What Jason Richwine Should Have Heard from his PhD Committee

Jason Richwine
~ Jason Richwine ~
Photo through the Heritage Foundation which has granted the right to reproduce this photograph in print and electronic formats, including reproduction by 3rd parties, excluding use in paid advertising space and book covers. Photograph © David Hills.

In one of the latest academic-cum-political dust ups, Jason Richwine, formerly of the Heritage Institute, co-authored a study estimating the “cost” of regularizing the immigration status of the undocumented.  Imagined by the Heritage Foundation as a high profile and hard-hitting attack on proposed immigration reform, the study was widely criticized by both liberals and conservatives for poor methodology and analysis.  When the Washington Post reported that Richwine’s 2009 Harvard PhD dissertation entitled IQ and Immigration argued that Hispanic immigrants have lower IQs than so-called “native whites” the Heritage Institute back-pedaled as speedily as it could.  Richwine resigned several days later.

Richwine’s dissertation committee, like the Heritage foundation itself, sought to distance itself from the content of the dissertation, though his committee chair commented that “the empirical work was sound.”  Charles Murray, a mentor to Richwine, and one of the co-authors of The Bell Curve, a 1994 book that sparked a controversy over IQ and race, defended Richwine’s work, accusing those who criticized Richwine of suppressing his right to freedom of speech.  Murray claims that Richwine is being treated for “crimethink” and that the situation is downright Orwellian.

Rather than relying on second-hand characterizations of Richwine’s dissertation, I decided to read it myself. I wasn’t surprised by the ideological content of the work, but I was quite startled by the lack of analytical rigor, the specious use of data, and the consistent use of gross generalization rather than disciplined scholarship.  Did Richwine’s committee even read his dissertation, I wondered?  Had a student submitted something like that to me, I would have covered it with questions, suggestions, proddings and requirements for more.  So I decided to put myself on his dissertation committee after the fact.

Here are some of the comments I would have provided to him:

Dear Jason:

I have read your dissertation and have several key areas where you need to devote serious attention to developing your work before it can rise to the level of PhD worthy work.

These are:

1. The framing and theoretical basis for the study itself lacks rigor, internal logic and consistency.  Your variables are poorly defined and your justification in particular for using “native whites” as your control group does not make sense.

Let’s look at your argument.  You state that you aim to show that immigrant IQ is, on average, lower than that of the “native white” population in the United States.  Remember that in good science, we work to prove our hypothesis WRONG, not to substantiate a pre-formed idea.  In choosing your control group as “native whites” you make a serious misstep.  According to you, natives are those who have been several generations in the United States.  Yet you show no evidence that white natives are different, IQ-wise, from other natives. This problem with your research design is compounded by the fact that your stated justification for choosing “native whites” as your control group is also that “for better or worse, most of America’s institutional, social, and political structure is the product of Euro Americans, which makes them the natural standard by which immigrants may be compared” (P. 33).  Remember that your thesis is about race and IQ and heredity, not culture and politics.  Choosing your control group based on elements utterly unrelated to what you propose to analyze makes the scientific validity of your work untenable from the start.  You just cannot forward a thesis about IQ and heredity and then use the supposed cultural dominance of “native whites” as justification for choosing them as your control group.

2.  Your literature review is consistently biased, incomplete, and cursory. The only work you cite that is openly critical of the IQ-race theory is that of Stephen Jay Gould.  For goodness sake, Wikipedia covers more literature than you do on the question of race and IQ.  You cannot convincingly argue for the validity or overall acceptability of your IQ-race thesis while refusing to substantially engage the large body of work that is highly critical of that idea.  As it is, you do not review even enough of the work that embraces this point of view.  Nobody in academia will take you seriously unless you deepen and widen your command of the relevant literature, the complexities of the arguments, and the substance upon which different positions are based.  In other words: you cannot only read the things you like and explain why you like them.  You have to read what you don’t like as well, and demonstrate the flaws. That’s what it means to be an intellectual and a scholar, rather than an ideologue.

