Top Ten Human Varieties Posts

In the more than three years of its existence, about 110 posts have been published on this blog. While blogging has unfortunately been light in recent times around here, the upside of the data- and analysis-heavy format of our posts is that they rarely lose their relevance with time, making the perusal of our old posts well worth the time.

To help readers search through our archives, below is a list of what I consider to be some of the best content we’ve published. They’re not necessarily our most popular posts, but I think they offer a good dive into human biodiversity, in particular our perennial favorite topic of IQ differences between groups. The list is in the order of original publication.

1. Secular Changes in the Black-White Cognitive Ability Gap

The social and economic status of black Americans has improved substantially over the last 100 years. How has this affected the IQ gap between blacks and whites? Chuck’s analysis of that question is based on the most comprehensive collection of data ever published on this topic.

2. Is Psychometric g a Myth?

This is by far the most popular post in the history of this blog. It’s a critique of Cosma Shalizi’s well-known anti-g disquisition. I think my defense of g holds up well. At the very least, it offers a good critical overview of various fallacious arguments that are commonly used to attack the idea that human intelligence is substantially unidimensional.

3. Cryptic Admixture, Mixed-Race Siblings, & Social Outcomes

The technology to give definitive answers to many of the questions we’ve examined over the years on this blog already exists, but these new methods have not been taken up by those who could have done it. This post describes how sibling differences in genomic ancestry could be used to study racial differences.

4. The Onset and Development of B-W Ability Differences: Early Infancy to Age 3 (Part 1)

It is often asserted that the causes of black-white IQ differences lie in unequal educational opportunities and experiences of racism. If that were true, we might expect the gap to not emerge until school age and until children are old enough to experience and understand racial discrimination. Jason’s thorough analysis indicates, perhaps surprisingly, that the full one standard deviation gap is already present at age 3 and has not budged over the last 50 years. This post is named “Part 1”; hopefully we’ll see the second part some day.

5. HVGIQ: Puerto Rico

As Steve Sailer has noted, Jason’s Global IQ series is “one of the heroic works of independent scholarship of our time.” This installment, on Puerto Rico, is my favorite because of its extraordinary depth and thoroughness. It comes with interesting historical tidbits about political ire aroused by test score gaps.

6. What does it mean to have a low R-squared ? A warning about misleading interpretation

While not about human biodiversity per se, Meng Hu’s strident critique of the misleading use of the R-squared statistic is one of our most popular posts, still getting new readers every day.

7. The Elusive X-Factor, or Why Jonathan Kaplan Is Wrong about Race and IQ

This long article, originally published in Open Differential Psychology, is a critique of an article by philosopher Jonathan Kaplan. He is one of those authors whose main charm is that they are often not merely incorrect but are aggressively and demonstrably mistaken in their views. Critiquing Kaplan’s article offered me a convenient framework for a thorough discussion of the reasons why IQ differences between white and black Americans cannot easily be ascribed to commonly hypothesized environmental causes such as racism.

8. The Bell Curve, 20 years after

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve, Meng Hu wrote this appreciation of the book. It takes the form of an analysis of what was the best of the generally lousy books published in response to Herrnstein and Murray’s work.

9. Alice Brues on Race

Here’s a (relatively) pithy elaboration of the concept of race for those for whom Chuck’s magnum opus on the topic is too much to bite off.

10. IQ and Permanent Income: Sizing Up the “IQ Paradox”

How much is IQ worth in sheer dollar terms? This posts looks into the association between IQ and lifetime income, arguing that the effect of IQ on personal income is larger than what some researchers have suggested. I recently updated the post to make some of the statistics easier to understand, so if you had trouble understanding something about it the first time around, give it a reread.


  1. Frank J.

    Good idea, thanks. I used quite a few of your older posts as sources in this summary of mine.

    14 Reasons IQ Race Gap is Genetic.

  2. Emil OW Kirkegaard

    I often find myself reading posts multiple times. Almost all the posts I re-read are on this list, so I definitely approve of it.

    Hopefully, Malloy will start publishing again at some point. He is sitting on the world’s most comprehensive dataset of IQ by country studies I’m told.

  3. akarlin

    I really hope to see the meta-analysis of China sometime this decade.

    This comment from Jason Malloy especially intrigues me:

    A long time ago I checked through his China references and almost none of them even contained IQ data! It was totally baffling. I have 100s of Chinese studies, many of them in Chinese. I would love to start working on the China post, but it would be a crazy amount of work, and I would probably need a good Chinese collaborator.

    You are right, though. I have not carefully examined them, but many studies from rural China report IQ scores in the 90s, 80s and lower.

    It would be really good to finally get a resolution of this and lay Unz’s theory of the East Asian Exception (to the Flynn Effect) to rest.

    Re-collaborators: Does Meng Hu read Chinese? There’s also that “the slitty eye” psychometrics blogger, though he no longer seems to be active. The Taiwanese psychometrist Li-Jen Weng (who once collaborated with Jensen) also comes to mind.

    Incidentally, any chance of Malloy taking inspiration from Emil Kirkegaard’s open source spirit and making his studies available? 🙂

  4. Jason Malloy

    Still working behind the scenes. Meisenberg and others were collaborating with Lynn last year to improve/correct his global IQ data, so I figured I’d step aside and research something unique for a while. Built most of a large new global dataset that I’ll discuss here at some point.

    Recently I’ve been working on Native Americans, and that will be the subject of my next HV post. Probably June or July.

    Several different people have offered to assist me with China, but I’d like to do India first since I’ve invested more time in that project than any other.

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