Readings in IQ and Intelligence

Apropos of the continuing tendency for white supremacists to show up crowing about IQ, here is some reading that may help people understand the history of IQ testing and its relationship to the complex phenomena that are lumped under the term “intelligence.”

IQ Tests: Do They Measure Intelligence?
A quick overview of the topic in lay terms.

Stalking the Wild Taboo–Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns
The comprehensive report of a task force established by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association in response to The Bell Curve. Includes references.

Never a Dull Moment
A follow-up to the above report, addressing critiques of the report. Presents additional references, including a critique of Rushton’s work.

IQ tests: Throwing out the bathwater, saving the baby
An argument for a very limited use of IQ tests in educational assessment, with a clear discussion of their limitations.

Alfred Binet
A biography of the psychologist, including a discussion of his development of a scale of activities to measure “mental age.”

Lewis Madison Terman
A biography of the psychologist, including a brief history of the development of the Stanford-Binet test.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
An overview of the subtests and scales involved in the most commonly given IQ test for adults.

The Construct Validity of IQ Tests–A Comprehensive Psychometric Meta-Analysis
A meta-analysis designed to determine how many types of intelligence the WAIS is measuring.

Individually Administered Intelligence Tests–The Testing Process
A sample of the variety of intelligence tests offered.

“Reliability” and “validity” of IQ tests
A discussion of the different types of validity required of scientific tests and how well those requirements have been met in IQ testing.

SoYouWanna score higher on an IQ test?
Not any sort of definitive site. However, it lists strategies for practicing to the test, which does have an effect on even tests that are supposed to measure innate, unchanging qualities.

Excerpt: ‘IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea’
Coaching a child to perform well on an IQ test in order to get into a prestigious private school.

Is IQ actually AQ? (Mistaking Achievement for “Intelligence”)
A discussion of what is measured by IQ tests.

Stereotype threat
How the knowledge of low expectations can lead to lowered IQ scores.

The Chitling Intelligence Test
A facetious look at how cultural background can influence the development of intelligence tests.

Shattering Intelligence: Implications for Education and Interventions
James Flynn (of the Flynn Effect) breaks apart the concept of general intelligence. Discusses the interaction of cognitive skills and exercise.

Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects: The IQ Paradox Resolved
Uses basketball as a model to discuss how small genetic differences can interrelate with environment to exaggerate the measured heritability of a trait. Aimed at the results of Jensen’s twin study data.

Lewontin vs. Jensen debate
Lewontin answers Jensen’s objections to targeted educational enrichment. A classic debate on the topic.

Human Diversity
A review the book by Lewontin (a population geneticist) on the intersection of genetics and culture. Or read Human Diversity (Scientific American Library Series).

The Mismeasure of Man
A summary of the book by Stephen J. Gould on the study of biological determinism. Or read The Mismeasure of Man.

The Impact of National IQ on Income and Growth–A Critique (pdf)
Criticism of Lynn and Vanhanen’s work on the basis of imprecise modeling and insufficient controls.

A Review of the Bell Curve: Bad Science Makes for Bad Conclusions
A brief but broad overview of the unsupported assumptions and confounding variables used by the authors of this “simple treatise of conservative ideology” that attempts to link race to IQ to social outcomes directly.

Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined (book)
A “thoughtful, readable anthology” of essays critiquing The Bell Curve.

…In Different Voices
Part one of a technical but accessible Q&A on the topic of the heritability of intelligence. Much snark.

Those Voices Again
Part two.

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96 Responses to “Readings in IQ and Intelligence”

  1. December 21st, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    I look forward to reading through all of these. I have had misgivings about the concrete measurings of intelligence and their implications ever since I found out that my twin sister (who is smarter than I am) scored lower on IQ tests than I did. All I did was to learn how to take tests, she learned how to apply her intelligence.

    One of the worst things that ever happened to me was for some school psychologist to tell me that I was smarter than everyone else.

    More on Friday from me about that.

  2. December 21st, 2009 at 9:54 am

    mk says:

    Thanks very much for putting this together Stephanie. For recognizing the importance. For fighting the good fight. Seriously.

    And now, CaptainNazi in 3…2…1…

  3. December 21st, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Thanks, mk. I’ve had a bunch of these links set aside for a while to write something massive on the subject. I finally realized that, grouped together, they spoke for themselves.

  4. December 21st, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    JefFlyingV says:

    Stephanie great compilation on resources for understanding and debunking IQ tests. Since grammar school to the present (40 years later), I’ve always tested out in the top 5% for IQ tests and haven’t been impressed by the emphasis placed on those tests within our culture.

  5. December 21st, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Oran Kelley says:

    I second the recommendation of Cosma’s stuff on this issue (last two). Becoming a bit familiar with the technicalia on this topic is not time wasted as the pro-Jensen folks out there usually do a stats dump the moment you challenge them, but if you mindfully pick through it, it’s more impressive for quantity than for quality.

  6. December 21st, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    ERV says:

    IQ tests, I think, are good for one thing: telling you whether a kid who is acting up in class is acting up because theyre really bored and they need to be in a gifted class or skipped.

    Mike: I think there might be a gender component to this. I remember reading that girls arent as confident in their intelligence as boys– that when girls do well, they think they arent ‘really’ smart, that its just luck/faking/etc. For me, knowing my IQ was the best thing that happened to me. It was a confidence thing. If Im not good at something academic, I know its not because Im ‘dumb’– its because I didnt study hard enough/didnt spend enough time on the report/etc. Any time I got a bad grade, it was like ‘Shiiiiit, Abbie. Buckle down, get an A on the next project, stop being lazy.’ Helped me know I can do anything :)

    The ‘smart’ individuals I knew that pissed their intelligence away were boys– video games, beer, drugs, etc.

  7. December 21st, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Well, Abbie, that last describes my early college career to a “T” except that video games hadn’t been invented yet.

  8. December 21st, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    bryan pesta says:

    This list seems totally lopsided. Why not include a cite or two from the premier journal in the field?

  9. December 21st, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    bryan, did you have a citation in mind that’s open for everyone to read?

  10. December 22nd, 2009 at 12:25 am

    bryan pesta says:

    Several, but if interested start with the task force article cited above (Neisser et al.). See if you can find any conclusions there that contradict the Bell Curve (let’s ignore race/genes/iq for now).

    That article was commissioned by the APA. They would pull no punches / not be shy about concluding that IQ is junk science, if indeed it were (the article, however, is 15 years old now).

    I think Gottfredson is the best writer in this area in that any open minded science type would have no problems digesting her arguments:

    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2009fallacies.pdf

    BP

    p.s. fwiw, I found this blog via the science blog web (or whatever it’s called). Not sure if you’re a part of that, but thanks fer letting me post.

  11. December 22nd, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Greg Laden says:

    Oh, brian, I see you did NOT miss this link.

    This is a pretty good list. Feel free to add suggestions, but please note why you’ve added them and what they mean. This is Stephanie’s Post, so she’ll do what she wants but I don’t like seeing blogs used as link farms for people who show up with out of alignment preconceived notion and a list of links they got from their favorite crazy site. Maybe that’s not you, Brian, but it is often the case .

  12. December 22nd, 2009 at 1:25 am

    bryan pesta says:

    Thanks Greg. I agree that the blog owner should decides where this should go.

    My sources would be mostly from the journal Intelligence (published by Elsevier).

    I do agree that you get some whackiness when discussing IQ and especially group differences. I hope my tone and manner show sooner or later that I do not horde guns / live in the hills / refuse to pay my taxes / have a harem (though I often thought about getting one!).