3.  Your writing consistently substitutes unsubstantiated generalizations for careful argument and presentation of evidence.  This is poor scholarship and again, unacceptable at an undergraduate level, much less in a PhD thesis.  On page 21 you write that “…[T]here is no racial or ethnic policy agenda here.  One can deal frankly and soberly with group IQ differences while still subscribing to the classical liberal tradition of individualism.” If there is not a race or ethnic agenda, why base the analysis on race and ethnic groups?  More to the point, if race and ethnicity are not the agenda, how do you justify making the “native white population” the control group in the analysis?  I also note that you justify excluding IQ data “black” native populations, because their IQ scores are historically “unstable.”  This so-called instability was evidenced in a marked closing of the IQ gap between blacks and whites over time.  It appears to me that you exclude this particular data because it is inconvenient for your theory.  Such selective practices are bad science and bad scholarship.

Another example.  On page 15 you write that, “IQ can be an uncomfortable topic in a liberal democracy. The reality of innate differences between individuals and groups is often difficult to accept for those with an aversion to inequality. For this reason, journalists and academics in other fields are naturally attracted to scholars who downplay the role of genes in determining IQ, even if these scholars are a distinct minority.”  Your wording implicitly argues that those who challenge the scientific validity of IQ science work from an emotional rather than rigorously scientific position.  This impression is magnified when you claim that those who disagree with the IQ material are “naturally attracted” to scholarship that challenges the point of view that you endorse.  It really is a cheap shot.  There are serious scientific debates out there, and it is incumbent upon you to address them.  Furthermore, your claim that those who reject the IQ and genes hypotheses are a “distinct minority” is patently untrue.

The American Anthropological Association, in its statement on race, specifically rejects the genetic validity of the idea of race, period.  Furthermore, a task force report from the American Psychological Association notes that “Several culturally-based explanations of the Black/White IQ differential have been proposed; some are plausible, but so far none has been conclusively supported. There is even less empirical support for a genetic interpretation. In short, no adequate explanation of the differential between the IQ means of Blacks and Whites is presently available” (Neisser et al. 1996, 97).  While you do selectively cite this report, you neglect to mention this key conclusion.  Authored by ten top academics and published in the discipline’s flagship journal, the report effectively stands as the discipline’s definitive statement on the matter and can hardly be characterized as representing the position of a “small minority.”

As an anthropologist I cannot sign off without seriously challenging the implicit ideas about race upon which your entire thesis is built.  Throughout the work, you strive to link IQ to genetics and heritability.  You further assert that inheritance of IQ is empirically reflected in the data you present, and that the patterns reflect accurately in racial and ethnic groups.  The massive underlying problem is that this model assumes that the ethnic and racial groups you discuss possess relatively homogeneous gene pools, and, moreover, that the gene variance and distribution of one group are substantially distinguishable from those of another:  “Hispanics,” in your formulation, are genetically different from “whites”  and this is seen in their differential IQ scores.  First of all, “Hispanics” have only existed for a little under 400 years, not nearly enough time evolutionarily to produce significant genetic distinctiveness.  Second, those in the contemporary “Hispanic” population include descendants of indigenous peoples, enslaved Africans, and European immigrants.

These are groups that you treat separately in your U.S. data.  On what scientific basis can populations be treated as genetically separate groups in one geographic location (the United States), then be grouped together genetically in another (Latin America)?   Your data would need to more finely parse these issues, separating “white descendant Hispanics” from both black and indigenous descendant Hispanics for the racial/IQ argument to remain convincing.   Even then, I fear your task will be fruitless, because the root of the problem is this: you are claiming that socially constituted category –that of race – is genetically identifiable.  That’s a bit like saying those who attend Harvard are genetically distinct and naturally superior.  One thing doesn’t have much to do with the other in terms of having a causal relationship.

Nobody uses genetic information to determine racial identity.  The closest instance might be Native American tribes who are obligated by the U.S. Government to use blood quanta to determine tribal membership.  But even here the so-called standards range so widely that genetics are not the determining factor.  Even you yourself use socially defined categories when you speak of race and in your analysis.  This is simply not scientifically justifiable.  You present no evidence at all as to the genetic distinctiveness of the populations you identify.  Without the genetic material, the main arguments of your thesis do not hold water.

I am forced to conclude that your work is bad science.  Your conclusions are not objective but ideologically driven.   Your research is narrow and selective in the extreme and aligns rather dramatically with racist attempts to justify white superiority.  Declaring that scholars who reject such racism are a minority and that the science you present in this work represents a mainstream position is both dishonest and disingenuous.  Did you know that the scholars you cite most often: Philippe Rushton, and Richard Lynn, were supported by the Pioneer Fund, which has long-standing affiliations with the movement to create a pure white race, that is, eugenics?   Richard Lynn, whom you cite copiously, is unapologetic in his support of eugenics; it is his data set—one generated with the same flawed notions of race I discussed earlier–that you use for the foundation of your empirical work the key studies from which you pull your data.

