Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 3:27 pm 

What I fail to understand is what you think intelligence is. I am guessing Eichenbaum is well aware of what the APA says as he is listed as the "professor of psychological studies" in the link you provided.

I cannot honestly say I've ever seen the name Eichenbaum referenced in anything I've read; but I've not been paying much attention.

I'll give you a week. After that I'm afraid I'll just give up trying to pick out the sensible words between the barrage of insults. For example in the above when you cut the noise out I think there are maybe 6 or 7 lines worth reading. You can keep waste your time writing them, but my patience will run out eventually.

For the sake of argument let us say IQ tests in no capacity measure human intelligence. The question then becomes "What is human intelligence?"

So, I am asking you plain and clear, what is human intelligence and if we were to begin to measure it (however vaguely) how would we go about it? Or are you saying we cannot measure it at all and have no idea what it is? and/or, we at best have some vague idea about what capacities intelligence may be founded on?

Please, take the floor.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby hyksos on March 21st, 2018, 6:34 pm 

I am asking you plain and clear, what is human intelligence and if we were to begin to measure it (however vaguely) how would we go about it? Or are you saying we cannot measure it at all and have no idea what it is? and/or, we at best have some vague idea about what capacities intelligence may be founded on?

There is nothing inherently wrong with a test which measures a person's ability to read and follow written directions. That skill is obviously used a lot in academia. A person's academic career will also involve large exams, on pencil and paper, that often count towards a huge percentage of their final grade in a course.

Both aspects could be the plausible causal link for early IQ tests correlating with later achievement in academia. These metrics may be "stable" (as Pinker calls them) and I have no reason to doubt that.

As far as the word "intelligence" being very difficult to define, I would point at the turbulent history of Artificial Intelligence, starting as far back as Alan Turing. I'm not an advocate of any of the perspectives in this list. However, I would point out how quickly and drastically the definitions changed from decade to decade.

  • Turing adopted the strong position that intelligence could not possibly be defined. So he invented a clever test where a conversational chat bot would or would not fool a human participant into believing that it is human.
  • The earliest conference on AI was attended by lecturers who equivocated algorithmic proof solving with intelligence. The newspaper at the time (1958ish) did report on an early computer that performed this algorith, reporting a "machine that can think."
  • For the next few decades, logical reasoning was the sole concentration of AI research. Nobody was working on heuristic statistical methods or neural networks during those years. These years were dominated by a philosophy that reasoning is equal to intelligence.
  • In the late 1970s, AI was still saturated with the "reasoning is intelligence" dogma. But they knew it wasn't going anywhere, and so they invented a problem called "Common Sense Reasoning".
  • The 1980s and 1990s were typified by algorithms that hoped to achieve machine intelligence by capturing and emulating "Common Sense Reasoning". A lot of the attempts were based heavily around processing language.
  • The late 1990s shown an abandonment of reasoning, and a desire to start training neural networks. At this point, the phrase "Strong AI" and "Weak AI" emerged. Weak AI was what we had now, but someday human-level intelligence would be "Strong AI". A number of researchers began to say Strong AI is not possible.
  • The 2000s were dominated by "learning". And it was all about mimicking how animals learn by reinforcement. Punishments and rewards. This time was all about "reward functions". Intelligence had been redefined to "ability to learn".
  • 2010s. Strong AI was universally abandoned for the phrase AGI. Or "artificial general intelligence". The phrase "narrow AI" was on everyone's tongue. Intelligence was redefined yet again to refer to a kind of ability to succeed in a general sense.


For completeness, the 2010s were dominated by statistical methods, one of which was "Deep Learning" involving training neural networks. The early successes causes many-a-crackpot on the internet to declare that AGI was at-hand. In 2018, no researcher believes that AGI is entirely achievable with deep learning alone.

Even among the highly educated cognitive scientists who swam in the milieu of AI research, the definition of the word "intelligence" slipped, slid, and morphed from decade to decade. It went from

"Impossible to Define" --> Logical reasoning --> Common Sense Reasoning --> Strong AI --> Learning --> AGI

Whatever there is to learn from story is that the safest most stable place to hang one's hat is to admit that "intelligence" is very difficult to define. Our collective definitions of "intelligence" have come and gone like fads and styles through the years. Like clothing fashions that change.

It is unreasonable for a person like me, who having seen the pattern, to sit on my hands when someone comes on a forum and decries
"Intelligence is just complex problem solving."

I gotta tell you how such pontifications come across to my ears and eyes. My first visceral reaction is that I want to smash my face into the desk. Man alive. I wish intelligence was that simple. If only it were that simple!

Such confident assertions sound to me as hokey and ridiculous as some infomercial guy on Saturday morning TV yammering about how has has cured cancer with pomegranate seeds.

I have books on my shelf by the likes of Eichenbaum and Gerald Edelman. There are aspects of intelligence that are intertwined with the deeper problems of memory and consciousness. Problems which are not even attempted to be breached by AI researchers. After 60 years, the very upper esch of AI researchers have started using words like "Intuition" again. When you try to design AI, there are horrible problems related to something called attentional awareness -- this is where the subconscious tells you which part of a scene to ignore and which parts to turn your eyes to. We don't know how the human brain does this without having some part of our brain "knowing" what it is not yet looking at.

Episodic memory is completely out of reach for even the most sophisticated AI agents. How do we know this? Because episodic memory is invariably where the agents fail when they do fail to be good at Atari games. (cr. https://deepmind.com/ )

Episodic memory is not solved by storing the entire agent's life in a giant video reel. For the problems of biographical memory are not storage and retrieval. The problems is, which episode in my past is relevant to what I am experiencing here and now? And what can I glean from that one-off event that informs my behavior now? How do I compare, contrast and analogize among moments of my existence? What is the start and end of an "episode", anyway?

The human brain handles this all effortlessly "under the hood" without any conscious mental effort on our part.

But what exactly do we mean by "conscious mental effort"? There is automatic functions of the brain, and there are non-automatic uhh.. conscious (?) functions. Why? Why such a segregation? Is there a cognitive/functional reason for the segregation of automatic versus conscious, or is this is an accident of the evolution of our species?

I wish I knew. But I don't. Nobody does.

Edelman and Eichenbaum's books go a long way towards addressing some of these questions.. the relevance problem of episodic memory has some plausible solutions. We know that the neurons which are active when you swam in your aunt's pond in 1994 are the same neurons that become active when you recall that event years later. Our brain's regions do not seem to segregate active neurons in the present moment with ones used during recall from memory.

"It copies the consciousness stuff from the awareness areas into long-term memory storage areas.". No. That is a bad theory. The data strongly suggests this never happens. So this is tricky : Your brain does not "know" which episodes correspond to the present moment, rather it 'associates" the relevant episodes by re-igniting those activation patterns because the cell networks are already in that configuration to begin with. There is no separate mental step of "Take X and analogize with Y". This could explain why recall of the 1994 swim comes to us... automatically ... effortlessly.