  13. December 22nd, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, nowhere have I said that IQ is junk science. What I have said is that it has limitations, both as an instrument (which is why tests continue to be developed and mucked about with) and as a measure of anything but the fit of a human being into industrialized institutions.

    I find it fascinating that you accuse me of bias while ignoring the stated purpose of the list then cite one of the publications I list as a fair treatment of the topic, tell me to cite a journal with Flynn as one of the editors then tell me that anyone who’s really open-minded would “get” a writer who is arguing that there’s no real disagreement in the field anymore. The fact that she does so while being funded by a group that only funds “controversial” researchers is extra special. That the piece you link to is battling strawmen is also a lovely irony (see my first paragraph).

    Thanks for the reminder, though, that I forgot to add Flynn’s What Is Intelligence.

  14. December 22nd, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Hakan says:

    It is not a sufficient reading for IQ, I think. Because it is about one side of IQ controversy. And I think if we should find a balance between “sides”, we should ask it to academicians in psychometrics. Also finding, realizing IQ’s weaknesses is one thing, “debunking” it is another. Looking at ideological consequences of IQ is a shame. What if there are really racial differences, should we dismiss them “for the sake of our equality”? Should we find “alternative” intelligences just because “everyone should be intelligent”? If we are to add our values on science, we shouldn’t be bothered by intelligent design either.
    Everyone is already equal, no matter how intelligent, how beautiful or how tall they are.
    Robert Sternberg doesn’t say IQ is false, he says it is insufficient.

  15. December 22nd, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Hakan, your argument about psychometrics reminds me of one I recently saw someone making about polygraphs, namely that people who couldn’t administer a polygraph weren’t competent to evaluate or conduct science about it. At the time, I asked whether only self-styled psychics should be allowed to study parapsychology. Creating a test that correlates with school or job performance in the industrialized world is not sufficient to state that one is measuring a single entity called intelligence–agreeableness counts for a lot in both cases too. Creating a test that shows some heritability is not sufficient to state that the underlying cause is genetic–citizenship is also highly heritable. Psychometrics are insufficient to tease those apart.

    In order to suggest there are any racial differences in intelligence, you need to show that the intelligence you’re specifying is a valid construct, that the races you are specifying are valid constructs, that you are measuring both accurately, and that you are controlling for any confounding variables. That takes much more than a psychometrician. Particularly when it comes to the confounding variable of race-based discrimination, it takes explicit work to measure and control for bias in all parts of the evaluation process. This is one of the points where establishing the validity of IQ tests is highly problematic, since they are explicitly intended to correlate with performance in areas of society in which institutional racial bias has been identified. Anyone who wants to deal honestly with IQ testing needs to incorporate that fact. Not a value judgment. Fact.

    Once again, I am not arguing that IQ is false. I am saying that people need to understand it if they’re going to use it as a basis for argument.

  16. December 22nd, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Greg Laden says:

    I”m not even concernes so much with intergroup differences. My concern is this: IQ is passed on genetically (and I am not using the word heratibility because it is not what I mean, and is one of the most willfully misused words in the biz) to the same degree and in much the same way as language. Racial groups are useful fictions. Intergroup differences are often real. Group characteristics (such as IQ and what language one speaks) are ontogenetic/social constructs.

    No serious scientists who are not pushing some racist agenda disputes any of this.

    In Ohio, people find piles of deer bones in certain locations, especially where large tracts of forest and roads meet. There are two hypothesis. One is that these deer bones are deposited by poachers, the other is that they are deposited by bigfoot.

    The fact that bigfoot does not exist obviates that any research on these deer bone piles address the bigfoot hypothesis to remain valid.

    Am I being too obscure?

  17. December 22nd, 2009 at 11:34 am

    bryan pesta says:

    Steph:

    **nowhere have I said that IQ is junk science. What I have said is that it has limitations, both as an instrument (which is why tests continue to be developed and mucked about with) and as a measure of anything but the fit of a human being into industrialized institutions.**

    Me: Any test has limitations. These can be specified precisely by the test’s reliability and various types of validity. The massive validity evidence suggests that IQ does more than measure “fit with western culture.” I base this claim mainly on the fact that IQ test scores correlate so strongly with basic information processing ability and brain actions (neural speed; brain size; levels of myelin).

    The field is well aware of IQ test limitations. If some outside the field (say, white supremacists) mangle and twist the data to support their arguments, that’s not the field’s fault (in the same way some outside the field can mangle global warming data to argue it doesn’t exist).

    Steph:

    **I find it fascinating that you accuse me of bias while ignoring the stated purpose of the list then cite one of the publications I list as a fair treatment of the topic, tell me to cite a journal with Flynn as one of the editors then tell me that anyone who’s really open-minded would “get” a writer who is arguing that there’s no real disagreement in the field anymore. The fact that she does so while being funded by a group that only funds “controversial” researchers is extra special. That the piece you link to is battling strawmen is also a lovely irony (see my first paragraph).**

    Me: I should apologize. My point was hopefully only that the list is lopsided / biased, not the person who generated the list. I suspect anyone outside of the field who tries to generate a list of balanced articles would end up with something just as lopsided. This is a unique field in that nowhere else will you find such disconnects between what the peer-reviewed research shows and what the rest of the universe believes is true. I believe the research evidence is so solid that one now has to go beyond marginalizing the researchers as racist or funded by hate groups and instead address their arguments.

    So, let’s assume the worst about Gottfredson, can you identify one or two (no need to review the whole article) straw man fallacies in her article that I linked?

    Flynn himself would admit that his effect is not a “g” effect (not an increase in the general factor of intelligence). I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think he would agree that g exists; IQ can be measured; and that IQ tests predict better than any other single measure of anything else.

    But if I stipulate that anyone who writes a pro-iq article is a neo-nazi rube, we’re still left with addressing the validity of their arguments. Perhaps you could counter that we don’t need to give equal attention to ignorant opinions, but then I wonder why so much of their stuff gets past peer review and into elite journals in the field (Gottfredson even has a manuscript in Science).

    BP

  18. December 22nd, 2009 at 11:55 am

    bryan pesta says:

    GREG:

    **I”m not even concernes so much with intergroup differences. My concern is this: IQ is passed on genetically (and I am not using the word heratibility because it is not what I mean, and is one of the most willfully misused words in the biz) to the same degree and in much the same way as language. Racial groups are useful fictions. Intergroup differences are often real. Group characteristics (such as IQ and what language one speaks) are ontogenetic/social constructs.
    ***

    ME: I would argue that race is a fuzzy but measurable category, and that we can study things even if we can’t define what those things are with 100% precision. I’m not following the language analogy here.

    Greg: No serious scientists who are not pushing some racist agenda disputes any of this.

    Me: Ok, I think I am a serious scientist. I have no racist agenda (I’m pro affirmative action, e.g.). I do think that race differences are “real” (meaning not caused by cultural bias, racism, or white dudes creating IQ tests to measure white stuff). I am not claiming they are genetic; just that they are real at the group level.

    But, the effects of group differences at societal levels are so profound that we should be using science to figure this out (the only method that works). Whatever the cause, race inequality has to be one of the top 5 most pressing issues facing humanity.

    Instead of pursuing this area as a potential source of insight into inequality, we marginalize anyone with an interest in the topic.

    I didn’t follow your Ohio example either– could be because I am from Ohio?!

  19. December 22nd, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan: I think it is clear that there are no important differences in IQ caused by genes. But there are, as you say, profound and important differences at the group level of which IQ is one measure, and this is in the top (small number) of issues. We’re probably not that far off in our thinking or concerns on this. And, I’m aware by the way of the work you’ve done on this, to some (limited) extent. Those looking in: Brian is not one of our usual racist trolls, like we’ve had recently (on GLB anyway).

    Having said all that, see this blog post.