So, there it is.   If you are applying for membership in the Aryan nation, this work might be your ticket. But if you are claiming any kind of legitimacy as a scholar, I’m afraid the only thing I can suggest is for you to scrap the dissertation and start over.

Elizabeth Chin, PhD is an anthropologist whose work centers around issues of race and social inequality.   Her book Purchasing Power: Black Kids and American Consumer Culture (Minnesota 2001) was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Prize.  In 2007 she was awarded the American Anthropological Association prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching.  In 2011 she joined the Art Center College of Design as a founding faculty member of the MFA track Media Design Practices/Field.

30 Responses

  1. Here's the abstract for my dissertation:

    Everyone is the same. We are all one. Let's get this Marxist system going full steam. Now, where's my free stuff. 

    I am sure you will find that highly acceptable scholarship.

    1. If Marxism means everyone is the same, why did Karl bother saying "From each according to their ability"?

      Failed, but you win a free weekend at TeaBagger Mountain and an Aryan Nation membership.

  2. Thanks for your efforts.  I saw in a news report that Charles Murray was the dissertation committee chair, and assumed it was bullshit. I did not know that Richwine had relied heavily on Philippe Rushton, who is a notorious racist. Rushton has written that there is an inverse relationship between penis size and IQ. I assume he is trying to find compensation for his tiny penis, but he seems to be his own self-refutation.

    I went through school with kids who's families had been in California for 4 generations. They were "Hispanics" in that they had a Spanish derived surname. They had cousins who were "Anglo" with English derived surnames. I know "Native Americans" with Spanish surnames, and English, and French, and German surnames. I suppose that was one of the reasons I became and anthropologist. There is no adequate means to disentangle the pooled data on education, and ethnisity and control for SES, or medical status. And, as Charles Darwin obseved in 1871,  "It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant." (The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, John Murray, London).

    A point not covered is that voluntary immigrants are commonly more goal oriented, more intelligent, and more aggressive than their "stay-at-home" relatives. (This is true of internal migrants as well). As the argument regarding IQs and Hispanics was directed in the Heritage Foundation's racist "white paper" toward illegal immigrants, just how did Richwine get any IQ data in the first place?

  3. Based on the cover page, George Borjas (economist) was the chair, with Richard Zeckhauser (economist) and Christopher Jencks (sociologist) on the committee.  Noting the lack of anyone with any training in anthropology, genetics, or psychology, I still think that Jencks (at least) should have known better than to sign off on this egregious nonsense.  Jencks is also (as far as I can tell) the only one of the committee not to have responded to the controversy.

  4. Richwine's acknowlegment section to his dissertation is facinating. Funded by the American Enterprise Institute, which provided him with 4 research "assistants."

    The racist and anti-immigrant tone of Richwine's writing is even less surprising reviewing the publication record of George J. Borjas. He has been anti-labor, and anti-immigrant since the 1980s. He has long been insisting that the "decline in the quality of immigrants" with Europeans replaced by "others" was an urgent problem, that immigration was driven by social welfare programs, and that certain nations and ethnic groups were inferior.

    Harvard? Right.

  5. Thanks for an excellent review. I see this as another example of the fact that the criticism of this case should fall on the committee, who failed somewhere in the proposal stage. Having completed my Ph.D. in biology last year, I'm much more annoyed at the system that screwed this up than the student who took advantage.

  6. You are nitpicking and creating straw-men. For a PhD, you're suprisingly intellectually lazy.

    The point of the Richwine thesis is to offer an alterantive measure by which to admit immigrants to this country.  This is a useful idea, because it is beyond a shred of doubt the current impact of immigration is tearing this country apart (read Telles, Putnam, et al) – financially and culturally.

    IQ is a non-biased measure of cognitive ability and therefore also the best predictor of life-time outcomes. See iqtest.dk for an example of non-cuturally biased test. It does not explain everything. But explains more than socio-marxist theories from a field as tainted by poor academic standards and fanatic ideology as Anthropology. Linguistics can more honestly tell us about human society and developlment than anthropologists, even if Chomsk and Lakoff and rabid stalinists. Read this:

    "In response to the controversy surrounding The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association's Board of Scientific Affairs established a task force to write a consensus statement on the state of intelligence research which could be used by all sides as a basis for discussion. The full text of the report is available at a third-party website.

