Tuesday, January 01, 2008



SOME RATHER NUTTY (but very "correct") "SCIENCE"

The academic article below (plain-language summary here) is a contribution to the religion that black intellectual disadvantage is solely due to environmental factors. They examine verbal ability, which is the strongest single correlate of general intelligence. The message is that black kids who have grown up in ghettoes are permanently harmed by it. I imagine that might be true to some extent. Environment does indeed have SOME effect on IQ development. But the article below does not prove that. It shows that the black ghetto kids studied fell more and more behind age-norms as the years went by but it overlooks the basic truth that blacks fall behind whites as they grow up anyhow, REGARDLESS of their early or other environment. See here. The fact that the research was by sociologists with no apparent participation by psychometricians may account for its naivety.

The article also seems to make some heroic assuptions about WHERE blacks move to when they move out of a ghetto. That the place that they move too might also be low-quality seems not to be taken seriously. Do we really believe that about 42 percent of the black children living in the worst neighborhoods in 1995 moved to a nondisadvantaged neighborhood later on? Pull the other leg! If we DO believe any part of that, however, the movers (and their kids) were probably brighter than those who stayed behind so the nearest thing the researchers had to a control group wasn't really one.

Durable effects of concentrated disadvantage on verbal ability among African-American children

By Robert J. Sampson et al.


Disparities in verbal ability, a major predictor of later life outcomes, have generated widespread debate, but few studies have been able to isolate neighborhood-level causes in a developmentally and ecologically appropriate way. This study presents longitudinal evidence from a large-scale study of >2,000 children ages 6-12 living in Chicago, along with their caretakers, who were followed wherever they moved in the U.S. for up to 7 years. African-American children are exposed in such disproportionate numbers to concentrated disadvantage that white and Latino children cannot be reliably compared, calling into question traditional research strategies assuming common points of overlap in ecological risk. We therefore focus on trajectories of verbal ability among African-American children, extending recently developed counterfactual methods for time-varying causes and outcomes to adjust for a wide range of predictors of selection into and out of neighborhoods. The results indicate that living in a severely disadvantaged neighborhood reduces the later verbal ability of black children on average by ~ 4 points, a magnitude that rivals missing a year or more of schooling.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, December 19, 2007

One thing that always rather gets me is how Leftists ignore the fact that blacks from bad environments often rise to pre-eminence in sport (e.g. here). So how come a bad environment cripples the cortex (the part of the brain critical to intelligence) but empowers the muscles and the cerebellum (the part of the brain critical for co-ordination)? The brain, the muscles and the nervous system are all parts of the body so how can they be affected differently?

One might perhaps argue that ghetto kids improve their cerebellum and not their cortex because they do a lot of leaping about (do they?) and not much talking but then we have to ask why is that. Verbal ability and intelligence are intimately related so is intelligence not important for survival? Given the great need for "street smarts" in the ghetto, one would think that intelligence was very important in the ghetto so how come it is not selected for there? How come the cortex is not trained too? How come blacks are not geniuses with words? And I know a lot of very restless and very active Dutchmen and Germans who almost never seem to sit still but I cannot think of any sport dominated by blacks where Germans and Dutchmen are also prominent. Blacks just wouldn't be genetically different, would they?



Dear Me! Bob Parks has written a rather confusing reply to my question about Ron Paul being a racist. Parks now seems to be saying that he never did regard Paul as a racist -- which is pretty amazing in view of the lengths he went to to portray Paul in that light! I think we have a considerable backdown there. I wonder if I will get some thank-yous from the Paulists over that? My post did obviously upset Parks. He even heads his reply "I am racist". Not long after I made my comments I regretted giving Parks the full blast that I would normally give to a Leftist commentator and revised my post to be less harsh. But Parks refers to the unrevised version of my post. Anyway, I will let Ron Paul defend himself from now on. His foreign policies (or lack of them) seem quite irresponsible to me. Though I have to admit that isolationism has historically been the default policy of American conservatives. Times change, however.

But of course! It's Bush's fault!: "Just as the dictator was allowed to neglect the task of tracking down Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida operatives within his country, just as he was given a pass when Pakistani officials shared nuclear secrets and technologies with rogue states, just as he was allowed to thwart democratic initiatives in his country and the region, Musharraf never faced a serious demand from the Bush administration to protect Bhutto. And in the absence of that demand from the government that props him up as what Bush once referred to as "our guy," Musharraf - who has survived many assassination attempts himself - failed to take the steps necessary to save Bhutto or to foster democratic processes. The Bush administration failed Benazir Bhutto and now she is dead. With her died the prospects of stability and democracy"

British Left to go nuclear: "Gordon Brown is ready to give the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations. The decision will trigger a major battle with Left-wing Labour MPs and environmental campaigners. Ministers could announce the new atomic age as early as next week, when MPs return to the Commons after their Christmas break. The Prime Minister indicated in his New Year message to the country that the Government was prepared to take the "difficult decision" of upgrading nuclear power plants. He believes nuclear power is an effective way of helping Britain meet its energy needs

British Conservatives discover some spine: "David Cameron has given his clearest commitment yet to tearing up the revised EU Constitution if he wins power, even if it has been signed. The Conservative leader told the Daily Mail he will "not let matters rest" if Gordon Brown succeeds in forcing the controversial treaty through Parliament and into law. His intervention ratchets up the pressure on Mr Brown over the document which is likely to dominate debate at Westminster in the New Year. Ministers are hoping to bore voters into submission by allowing weeks of lengthy discussion on the treaty."

China Hand is blogging again -- noting some unexpected oddities in China. Backup here for readers in China.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"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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