  20. December 22nd, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, do you automatically use the diminutive form of the name of females you’ve just encountered, or only those who disagree with you? My favorite comment from a friend who is laughing at someone doing this to me (again) is, “You’re way less scary if we cutify you.” If you’d like to argue on the merits of the evidence, kindly stick to doing so instead of “cutifying” my name and suggesting I’m outside the field. You have no idea what field I’m in, much less how it’s relevant to IQ testing and its applications.

    Now, for your argument: Once again, you’re attacking a reading list for a lay audience, specifically designed for those who have encountered white supremacy IQ arguments, for not encompassing the minutiae of the entire field. Once again, that is not what this reading list is intended to do. It is intended to give an overview of the complexities of the use of IQ. It is intended to introduce those “outside the field” to the questions that have to be asked and answered. However, your idea that presenting these complexities to a lay audience equates to somehow attacking the field is an interesting one. Please expand on that.

    It’s also interesting that you feel the need to tell me what Flynn would have to say on the subject of “g,” considering that one of the articles linked in my post is him discussing his views on “g” in the context of the Flynn effect. Feel free to read it.

    I have not asked you to stipulate anything about Nazis, only implied that people should be careful when slinging accusations of bias. Greg has, however, noted in his new blog post how bias can be introduced into peer-reviewed research. I do recommend reading it. As for addressing the validity of the arguments, I have two notes. The first is that the consensus of which you speak falls apart once you leave the sphere of bias or try to relate IQ to anything beyond the most basic cognitive competence. There is ample criticism of test development and sampling from other psychologists, sociological confounds from sociologists, physiological measurement from neuropsychologists, genetic determinism from the evo-devo crowd.

    The second note is that your core group of intelligence researchers spend much time telling us what they aren’t saying. However, they are rarely willing to make clear statements of what they are saying. Your statement to Greg about race differences being “real” is an excellent example. What do you mean by “real”? What testable hypotheses does all this research consensus lead you to? Unless you’re making hypotheses you can test, you’re playing in the sandbox, not doing science.

    Finally, a note on Gottfredson. According to her CV, she has a letter in Science. No manuscripts. As for strawmen, she misstated what Flynn had to say about the WISC (using a three-word quote mine) in order to simplify it into one of her fallacies, and the entirety of fallacy 2 is a strawman in that none of the the people cited are arguing against intercorrelation of various types of intelligence. As most people advocating for reliance on IQ tests do, Gottfredson is moving very fluidly through her definitions of intelligence–from the broad intelligence with large implications of her introduction to the strict, small g of this section.

  21. December 22nd, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    bryan pesta says:

    No one’s ever accused me of being a passive aggressive sexist by shortening female but not male names. I suppose I should apologize to Gregory too (though i do forgive him for misspelling my first name, and I accept the slight as punishment for the white male privilege I’ve enjoyed for 41 years– note I am kidding here).

    I assume if I were to go through your blogs and comments that no one else has ever diminutived you like this, and if they did, you would have corrected them?

    I see your point re lay audiences versus in-field audiences. By if the lay articles are highly inaccurate (I contend they are) they solve one problem by creating a more serious one (ease of understanding for misinformation).

    I’ve done peer review, and I think all scientists are incredibly biased. We pick what to study; how to study it; how to interpret it and where to try to get it published. Worse, we filter data such that evidence consistent with our world view is reinforcing whereas evidence inconsistent is ignored or attacked. That’s human nature. Someone said paradigms don’t shift in science so much because the data become compelling, and the old school finally, in noble fashion, changes their mind. Instead, paradigm shifts happen because eventually the people holding the old paradigm die off (which tends to severely affect their publication rate!).

    Any scientist who admits he/she is not biased is fooling themselves. Fortunately, the process is not biased and is self-correcting. My biased crap only becomes “knowledge in the field” when it passes peer review, where experts in the field with their own biases have free reign (i.e., are even encouraged) to tear apart the article and convince the editor it’s not worthy of publication.

    Over time bias separates from truth and the data win. That’s the beauty of the scientific method. It’s been 100 years plus since mean differences on IQ tests have been documented. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. We shouldn’t be afraid to study and discuss the issues rationally.

    what does REAL mean: Good question. I mean the differences are psychological; not due to methodology confounds or poor psychometrics / test bias. Further, despite numerous attempts across decades, no one’s been able to identify a “factor x” in the environment that explains why groups differ. Gregory mentioned SES as the obvious cause. I’d argue it’s simply not true. Dozens if not 100s of studies (and even the apa task force article) agree that SES is not the explanation. I can post my own data here showing that IQ predicts outcomes (health, crime, education) better than does SES. Ironically, the best predictor in this data set (trumping both IQ and SES) is how fundamentally religious one is. It strongly predicts (inversely) things like crime rates and health rates.

  22. December 22nd, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    I wasn’t accusing you of being passive. And yes, you will find that every time that a guy (and it’s always a guy) uses the diminutive of my name in an argument online, there is correction. The only question is why they continue to do it, since it’s such a transparent move. Calling Greg “Gregory” doesn’t change that you decided you knew better than my byline, my screen name, and my co-blogger what my name is. “Oops, sorry,” is a much more socially appropriate response than, “No one’s ever called me sexist before!!!” by the way.

    You have yet to make a criticism of one of the lay articles that isn’t also present in the list. As I’ve stated multiple times, this list is here to present the complexity of the background of the topic. Yet you continue to attack it for being something it is not.

    Bias is not eliminated by peer review if the peers are selected for having the same biases as the researcher or even if they fail to be selected for having a range of competing biases.

    “The differences are psychological” is no more an answer than “The differences are real.” You still have yet to propose a mechanism or even refer to research on a mechanism or mechanisms by which this difference is translated from racial classification to test results. Nor have you explained why there should be a single “factor x” at work when there is plentiful research available showing multiple mediators between racial classification and outcomes. Also, recheck your data on crime, health, and religion. You might want to look at what it says about atheists before making an unqualified statement like that.

  23. December 22nd, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan: What is this “y” doing in your name anyway!!!11!!

  24. December 22nd, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Oran Kelley says:

    The leading journal in the sub-field of intelligence measurement is highly likely to be biased in favor of the strength of the intelligence measurement tools at hand, no?

    What’s the current state of the art on male/female math proficiency? Same as ten years ago?

    I’ve often wondered how things like expectation of success and motivation may play a factor in these test results. (My own IQ tests results range quite a bit depending on my inclination to take the test at the time.) Has anyone ever done a big IQ test with a strong, immediate, material motivator for doing better on it?

    SES doesn’t seem to me to be a very fine-grained measure. How hard have we looked at thing like grandparents education level in relation to IQ?

    And it seems to me that Bryan is trying to forward some very broad arguments about g while challenging what he considers to be the weakest on the above readings. How does he respond to the strongest challenges to IQ?

    That a group difference may be “psychological” is a pretty broad statement, bordering on the meaningless, I’d say, because cultural differences or my brandishing a firearm during the IQ test would be part of the psychology of the subjects, no? Which is not the standard of real-ness that most would expect you to be upholding. For the lay public that kind of real is the same as “not real.”

  25. December 22nd, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Oran, what the heck are you talking about?

    Bryan, my boy, you should listen carefully about this name thing. I personally am very careful to use the name someone provides me with. Although for various reasons I often accidentally mistype a name, I never intentionally change it. This is a matter of social intelligence, really.

  26. December 22nd, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Bry says:

    Sorry about the name thing. In 20 years of online debating, I don’t ever remember anyone having an issue with it. You really are reading lots into me using an abbrev of your name.

    Also, I am trying just to keep up with the posts in the other blog, so sorry about my lack of quick replies here.

