Friday, March 27, 2015

The latest IQ study

The latest IQ study (below) has a slightly defensive air.  Despite ferocious efforts by Leftists to suppress findings that pop the bubble of Leftist claims, it seems that the genetic contribution to IQ has now become well-known and generally accepted.  So the effort nowadays seems to have moved towards proving that there are environmental influences too.  Previous IQ researchers have never doubted that and usually estimate that around one third of IQ is determined by environmental factors.

And the conclusions below disturb nothing.  Both genetic and environmental influences on IQ were found.  The main interest of the findings in this study therefore is *how much* influence  environment had.  The researchers report that a wealthy childhood environment gave the kid an extra 4 points of IQ -- about a quarter of a standard deviation -- over a kid brought up in a poor family.

If anything, that figure is perhaps a bit low. But the study is not a strong one anyhow.  It used adopted full-brothers rather than twins so genetic differences could be only roughly controlled for.  And assessing IQ in the late teens is not optimal either.  The influence of genetics is not fully revealed until about age 30  -- after the influence of early environmental factors has largely worn off.

Family environment and the malleability of cognitive ability: A Swedish national home-reared and adopted-away cosibling control study

By Kenneth S. Kendler et al.


Individual differences in cognitive ability result from a complex admixture of genetic and environmental influences. Adopted children are one way to estimate the degree of malleability of cognitive ability in response to environmental change in the context of a scientific design that can control for genetic differences among individuals. Sibling pairs in which one member is adopted away and the other reared by biological parents are a particularly powerful research design. In a large population-based sample of separated siblings from Sweden, we demonstrate that adoption into improved socioeconomic circumstances is associated with a significant advantage in IQ at age 18. We replicate the finding in a parallel sample of half-siblings.


Cognitive ability strongly aggregates in families, and prior twin and adoption studies have suggested that this is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. In this study, we used a powerful design—home-reared and adopted-away cosibling controls—to investigate the role of the rearing environment in cognitive ability. We identified, from a complete national Swedish sample of male–male siblings, 436 full-sibships in which at least one member was reared by one or more biological parents and the other by adoptive parents. IQ was measured at age 18–20 as part of the Swedish military service conscription examination. Parental educational level was rated on a 5-point scale. Controlling for clustering of offspring within biological families, the adopted siblings had an IQ 4.41 (SE = 0.75) points higher than their nonadopted siblings. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.71 (SE = 0.44) units of IQ. We replicated these results in 2,341 male–male half-sibships, in which, controlling for clustering within families, adoption was associated with a gain of IQ of 3.18 (SE = 0.34) points. Each additional unit of rearing parental education was associated with 1.94 (SE = 0.18) IQ units. Using full- and half-sibling sets matched for genetic background, we found replicated evidence that (i) rearing environment affects IQ measured in late adolescence, and (ii) a portion of the IQ of adopted siblings could be explained by the educational level of their adoptive parents.


Interesting that one of the co-authors above is Eric Turkheimer. Turkheimer is much loved on the left for  his demonstration -- using a group of poor 7-year olds -- that genetics is not an important determinant of IQ among poor kids -- where "poor kids" is probably rightly interpreted to mean "blacks".


 What he found was probably little more than a restriction of range effect but he has repeatedly refused to release his raw data so we may never know.  Refusing to release raw data is a breach of all scientific protocols. We see it in Warmist researchers too.  It is pretty close to an admission of fraud.

The reason Leftists hate IQ tests is that they contradict the Leftist "equality" creed.  The application of that creed to blacks is however relatively recent.  Introductory psychology textbooks in the early '60s presented the black IQ findings without hesitation.  I remember it well. It was presented as one of the accepted findings in psychology.  As the great fantasy revolution of the '60s rolled on however, fact came to be replaced by righteous indignation.  The fantasists said that blacks COULD NOT be less intelligent so therefore the tests were bunk.