"Well if the brain performs such analogies it must be using huge networks of neurons to perform the analogizing computation in the occipital cortex in layers 3 and 7." No. Not even close. That is totally wrong. A theory like that isn't even half right.

It would be convenient if we could identify those functional brain areas that correspond to the I "The I that is aware and conscious" versus the "part of me that automatically steers the car down the road while I'm distracted by the radio." Neuroscience has not found any regional segregation between these two things.

The hot-off-the-press research on this is suggesting that the difference between consciously-aware and automatically-walk-chew-gum has something to do with the modes of firing of large neuronal groups. Where "modes of firing" refers to things like alpha and beta waves. (cr. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Default_mode_network )

An analogy with computer RAM helps here. Computers utilize their RAM by loading and unloading programs and this is done by taking the same bits previously used by programA, and using those bit locations again at a later time for programB. In contrast, the brain may be 'reusing space' in the neurons by activating the very same networks at different regimes of spiking rates.

I don't know what to make of all this. I'm really cynical about this idea that the organ in our head is some kind of problem-solving machine. Why solve a problem at all if you are not motivated to solve problems?

This situation with our brains is more like nature has given this thing in our bodies.. this brain... which is supposed to keep us interested and engaged in the environment around us, because we are warm-blooded and we must eat and socialize and farm and baby-make. SO it makes us "feel". And when we "feel" we have "skin in the game" and so we are motivated. Whether it be by future rewards... sexual attraction, fear of death... social guilt. A need to feel welcomed and part of a group. You name it.

I look at animals who run around naked and are driven to prototypical behavior by instincts. These protypical behaviors of hunt and mate and fight for territory. They are evolved strategies for survival. The human situation with the big brain is more like rationality is "kept away just outside the gate" far enough away that motivation emotion and fear run the show.

We're typing at each other on a forum. We are socializing using the tools of the internet and this choppy english language invented by conjuncting Germanic tribal speak with civilized French words. I cannot believe a 45-minute pencil and paper test could even possibly measure your ability to take in reems of information in a fast-moving graduate course at a university and "digest it all" over several months. You're just not going to test that in 45 minutes. So I could pontificate in the new fashionable style of defining "intelligence" as the "ability to take in lots of information really fast and integrate it all". Then we can chase down that fashionable theory until another one usurps it, and the latest fads in cog sci swing another direction.

What is this? Out of fear or discomfort with a complex topic, we want to reduce to a single number. A single Intelligence Quotient to measure some thing about ourselves. We need to be asking what the motivation for this in the first place --- Are measuring the efficacy of the brain organ? But there is no efficacy here. "Complex problem solving" is a fashion that "rings as smartness" because we live in an era where the richest most successful people are information techies like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. They strike us as "probelm solving dudes". So we associate the "complex problem solving" of the "Tech Giant" with smartness, because that's where are culture and history are RIGHT NOW.

If this were 347 BC... we would associate "intelligent men" with stone masons who build floors or what have you. I'm sure if were in Macedonian Greece, "Smartness" would be associated with warfare and killing and success in military campaigns.

Are we here to figure out what the homo sapien has in its head that the horse does not? Or the fine difference between the homo sapien mental tricks versus the orangutan mental tricks? Versus the dolphin..and so on.

Homo sapien is what? He is conscious of moral dilemmas. He is vengeful when he perceives a social wrong. You can kick a dog and will cower when you try to kick it again. But the dog will not plot its revenge on you for the next 11 days.

"The victims of social injustice deserve recompense for their past bad treatment."

We find such things compelling as homo sapiens. The gorillas and bears do not. This is what we have that the animals do not. Guilt. Embarrassment. Sense of social karma requiring balance with revenge and punishment.

THESE , my friend. THESE are what is being produced by the human brain. The brain is not a mere "problem-solving machine" and every other brain in nature is a "problem-solving machine" just that we solve problems better and therefore we "score higher on the test". This is silly. It's cultural and provencial. It's a reflection of our current society not a reflection of objective scientific truth.

What is in the Hearts of Minds of men is really what is being processed by his brain. And you and I everyone else here is surrounded by a civil society and civilization that does have courts, and police, and laws and economics and money and exchange and social castes determined by sectors of economic activity and medicine, military , educational, and private sectors. This is what the brain is doing. The thing in our heads is a mere inert organ that processes problem-solve stuff? Really?

It is far more than that. It contains our emotions, or motivational pathways, our fear and our orgasms and that feeling in your stomach when you haven't eaten and a sense of loneliness or comradery and our hopes for the future and fears and our personality and our past and our biography. The brain is the seat of all human instincts and rest assured we have them and they are particular to us.

We are machines that "solve problems"? Wake up and look out your window. You think you are some kind of robot that manipulates triangles shapes on an IQ test? Are you even alive? Reach into your pants and feel the sweat on your skin. Poke your skin with a needle and get warm blood on yourself. Do you feel something about that? What do you think is doing the "Feeling" stuff there? IS it maybe that "problem solving machine" in your head?

Yeah. Now you're getting it. You don't want to do that ? Those wants are not coming from organ in your abdomen. They are happening in your brain.

Humans dream. We humans plan. We speculate about things that could happen that never happened. We imagine ourselves in scenarios. We are pulled into literature and movies and fictional characters, and live in those imaginary realms. The organ in our heads can imagine black holes and how they would work without ever coming within millions of miles of one.

All this. All this complexity. This imagination. These feelings of moral wrongness and guilt. All the giant capacity of this human brain organ and its life and hopes and family and political feelings and personality. All this is wider than the sky.

ALL OF THIS -- and you come nancing on some internet forum to tell us that the brain is nothing but some inert pithy little "problem-solving machine" As simple and circumscribable as an inert office printer in the corner of some secretary's office. And it can be perfectly described by one horsepower-like metric called IQ.

Are you for real?

If you are going to continue to investigate this hyper-reductionistic autistic-spectrum-disorder reduction of man to a problem-solving office machine : then you have vastly underestimated your fellow humans. I feel sorry for you. I am sorry that your life is so screwed up that you think you are a machine in the corner of an office whose entire purpose in the vast universe is to "problem-solve".

I'm sorry you are so isolated and cut off from the vast experience that is human life.

THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby Braininvat on March 21st, 2018, 6:57 pm 

If you are going to continue to investigate this hyper-reductionistic autistic-spectrum-disorder reduction of man to a problem-solving office machine : then you have vastly underestimated your fellow humans. I feel sorry for you. I am sorry that your life is so screwed up that you think you are a machine in the corner of an office whose entire purpose in the vast universe is to "problem-solve".