    The findings of the task force state that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual (but not necessarily population) differences in school achievement. They confirm the predictive validity of IQ for adult occupational status, even when variables such as education and family background have been statistically controlled. They agree that individual (again, not necessarily population) differences in intelligence are substantially influenced by genetics.

    They state there is little evidence to show that childhood diet influences intelligence except in cases of severe malnutrition. They agree that there are no significant differences between the average IQ scores of males and females. The task force agrees that large differences do exist between the average IQ scores of blacks and whites, and that these differences cannot be attributed to biases in test construction. While they admit there is no empirical evidence supporting it, the APA task force suggests that explanations based on social status and cultural differences may be possible. Regarding genetic causes, they noted that there is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.

    The APA journal that published the statement, American Psychologist, subsequently published eleven critical responses in January 1997, most arguing that the report failed to examine adequately the evidence for partly-genetic explanations.

    The report was published in 1995 and thus does not include a decade of recent research. "

    Research since then has been substantiating the idea that IQ-potential is determined by genetics. Get with the times.

    1. The argument is not about whether IQ is hereditable.  The argument is about whether there are genetically distinct and homogenous human racial groups which can be seen to have hereditary differences of IQ.  There is, I think, no argument with the assertion that we are NOT all the same.  What Richwine asserts and cannot back up with any data is the idea that a particular group is the same, within itself, and different from another likewise internally homogenous group.

      1. As a strict social science thesis, some of these criticisms might be valid. For example, it might be the case that comparing IQ scores of ‘Latino’ versus white *immigrants* might be a better comparison. Of course, given the low rate that we allow whites to immigrate, and the fact that they are selected much more than other groups for employment etc, rather than by nepotism (aka family ‘reunification’), the gap would probably be wider (that is, immigrant whites probably have higher IQs than native-born whites)

        However, as a public policy dissertation, it seems to me that the use of whites as a ‘control group’ is reasonable. Whites are the historical majority population of this polity, and in fact are still the majority and will be a plurality for a long time to come. Whites also founded the polity, and did most of the work in building it. Therefore whites are the ‘core ethnie’ of the country. It is worth projecting out what happens as whites become less a proportion of the county’s population.

    2. I don't think Chin has actually read Richwine's thesis. The possible hereditary basis of IQ difference between groups is immaterial to his thesis. As he writes several times, his argument is that the gaps persist over generations, which is true regardless of why they persist. No one has denied that the gaps persist over generations and that we don't know how to eliminate them, so whether the reason is genetic or otherwise is not very important from the point of view of public policy. That's his thesis.

      1. Why would I say I read his thesis if I didn't read his thesis unless, as you are insinuating, I am a liar?  Yes.  I read his thesis.  Every friggin' page.  And the footnotes.  And the bibliography.  

        Because I read the entire thesis I totally get what his argument is.  Because I read his thesis I also see his numerous slapdash attempts to head off counter arguments, which I am guessing he wrote in response to queries raised by Jencks.  (But that's a guess.)  

        Because I read his thesis, I see that as a work of disciplined scholarship, his dissertation is lazy and incomplete, and his writing is pretty bad stylistically.   Since he is not aiming to be a novelist or anything I won't go into that in any detail.  Suffice it to say he uses the word "natural" quite often in ways that do little to forward a valid  or covincing argument.  When a student claims that something political or analytical is a "natural" choice any professor ought to challenge that idea.  All political and analytical statements are, by definition, social.  Being a liberal or a conservative has nothing to do with natural laws.  Immigration policy has nothing to do with natural laws.  Making this point might appear to be nitpicking I suppose.  But that's what good professors do, we nit pick our students' work to death so that it will be really, really good.  Tough love.  I am an equal opportunity nitpicker, as I'm sure any of my former students will attest, regardles of their own ideological stance.

         If a student of ANY political persuasion handed me a piece of work of that calibre I would send it back to the drawing board as incomplete, lazy, and poorly argued.  Period.

        1. <i>Why would I say I read his thesis if I didn't read his thesis unless, as you are insinuating, I am a liar? </i>

          I say that because you misrepresent his argument. If you did really read his thesis,  the remaining options are that it went over your head or that you intentionally misrepresent his views.