    Oddly, I just today have a publication out in Intelligence where I show (in part) that being godless is associated with less crime; better health, education, income and overall well-being. I hope it’s a little harder to accuse me of checking data first when it’s my data (that survived peer review, albeit in an utterly biased journal). There’s at least two other recent articles by Reeve showing that heathen rates predict lower teenage pregnancy rates, lower hiv / aids and some other stuff that falls under the domain of health and well-being.

    I had another paper this year showing that fundamentalist religious beliefs correlate with lower IQ and lower performance on ECTs (I mentioned ECTs in greg’s blog so I won’t repeat it here).

    I probably won’t post a detailed critique of each article you linked to above, but my opinion is still that the list is painfully unbalanced. Take that for what it’s worth (my opinion).

    Have you ever heard of the BITCH? Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homologies? It’s like the chitling thing you linked to above. It’s easy to create culturally biased tests where a minority group scores higher than whites (like the Bitch). If these tests had predictive validity for any other criterion the critique would be serious. They don’t.

    Consider though re cultural bias, IQ tests create massive adverse impact (using them in employee selection results in far fewer minorities being hired, relative to the ratios of black and white applicants). This is a form of employment discrimination under the civil rights act. However, the employer can successfully defend AI by showing that the test is job related and consistent with business necessity. IQ tests meet these criteria. So, the courts and EEOC recognize that even though IQ tests show group differences and result in restricted employment opportunities for minorities, they are legal to use in selection because they’re proven as job-related / unbiased predictors of job success.

    Given the goal of the civil rights act, the power of the EEOC, and the general public’s extreme distaste for all things IQ, it seems odd that the federal courts would allow them, were they half as bad as you claim. Just something to think about.

  27. December 23rd, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Bry says:

    Hi Oran.

    I think all scientists are biased, and perhaps then so too are editors. I mentioned this in Greg’s blog. Fortunately, the scientific process is not. Bias is weeded out eventually by time, more peer review, and the fact the bias is inconsistent across different scientists (e.g., I think far more scholars see IQ as bunk then see it as valuable). Sooner or later, what’s left is closer and closer approximations to the truth. One thing you must concede, even if IQ tests are racist bunk, they sure have stood the test of time.

    On the theme of bias, suppose a researcher were an open blatant white supremacist KKK type kitten kicker. If he/she submitted an article anywhere for peer review, I hope it would get the same consideration as anyone else gets. If it’s crap, trash it / desk reject it. If it stands on its merits, publish it. I would care less about a person’s world view and/or biases than the quality of the scholarship one produces.

    You state:

    What’s the current state of the art on male/female math proficiency? Same as ten years ago?

    Me: I sorta remember reading the SAT math gap is closing, but I’m not positive. Oddly enough (or go figure) I last year got a paper on sex differences in IQ (in the journal personality and individual differences). The consensus seems to be no mean difference but men are more variable (at both tails, men are highly over-represented). Some argue that the increased variance explains why women are under-represented in STEM. I think it’s one part of the explanation (don’t get me started on why I think hormones are responsible for male/female group differences in math and verbal skills, respectively).

    ***
    You: I’ve often wondered how things like expectation of success and motivation may play a factor in these test results. (My own IQ tests results range quite a bit depending on my inclination to take the test at the time.) Has anyone ever done a big IQ test with a strong, immediate, material motivator for doing better on it?
    ***
    Me: Rather than searching the literature, consider how motivated applicants are to do well on an IQ test given to decide whether or not they should be hired (or taking the SAT to get into your dream college). That’s high stakes and more externally valid than inducing motivation in a lab. Does nothing to change the magnitude of the group differences.

    ***
    You: SES doesn’t seem to me to be a very fine-grained measure. How hard have we looked at thing like grandparents education level in relation to IQ?
    ***
    Me: I think the literature for decades has looked at every factor X in the environment one can think of. None is the magic bullet. You can see this in the evolution of “environmental” explanations for the IQ gap. I can link to a review paper if interested.
    ***

    By psychological difference I guess I mean not an artifact, but real / caused by something internal (whether that’s the internalized effects of experiencing racism, poverty, genes, neuron speed or some combo, I don’t know).

    Finally, what do you consider to be the strongest challenge against g?

  28. December 23rd, 2009 at 3:44 am

    Hakan says:

    Stephanie,
    Thanks for your reply. I’m sure parapsychology is not so welcome in scientific community, but I don’t have enough knowledge about scientific image of psychometrics. I think it is not a closed system. I think its methods are not controversial. I don’t think only psychometricians have a word to say about IQ. But psychometrics scholars can give a well balanced look at IQ testing, if we are not concerned with what they do is science.
    I aggree with you in race being a controversial concept. I think what scholars research as racial differences are interclass differences. I think in the US there is not a fair racial distribution in all classes. Racial emphasis is something all countries have to overcome.
    But I also have to add if there is institutional racial bias, isn’t there also xenophobia, sexism and other types of discrimination and bias that’s going on because of the classes that has much word on power? It should be also noted jew and pacific-asian people don’t seem to be effected by this type of bias.
    Maybe people in psychometrics and cognitive science should spend much more time together to find a better understanding on what intelligence constitutes of.

  29. December 23rd, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Greg Laden says:

    Maybe people in psychometrics and cognitive science should spend much more time together to find a better understanding on what intelligence constitutes of.

    I would agree, and I would throw in biological anthropology as well.

  30. December 23rd, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Oran Kelley says:

    “I think all scientists are biased, and perhaps then so too are editors. I mentioned this in Greg’s blog. Fortunately, the scientific process is not. Bias is weeded out eventually by time, more peer review, and the fact the bias is inconsistent across different scientists . . .”

    This is a bit of a bromide, I think. Can you give an example of a sub-field as large as Intelligence studies conceding that it didn’t have the proper tools to make proper determinations about its object of study after having made rather strong claims that it did? That only happens when someone else comes up with a universally acknowledged better measure that supplants and contradicts the old way. Those granted scientific (or any) authority don’t just cede it.

    Rather than searching the literature, consider how motivated applicants are to do well on an IQ test given to decide whether or not they should be hired (or taking the SAT to get into your dream college). That’s high stakes and more externally valid than inducing motivation in a lab. Does nothing to change the magnitude of the group differences.

    I was under the impression that IQ was intended to measure “intelligence.” Motivation is distinct from intelligence. If IQ score is to some degree influenced by motivation level, then it is to that degree weakened as a measure of intelligence, regardless of the value of IQ tests as a proxy measurement of competency in some imagined job or college placement.

    As far as challenges that looked strong to me, Flynn’s work certainly seemed to put some significant conditions of the “reality” of g as something internally driven. He seems to make differences in g look very susceptible to outside inputs and nut just nutrition either.

    I’m not a statistician, but Cosma’s skepticism from a statistical/analytical standpoint seemed pretty plausible to me

  31. December 23rd, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Oran Kelley says:

    Oh, and regarding my questions about IQ being studied against culture . . .

    This is the kind of study I was asking about :www.agi.harvard.edu/projects/download.php?id=%2041

    According to the paper this sort of multiple factor study hasn’t been done much in the past. Grandparents exclusive of parents don’t seem to be an important factor after all, at least in this study, but by taking a range of cultural and socio-economic factors into account, it looks as if a lot of the gap may be explained.

    Course this is just one study and I haven’t even looked too hard at it, but it’s the sort of thing I was asking about.

