(and Some Other Stuff)
I had noted previously that there is diminishing interest in classic HBD topics, such as race and IQ. And I pointed out elsewhere that virtually no one in the US with an IQ above the 85th percentile currently takes the hereditarian position on race and IQ seriously, at least as judged by the General Social Survey 2012 responses. So, perhaps, the views of HBD proponents are finally coming in line with those of the vast majority of the US population. Indeed, one of the leading minds in this field has recently stated:
Like many of us who are fascinated with human diversity, she has little or no interest in what are called race differences…. No one it seems cares much about that any longer. (Harpending, H. (April 14, 2013). West Hunter).
This increasing disinterest might explain why my colleague’s recent eloquent defense of general intelligence netted 53 comments while my post on my exhaustive analysis of color and IQ amongst siblings of different races, a topic hitherto never explored, netted precisely 0. There are other possible reasons for this, of course. Whatever the case, the nexus between race and IQ doesn’t seem to be as popular of a topic as it once was so it seems that I will do less unwell if I shift my focus elsewhere.
One race unrelated issue worth further exploring is that of Jews, meritocracy, and elite admissions. Ron Unz has fairly recently made a splash with his Meritocracy article, an article in which he argued that Jews were disproportionately overrepresented in elite schools relative to their aptitude. I have commented before on some of Ron’s questionable estimations, but I haven’t had a chance to wrestle with this one, my current constitution being what it is. For readers who are unaware of the issue, Ron marshaled a large amount of evidence demonstrating that Jews were overrepresented in elite universities and that Jewish academic ability has plummeted over the last several decades. Based on these two points, he inferred — and not unreasonably so — that Jews were over represented in elite scores relative to their aptitude. From this, Ron deduced that there was a sort of pro-Jewish discrimination. But as one of Ron’s more perceptive critics has pointed out, to truly test the Jewish bias hypothesis one needs to compare the scores of Jews at elite universities to those of non-Jews. (The same holds for testing anti-Asian bias hypotheses). Ron’s model logically predicts that Jews at these universities will be sub par, in aptitude, compared to comparable gentiles. Simply: if group A is disproportionately selected, conditioned on aptitude, relative to group B, selected members of group A will have a lower aptitude than selected members of group B. This basic phenomenon can be seen at work in regards to racial and ethnic groups in the US. For example, Blacks attending (and graduating) from medical school are greatly inferior to Whites in mental ability. This is an inevitable product of the federally mandated discrimination for Blacks, given the mean differences in the population at large and the basic principle concerning selectivity and selectees noted above.
Now, if Ron’s thesis is correct, we should find a similar pattern for Jews, as with other discriminated for groups, in elite schools. I have been unable to find an ideal sample in which to test this thesis, but I was able to locate an acceptable one, the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen. This survey is described thusly:
The National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF) follows a cohort of first-time freshman at selective colleges and universities through their college careers. Equal numbers of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians were sampled at each of the 28 participating schools. Among other uses, the data has been collected with the testing of several competing theories of minority underperformance in college in mind.
It is a survey of attendees at selective universities. It will be noted from the start that the scores soon to be discussed are based on self reported SAT and ACT scores. As I said, this sample is not ideal — just acceptable. That said, a large body of research shows that self-reported scores correlate reasonably well — at about 0.8 –with verified scores. See, for example, Kuncel et al. (2005):
(From: Kuncel, et al. (2005). The validity of self-reported grade point averages, class ranks, and test scores: A meta-analysis and review of the literature.)
Now, a note on method: I simply compared the self-reported aptitude scores of self reported Jews and Gentiles and also of self reported White Jews and White Gentiles. I also decomposed Jews in to two groups — those who reported only Jewish family background and those who reported Jewish plus some other family background (e.g., Catholic). For scores, I scaled SAT scores on ACT scores using an ACT conversion chart and then created a composite SAT+ACT score. I also presented ACT and SAT scores. Official ACT scores range from 1 to 36. As such, reported 0s were recoded as 1. SAT M+V scores range from 400-800. As such reported scores below 400 were recoded as 400.