I'm sorry you are so isolated and cut off from the vast experience that is human life.
- hyksos

You are being a troll. And you seem hellbent on misconstruing the comments of other posters, especially Badger. Your postings seem to have triple the word count needed to convey the actual informative content. And they carry a constant unfriendly edge that is contrary to what message boards are about.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby hyksos on March 21st, 2018, 7:18 pm 

braininvat,

If this forum still existed in 20 years in the future, another person would show up claiming to have the "newfangled" definition of intelligence, significantly different from the one we have now in front of us. Because as we have seen over 8 decades, the word "intelligence" changed , changed, changed and changed again all in accordance with the latest , greatest, most fashionable theory on the street.

The definition of "intelligence" will change again in the future, and we will be back on this forum watching some guy repeat the same arguments, the same quote-mining, and the same appeals to authority.

And we will repeat this pattern over and over again until someone decides to wisen up look over the trends of histories of cog sci, of neuroscience, of AI, and of psychology and see the obvious trend that keeps repeating. And go "hey -- this is isn't right. It would be very unwise of me to pontificate in a speculatory manner about he definition of intelligence. Because that cry-wolf has been cried so many times it would be redundant and self-defeating to cry wolf a thirteenth time."

So the wise, learned, head-on-shoulders thing to do would be to carefully build up a definition from canonical experiments in neuroscience. Carefully. Piecemeal. Slowly. Deliberately. The repeated eras of "Oh Well I feel that intelligence is X , and so do all these other friends of mine... so our common belly-feel will be elevated to objective scientific truth." <--- This era has come to an end.

We have seen the "established" tenets of folk psychology get destroyed again and again by data from neuroscience. This trend will continue. We will eventually obtain a definition of Intelligence grounded in objective experimental data. And we will abandon all definitions which are just a reflection of the fashions, trends, and cultures of decade 20xx.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 21st, 2018, 11:13 pm 

Hyksos -

For the most part you've become more civil. Other than the assumptions there is nothing much I don't agree with that you've said.

Just like we all have an understanding of what is meant when we say "consciousness" we also have an understanding of what is meant by "intelligence."

When I first put down a definition here I said this:

That is not to say I believe it is overwhelming accurate, but that it does actually measure intelligence; which I would define as an ability to sort, order and discern patterns across multiple fields of investigation and apply them to solve complex problems.


You don't have to like that definition, and I am not saying it is a simple matter. I was not saying I know how these operations function only that for intelligent thought and action they are certainly beneficial. My biggest qualm with IQ tests is actually the time limit. In areas like mathematics I don't really think, from my understanding of pure math, that "speed" is much of a marker for mathematical ability.

IQ tests are limited in scope and narrow in what they can tell us. Over the past 100 years or so all the attempts to debunk the idea of an underlying "g factor" have fallen short. I understand what you're saying about the anthropological conditioning of culture. Building the pyramids and going to the Moon seem equally taxing endeavors to me given the time and technology. Group interaction allows us to do amazing things.

I generally view AI as just that. It is a mechanical mimicry of human intelligence or complex motor function. There is no intent or motivation behind it. I certainly don't consider humans to be robots, or "machines." It is possible you got that impression because maybe I said "mechanism" or "process" somewhere. I never meant it in that manner. Computers used to be humans and then we made machines to do that job for us - they cannot think though, and from what I have read I am pretty convinced a body is required and that a disembodied "consciousness" is not anything like human consciousness and therefore should be given a different name (not that I think we'd be very capable of understanding or even recognizing such a thing.)

I imagine that you'd agree that being able to dance is not a form of "intelligence" in the same way as being able to trek and survive in a jungle environment when completely alone and no experience of said jungle.

Damasio did a great deal to popularize the idea of emotion being integral to rational thought (or rather back up the preexisting idea.) It is precisely the nuances of emotions that I personally see as being deadly important to human intelligence - yet there are far more questions that stem from that and only a few view vague answers and speculative idea in reply.

What can we see from IQ tests? We can see that some people do better than others and that they do just as well (or similar to, enough to warrant our attention) to put it down to genetics. We can also see there is the matter of environmental conditions (meaning from prenatal conditions right up into adult life) that factor in to the differences in IQ scores.

For me we seem to have opposite impression of what "smart" and "intelligent" mean. It is quite possible intelligence will turn out to be nothing more than the ability to reset the brain and constantly approach a problem, as if it is a fresh problem, over and over again - I actually suspect this is what goes on because I've literally sat down and had a three way conversation with myself and understand that "I" am not merely this conscious agent writing here and now (I don't mean that in some mystical supernatural sense either.)
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 22nd, 2018, 3:51 am 

Biv -

I know you're not interested in this subject much, but ... "social intelligence" is related to the g factor, but you can take most of the "social" out and therefore leave, for most part, "intelligence" (G).

Social traits are more about The Big Five in psychology because there is little to no evidence or measure of so called "multiple intelligences." Within The Big Five we'd likely say "social intelligence" is some kind of combination with "openness", "agreeableness", and "extroversion". The issue is those traits are even more vague because they are self-assessed and I would imagine that if you're personality traits are X or Y in this or that direction, then you'll likely be unable to assess yourself accurately.

That is why personality traits are no particularly good at predicting how a person will behave (but neither are they completely useless.) I have not really looked into neurocognitive studies when it comes to The Big Five, because I think they are merely convenient markers and will be supplanted by more rigorous neuroscience in the future (although it may be far flung.) At the moment they are apparently good enough to predict things, generally, like political affiliation - meaningfully enough for people to take onboard and meaningful enough for advertising companies to target this or that customer for this or that product (on an person to person basis this is not so accurate, but when marketing to the masses it holds up well enough.)
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby Braininvat on March 25th, 2018, 12:17 pm 

More info on the author of the article...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opin ... collection

David Emil Reich[1] (born in 1973 or 1974) is a geneticist whose research focuses on finding complex genetic patterns that cause susceptibility to common diseases among populations.[2] He is professor in the department of genetics at the Harvard Medical School, and an associate of the Broad Institute. He received the Dan David Prize in May 2017....


Reich grew up in Washington, D.C. His parents are novelist Tova Reich and Walter Reich, a professor at George Washington University, who served as the first director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[3] David Reich started out as a sociology major as an undergraduate at Harvard College, but later turned his attention to physics and medicine. After graduation, he attended University of Oxford, originally with the intent of preparing for medical school.[3]...

Reich received a BA in physics from Harvard University and a PhD in zoology from the University of Oxford, St. Catherine's College[4]. He joined Harvard Medical School in 2003.[3] Reich is currently a geneticist and professor in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School, and an associate of the Broad Institute, whose research studies comparing human DNA with that of chimpanzees, Neanderthals and Denisovans....

Reich's genetics research focuses primarily on finding complex genetic patterns that cause susceptibility to common diseases among large populations, rather than finding specific genetic flaws associated with relatively rare illnesses.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 29th, 2018, 3:28 am 

Some extracts from the link provided by Biv above (and something of an echoing of what I have been asking here):

It is true that race is a social construct. It is also true, as Dr. Lewontin wrote, that human populations “are remarkably similar to each other” from a genetic point of view. But over the years this consensus has morphed, seemingly without questioning, into an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy maintains that the average genetic differences among people grouped according to today’s racial terms are so trivial when it comes to any meaningful biological traits that those differences can be ignored.