  32. December 25th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Bryan says:

    Stephanie:

    As you’re not a member of scienceblogs I have no problem if you delete this and if you ask me not to post here anymore or ban me, I will respect that. If anyone’s following Greg’s long blog, you see the assertions made against me. I believe they are defamation and I won’t let them stand. As just a start, I am discussing this elsewhere, and since greg won’t allow any further comments, I thought I’d take a shot at expressing my experience here:

    I saw someone named “D” reply in a short paragraph to Greg’s blog. He/she was critical and called greg on his lack of integrity. If D would contact me, I would greatly appreciate it, as it was one post that I did not get a chance to save before Greg deleted it (I did save others though, including one of mine that he deleted).

    xxx@xx.xxx (email address deleted in post, but can be found by clicking on bryan’s name – mh)

    ***
    I think ultimately JREF has the right to move / delete censor threads. We’ve debated that ad naseum here. On a case by case basis, though, we could argue how deleting this or that thread might reflect on the skeptical community. That’s only a semi valid argument here, as I suspect JREF doesn’t claim to speak for or represent the whole “skeptical community.” So, what the JREF does here affects the JREF’s reputation primarily, and perhaps the community’s reputation only indirectly.

    In my case, the place is called scienceblogs. They hand pick supposedly elite scientists to gave a taste of their expertise (and the scientific process) to anyone clicking on the blogs. They are linked / endorsed / affiliated with the NY Times and National Geographic (ffs!). I think bloggers there have a level of authority/legitimacy and therefore responsibility that JREF moderators here do not (it might be a little different if randi regularly posted here, but he doesn’t).

    They represent science in the public eye. That’s undeniable.

    I’m not claiming that my arguments are correct; I’m claiming intellectual dishonesty and extreme lack of academic integrity. First, I think I have been defamed (legally, I think the blogger made knowingly false statements with the intent to harm. To the extent I am a scientist, the harm is real– my reputation among the greater scientific community).

    I’ve been posting about 22 years on message boards. I’ve never seen this kind of censorship and lack of integrity.

    Just me and one other person were arguing on my side. The second person was very professional and backed all assertions by long lists of citations. When it was apparent the blog owner was way over his head, he closed the thread, deleted posts, called us racist “scientists” and then accused me of being a sock puppet– while further warning other science blog members to watch out for hijacks from me.

    I suspected he was so deep in that this would be his only way I out. I saved the blog page a few days ago and again today as he was in the process of deleting threads where 3rd parties were starting to call him out for his lack of integrity. That’s when he shut things done.

    There’s an emotional and a rational aspect to what happened to me. Sure, I am mad as hell over this, and perhaps that motivates my posts here. But, there also is a fundamental principle at steak here– academic freedom and let reason rule.

    To me, what he did– as a visible representative of the scientific community via his title and place on science blogs– is as academically dishonest as plagiarism and should not stand.

    Am I over reacting?

  33. December 25th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    The presence of a blog on Seed’s Science Blogs does no more than provide additional traffic, and they do not exercise editorial over the bloggers. Nor do they set the limits on moderation in the comments. That is the prerogative of the blogger. At Quiche Moraine, we have similar levels of independence. I didn’t consult Stephanie on approving this one and she may override me since it is her post. That is her prerogative here.

    That being said, I find it irritating that you feel this need to carry out your beefs and complaints across multiple blogs towards this discussion hoping to shame us into providing you with some sort of resolution. Greg has his comment policy at GLB, and is free to exercise it at will; and also to change his policy on demand. The associations that SEED magazine chooses to enter into with NatGeo and NYT are totally irrelevant to anything related to his content.

  34. December 25th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Bryan says:

    Ok, I thank Stephanie for letting my post stand and won’t continue here further. I did notice seed media’s TOS on things like profanity. I will pursue that and my other complaints there and elsewhere.

    Happy holidays.

    B

  35. December 25th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, you’re an idiot. Are you allowed outside on your own? Consider that defamation if you will. It is my considered opinion based on the following.

    1. This site is in no way affiliated with JREF, although I and, I think, my co-bloggers admire them greatly. This information is contained in the About Quiche Moraine link at the top of every page, at least by implication.

    2. ScienceBlogs does not hire scientists based on their brilliance or anything else. Many of the bloggers there are not scientists. This information is contained in the About ScienceBlogs link at the bottom of every page on their site, along with the notice, “The content contained in these blogs is exclusively attributable to outside contributors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of ScienceBlogs LLC.” ScienceBlogs has shrugged their shoulders at much bigger deals than your hurt feelings.

    3. “Ooh! Eek! You’ve wronged me legally! My professional reputation is damaged forever by what one person has said on a blog!” is the fastest track to Laughingstockville on the internet. For all you claim to have spent your adult life online, you continue to demonstrate cluelessness over the most basic details: name etiquette, whining about the fairness of argument, the distinction between a personal blog and academia, keeping track of who has written what and where, and whether a testimonial from your wife will evoke anything but unintentional hilarity.

    4. Profanity on ScienceBlogs. Heh, Mr. “ffs.”. Heh heh heh. Heh. Oh, LOL. Try this: http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/12/authorship_wackaloonery.php

    5. If you’re going to accuse Greg of something, you might want to restrict yourself to what he’s actually done. Or said in this case:

    Bryan, I’m rather shocked and amazed that you have shifted so quickly to the very last bastion of the argument (as I defined in my post) rather than dealing with anything substantive.

    SES ruled out? Seriously?

    Are you familiar with the early IQ tests? Clearly not.

    I am starting to find it hard to believe that you don’t hold any strong opinion on the role of race.

    My bing[o] card. It is starting to get full. And my patience is starting to get short.

    Next step: Bring on the ad hominem invectives. Nothing else left, really.

    I find this rather orwelian.

    I am unclear on what your position is on the genetics. I’m not sure you are being consistent.

    Its nice to say that facts are facts, but it is not ok for a mixture of facts and conjecture built into an unsupportable matter to be thrust upon society as has been happening for a few decades now.

    A lot of us are kind of pissed about that and would like to the supporters of this crap learn a little humility (and scientific reasoning). Sorry to sound so harsh, but there are important things at stake here.

    Bryan’s citation of the 70-85-105 paradigm is poorly informed, but that does not obviate groups differences. We agree that group difference are important. Bryan’s position on genetic contributions is still unclear to me because he has said conflicting things.

    This is fairly insulting. Fuck you.

    If I ask you to pass the salt and you hand me the pepper every time, a gain and again, I will start to think you have a problem. I might even question your IQ.

    I assume that Bryan’s IQ use is confined to the corporate world.

    So to make the tests effective in that world, of course they are honed and tuned to work better (isnt’ that the whole point of Bryans consultancy?)

    I’m thinking that by “biological” you don’t mean “Genetic” but it is not clear. THen I need you to explain what is biological about mental (respnose/neural firing) speed that is not biological about taking a test. I don’t get that distinction.

    Although none of the notes I received and deleted are from “Bryan” he has complained suddenly that I should not be deleting comments. In other words, the only reason “bryan” could know that I’ve deleted comments is if he was using various IP addresses and fake names to make those very same comments. Therefore I am led to believe that it is he who is making these inappropriate remarks. Interesting. Dishonest. Typical.

    I fully expect Bryan and his friends to start commenting now on other threads on this site, and to make a general nuisance of themselves.

    Now, which of these did you think rose to the level of defamation of your professional character, particularly compared to your comments?

    You obviously are not an expert in this area, stop playing one here (stop abusing the intellectual power vested to you by virtue of being a science blogger).

    You cannot be unaware of this research and then claim that your opinion on IQ is anything more than that– an ignorant opinion. Yet, you post / link to a list of suggested readings. That implies familiarity with the literature. Could there be more things in heaven and earth here?

    But, you’ve committed the worst types of intellectual sins: arrogance from ignorance; refusal to consider evidence that contradicts your world view; relying on your intuitions over 1000s of peer-reviewed studies.