          Richwine writes that while he believes that hereditary factors probably explain some of the racial/ethnic IQ gaps, it doesn't matter even if the gaps were entirely environmental because the gaps exist in any case and we don't know how to eliminate them. If you don't want to increase the number of poor and poorly educated people, then restricting the immigration of people who remain relatively poor and poorly educated over several generations is a no-brainer. You never address this argument even though it is at the center of his thesis.

          Your railing against the fact that Richwine compares whites and Hispanics is absurd. Have you ever looked at, say, an issue of any American sociology journal? Studies where the socioeconomic outcomes of minorities are compared to those of whites are the bread and butter of American social scientists. Richwine's choice of whites for a "control" group could hardly be any more uncontroversial. Literally thousands of social  scientists have done the same. And if you read the dissertation, you'd know that he speaks specifically of "native whites" because he also analyses the outcomes of non-native whites, that is, white immigrants.

          Richwine's treatment of IQ is entirely mainstream. His main conclusions are well in line with the APA report, for example.

          Also, we live in an era where voluminous population genetic data are available, confirming the strong genetic basis of the ethnic/racial categories used in America. There's no excuse for believing absurdities like "race is only a social construct."

    3. There are some serious flaws in your responses.

      For one, IQ measures a very specific type of intelligence; that is, our ability to think largely in the abstract.  This in itself is largely affected by culture and experience.  Had I not pursued the college route and simply worked a day laborer job, my performance on such tests would be far different, because I would not have spent so many years developing my analytical/critical thinking and pattern recognition skills.

      Even with iqtest.dk, cultural variables are not entirely weeded out:

      "The test is Culture Fair, i.e. it minimises the effect of cultural variables, such as language, mathematics, etc"

      Emphasis added of course.

      As professor Chin notes, Richwine neglects mountains of inconvenient data, much of which destory his attempted correlations.  One of these: the increase in Irish National IQ.  Once at 87 and far below that of British IQ, today their national IQ's are nearly identical.  As Ron Unz's data has shown, there is a strong correlation between IQ performance and urbanization (which of course, brings with it, more consistent need to think in the abstract).

  7. One danger of using IQ to make decisions about immigration status is that it invites us to use IQ to make decisions about other dimensions of citizenship, a slippery slope that we have been trying to climb back up with the extension of rights of citizenship to African-Americans, voting rights to women, gay/lesbian rights, etc. I haven't read Richwine's dissertation, and do not plan to, but if he is trying to document simply that there are 'costs' to allowing some kinds of people to regularize their immigration status, he's not proposing anything very interesting. I'm reminded of the recent claim by the governor of Mississippi that the decline in the quality of education in the U.S. is the product of "mothers" working, a similar mish-mash of social, cultural, and biological issues that only add up to educational deficits through a fairly tortured logic.

  8. One positive effect of using IQ to make decisions about immigration status is that it encourages us to use IQ to make decisions about other dimensions of citizenship. We made mistake before, like the extension of citizenship to African-Americans, voting rights to women, gay/lesbian rights, etc. I haven’t read Richwine’s dissertation, and do not plan to, but anyway i will critize it without any background knowledge, because I am a woman. I’m reminded of the recent claim by the governor of Mississippi that the decline in the quality of education in the U.S. is the product of “mothers” working, whoring or drinking.

  9. 1. The idea that races don’t exist suggests that humans are unique amongst other species. Population genetics however reveals that individuals do indeed fall into identifiable clusters that correspond to traditional notions of race. Two groups that form distinct clusters are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to potential group differences.


    2. Wade cites Australian Aborigines vs Australian europeans in terms of visual and verbal memory. She omits that there are in fact their brains are also different and this could reflect selection for different environments/cultures.

    “What is the aborigines’ secret? To some evolutionary psychologists, the answer is relatively straightforward. The aborigines were, for about 4,000 generations, or 80,000 years, hunter-gatherers in the deserts of Australia.

    That is enough time for natural selection to have worked on increasing the accuracy of aborigines’ memory, because if you could not find your way through the desert, or to the waterhole, you would starve, and so would your children. In the competition to stay alive, an accurate memory would – to put it mildly – have been an advantage.

    Are today’s aborigine children the inheritors of that process? It has certainly been speculated that their extraordinary visual memories are the result of genes selected over thousands of years by evolution.