The orthodoxy goes further, holding that we should be anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations. The concern is that such research, no matter how well-intentioned, is located on a slippery slope that leads to the kinds of pseudoscientific arguments about biological difference that were used in the past to try to justify the slave trade, the eugenics movement and the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews.

I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”


So, this is part of my point. Technically there is no "racial" difference, we're all human. But there are differences and these have been marked by tracing ancestry (many people do this and I hope to do so too because I am fascinated to see what markers there are.)

This is why it is important, even urgent, that we develop a candid and scientifically up-to-date way of discussing any such differences, instead of sticking our heads in the sand and being caught unprepared when they are found.


You will sometimes hear that any biological differences among populations are likely to be small, because humans have diverged too recently from common ancestors for substantial differences to have arisen under the pressure of natural selection. This is not true. The ancestors of East Asians, Europeans, West Africans and Australians were, until recently, almost completely isolated from one another for 40,000 years or longer, which is more than sufficient time for the forces of evolution to work. Indeed, the study led by Dr. Kong showed that in Iceland, there has been measurable genetic selection against the genetic variations that predict more years of education in that population just within the last century.

To understand why it is so dangerous for geneticists and anthropologists to simply repeat the old consensus about human population differences, consider what kinds of voices are filling the void that our silence is creating. Nicholas Wade, a longtime science journalist for The New York Times, rightly notes in his 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” that modern research is challenging our thinking about the nature of human population differences. But he goes on to make the unfounded and irresponsible claim that this research is suggesting that genetic factors explain traditional stereotypes.


The above bias presented by Nicholas Wade, or unfortunate comment, is something like what Pinker tries to state in the video I provided - note I am not taken in by this nor am I in a position to completely disregard Pinker's view of Jewish history; it is, in my mind, more of a speculative thought than an outright causal claim.

At a meeting a few years later, Dr. Watson said to me and my fellow geneticist Beth Shapiro something to the effect of “When are you guys going to figure out why it is that you Jews are so much smarter than everyone else?” He asserted that Jews were high achievers because of genetic advantages conferred by thousands of years of natural selection to be scholars, and that East Asian students tended to be conformist because of selection for conformity in ancient Chinese society. (Contacted recently, Dr. Watson denied having made these statements, maintaining that they do not represent his views; Dr. Shapiro said that her recollection matched mine.)

What makes Dr. Watson’s and Mr. Wade’s statements so insidious is that they start with the accurate observation that many academics are implausibly denying the possibility of average genetic differences among human populations, and then end with a claim — backed by no evidence — that they know what those differences are and that they correspond to racist stereotypes. They use the reluctance of the academic community to openly discuss these fraught issues to provide rhetorical cover for hateful ideas and old racist canards.


And to reiterate a speculative idea I voiced several posts back, I am curious about the effects of stress on populations leading to effects on the next few generations - this is a highly speculative thought of mine based on a combination of what I've learnt about neuroendocrinology (not a great deal) and some Jungian ideas I will no go into here other than to say it is related to the process of "individuation" and enforced exploration; linked into the view of type A and type B personalities (you can likely fill in the gaps yourself to see my thoughts here.)

When it comes to IQ I do believe that there are some differences, but that these differences could flip within a few generations due to social patterns, stress factors and effects of diet - all relating to prenatal development and general schooling. It is known that some people, and therefore we may extrapolate, that maybe some groups, benefit from environmental stress more than others (by this I mean some people come out of traumas stronger than others - although I would admit these are likely minorities and the number of different coping mechanisms psychologically are part and parcel of this whole messy human biology!)
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby Lomax on March 29th, 2018, 3:38 am 

I've been tracing my family tree, so I discovered last week that I am half-Jewish. I do not know whether my grandmother knew. Many women of her age - and her mother's age - who lived through the second world war, chose to keep their ethnicity a secret from their children, for reasons I assume I don't need to explain. Answering questions about my identity, I have spent the best part of 30 years writing "white British"; I can, if I opt, now start writing "Jewish". I think this is just one of the problems of mapping IQ against ethnicity (or perceived race), and applies particularly in the case of Jews. How are we to determine which box to put each individual into?
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 29th, 2018, 4:27 am 

From my experience with DNA testing most people suddenly become aware that they are an admixture of different groups. I don't see the harm in that?

Maybe your "Jewish" mother wasn't "Jewish" in the genetic sense. For me it would simply give me an excuse to travel to different countries! :D

And again, the point isn't to "box" people. It is purely a scientific task of exploration that if approached with honesty will scupper hidden agendas.

I did post this in ethics because I was asking how mature we are and whether we should, or shouldn't, look into these things. I agree with the article posted above wholeheartedly. I don't believe willful ignorance is a good thing unless it means, what I repeatedly call "expansion of ignorance" - meaning the more we find out the more questions we open up.

At the start of this thread people simply refuted the term "race" and departed. There could've been a lot more said. Instead I've found staunch resistance, assumptions about my intent, and outright trolling (although to be fair I think Hyksos had been trolling every thread not just this one.)

A contentious issue deserves some attention I feel. I don't think we can stop scientific progress, and I don't want to. I merely wish for an open and frank discussion about the problems involved in this subject matter by looking at the complexity of it so someone wandering into this forum can understand the issues better from a scientific perspective.

Anyway, I'll be getting more into this area at a later date on another thread (meaning neuroscience, emotions and personality - are there are theories that call "intelligence" a personality trait, which is strange, but somewhat understandable given what I have stated elsewhere.)

The prenatal conditions are important here I feel. There are other factors to talk about too, such as longevity - I recall that was a reasonably hot topic a few years ago oin this forum.

I get your point though. There are two ways to look at this.

1) This means we're putting people into boxes and creating more fuel for identity politics.

2) This means we're noting some differences within large populations and disarming people from misrepresenting the information so it has less weight in idenitity politics.

What is nore, can we expect scientists to do diligent work under the condition of political pressure to abide by the current political narrative - to remain apolitical and be honest? I am not suggesting we either encourage or discourage research in this area. I am suggesting we attempt to present the facts and speculate about there importance ethically, politically and for the future of humanity in general.

How about where tailor-made babies fit into this? The abortion of people with this or that "potential" disease? Will the law draw certain lines about what people can and cannot do and if they do will they pay attention to scientific research if it is purposely skewed (or rather presented) in a "politically correct manner" or a "politically fueled/biased manner" rather than a factual one - see the comment from prominent geneticists in the article above.

This may make you think of the movie Gattaca? I think we can look at this in two ways, and that we should fear one side of the argument as much as we fear the other.