    5. You seem to think that closing a thread to comments once the white supremacists find it and start posting nasty, substance-free comments is somehow a crime against intellectual freedom.

    6. You think this topic is done with three blog posts on a very small number of related topics. I could blog on this for a month of substantive daily posts given the material in this comment thread and Greg’s, and Greg could probably do the same, coming at this with a different background and set of interests. This is nothing like done.

    Now grow up and take some responsibility for your own behavior and opinions. After all, you’ve left your name all over these threads for Google to find.

  36. December 25th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    khan says:

    I find the use of a ‘cutesy’ name followed by a comment that you are being totally unreasonable (strident anyone?) to object to such to be SOP for some assholes.

  37. December 25th, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    daedalus2u says:

    Wow. This is quite interesting. Of course Bryan is injured. It is a narcissistic injury when the carefully built rationalizations of a lifetime are swept away. A real scientist would say “thank you” and change their world-view. Not everyone can do that. It takes a lot of practice and effort to change one’s intuition when it is wrong. But that is the only way one can ever develop an intuition that is truly useful. You have to check it against reality and then change it when it is wrong.

  38. December 26th, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Not to pile on, but to not know the difference between QM and JREF is rather, well, indicative of something. I am flattered.

  39. December 26th, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Greg Laden says:

    Brian, did I delete one of your posts (or should I say a post with your name on it?) I don’t recall doing that but if you say so, I probably did.

    I do that sometimes. There are certain things that cause me to delete comments. It is very uncommon but it happens. I mention some of this in my About page.

    I might delete the comment you wrote above about deleting comments! I can do that. This is Stephanie’s post, so that would be rude, but I am a co-maintainer of this blog and I have access to the inner workings and I can do that. I can delete every single post you wrote on my blog on Scienceblogs, and I can arbitrarily delete every other post, and I can arbitrarily turn every vowel in your post into an X.

    I don’t do things like that to people who are well behaved, but if I wanted to I could.

    You have made several mistakes. One is to have taken, it would seem, some of the comments I have made as against you when they were meant to be in regards to another commenter. Another is to not address the questions that I asked you (eventually you did address them partly but only when I really pushed). There may or may not have been some other mistakes. All of those mistakes are forgivable.

    The comment you made here is not forgivable. Do you know why that is not forgivable? I doubt you do. I doubt you will ever figure that out.

    I think Stephanie has correctly characterized the reason I closed comments on that thread. It is because of a combination of posts by some commenters other than you that I did not delete (the white supremacists were there before you arrived, in case you hadn’t noticed them) but still might, and a combination of short insulting missives that I did delete. Also not signed by you.

    There are only two explanations for your reaction to my closing of comments and my deletion of some of the drek on my blog. Either you were behind those comments (you wrote them or had someone write them) or you think this is all about you. If the former is true, and I have reasons to suspect it is, you are a scoundrel and a bastard and you can kiss my ass. If the latter is true then you have a different problem but you can get help for that. It may require chemicals. Or an adjustment in the chemicals you already take. But the delusions can be controlled.

    My blogs are not your public commons. I am not obligated in any of the ways you appear to think I am.

  40. December 26th, 2009 at 8:53 am

    PalMD says:

    ZMOG. What a friggin idiot. A guy walks in here voluntarily and shows off what an idiot he is, and then whines about it when others point out the obvious. That’s not defamation, that’s just life. Act like an asshat, get called an asshat. Its not like everyone here hasn’t been called out on their own idiocy from time to time (right, Greg? ; ) ) When a sane person writes something controversial, they expect people to disagree with them, and they take their knocks. If they are sane, it can lead to productive dialog. If they are not, it will at least amuse the rest of us.

    So, Brian, Dance for us, little man! Dance!

  41. December 26th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Bryan says:

    Call me out on replying further here, then swarm!

    ***Stephanie:
    2. ScienceBlogs does not hire scientists based on their brilliance or anything else. Many of the bloggers there are not scientists.***

    This much is now crystal clear to me.

    I think I shall go back to debating creationists.

    Ignorance more often begats confidence than knowledge. Charles Darwin

  42. December 26th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan, I have an assignment for you. Document the disagreements on IQ between you and me based on what has been said in these threads. Write it up as a coherent whole.

  43. December 26th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Where were you called out? You moved the discussion largely over to Greg’s when his post went up. You moved it back here when he closed that thread and told you not to post about it on a Linux thread instead. As for swarming, do note that the derision you see here is exactly the kind that anyone who says, “I’ve been defamed! On a blog!!!” gets.

    I don’t doubt you’ll go back to debating creationists. They’re much simpler creatures. Do be careful, though. I doubt you’re up to speed on the evolution literature.

  44. December 26th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Bryan says:

    ***I don’t doubt you’ll go back to debating creationists. They’re much simpler creatures.***

    I wouldn’t be so sure.

    I moved the discussion because of my reaction to censorship from someone claiming to be a scientist! Since I was censored, I obviously couldn’t post further in the thread where my comments belonged.

    Greg; I’ll pass on your offer. I don’t want to waste further intellectual capital on a place where you control moderation. I think you’d get your ass kicked in any public debate on this, and I challenge you to one. Name a skeptic’s forum that neither of us moderates. Let the forum set the rules for fair debate. Me versus you. I suspect you’ll pass on that.

    But, do consider it. Think of what an opportunity this can be for a harvard-educated purveyor of truth, justice and scientific integrity like yourself. I dare you to take my offer and to advertise the debate on your blog. By the way, do you have any peer-reviewed pubs anywhere? I’m just curious what your vita looks like.

  45. December 26th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    There you go with claiming to be censored again. As I’ve said elsewhere, you’ve got two threads on the topic that have been open for you to post whatever comment you claim was deleted.

    And Bryan, the blogosphere is a public debate. Feel free to pull up a corner that Greg can’t moderate and join in.

  46. December 26th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Bryan says:

    This is not a public debate; nor is greg’s blog as evidenced by his deleting threads and then closing the blog

    I’ll wait for Greg, but I propose Dawkins, Randi, or even PZ as a neutral site to debate this in a moderated fashion.

  47. December 26th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, there were only four sentences in my last comment. I don’t know how you missed the last one, but let me make it clearer. Get your own damned blog if you’re worried about “censorship.”

    Oh, and by the way, if you want to debate Greg, you need to start by summing up where you think the two of you disagree on the topic, as he’s already suggested you do.

  48. December 26th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Bryan says:

    Stephanie– you consistently miss the point that were Greg posting anywhere else, I’d agree. He’s practicing science without a license in logic and that scares me.

    I’m not spending time summing anything for post on Greg’s site when he gets to delete (and then take the moral high ground) any time he wants. I will gladly do it somewhere where the posters haven’t drank his kool aid. He’s got nothing to lose but his reputation which is why I’m quite sure he will come up with any reason to not debate me publicly in a fair forum that we both agree on.

  49. December 26th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Bryan says:

    btw, I really like the layout and look of this blog. If you could find some way to get comment-editing capabilities (quote functions and stuff like that) on here, you’d be set.

  50. December 26th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    So what you’re saying Bryan is that is that blogging at ScienceBlogs, which is very straightforward about not being a collection of scientists, is practicing science. Well, that will make things cheaper. Someone alert the NIH and NSF.

    What you’re consistently missing is that it takes no Kool-Aid (and really, as much as I love Greg, he’s no messianic figure) for everyone to see that you’re behaving like an inconsistent ass. Inconsistent in that you claim not to believe that there’s a genetic basis for IQ differences among people of various racial classifications but have spent an inordinate amount of time being upset about…something…on a post that is saying there’s no genetic basis for IQ differences among people of various racial classifications. Ass in that you won’t say what is upsetting you about the post and that you whine about getting poor treatment from me, Greg and others when your own behavior is worse. Also in that you want to restrict discussion of this topic to you and Greg, and that you whine about not being able to get your message out when you’ve already been told how to do it (seriously, I set my mom up with a blog between dinner and dessert last night; it’s not that hard), and that you’ve mischaracterized the behavior of others in this debate, and….

