Biogeographic Ancestry and Socioeconomic Outcomes in the Americas

Kirkegaard, E.O.W., Wang, M., & Fuerst, J. (2017). Biogeographic Ancestry and Socioeconomic Outcomes in the Americas: A Meta-Analysis. The mankind quarterly, 573(3):398-427

It took a particularly long time to publish, owing to the shenanigans we ran into. For example, the editorial board of Frontiers in Genetics reversed their decision (September 12, 2016; affirmed: October 12, 2016) two-three months after deciding to accept with “moderate revision” (July 5, 2016) and mid-review on the grounds that a request from a reviewer “was not satisfactorily met.” What specific request did we brazenly question?

Reviewer 1, round 1: “The discussion of cognitive ability differences across SIREs feels out of place and innappropriate. This paper makes no attempt whatsoever to investigate cognitive abilities, and this discussion should be removed.”

Reply to reviewer 1: “Following the advice of another reviewer [who approved the paper] we added a diagram (Figure 8) to clarify the relevant discussion. Since that reviewer asked for a model and since cognitive ability seems like a plausible pathways to us, we feel that it would be intellectually dishonest on our part to not include the variable. The reason for the present reviewers objection is not clear to us. We do not investigate colorism, yet no objection is made regarding our mentioning of this as a potential mediator of the BGA x SES associations…”

They should have let it slide, because now we feel obliged to prove the point. And prove it again and again, if needs be.

Inquiries into fake history: Antoine Duchesne (1766) and Georg Forster (1786) on “race” in context to natural history

Science is replete with fake, whiggish histories peddled to bolster new paradigms. Biology is no exception. Two examples are the The Essentialism Story (Winsor, 2006; Richards, 2010; Wilkins, 2013) and The Classic View/The Mutationism Myth (Stoltzfus, 2010; Stoltzfus and Cable, 2014). According to the former, early biologists were inexplicably caught in the thrall of Platonic-Aristotelian typological essentialism, which resulted in the failure to recognize the significance of individual variation and which consequently retarded the recognition of evolution. According to the second, early geneticists were caught in the grip of saltationism, which resulted in the rejection of natural selection and held back for decades the synthesis between Mendelian principles and evolutionary theory. As expected, in these tellings, the actual historical views are often barely recognizable.

The most prominent, yet least discussed, example of pseudohistory of science has to be what should be called The Race Narrative. The Race Narrative is meta-myth, comprised of several related tales, which typically involve some permutation of: “”Race” never described a classification which had a proper place in natural history or a classification which, given how it was historically understood, was applicable to humans, but rather was a political construct imposed to oppress certain human groups, which was then back rationalized by natural historians, who read reality through the political ideology of their times.” Often The Essentialism Story and, to a lesser extent, The Mutationism Myth are incorporated into this Narrative.

To give just a few examples:
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“Communities of descent”

After some deliberation, I determined that the locution “race” is inessential. As such, I now disavow the arguably controversial view that this is necessary when it comes to understanding biological variation, human and otherwise…. At the same time, it has become evident that the concept which I refer to as “lineage population,” which I hitherto called “natural division,” a concept which corresponds with Darwin’s “communities of descent,” as understood in On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races is indispensible. I clarify that concept and discuss it in relation to other systematic ones.

Lineage population: A concept needed by an observer of nature? Preprint.

Abstract: The genealogy-based classificatory programs of Kant and Darwin are briefly discussed for context. It is detailed how in biology there is no unambiguous term to reference infraspecific-level descent-based divisions. The term lineage population is introduced and defined for analytic purposes: a lineage population is one of a set of divisions of intrafertile organisms into which members are arranged by propinquity of descent. It is argued that the lineage population concept avoids the ambiguities associated with related biological and anthropological concepts and polysemes such as population, ethnicity, and race. Other terms and concepts, such as form, cline, cluster, geographic population, breeding population, genetic population, breed, species, subspecies, ancestry, geographic ancestry, biogeographic ancestry, ancestral population, ancestry population, natural division, and population lineage, are discussed in relation to this concept. It is concluded that the lineage population concept is a useful analytic tool which picks out, in line with the Kantian/Darwinian perspective, an interesting class of biological variation.