Equality has always been a silly but seductive dream.  It goes at least as far back as the "Levellers" of Cromwell's time.  And the Cromwellian era was undoubtedly much loved among America's founding fathers.  So Jefferson's "created equal" phrase in the Declaration of Independence is no surprise. But it is a pretty foggy phrase.  Are there many acts of creation or is normal childbirth an act of creation?  Or is it meant that God created Adam in such a way that all his descendants would be equal?  If so "The Fall" has clearly disrupted that intention.

But we should not take that part of the Declaration too seriously, however. The Declaration, like most political documents, was a product of much debate and compromise so Jefferson's ambiguous  phrase was just a device to keep  happy both those with Leveller beliefs and those with more realistic beliefs.

However you look at it, however, equality is a faith-based belief, not a fact.  It has no basis in fact.  Rejection of IQ tests is therefore a faith-based act. And the low average IQ scores of blacks are in fact powerful validation of the tests as measures of intelligence.

From the test results we would hypothesize that blacks would be at the bottom of just about every heap  -- and they are -- in income, education, status, health, lifespan and crime-incidence etc. What we know of black behaviour is powerful PROOF that the tests get it right.  Leftists can only reject the tests by closing their eyes to black behaviour. But they are very good at that


Why Is This Distinction So Difficult to Grasp?

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post by economist Donald J. Boudreaux:

It’s disappointing that Michael Gerson joins the crowd of confused people who mistake inequality for poverty (“The effects of inequality on America’s kids,” March 17).  An unequal distribution of income does not mean that people at the bottom of the distribution are poor in any absolute sense.  And in a world such as ours in which the amount of total wealth grows over time, everyone can become wealthier - indeed, become fabulously rich - even if income inequality increases.

It’s important to keep in mind the distinction between inequality and poverty.  To confuse the two (as is common today) risks addressing the wrong malady.  Just as we do not blame a cancer victim’s suffering on an unequal distribution of good health - that is, just as we recognize that a cancer victim’s illness is not caused by the good health of others and cannot be cured by making healthy people less healthy - we should recognize that a poor person’s poverty is not caused by the prosperity of others and cannot be cured by making wealthy people less wealthy.  Indeed, recent research suggests that simply transferring more money to relatively poor people in rich societies does not provide much relief; poverty persists for reasons that run far more deeply than the fact that some people earn more income than do others.



Israel Climbs the Ladder of Economic Freedom to Prosperity

In terms of skills and education, Israel probably has the highest level of human capital per person in the whole world. Yet it’s per capita output is mediocre – in the middle of the developed country pack. Why is that? Because Israel has been slow to adopt capitalism.

How do I know that? Because Bibi Netanyahu told me that in an interview in Dallas, several years before he became prime minister. Once he became Israel’s leader, he was been able to do something about it.

In recent years Israel has become a center for entrepreneurship, innovation and capitalist spirit. But it wasn’t always that way. Modern Israel began as a quasi-socialist society with a centrally controlled economy and a Histadrut labor federation. The Histadrut became a mainstay of the Labor Zionist movement and it wasn’t merely a trade union. It owned a number of businesses and, for a time, was the largest employer in the country. Until Israel began moving away from socialism, the Histadrut along with the government, owned most of the economy.

This is strange considering what Jews were doing elsewhere in the world. Like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, when the Jews migrated to Europe and North America, where ever they found free markets they thrived and prospered. Both the Chinese and the Jews excelled as entrepreneurs – except in their home countries, where entrepreneurship wasn’t allowed.

Mati Wagner writes in the Jerusalem Post:

“While it may be true that socialism was the dominant articulated ethos in the first decades of the State of Israel’s existence, the Jews of Israel – like Jews elsewhere – always had a predisposition to capitalism and free markets.”

“Even before the modern era, wherever Diaspora Jews were given a chance to compete on a level playing field, they have excelled… Their high levels of literacy made them particularly well-positioned to take advantage of the increasing importance of learned knowledge as a means of making money.”