As for your ancestry it may well be that the stress factors are still part of the reason you are who you are. I am not saying it is, I am saying I find it fascinating that such things can effect offspring. I can completely understand that if people don't want to know about themselves at such intimate levels then it may concern them. I am interested in the biology, the effects on neurogenesis and such things - all of which can likely be counteracted by growth in the postnatal world (to varying degrees.)

Going right back to my posts in the first year I joined the forum I would also connect this to that particular school in England where students were given freedom to grow into whoever they were rather than being confined within a certain educational system. Again, here some people would thrive more in a confined system than other people. It would be useful to have more eviedence behind these things in order to push for changes in education (and, yeah, there is already enough ... saying, the uses of looking at human development go far beyond group identity, and may actually lead to unity rather than segregation if managed well.)

It is certainly a problem if this is looked at merely as "better" and "worse." I don't think that is a helpful view for societies in terms of the individuals, but on a human scale we are creatures that naturally evaluate our circumstances, have aesthetical tastes and differences, and I don't believe we'll ever stop social conflict - nor do I see "conflict" as being wholly "bad".

I opened this thread knowing it was a can of worms.

note: I didn't make the census forms. I think the term "race" is more palateable if you understand it as internal racial differences rather than any suggestion of different races (that is archaic and long put to bed - although no doubt some people out there who believe anything they hear or think without question may hold to such blind opinion.) That would lead onto the question of IQ and social identity I was trying to open up regarding personality traits and any possible causal relation.

We are born a certain way, but we have wiggle room to develop as we so choose. I imagine further investigation into the underlying, and dated views, of evolutionary biology will eventually filter down into the general public and that with better understanding and education we'll come to understand the roel of the individual person and our individual potential as being almost limitless compared to the reductionist and mechanical views of nature we're growing slowly out of - although it is hard to break such a mind set and to break it completely could be a distaster in its own right.

Anyway, I'm going on. Needless to say, I am more fascinated by the day about being human and what the hell that means in numerous different contexts. :)
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole meesy biology of humanity

Postby Lomax on March 29th, 2018, 7:30 am 

Badger, I think you missed my point. Firstly, not everybody is genome tested - in fact most people aren't - so any attempt to correlate "race" with IQ will only in fact be correlating nominal race with IQ. If we are to treat this as being of any value then we commit ourselves to the hypothesis that labeling somebody "Jewish" or "Asian" makes them cleverer than not labeling them would. My nominal race has now - if I choose - changed. I don't feel any cleverer or stupider for this. Secondly, because so many women did what my grandmother (probably) did, and hid their Jewishness, we don't actually know how many genealogical Jews there are, nor who they all are - in that case how can we claim to have correlated such a thing with IQ?

The problems don't end there. We treat the significance of bloodline differently according to different races. I have an Italian great-grandparent (out of eight) and a Jewish great-great-grandparent (out of sixteen). Convention would consider me half-Jewish, but only one-eighth Italian, if at all. I would be considered 0% African, when in fact we are all 100% African, if you see my point. Thus, when we talk about race, we are not doing genetics in any rigorous or scientific sense.

Notwithstanding that, I don't know what you mean when you ask whether my mother was Jewish in the genetic sense. What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? I am part-Jewish in the sense of lineage only. I didn't suddenly find out I believe in Jahweh purely by researching my family tree.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Braininvat on March 29th, 2018, 10:12 am 

I can guess that Badger means ethnically Jewish in the sense of "descended from people of Semitic tribal ancestry who migrated into Europe." As opposed, say, to someone like Sammy Davis, Jr. - an American entertainer of African ancestry who converted to Judaism. Of course, this all points to the sloppiness of this kind of genetic analysis, as Lomax says. Davis could have middle eastern Semitic roots way back there, too. And Lomaxsteen's granny could have been descended from Celts or Saxons or Picts or Magyars or Francs (etc.) who converted to Judaism. Or she could have a few drops of Ashkenazi, or Sephardic, Jewish ancestry that would show up on a DNA test with markers specific to, say, Tay-Sachs disease, which are prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews.

Sorry, have to run, so this is kind of a stub of a post.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 29th, 2018, 12:44 pm 

Yeah, that is what I meant. Keep in mind a surprising amount of paternal claims on children are found to be genetically unfounded.

Lomax -

No one is disputing we're not one race (human.) It is pretty darn hard to ignore that people don't generally use the term "race" in that manner anymore than they use the term "meme" in the sense Dawkins meant it to be used.

The article does sum up by saying:

It is important to face whatever science will reveal without prejudging the outcome and with the confidence that we can be mature enough to handle any findings. Arguing that no substantial differences among human populations are possible will only invite the racist misuse of genetics that we wish to avoid.


I cannot help but snicker at the unfortunate surname he possesses though! Poor guy! haha!

And again, I am interested in seeing how such factors play out over generations. I have a suspicion that humans are more genetically fluid than we realise and that any contrasts, if not due to immediate environmental conditions, are due to indirect knock-on effects akin to Lamarckian ideas (due to prenatal changes.)

I don't see how making the research transparent would make people less informed about the science? There is nothing to suggest that claims of possessing this or that admixture makes someone "clevererer" or "bestest", it is percentage factor within a percentage factor within a percentage factor.

I wouldn't let a number define me anymore than my genetic history. What I am really interested in is figuring out if we can curtail the need to hold to, what I consider, a neurotic disposition toward identity - and within personality traits what is there we can learn to guard against such things, and if we can should we? Which brings me to asking should science be held back on ethical grounds? To which I would answer a definitive YES it should, because I would most certainly violently fight against experiments on children, or people being harvested for organs and such things.

Are we at a point here where we're unwilling or unable to handle the issue of "race" in a mature (I guess meaning safe) way. Is burying our heads in the sand our best option for now? Like the quote I do have the confidence in humanity to deal and cope with this, but I don't imagine it will ever be without negativity, yet I do think if not sooner rather than later we may be dealing with a problem we've willfully made almost inaccessible.

The recent post about water and my recollection of Ice-9 does seem to be quite on point regarding this conundrum. Not that I think genetic research will be quite so immediately devastating, but in the long run turning a blind eye doesn't seem like a wise choice to me ... maybe I'm a fool though.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Lomax on March 29th, 2018, 2:38 pm 

I realise I haven't been making myself altogether clear. I agree that science should not be done for science's sake, and there are all sorts of experiments which have been done and, I opine, should not have been. The experiments of Doctor Mengele, the invention of nuclear weaponry, and the sadistic and fruitless torture of laboratory animals detailed in Peter Singer's Animal Liberation are examples that spring to mind.

But my concern isn't really that the results of the experiments will intensify racism. Racists aren't looking thoughtfully at the science anyway, and non-racists are unlikely to be persuaded to start putting people into racial boxes. I don't know whether you have read any of Chomsky's numerous responses to the work of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, but they parallel my own.