    By Clive Harper, a professor of pathology in Sydney, may have discovered evidence that it is more than just a theoretical possibility. He found that the visual cortex – the part of the brain used in processing and interpreting visual information – was about 25 per cent larger in aborigines than in Caucasians.”


    3. Plus there are specific examples of selection leading to higher population average. For instance, cognitively demanding roles and Ashkenazi jewish groups.


    Also, there is already some evidence suggesting evolutionary factors contribute to country differences.


    4. The idea that group differences disapear when you control for socio-economic background isn’t supported. Note that the SAT itself is relatively g-loaded.


    4. Finally, aside from IQ behavioural traits generally are partly heritable. Different cultures and environments may favor different traits to some extent. As Jon Haidt notes, there is evidence the rate of genetic change accelerated over the past 40,000 years so the evidence as genomics costs fall will be interesting.


    5. As Hsu suggests above, “it is important to note that group differences are statistical in nature and do not imply anything definitive about a particular individual. Rather than rely on the scientifically unsupported claim that we are all equal, it would be better to emphasize that we all have inalienable human rights regardless of our abilities or genetic makeup.”

  10. While I cannot vouch for Richwine’s prose, I do think it is telling that Ms. Chin was unable to respond to pnin’s most excellent critique.

    The notion that you cannot use whites as a control group is, coming from a left-leaning, self-described “negrophile”(as Ms. Chin says she is), pretty hilarious.

    As for the argument about if IQ is nature or nurture, Richwine again said it doesn’t really matter to the argument. The gaps have persisted over time.

    Ms Chin’s long, incoherent rant says more about her own biases than any intelligent critique(and there can be plenty of critique directed towards Richwine, for example the fact that Hispanics have done sharply well over the past decade alone, just look at high school graduation rates which have increased by 50%).

    And it also says a lot about why the humanities are so poorly considered these days, especially sociology and anthropology, because the scientific method is missing and it is more about imposing an ideological agenda under the guise of academic scholarship.

    By the way! Next time these people talk about diversity, ask how many Republicans they have in their sociology/anthropology department. Diversity is more than about race, and intellectual diversity, which should be a centerpiece of academic critical thinking, is completely absent.

    And this should also apply to “critical theory” which is remarkably one-sided, incurious and dogmatic. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially reading Ms. Chin’s long rant where she succeeds only in fleshing out precisely why her academic field has lost so much prestige this past century.

  11. How People Misunderstood Jason Richwine’s Dissertation: Explaining Racial Incompatibility is Different From Denigrating Them

    The definition of the word “racism” is the following:

    “1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    To judge whether or not people are racists, one has to judge their intention to denigrate others and not simply by judging their actions and behaviour alone, because racism is based on a person’s intention to denigrate others, racism cannot be determined simply by judging the words they wrote in a dissertation.

    Jason Richwine’s dissertation was to explain whether or not certain groups of people would be compatible or incompatible for American society and its economy.

    Being analytical about different races’ compatibility to living in American society does not make the person a racist that is obsessed with denigrating other races of people.

    Jason was perceiving the incompatibility/compatibility of different races for living in American society in his dissertation, no one except him can know whether or not he had any intention to denigrate those races.

    For people to simply assume that Jason had the intention to denigrate those races without evidence(of his true intentions) is simply being unfair, over-assuming, immature and perhaps blame-shifting as well.

  12. The fundamental problem for Richwhite, oops! I mean Richwine – and for Timothy Tang in the post above this one – is that no one has demonstrated ‘races’ even exist in homo sapiens sapiens.

    His dissertation therefore, and likewise the above post, is just a long non-sequitur. It does not follow that ‘race’ informs IQ, or that IQ informs ‘race’ since it hasn’t been shown that ‘races’ of homo sapiens exist.

    If brain volume and/or capacity/expertise in any particular area denote a ‘racial’ difference (as Mike Steinberg also alleges above with his somewhat misleading reference to neuropathologist Clive Harper’s research on Aboriginal brains) then London taxi drivers become members of a different ‘race’ as a consequence of acquiring ‘The Knowledge’.

    “Acquiring “the Knowledge” of London’s Layout Drives Structural Brain Changes”

    “Talent in the taxi: a model system for exploring expertise”

    “London taxi drivers and bus drivers: a structural MRI and neuropsychological analysis.”

