJ: Will you let go of this race thing? Is that all you have? You are not only speculating about motives; you are imputing the very worst motives to those with whom you disagree. How would you like it if bad motives were imputed to you? I won't do it, but you deserve it. Okay, I will do it: You wouldn't be defending Obama if he were white. You are trying to protect a black man, simply because he is black. (Actually, he's only half black, but you know what I mean.)
There was a price to the party for keeping the issue alive; inevitably, it was picked up by a cartoon candidate, Donald Trump, who rode birtherism directly to the prime-time promontories of cable TV. The Republican establishment began to wince as it became increasingly tied to Mr. Trump’s flirtations with racial provocation, and Karl Rove told him to knock it off. Naturally, he did not.
KBJ: I carry no brief for Donald Trump, but he does get results. Why does that bother you so? Are you worried that he might defeat your darling president in 2012? As for Karl Rove, he does not speak for the American people. He is part of the Washington political establishment that the Tea Party seeks to overthrow. There you go with the racial thing again. Would you please get help with this affliction?
Finally, his taunting and the questions of television correspondents obliging Mr. Trump got on the president’s nerves. Mr. Obama was tactically smart to release the certificate and marginalize those who continue to keep the matter alive. It is tragic that American politics is fueled by such poisonous fire. Mr. Trump quickly moved on to a new fixation, questioning Mr. Obama’s academic credentials. Mr. Boehner, and other party leaders, have a new reason to call a halt to the politics of paranoia and intolerance.
KBJ: Poor Obama! Little ol' Donald Trump "got on [his] nerves"! If Obama can't handle Trump, how is he going to handle third-world dictators? Come to think of it, he hasn't. He's a wimp. As for your writing, do you realize that you're mixing three metaphors in one sentence when you say "fueled by such poisonous fire"? How much time did you put into this editorial, anyway? It appears to have been written in 10 minutes in a fit of rage. As for "paranoia" and "intolerance," what you really mean is "skepticism." Americans are a skeptical lot. They do not take kindly to dogmatic, partisan journalists who refuse to do their job of investigating the backgrounds of those who would govern them. Perhaps, come to think of it, that's why you're so angry: You were caught out. You've only been pretending to be journalists.



Trump gets the usual Leftist kneejerk attack

Take "racist" and "Nazi" out of a Leftist's vocabulary and he would be struck dumb in political debate

A senior CBS news anchor today labelled Donald Trump's campaign to raise doubts about President Obama's school grades as an 'ugly strain of racism'. Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer made the comments in the wake of Mr Trump's calls yesterday for Mr Obama to release college transcripts 'proving' he had the grades to enter Columbia and Harvard.

The attack came as new research suggested viewers for Celebrity Apprentice - some of the most liberal for any TV show - were deserting the program due to Mr Trump's outspoken rants against Mr Obama. [They can't handle anything that challenges their shallow beliefs]

Yesterday Mr Trump called on the President to release his college transcripts. Reacting to the call, Mr Schieffer said: 'That's just code for saying he got into law school because he's black. [He probably did] 'This is an ugly strain of racism that's running through this whole thing.'

Earlier in the day Mr Trump had hinted that the President did not earn the grades at his first college Occidental to allow him to enter the two prestigious Ivy league schools. He said: 'I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard.

More HERE.

Pat Buchanan covers this issue in more detail -- noting, rather amusingly, that Obama has ADMITTED benefiting from "affirmative action"


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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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