Israel’s transformation to a market economy was led by government efforts to sell off state-owned companies, deregulate markets and reduce state spending. How well is it working? Wagner writes:

“Today the Jewish state’s industries – particularly hi-tech – compete as equals in international markets. In hindsight, the short-lived era of socialism was nothing but an unrepresentative blip.”

The Heritage Foundation’s lndex of Economic Freedom report ranks Israel the 33rd freest economy in the world. While that’s nothing to brag about, Israel posted 10th largest score increase. Heritage comments:

“Broad, sustained improvements in property rights and the regulatory sectors over the past five years have propelled Israel into the ranks of the “mostly free” for the first time.”

You might think that someone like Paul Krugman would applaud all this. I know most economists would. Instead Krugman refers to Israel’s socialist past as “the gilded age” and complains that:

“Key measures of inequality have soared; Israel is now right up there with America as one of the most unequal societies in the advanced world.”

Here is what everyone needs to understand about free markets and people at the bottom of the income ladder: capitalism is really good for poor people. For almost 20 years, the Fraser Institute, along with a network of other think tanks has been publishing the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) annual reports, which present an economic freedom index for more than 120 nations. Based on that accumulated evidence, Robert Lawson writes:

“While there is no clear evidence that economic freedom creates greater income inequality, there is clear evidence that lowest-income people in freer countries are better off than their counterparts in less free countries. [The figure below] shows the average income level of the poorest tenth of the population by economic freedom quintile. Clearly, as Adam Smith recognized more than 230 years ago, economic freedom and the economic prosperity it brings work to the advantage of the poor.”



The America-hater


Menachem Begin on the Lessons of the Holocaust

In May 1981, a group of young American Jewish leaders asked Prime Minister Begin what he thought were the lessons of the Holocaust. This was his answer:

First, if an enemy of our people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him. Don’t doubt him for a moment. Don’t make light of it. Do all in your power to deny him the means of carrying out his satanic intent.

Second, when a Jew anywhere is threatened, or under attack, do all in your power to come to his aid. Never pause to wonder what the world will think or say. The world will never pity slaughtered Jews. The world may not necessarily like the fighting Jew, but the world will have to take account of him.

Third, a Jew must learn to defend himself. He must forever be prepared for whenever threat looms.

Fourth, Jewish dignity and honor must be protected in all circumstances. The seeds of Jewish destruction lie in passively enabling the enemy to humiliate us. Only when the enemy succeeds in turning the spirit of the Jew into dust and ashes in life, can he turn the Jew into dust and ashes in death. During the Holocaust it was after the enemy had humiliated the Jews, trampled them underfoot, divided them, deceived them, afflicted them, drove brother against brother, only then could he lead them, almost without resistance, to the gates of Auschwitz. Therefore, at all times and whatever the cost, safeguard the dignity and honor of the Jewish people.

Fifth, stand united in face of the enemy. We Jews love life, for life is holy. But there are things in life more precious than life itself. There are times when one must risk life for the sake of rescuing the lives of others. And when the few risk their own lives for the sake of the many, then they, too, stand the chance of saving themselves.

Sixth, there is a pattern to Jewish history. In our long annals as a nation, we rise, we fall, we return, we are exiled, we are enslaved, we rebel, we liberate ourselves, we are oppressed once more, we rebuild, and again we suffer destruction, climaxing in our own lifetime in the calamity of calamities, the Holocaust, followed by the rebirth of the Jewish State.

So, yes, we have come full circle, and with God’s help, with the rebirth of sovereign Israel we have finally broken the historic cycle: no more destruction and no more defeats, and no more oppression – only Jewish liberty, with dignity and honor. These, I believe, are the underlying lessons to be learned from the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust.



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"poverty persists for reasons that run far more deeply than the fact that some people earn more income than do others."

Poverty persists, in significant part, because the Progressives who claim to fight it do everything possible to make the acquisition of wealth by the non-wealthy more difficult.

Progressives LOVE them some po' folks. Why, without the poor, the Progressives wouldn't have anybody to pester that wasn't in a position to tell them to piss up a rope and stand under it while it dries.