Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I know that conjoining the two terms "IQ" and "black" casts me into the outer darkness as far as most people are concerned but psychometrics is my field of academic specialization so I feel that I have an obligation to tell what is known about the topic concerned. And I often do, because so few others are willing to tell the public all that is known.

Chris Brand has drawn our attention to a strange book recently issued by Stephen Murdoch called IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea. Murdoch attacks all use of IQ tests. Since Murdoch appears to have no academic background in psychometrics, the book is a very arrogant one. Murdoch is in effect saying that he can in one fell swoop soar above the combined thinking and research of the hundreds of keen minds who have worked on the IQ concept (which scientists call 'g') over the last century or so. There is however no sign in the book that he has anything to say that has not been carefully considered and dismissed many times in the last 100 years. Rather than soaring, he simply shows his ignorance.

I will therefore mention just one point that even Chris does not refute as well as he might: The claim that because IQ tests are devised by whites they cannot validly be used to test blacks. This claim has of course been the focus of a very large body of research and has resulted in the production of widely-used "culture fair" tests -- i.e. tests that do not depend on any particular educational or linguistic background but which nonetheless provide good predictions of success in many areas of life for many different populations. These tests show the black/white gap to be at least as large as other tests do.

What is often overlooked, however, is that one group of psychologists (McElwain & Kearney) went even further: Rather than construct a test that had NO cultural biases, they constructed a test that WAS biased -- but biased towards blacks rather than towards whites. They included in their test (the Queensland Test or QT) only those items that blacks responded well to and which actually could be shown to be valid predictors of problem solving performance among blacks. In effect, blacks constructed the test themselves -- by providing the responses used to select the individual questions within the test.

But you know what happened, don't you? On a test intrinsically biased against them, whites still greatly outperformed blacks. So there really is an underlying difference between blacks and whites. The difference is not just the result of naively constructed tests. The blacks to which the QT was applied were Australian Aborigines and Melanesians but these groups are very much like people of African ancestry in scoring much below whites on any test that has ever been tried. The QT ended up, in other words, giving results very much like those from culture-fair tests and it is now normally classified as simply another culture-fair test.

A very important point to make here, however, is that general problem-solving ability (which is what IQ tests measure) is not the only ability that is important to survival. A bright smile, an ability to run fast and an ability to get on well with other people are obvious examples of other attributes important to survival. And Australian Aborigines do have some mental attributes that are very well developed indeed. Anybody who knows them well will tell you that they are in general a very friendly and immensely polite and sociable people with an excellent sense of humour -- though alcohol transmogrifies them.

And those who know Aborigines really well will tell you that Aborigines have something else: an absolutely eerie ability to observe, remember and interpret the physical landscape around them. For this reason they were widely used in the early days as "trackers" -- people who could track someone (usually fleeing criminals) down by observing minute marks he had made while walking through the landscape. This greater spatial ability has been recorded academically in the work of Kearins -- and the report by Klekamp et al. (1994) that Australian aboriginals have a larger visual cortex than Caucasians would appear to provide the explanation of the phenomenon.

So any claim that whites are superior to blacks is simply too sweeping. In some ways whites are superior and in other ways blacks are. Which area of superiority is most advantageous will depend on the situation. In situations constructed by whites, blacks often do very poorly. That there is any remedy for that, however, seems most unlikely.


McElwain, D. W.& Kearney, G. E. (1973). Intellectual development. In Kearney, G. E., de Lacey, P. R. & Davidson, G. R. (Eds.). The Psychology of Aboriginal Australians (pp. 43-56). Sydney: John Wiley.

Kearins, J. M. (1986). Visual spatial memory in Aboriginal and white Australian children. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 203-214

Klekamp, J., Riedel, A., Harper, C., Kretschmann, H. J. (1994). Morphometric study of the postnatal growth of the visual cortex of Australian aborigines and Caucasians. Journal of Brain Research, 35, 541-548.

Ray, J.J. (1972) Are all races equally intelligent? Or: When is knowledge knowledge? J. Human Relations 20, 71-75.



It's an old saying that some ideas are so crazy that only an intellectual could believe them. Princeton economist Alan Krueger seems to be such an intellectual. He admits that the old fallback -- poverty -- does not cause terrorism and says that it is "suppression of civil liberties and political rights" that causes terrorism. Yet nowhere in the world do Muslims have such great civil liberties and political rights as they do in Britain. So that is why there have been so many Muslim attacks in Britain, you see! Anything at all will be grasped at rather than admit that Islam is the problem.

Islam's Global War against Christianity: "From Nigeria to Indonesia, Christians are under siege in virtually every single country in the Muslim world, the victims of countless acts of discrimination, depredation, brutality, and murder that are so widespread and systematic that it can rightfully be called the new Holocaust. This time, however, the perpetrators of this Holocaust aren't wearing swastikas, but kufi skull caps and hijabs. Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are subject to relentless attack and teeter on the brink of extinction at the hands of the "Religion of Peace": Palestinian Christians in Gaza and the West Bank; Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christians in Iraq; Coptic Christians in Egypt; Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea; Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey; and Maronite Christians in Lebanon. Several of these communities date back to the beginning decades of Christianity"

Lead poisoning the major cause of crime???? "Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning." [It's just more epidemiological crap based on the old "correlation is causation" fallacy. See here on epidemiology]


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

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" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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