The results are below:
Generally, as expected, Jews were over represented in this sample. Jews made up 6.3% of the total sample and White Jews made up 18.1% of the White sample. In comparison, in the US at large Jews constitute about 2.2% of the population and self identifying White Jews constitute no more than 4% of the non Hispanic White population. Since this sample was not representative with regards to race — rather roughly equal, not representative, sample sizes of different racial ethnic groups were selected — the overall percentages are not very meaningful. What is meaningful, though, is the percentage of White Jews relative to White Gentiles, assuming, of course, that there was no positive survey selection bias for White Jews relative to White gentiles. And I have not been able to find any indication that there was.
Despite their vast over-representation, Jews did not have lower aptitude scores compared to comparable populations as Ron’s model would have predicted. The self-reported aptitude of Jews was 0.49 SD higher than that of Gentiles in general and the self-reported aptitude of White Jews was 0.39 SD higher than that of White Gentiles. It is possible that these results are biased, given the self reported nature of the aptitude measure. Perhaps not only is there entrance selection bias for Jews, controlling for aptitude, but perhaps there is also Jewish self estimation bias. University admitted Jews might be less apt as predicted by Ron’s model but might report being more apt. Since all the measures in the NLSF are self reported, this issue can not be resolved based on the results in this survey. That said, academic achievement measures (not reported) show a similar pattern. So, if Jews are biased in their self reporting, they are consistently so. This, of course, is possible. On this point, readers are referred to Kevin MacDonald’s extensive research on Jewish group-over estimation and self deception. I would suggest, though, that in light of these results the issue needs to be further explored. To do this further, measures of the aptitude of Jews at select universities are needed. Generally, though, the NLSF results do not support Ron’s pro-Jewish discrimination hypothesis — Perhaps it will turn out that other surveys don’t likewise.
In case that some readers are curious, one can compare the Jews-Gentile score differences to the White-Black score differences found in the same study:
Readers can refer to the excel file attached below for a more complete decomposition of scores. What they will find is that Black and Hispanic individuals tend to have significantly lower reported scores than White and Asian individuals — as we would expect given the extensive selection discrimination for the former two groups and the basic basic principle concerning selectivity and selectees noted above.
Now, while doing this analyses I also happened to look at the correlation between self reported aptitude and skin color by race and by nativity for US born individuals. The results are summarized below:
In this sample, color and aptitude were unassociated for Whites and Asians. Predictably — by my assortative exogamy + ancestral genetic model — they were associated for Blacks and Hispanics, though not consistently so across immigrant generations. Specifically, US born Blacks who had two reported foreign born biological parents showed no correlation between aptitude and color. And US born Hispanic who had one reported foreign born biological parent and one reported US biological born parent likewise showed no correlation. The lack of correlation for the US born offspring of foreign born Blacks is consistent with my model insofar as many of these individuals do not descend from exogamous parings or have substantial ancestral genetic admixture. They most likely are less admixed as attested by the higher color ratings — though, I have, as yet, been unable to verify this as the NLSF staff has not been very forthcoming with the needed variables. (Of course, I have run into this general problem before; it seems to occur when I clearly articulate the scientific paradigm which I am working under.) Similarly, the GSS shows that there is no correlation between wordsum and color for first generation Blacks — though this sample is very small. These results are shown below:
The positive correlation coefficient indicates that darker tone is (non significantly) positively correlating with Wordsum scores. In contrast, results for native born Black persons can be seen here.
My proposed explanation could be best tested by looked at the correlation between color and backwards digit span (BDS) — a relatively culturally fair tests which simply involves counting backwards and is non-trivially correlated with g — in the National Immigrant Survey. I would predict that there would be little correlation between color and cognitive ability amongst first generation Black immigrants (assuming a non trivial number came from regions in which there was little admixture). As it is, I have shown that BDS correlates with color in the native born African American population, so there is no a priori reason why it couldn’t so correlate in the foreign born Black population. And I would also predict that there would be a negative correlation between lightness of color and IQ amongst first generation Hispanic immigrants, since virtually all Hispanics descend from generations of exogamous parings. That said, with regards to the Hispanics in the NLSF sample, I am unable to account for the anomalous zero correlation between color and aptitude for US born individuals with just one foreign born parent. It might be worth checking to see if the same pattern can be found in the GSS, Add Health, and NLSY samples.