Noam Chomsky wrote:[Moreover], the question of the relation, if any, between race and intelligence has very little scientific importance (as it has no social importance, except under the assumptions of a racist society) … As to social importance, a correlation between race and mean I.Q. (were this shown to exist) entails no social consequences except in a racist society in which each individual is assigned to a racial category and dealt with not as an individual in his own right, but as a representative of this category … In a non-racist society, the category of race would be of no greater significance [than height]. The mean I.Q. of individuals of a certain racial background is irrelevant to the situation of a particular individual, who is what he is. Recognizing this perfectly obvious fact, we are left with little, if any, plausible justification for an interest in the relation between mean I.Q. and race, apart from the ‘justification’ provided by the existence of racial discrimination.

The authors themselves acknowledge that their conclusions (if granted) could just as easily support a Left agenda. If (for example) black people are disadvantaged in any kind of culture then we might well take this as a reason to create a culture in which things are easier - or at least no harder - for black people.

The problem isn't that the science would lead to racism, but that racism leads to the science. In our current state of ignorance - unable to define race (or sub-race, ethnicity, whatever you like) and unable to measure the various and mixed degrees of it in people - we have to accept assumptions of racial box-ticking in order to conduct this kind of pseudoscience at all. Which renders the study meaningless, and displays symptoms of a cognitive process we ought to be trying to do without.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Braininvat on March 29th, 2018, 4:41 pm 

Agree that genetic research into any sorts of predefined group shouldn't be driven by anything but legitimate medical reasons and similar, as in my Tay-Sachs example. If Lomax had ethnic Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, and married someone with same, both could have a greater chance of carrying one recessive allele for TS, which would be rational grounds for a genetic test for that, given that a child of two parents who both have the recessive allele, would have a one in four chance of a terrible disease that caused suffering and early death. Lomax would also want the test if he married a French-Canadian*, the other group with a high prevalence of this autosomal mutation. Instead of defining nebulous concepts like race, we can focus on real subpopulations with notable incidences of a genetic disorder and target better treatments, and genetic tests, to reduce illness.

* French-Canadians are charming and super cute, in my experience, and Montreal is lovely in May. Just sayin'.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Serpent on March 29th, 2018, 7:33 pm 

Braininvat » March 29th, 2018, 3:41 pm wrote:Agree that genetic research into any sorts of predefined group shouldn't be driven by anything but legitimate medical reasons and similar, as in my Tay-Sachs example. If Lomax had ethnic Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, and married someone with same, both could have a greater chance of carrying one recessive allele for TS, which would be rational grounds for a genetic test for that, given that a child of two parents who both have the recessive allele, would have a one in four chance of a terrible disease that caused suffering and early death.

Why bother with the rigamarole of ancestry-tracing. Why not just test for the recessive genes that carry a high risk of serious illness or birth defect?
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby wolfhnd on March 29th, 2018, 11:14 pm 

All this because a test was unfortunately call intelligence quotient instead of academic potential. That is not to say that academic potential is not influenced by what they are calling general intelligence. Even the lack of motivation can be seen as a flaw in general intelligence if we are honest.

It is foolish to assume that intelligence can be measured any more accurately than consciousness because we don't have a working definition for either from an empirical perspective. I accept that everything cannot be reduced to empirical measurements but we should at least rely on cumulative network meta-analysis which is exactly what the IQ researchers have done. IQ tests are just fine if used appropriately.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 30th, 2018, 12:32 am 

Wolf -

There is a reason I am talking about the relationship between IQ and The Big Five. Also, it is worth understanding that someone with low IQ may still present as being good in one area. Generally speaking IQ tests show that being good in one aspect means you'll be better in others. Therefore there is strong indication for G and all attempts to prove otherwise have either led to nothing (untestable) or concur with the existence of G.

IQ tests are by no means flawless nor without error. Over all they do measure intelligence. Even so we're talking about ONE fragment of a human being and there are far more important things such as love and general morality.

Lomax -

Okay, I see your point here. I am not suggesting anyone be encouraged to set up tests to measure any discernable difference between IQ and population groups regarding genetic heritage.) The thing is these assumptions are already being made and there is more than a little interest in intelligence (AI and education) so no matter what we do they'll be a capacity to mark some distinctions (if there are any.)

The SATS in the US are testing general intelligence. There is more focus on crystallized intelligence there, but nevertheless we're talking about intelligence.

note: Ticking the box for race is on most, if not all?, government forms. I understand that such data is used to look for social problems, but maybe it causes more than it should considering identity based on skin tone can be completely against what your genes say your heritage is.

Dare I say Chomsky is not always correct. The plausible justification is to counter the misrepresentation of the data presented by cloaked biases and/or outright racism.

For example there is evidence that young black women are now out performing many other demographics. There is evidence of cultural attitudes leading to immigrants taking full advantage of the education system and working hard to achieve goals.

I would expect IQ to be lower in less developed countries because of the knock-on effect of stress, diet and such, to the next few generations. I truly believe any difference between intelligence from group to group is at best, minimal or insignificant. At the moment we're not looking at the long term picture and how prenatal conditions don't simply disappear in one generation - that is why I have mentioned Sapolsky several times.

As is pointed out by Biv there is a reason to look at differences for medical purposes. People will then look further into the data and start applying other ideas. We cannot stop this only counter it.

I am sure someone is out there professing to have found the "racism" gene too :P I was also trying to point out what drives people into such niched cases of identity.

Serpent -

People, like myself, are interested about ancestry. We're curious beasts.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Serpent on March 30th, 2018, 10:47 am 

People, like myself, are interested about ancestry. We're curious beasts.

That's fine, from a personal perspective. You can research your own ancestry for fun and enlightenment, in private. That is entirely separate from classification of peoples by race, or basing broad generalizations on a handful of questionable statistics.

I was responding to Braininvat's reference to racial characteristics as an indication of susceptibility to disease. In regard to that specific concern, it would be more efficient to address the concern directly, by looking for the specific gene, than indirectly through statistical probability.

Similarly with other points of interest or concern. If Jews and Asians are disproportionately represented among high academic achievers, it could be because they're genetically related to each other, or it could be due to some other factor(s).
Rather than look at all the IQ tests of all the peoples and all their DNA and personality profiles and ancestry, you could go the direct route of examining the highest achievers for common factors in their personal history. *

It all depends on what you're looking for and why.
When you look for everything everywhere all at the same time and without a definite objective, you are guaranteed to find lots and lots of jumbled-up answers.
Which may be fun, but it's undiscussable.

* prediction of common element: maternal handprint on child's back
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby wolfhnd on March 31st, 2018, 3:52 am 

IQ tests probably do measure intelligence but to a limited extent Serpent is right in suggesting that intelligence is a nebulous concept making it undiscussable. IQ tests because of the time and place they were developed in also carry a stain of eugenics and racism which also makes it unfashionable to believe they measure intelligence. People are not going to be able or willing to ignore that history. Despite the best of intentions it is nearly impossible to have this discussion and ignore the political ramifications. Some people would even say that having the discussion is irresponsible because there is no such thing as a purely academic discussion.