  51. December 26th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Bryan says:

    I’m ok with poor treatment from you and others here or anywhere else. I really honestly sincerely think that “scienceblogs.com” should worry enormously about it’s reputation (or change its smegging name), and should not feature scientists quick to assert expertise (and arrogantly so) in areas they obviously know nothing about. Unless science blogs is willing to advertise that the opinions of their bloggers are no better than those of non-scientists, then the web site should stfu and not present itself as an authority.

    I somehow doubt they will do this. So, I’m asking the web site to earn it’s name, or at least not embarrass the name.

    I also think that bloggers legitimized by scienceblogs.com should not display such anti scientific thinking (e.g., “I dismiss literally 1000s of studies on the job-performance / iq link because I ****feel*** that it’s a crappy idea to use IQ tests for employee selection.” Holy crap! Add to that, Greg wouldn’t even admit the link until incontrovertible evidence was provided.

    My point is shame on science if this is it.

    I also honestly sincerely believe that I don’t know the cause of race differences on IQ tests. And I therefore remain agnostic not because my world view is correct, but because I am doing science correctly. Show me data on what it is in the environment that causes the difference and I will be the first to call rushton, jensen et al. on it.

  52. December 26th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    khan says:

    Oh cute, now it’s stamping its feet. Is the flounce next?

  53. December 26th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Bryan says:

    You still don’t understand. All we skeptics have is the scientific method. It’s the only reason our world view is superior to anyone else’s. Science works / no thing else does. QED.
    We are at war. The majority of people (many in power) reject science as the ultimate arbiter of reality. The level of scientific illiteracy in America is as dangerous as global warming. This is serious stuff; from killing people to prove whose god is stronger, to denying gays the “right” to marry, to watching kids die as parents pray for their recovery. This is not the time to weaken our “brand.”

    If scienceblogs does not represent the best of Science then they are whores and are morally obligated to change their name.

    We need to do everything we can to protect our label. We should protect it as fiercely as we fight against teaching creationism in the classroom. We shouldn’t use the term anywhere unless it is serious business. Asserting false authority under the guise of being a science blogger is like the pope claiming contraception is evil (because he’s the pope, and he said so). Don’t do it. Especially don’t do it and then smugly claim you have the moral high ground. Follow the process or don’t associate it with science. Anything else is an extreme disservice to humanity and offensive to anyone worthy of the name, scientist.

    I believe this so strongly I have word science tattooed on my bicep (inside a Darwin fish).

  54. December 26th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Oran Kelley says:

    I really don’t see where Bryan comes off with this “Shame, shame” routine when he’s pretty much ducked addressing any issues and instead has moaned about bias and defamation.

    If science and skepticism are so damn important to you, how about responding to my bit of skepticism of you rather than alternatively moaning and bloviating? Perhaps if you could respond to some issues you’d look a little less like a self-important martinet and a little more like a scientist. Holy, holy science runs on substantive discussion, right?

    I’ve made the same argument elsewhere, and frankly I think your use of it here is more than a little self-serving. I say this as someone who has “mundus vult decipi” tattooed on his left buttock next to a really delicious looking pata negra. But maybe that’s more than you needed to know . . .

  55. December 26th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, whatever you do, don’t get a tattoo of my name. I’d hate to acquire additional moral obligations at this late date because you got drunk and maudlin one night and asked Corie to hook you up. (I do recommend Corie, though. She does great work.)

    It’s nice to know that you’re so invested in the scientific method that you you think proper controls for investigator bias are “We did not attend any white-pride rallies” and “I’ve co-authored with the person who did the meta analysis.” Arguments made on ScienceBlogs no less. Fuck you and the idea that the responsibility for defending the scientific process lays only with the people who disagree with you.

  56. December 26th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Bryan says:

    Context, Stephanie, context. How else does one defend dismissal of any citation as “racist” without any explanation of why it’s racist (beyond x published it). That’s a powerful way to “win” an argument. I’m guessing you haven’t published anything in peer reviewed journals. There’s no way a whole journal can exist with an impact factor above 3.0 were it a scam. There’s no way Rushton would still have his job or degree if there were any real evidence of bias (he’s not very popular, as you might know; and many people have sought to expose his ideas as crap. Do you think it possible he could get away with a career’s worth of 100 publications give or take by dry labbing it all?)

    Oran, I’d be happy to address whatever issues you think I left on the table– but only if you (this blog) can stomach it. Let me know. If your reply is “fuck off”; that’s cool too. I wasn’t deliberately ignoring anything in that long thread; there was lots to address though.

    I still have it out there that if Stephanie tells me to go away I will (i.e., specifically; beyond just general “fuck you’s” or whatnot). I do seem to be off my meds a bit (I do have a bit of ocd), so I would need something pretty blunt to realize I should post elsewhere.

  57. December 26th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Condescension, Bryan, condescension. You may guess whatever you like about my academic background, if you’re as interested as you seem to be in arguing from authority. Pretend I didn’t graduate from high school. It has no bearing on the science.

    Rushton is the beneficiary of a little industry devoted to funding the kind of science he does and with a vested interest in citing his work. An academic with tenure and money is very hard to get rid of, even if he ignores IRB protocols and other basics of science, as Rushton has. On top of that, he doesn’t have to dry lab everything. In fact, I haven’t heard that he’s dry labbed anything, although I could be mistaken in that. What he has been accused of, by those in the fields to know, is making dubious assumptions in choosing “representative” racial samples. And that’s the only place he or anyone else in Intelligence needs to fudge anything–in making the connections that are used to claim IQ measures anything other than fit with industrialized institutions.

  58. December 27th, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Bryan says:

    I applied for a Pioneer fund grant about two years ago. I believe Rushton is the chairman of the board now. I was turned down because their funding had taken a hit with the general market.

    If what you say is true, it should be a simple exercise to get specific and show what’s wrong with his data (and I also think you need to explain why he has more than several publications in peer-reviewed elite journals like psych science and various APA journals). I don’t think you can discount those, as no one holds the opinion that the APA is biased in a way that would help Rushton’s world view. I do think the APA saw value in publishing well-reasoned arguments they disagree with (in the spirit of academic integrity).

    IF there were hard evidence of faking data, Rushton would be canned. Anyone would. Also, I think even if he took funds from the KKK, one would still need to argue why his peer-reviewed stuff (esp. the APA journal stuff) is crap. I don’t think any accredited university exists that doesn’t have a strict and severe policy against academic dishonesty.

    re condescension: There are different levels of expertise in any area. One thing I noticed here and on SB is how willing people are to make strong conclusions about a topic without the relevant expertise. Again, though, I say judge the argument versus the credentials of those making them (but there is a less than perfect correlation between the two…).

    The irony here is I find the arguments against my points as weak and as vague as you guys find my arguments for (so if you claim that you guys did get specific re debunking Rushton; my perception is squarely the opposite). I think that leads to my fascination with this blog and SB.

    This is long, but it’s an interview with Linda Gottfredson– her perspective on how unfairly she was treated by her university for daring to publish on race and IQ. I recommend clicking it only if bored (it is a very good read, but I suspect people here might not be interested– it’s also pertinent/interesting for any posters here holding a feminist world view, as I think part of her problem / attacks against her stemmed from her being female):

    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2009interview.pdf

  59. December 27th, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Greg Laden says:

    . He’s got nothing to lose but his reputation which is why I’m quite sure he will come up with any reason to not debate me publicly in a fair forum that we both agree on.