    Only a longitudinal study will discover if this ^^^ intellectual expertise is heritable – taxi drivers spawning new taxi drivers – but no doubt some fool will put in the effort. It’s complicated by the finding though that taxi drivers gradually revert to their original ‘race’ upon retirement.

    On the topic of ‘heritability’ as it relates to ‘racial’ categorisation…

    “Even before the HGP was completed, researchers realized that humans were very similar at the genomic level – 99.9 percent identical base-by-base across the genome. But in that one-tenth of 1 percent difference resides the basis for inherited susceptibility to numerous diseases. NHGRI helped to organize several international projects – the SNP Consortium, the International HapMap Project, and the 1000 Genomes Project – to catalog and characterize common human genomic variation.”

    That 99.9 percent figure is interesting because it implies there are two ways of looking at this ‘race’ equals ‘inheritance’ meme.
    It may be that everyone who has an inherited susceptibility to any particular disease is a member of one ‘race’ – regardless of their physical appearance, country of origin, or ethnic background. A ‘Tay-Sachs’ race for instance, that includes some people of Jewish cultural background, but not others who may be members of the same families.
    Or perhaps a ‘High IQ’ race, which includes a diverse range of people – many of ‘Asian’ descent – with gradually increasing numbers of people from other parts of the world who seem to be transforming ‘racially’ by means of improving their nutrition and socio-economic condition.
    Makes sense.

    But can ‘race’ really be traced to genetic difference?
    Not really. There is more genetic diversity within localised troops of chimpanzees than there is in the entire global population of homo sapiens.

    “Genetic diversity among chimpanzees reveals just how closely related humans really are”

    “Genomic Tools for Evolution and Conservation in the Chimpanzee: Pan troglodytes ellioti Is a Genetically Distinct Population.
    We show that there is clear differentiation (in spite of the relatively close geographic proximity of the groups) between the verus, troglodytes, and ellioti (chimpanzee) populations at the SNP and haplotype level, on a scale that is greater than that separating continental human populations.”

    But the final comment must go to Timothy Tang, author of the post above this one. He clearly has his finger on the pulse of the science behind this ‘Inheritance/Genetics/IQ/Race’ debate.

    “There is still the unanswered question of whether Intelligence can evolve over time in nature. No one can really know because the genetics of humans on Earth might have been altered by alien beings so there is no clear way to test for a correlation between Intelligence and environmental factors.”

  13. Miss.chin,

    First this article shows that you are a conformist PC windbag. You are not intellectually brave. You rely on political fashion rather than a mountain of research. I assume if you were admitting ppl to Harvard rich wine wouldn’t have even been allowed in for having the wrong views on this religious issue of dogma. You 1. State their is no genetic iq difference between Africa and Europe. And you claim anyone who does not share this view is a white supremacist bigot who hates all non whites. Ad hominem as I exspected. You imply that richwine wrote this thesis not cause he believes it and thinks we could improve our immigration policy but because he’s a hater who wants to spread white supremacism. Clearly there is no debate allowed on such matters of academic PC dogma. Only evil haters could violate the dumb dogma that Africa and Europe and Asia have differences only skin deep. It’s hurtful and what’s offensive shouldn’t be allowed right? Science is about what saying what’s good for your academic career in a PC religious academia! Right? By the way, let’s be real, in China which is not a bastion of this evil white supremacism blinding richwine with hatred so that he can’t see all the mountains of testing disproving the black white iq gap which you oddly don’t cite, do you think the Chinese believe there are no iq differences between Africans and Asians or Europeans? In fact they are very interested in actual science of genomes rather than fashionable PC dogma of which you peddle. Richwine was treated unfairly and you are part of it. Implying him a racist, a hater, a klansmen, ostracizing him for a matter of differing opinion. Go for the ball not the man. You went for the man. And America grows dumber and duller. You are our new high priests of our civic religion all who doubt the dogma must be shunned. Just don’t pretend your the hard minded empiricist leaving emotions and politics outside your analysis. I’ll be surprised if you have the integrity to publish this comment. As I like Richwine surely shouldn’t be allowed a place in the public square under your enlightened, unemotional, scientific authority. For the record i believe no race is superior or inferior I just don’t like when people being punished for violating PC dogma. Richwine is a patriot.

  14. I love the fair analysis of this biased thesis , it is incredible how obvious and bask. flaws were overlooked.

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