A couple of things that a purely academic discussion would likely start off with are how incredibly unlikely it is that different ethnicities would have the same average general intelligence and the evidence that programs such as head start are ineffective at raising IQ. The first point point cannot be discussed because it is toxic politically and feeds racism. Here I will accept the more harm than good argument. The second point is antithetical to socialist dogma which in general rejects "biological determinism" and since the egalitarian sympathy goes back 2500 years in Western Civilization it is unlikely that it will be abandoned based on "scientific" evidence. That said what makes the current wave of social reformers dangerous is not so much their egalitarian views but the form that it takes. The role of Marxist philosophy has been to formulate the world not as a competence hierarchy but as an oppression hierarchy. Such a formulation has great appeal to those personalities that are highly agreeable and sensitive to negative emotions or feel a need to always be seen as virtuous. You could argue that such a personality is a necessary counter balance to cold logic or pragmatism but even if that is not true in an academic discussion it does make having the discussion disagreeable to half the population.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Lomax on March 31st, 2018, 7:01 am 

Serpent » March 30th, 2018, 3:47 pm wrote:Rather than look at all the IQ tests of all the peoples and all their DNA and personality profiles and ancestry,

Even this would be more scientific than correlating "race" with IQ. If we're correlating features of DNA with IQ then we'll have to DNA-test everybody in the population sample, and look at confounding factors. If we're looking at "race" then we don't know what DNA is or isn't common.

In fact DNA and ancestry are often left out of the question of race altogether. I used to date a mixed-race girl with skin as pale as my own; everybody considers her "white". Her sisters have rather darker skin; one of them tends to get labelled "black" and one "mixed race". In reality they are all mixed race, just like the rest of us. They share exactly the same ancestry but the dermis has shuffled them into different racial categories.

Either way if we're going to try and draw causal links between ancestry and IQ and then we'll have a duty not to forget that we all share a common ancestor. If we're saying geographical changes in ancestry matter then we'll have to find some way of measuring when, and how much, the genotypes or phenotypes of different populations diverged (or reconverged) after our various lineages branched out from the common ancestor. Otherwise we're still not doing anything like science. Is it possible for us to know all of that? We can't go back in time and DNA-test everybody. We know some of the genetic features of past populations, but we are colouring in small pieces of a very big picture. It doesn't give us enough to go on.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 31st, 2018, 9:32 am 

Being tall doesn't make you a good basketball player, and having a high IQ doesn't make you successful.

If you're a basketball player being tall certainly helps, and if you're looking to be successful having a higher than average IQ also helps. This doesn't say anything about what makes you look to be successful anymore than what it is that makes you decide to become a basketball player.

Wolf -

Thank you for expanding the topic a little. None of this was meant to focus primarily on correlations between "race" and IQ, but once it's broken down we see such an approach as being about "identity" and "IQ".

In the past I have tended toward discussion on any form of biased opinion or prejudice to be counter productive in many respects. It does seem on one hand that discussing something like sexism causes more sexism, and in other respects it creates awareness and counters sexism; and you can replace that with any "-ism" pretty much.

I don't think we can, or should, ignore the political effect of scientific development and understanding. What is more worrying is overstating the reach of our knowledge, yet as knowledge increases our gradually refined ideas uncover grave errors. Such mistakes should neither be forgotten nor ignored IMO.

We can neither afford to (IMO) look at this with cold clinical eyes anymore than we can bury it under emotional disgust due to past errors. There is no rulebook, and we have no perfect formula for such ethical issues. When it comes to a proclivity to "measure" any attempt at approximation can too often be conflated with other more rigorous scientific truths.

I like to believe that in maybe only 50 years time such topics won't be anywhere near as troublesome as they are today because of scientific understanding, not in spite of it. And I also believe this will be due to cognitive and neurosciences development of a more comprehensive ground from which to understand the plasticity of human beings.

I may be wrong, and I expect to be in at least one area of my general outlook because I except mistakes as an inevitable product of progressing our understanding and making a "better" world - or simply keeping what we've got afloat long enough for someone else to take on the new problems we've created bolstered by the new tools we've discovered and the potential they may give in solving SOME of the problems of human existence.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Serpent on March 31st, 2018, 11:26 am 

wolfhnd » March 31st, 2018, 2:52 am wrote:IQ tests probably do measure intelligence but to a limited extent Serpent is right in suggesting that intelligence is a nebulous concept making it undiscussable.

That's not what I said. IQ is eminently discussible , as we have demonstrated in the first three pages. I'm content to go with your own simplest descriptions of academic performance, or learning capacity. Intelligence is discussible. The concept of race is discussible. When all three are combined, the topic gets fuzzy; when personality, g-factors, mating behaviour, patriotism and neuroses are thrown in, the whole thing becomes too chaotic [for me] to contemplate.
I was responding to Badger Jelly's curiosity remark.

IQ tests because of the time and place they were developed in also carry a stain of eugenics and racism which also makes it unfashionable to believe they measure intelligence.

To some degree that does continue to be true, in spite of the testers' best efforts. Nevertheless, the testing sites on the internet are very popular, and books of tests, like the one Mensa put out, continue to sell. Obviously, people are interested in measuring their own and their children's intelligence.
I've never seen any problem with SAT or other Bell-curve surveys of student populations - as long as the test is administered fairly and the results used exclusively for academic purposes: to advise students in their higher education options, and to improve teaching.

the egalitarian sympathy goes back 2500 years in Western Civilization it is unlikely that it will be abandoned based on "scientific" evidence.

A more substantial obstacle is determining the "science" which could be used as evidence.

Lomax --- If we're correlating features of DNA with IQ then we'll have to DNA-test everybody in the population sample, and look at confounding factors. If we're looking at "race" then we don't know what DNA is or isn't common.

I said this on page one.
And pointed out that so many other factors would have to be taken into consideration as to make the subject far too nebulous for evaluation by any means currently available.
Thus: choosing one specific, nail-downable quality or attribute to test for would be more efficient than attempting to chew one's way through a rice-mountain of randomly collected data to find one raisin of useful information.

Badger Jelly -- None of this was meant to focus primarily on correlations between "race" and IQ,

I was taken in by the title, "Race and IQ". I now see that the part I overlooked for lack of comprehension, : "the whole messy [which I originally read as meesy] biology of humanity" was actually the focus of the thread. I can barely focus on a single item at any one time; a category this broadly inclusive is leagues beyond my range of vision. (At the moment, anyway: mismatched eyes doe to cataract surgery. I'll see much better in a month, according to Dr. Hesham. It's an immeasurable benefit to me that they let brown-skinned people into universities now.)
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 31st, 2018, 12:19 pm 

Serpent -

When all three are combined, the topic gets fuzzy; when personality, g-factors, mating behaviour, patriotism and neuroses are thrown in, the whole thing becomes too chaotic [for me] to contemplate.