Measured Proficiency of Ethnic Groups in Canada

Jason Malloy and I have individually collected a large number of papers and research reports from countries around the world detailing ethnic and racial differences. I have sent some of the stuff to Richard Lynn, lost a number of reports due to hard drive failures, and simply haven’t got around for various reasons (time, health, other priorities, etc.) to posting on the remainder. In response to an article by Chanda Chrisala, James Thompson recently suggested that it would be informative to look at ethnic differences in other American countries. As such, I will comment on a few studies from Canada and Brazil. Regarding Canada, there seems to be no published detailed ethnic data for the nation as a whole — though many reports discuss the Aboriginal/overall Canada gap. The country has a number of national longitudinal surveys which most likely contain the relevant variables, but as far as I am aware no has looked into the issue. Nonetheless, since the 1980s the Toronto public schools have published research reports which decompose math and reading pass rates by linguistic, ethnic, and racial background.

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The Measured Proficiency of Somali Americans

The discussion of the performance of African immigrants led by Chanda Chisala has been of unusually poor quality. As such, I thought that I might write a brief tutorial post on how to locate data and estimate differences in hopes that this will inspire better research practices and more rigorous debate. I will also elaborate on the Jensenist position and its predictions, as Chanda, and apparently many others, do not seem to have a good grasp of it at least in its quantified form.

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Asian American Subgroup SAT Performance

I originally intended on including and briefly discussing these values in my “Ethnic/Race Differences in Aptitude” paper since therein I touched upon differences in Asian American subgroup performance (e.g., Table 15 and Table 17). Alas, I ran out of both space and my reviewers’ patience. Since the general topic continues to arise, I thought I might mention them, though. The 1996 and 2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS 1996/2000), which were representative of the university populations at the respective times, contained both an “Asian origin” variable and a composite SAT score one, thus allowing for some investigation of subgroup variability. In expressing the differences, I used citizen/U.S. born White values as a reference for the SAT scores. Standardized differences were computed using the total group standard deviations, since population specific ones were unavailable. NA means that the sample sizes did not meet NCESDataLab’s cutoff for reportability. And negative values mean that the groups in question performed better than U.S. born/citizen Whites. As the confidence intervals — not shown below — were large for all of the Asian subgroups, results should be interpreted with caution. It’s notable that there were large U.S. born/non-U.S. born effects for both East and South Asians. The scores were for college students, so this might represent a foreign student effect (as opposed to a generation 1/generation 2+ immigrant one).

NPSAS 1996 and 2000              
1996       2000      
Nationality non-Citizen Citizen All Nationality Not US Born US BORN All
Chinese 0.01 -0.66 -0.44 Chinese -0.28 -0.64 -0.46
Korean -0.38 -0.63 -0.54 Korean -0.12 -0.82 -0.37
Japanese NA NA -0.79 Japanese NA -0.20 -0.06
Filipino NA -0.17 -0.13 Filipino NA 0.03 0.12
Vietnamese 0.86 -0.18 0.31 Vietnamese 0.61 NA 0.39
Asian Indian 0.47 -0.96 -0.43 Asian Indian 0.22 -0.88 -0.24
Asian/PI (total) 0.29 -0.37 -0.19 Asian/PI (total) 0.10 -0.41 -0.12
White 0.08 Reference 0.00 White -0.03 Reference 0.03
Black 0.84 0.87 0.87 Black 0.74 1.00 0.96

Used the total group standard deviation

Do National IQs Predict U.S. Immigrant Cognitive Ability and Outcomes? An Analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshman

Apparently so.

Fuerst, J., Kirkegaard, E. O. (2014). Do National IQs Predict U.S. Immigrant Cognitive Ability and Outcomes? An Analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshman. Open Differential Psychology.


We discuss the global hereditarian hypothesis of race differences in g and test it on data from the NLSF. We find that migrants country of origin’s IQ predicts GPA and SAT/ACT.