Also consistent with my general model was the finding that native Blacks at selective colleges are lighter than typical (1). This is what one would expect if schools discriminated for more intelligent individuals and if intelligence correlated with lightness in the applicant population, barring some type of counter discrimination aimed at reducing “adverse impact” resulting from cognitive discrimination. Again, this follows from the basic principle concerning selectivity and selectees discussed above.
Now I, a simple HBD scribber, take the more general lesson from this analysis on Jews and Gentiles and Color Groups to be that outcome difference simply can not and should not be taken at face value as evidence of bias or discrimination. But I have come to believe that that when it comes these topics, nothing is learnable. Especially by the intellectual class.
(1)I discussed this elsewhere. I noted:
I compared The NLSF (native) Black sample and the ADDHealth Black national sample in terms of scores and two indices of admixture. To save myself some effort, I used Massey et al. (2007) as a reference for the NLSF data.
1. Nationally, Blacks (born of native parents) score about 850 on V+M SATs (SD= about 200). In the NLSF study, they scored, on average, 1193 circa 1998. So they were, in this sample, maybe 1.75 SD above the population mean. Being 1.75 SD above the national mean, we would expect the NLSF cohort to be at least 1.75 SD x 0.15 above the color mean if the IQ color correlation is around 0.15.
In the ADD health data, the mean color score was 2.34 (SD = 1.06) on a 1-5 scale running from black to white. In the NLSF, the mean score was 4.79 on a 0-10 scale running from white to black (In a figure, Massey et al. describes the scale as 1-10, but the “NATIONAL LONGITUDINAL SURVEY OF FRESHMEN PUBLIC RELEASE CODING MANUAL” indicates that it was a 0-10 scale.) Using the metrics of the Add Health data, Blacks in the NLSF have an equivalent color score of 2.85 or are 0.45 SD more light colored, which coheres with our expectation:
a. Convert the score from the 11 point scale to a score on a 10 point scale going from white to black ( 4.79 x (10/11) = 4.35)
b. Reverse scale to a black to white scale (10-=4.35 = 5.65) and reduce by ½ to a 5 point scale (5.65/2=2.825)
c. Convert to STDV (2.825-2.34)/1.06 =.45 SD)
d. Compare with expectation
3. Likewise with color, we would expect the NLSF cohort to be somewhat more admixed. Being 1.75 SD above the national mean, we would expect the NLSF cohort to be at least 1.75 SD x (some predicted IQ-ancestry correlation — I’ve estimated this to be 0.25) above the national admixture mean, if the IQ white ancestry correlation was (some predicted IQ-ancestry correlation).
In the NLSF study, going by the data in Massey et alia, 16% of the native black group reported being mixed race (i.e. having one black and typically one white parent). In the ADD health data, according to Rowe (2002), out of a Black sample of 4271:
“127 adolescents were self-identified as inter-racial children because they had selected both the White and Black self-descriptors. Of these individuals, 102 were classified as Black by the interviewer. Parental reports were also used to identify possible inter-racial children. The head of household (usually the mother) reported her own race and that of her current spouse or partner. When one parent was reported as Black and the other as White and both lived in the household, the child was classified as interracial. Of 442 interracial children, 56 were classified by the interviewer as Black.”
This gives us a mixed race percent ranging from 3-10 percent. Using the midpoint as our estimate, the ratio of mixed to not is 0.07; and the ratio in the NLSF is .18. Which means that the NLSF cohort is .55 SD more admixed, which coheres with our expectation. (The NLSF cohort was born around 1981 and the inter-racial marriage rate was about 5% then, so this would likely be an underestimation of the NLSF mixed race overrepresentation – if that makes sense).