Tenfold if you've not bothered to look at the links I've provided. I made the mistake of thinking you actually looked into what I was talking about.

I did actually explain "neuroticism" and I never once mentioned "mating behavior" as far as I can remember? Also, the "patriotism" point was in direct relation to the identity issue, which is what underlies the misconception of "race".

I would say Wolf pointed out nicely enough the political issue. The sooner the politics is disentangled from the science and identity issues (although I cannot see this being done in an absolute sense) the better our chances are of having a more reasonable take on future problems.

To All -

I would really like to hear a counter argument to ideas of "race" being anything other than "identity politics", and if so (or not - regardless), can we take people's personality traits to add emphasis to such views?

Then consider the issue of IQ being, at least in part, a measure of intelligence alongside the distinction made between The Big Five and intelligence (that is they are mostly distinct - enough so as to be measured separately!)

Therefore this would, if you follow through, lead to a reasonably good chance that "race" (basically "identity") is determined by The Big Five much, much more than IQ because IQ doesn't do more than dip a toe into personality traits.

I believe Lomax pointed out this conundrum a few posts back by highlighting the possible use of data by both extreme left and extreme right political ideologies - one siding with a more deterministic outlook and the other in outright dismissal of any hint of determinism.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Serpent on March 31st, 2018, 2:10 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 31st, 2018, 11:19 am wrote: I made the mistake of thinking you actually looked into what I was talking about.

You kept changing what you were talking about faster than I could look into each stage. I shouldn't need three extra university credit courses just to qualify for participation in one forum thread.

I did actually explain "neuroticism"

Yes, but not what it's got to do with race and/or IQ and why the conjunction - any kind of conjunction - of those two things is useful to know.
and I never once mentioned "mating behavior" as far as I can remember?

Then you didn't look into the links you provided. One of those lectures was all about libido. "A relationship is the price you pay for the anticipation of it." (~~?)
Also, the "patriotism" point was in direct relation to the identity issue, which is what underlies the misconception of "race".

So you have repeatedly opined, along with a bunch of other observations on group dynamics. That didn't clarify the issue of comparative intelligence.

The sooner the politics is disentangled from the science and identity issues (although I cannot see this being done in an absolute sense) the better our chances are of having a more reasonable take on future problems.

In other words: a snowball's chance in hell.

I would really like to hear a counter argument to ideas of "race" being anything other than "identity politics", and if so (or not - regardless), can we take people's personality traits to add emphasis to such views?

I honestly don't see how either of those feats can be accomplished.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby wolfhnd on March 31st, 2018, 2:57 pm 

Perhaps it would be useful to simply (despite Badger Jelly's objection to reductionism) the discussion by exploring under what circumstances intelligence contributes to fitness. An evolutionary lens could highlight areas of agreement.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby Serpent on March 31st, 2018, 4:00 pm 

wolfhnd » March 31st, 2018, 1:57 pm wrote:Perhaps it would be useful to simply (despite Badger Jelly's objection to reductionism) the discussion by exploring under what circumstances intelligence contributes to fitness. An evolutionary lens could highlight areas of agreement.

Fine. So long as we're clear on what sort of fitness we're considering. Who is intended to fit into what?
If you look at any particular decisive juncture along the evolutionary tree, you would need to specify the conditions that required newly specialized or enhanced characteristics and show how the increased intelligence of one branch gave it an advantage over whatever characteristic the other branch had.
At a cursory glance, intelligence is a relatively recent innovation, particularly useful to some warm-blooded creatures, while the majority of insects, nematodes, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, as well as many birds and mammals, seem to get by with very little brain, and rely on other advantages, such as profligate reproduction, speed, agility, colouration and co-ordination.
Again superficially, it would also seem that superior intelligence favours hunting and foraging species, while grazers and harvesters manage to survive and multiply on less brain-power.
I could speculate on why and how those faculties were developed, but I'm neither equipped nor willing to undertake an extensive course of study to this end.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby wolfhnd on March 31st, 2018, 7:23 pm 

Fitness is a concise concept, how many offspring survive to reproduce.

Intelligence is just one of many factors that determine fitness. Because the environment is stochastic from the point of view of genes fitness is temporal.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby BadgerJelly on March 31st, 2018, 8:09 pm 

Wolf -

Is there any correlation between fitness and intelligence?

You may wish to look at fertility and lifespan of offspring.
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Re: Race and IQ, and the whole messy biology of humanity

Postby wolfhnd on March 31st, 2018, 9:32 pm 

BadgerJelly » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:09 am wrote:Wolf -

Is there any correlation between fitness and intelligence?

You may wish to look at fertility and lifespan of offspring.


Albert Einstein had three childern, one died in infancy, one was a schizophrenic, and the third had one had producing offspring. By the standards of the early 20th century that is subnormal fitness. The family tree also displayed a regression to the norm judging by intellectual achievement.

As a species intelligence obviously has increased fitness for humans. Humans are numerous and occupy every habitat on the planet. It is important to understand however that intelligence is a useful trait for the species but not necessarily for individual genetic lines. A brilliant person living in the paleolithic may not have contributed as much to the species as a brilliant person today because culture evolves along side genetics. As culture has become more complex the utility of high intelligence increases correspondingly. The specter of nuclear war and oblivion also shows that intelligence and cultural evolution can be a double edged sword. Ignoring extinction at are own hands for the moment the point is that intelligent people are more useful in a more intelligent culture. If all you neighbors are idiots then being smart may not be much of an advantage. Likewise it is unlikely that even the most intelligent neolithic hunter gather would seem particularly intelligent to us. Intelligence is not simply a property of individuals but in many ways is an attribute of the swarm.

In the long term it seems likely that the more intelligent people will be the first to take advantage of genetic engineering, they are also more likely to have planned for and have stockpiled the material to survive the unavoidable natural catastrophes that end most species existence. In the more distance future some may become cyborgs and avoid even the end of the solar system.

Nietzsche's superman may emerge from processes he could not even imagine and types of people he would not recognize. If Genghis Khan's was a superman for his time and place but his genes are not part of the cyborg race then his emaging fitness will not survive into the distant future.

The question becomes if it is moral to artificially restrain the more intelligent for egalitarian motives. The social justice crowd seems to think so but I don't think they consider consequences all that much anyway. What is fairly evident is that Western Civilization has greatly increased fitness in places like Africa, India and the Americas. All you have to do is look at population dynamics to see that it wasn't birth control that keep populations more or less stable until the 20th century in many geographic regions but infant mortality and starvation. You could argue that culture increased fitness. In a way everyone benefits from competence hierarchies at the level as fundamental as fitness.

The questions of morality have become sufficiently complex in the post industrial age that they must be framed not against what is but what will be. If is also likely that the answers to moral question have become more and more tied to time frames that previous generations could not have conceived. What is moral for tomorrow's goals may be inconsistent with long term goals. And while the time frame question is not new the time spans to consider have grown exponentially.
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