    Bryan, debate you about what? What are our differences?

  60. December 27th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan?

  61. December 27th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Oran Kelley says:

    As an outsider reading Bryan’s link it strikes me

    a) how wrapped up in social policy and workplace/hiring conditions this work is. This isn’t research driven by academic questions but by the perceived needs of the marketplace. I am more than a little suspicious of how the “Oh, holy science” approach meets up with the vicissitudes of big business requirements. I think Bryan may protest too much, especially since . . .

    b) so much of this worldview takes “job performance” as if it were a result given my God, when, it would seem from my meeting that it would be a figure highly susceptible to just the sort of social biases we’re talking about here. I don’t think correlation with job performance legitimates IQ or g as a measure of intelligence broadly speaking and certainly doesn’t point us to a world where we merely accept racial differentials in performance as inevitable (seemingly the holy grail of both psychometrics and the Chamber of Commerce)

    c) B seems very much driven by a pervasive attitude in the field that it is the servant of business, not a truly academic field.

    d) there is a strong focus on pretty simplistic notions of test bias, which, it would seem to me, are one of the lesser worries here. Assumptions like “Test results across all cultures generally reflect the best the test subjects could do” (or at least that the relationship between test performance and thing measured is consistent across cultures) seem to me to be completely unfounded. As unfounded as poll-takers assumptions about people not lying to poll-takers.

    e) Consequently, I am more than a little skeptical that the field of psychometrics is truly independent of either the need to shore up its own institutional status or the need to better serve its industrial and political sponsors. I do not believe that psychometric practitioners expose their own methods and tools to sufficient skepticism and I in no way trust the invisible hand of science (that is, the influence of other fields with no dog in the fight) to fix that in the short term.

    These observations, and the skepticism of the stronger claims for g from people who deal with statistics for a living make me doubt that there are grounds to treat the racial IQ differential as if it were real and to guide policy with it.

    Also, because of the legacy of pseudo-science* in just this very realm and the legacy of damage wrought by more general societal racism, I don’t think it is at all a matter of bias if a certain tact is expected in advancing these sorts of claims. There is a lot at stake, and if you really believe in scientific responsibility, then you believe you don’t put that much at play on the basis of what look to be still-questionable numbers. (And repetition doesn’t help in studies that may be structurally flawed or blinkered, as I’m suggesting.) And I don’t think, in the society we live in, that it is at all out of place to wonder why Rushton & his fans so clearly and so desperately WANT to believe in significant racial differences in intelligence.

    *Which, in spite of any statistical failings, is a great value in Gould’s book on this matter: science isn’t always immediately self-correcting, it does reflect social bias sometimes, and some real crap gets treated as if it were respectable. Because scientists are humans with human interests, making a living in institutions with interests.

  62. December 27th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Oran, the discussions of bias and confounding variables are among the most troubling aspects of the debate that’s been going on. They are, to say the least, naive.

  63. December 27th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan: My reputation is waiting. Please tell me where you think we disagree.

  64. December 27th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Bryan says:

    I don’t have much time right now to respond– bear with me.

    My quick point is that psychometrics is probably the most sophisticated branch of psychology in that it is pure math. The methods for determining whether a test is valid, reliable, or biased or so well hammered out now that they are “hard science” techniques used by real scientists (physicists, chemists, etc.).

    To the extent that I am an “expert” in this area (5 pubs and 3 articles where I was a peer-reviewer) I still would not accept an invitation to review an article where the topic was the issue of test bias. I don’t understand it well enough to provide a competent review at the level of what’s state of the art now.

    My point is that psychometrics is probably the only real contribution psychology’s made to humanity (not even talking about IQ testing). It’s at least by far the contribution way above anything else psych’s done to illuminate the human condition. So, to discount the methods used in psychometrics, one would have to first discount the vast majority of social science in general (which maybe we should do, I dunno). Plus, I’d bet most people out of field have no idea just how sophisticated this area is. I’d also bet that 90% of ph.d. social scientists would lack the expertise to understand it; which makes discussing it among lay people that more difficult.

  65. December 27th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    To the extent that I am an “expert” in this area (5 pubs and 3 articles where I was a peer-reviewer) I still would not accept an invitation to review an article where the topic was the issue of test bias. I don’t understand it well enough to provide a competent review at the level of what’s state of the art now.

    I honestly don’t know, but I think simple explanations (i.e., SES, test bias) have been ruled out ad naseum.

    I think you have a responsibility to your readers to not use your authority to make claims out of ignorance, or that flatly contradict (in this case) 1000s of studies.

    You obviously are not an expert in this area, stop playing one here (stop abusing the intellectual power vested to you by virtue of being a science blogger).

    Bryan, a little consistency would be nice. No arguing from expertise you don’t have.

  66. December 27th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Bryan says:

    I’m not expert in test bias and psychometrics in that I have not and could not now (without more study) contribute to that current literature. Expertise is a continuum ranging from things like ignorance of well-replicated effects (like the job performance and IQ link) to having 50 A pubs in an area versus 25, 2 or none, to having a degree in the area (Ph.D., MA, BA) to having taken a few courses in the area, to having read mismeasure of man, or to being called as an expert witness in court on the area. It’s certainly not black or white all or none.

    But, even many sub-disciplines within psychology are so specialized (like current topics in psychometrics) that publishing in one specific area doesn’t mean that you could in another, related specific area. Doesn’t mean you couldn’t competently teach undergraduates or point out errors in other people’s thinking. I think one problem with the interwebs as a forum for scientific communication is how unwilling people are to defer to experts. I know that a person with a ph.d. in physics likely knows her shit, and I think my opinion on gravity; Einstein or physics-in-general would be ignorant were it to contradict squarely something the physicist told me in a debate. At that point I would stfu.

    One example– I remember a recent blog on SB– I think greg’s (I could be wrong) about multi-tasking (I think it was focusing on the idea that women are better then men on this). I invite you to read a current article on the “psychological refractory period” and the level of scientific complexity it has took to figure out whether the brain can do 2 things at once. I probably would have to spend 20 hours on any one article in the field to truly figure out what the fluck they are talking about (and I say this with a ph.d. in cognitive psych). So, I don’t see how expertise can be black or white. I was surprised lately when a smart person out of field said he couldn’t make sense of an article I wrote (which I thought read plain vanilla). It could that my writing sucks, or it could illustrate that for some topics, you need years of study to make valid points.

  67. December 27th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Shorter Bryan: No thanks. I’d rather make some more insinuations about your level of expertise. And continue to not answer Greg about the differences of opinion to be debated.

  68. December 27th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Bryan says:

    Getting there– I reply one post at a time (a psychological refractory period thing), and I’m picking the one’s most interesting to me. Actually, I’d much rather address Oran’s post first. He/she presented a rational well-thought opinion. Were I out of field, I would read it, know it were true, and make it part of my world view. Being in field, I’d argue he/she is wrong (for reasons I’ll get to later). Doesn’t mean I’m right because I am in field, but it does mean that perfectly reasonable conclusions / assumptions *might* be completely wrong. Even sacred cows get slaughtered when people are hungry enough.

  69. December 27th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Bryan says:

    Got 10 more minutes:

    Oran: a) how wrapped up in social policy and workplace/hiring conditions this work is. This isn’t research driven by academic questions but by the perceived needs of the marketplace. I am more than a little suspicious of how the “Oh, holy science” approach meets up with the vicissitudes of big business requirements. I think Bryan may protest too much, especially since . . .

    Me: Great point; I your point is completely sensible and demands explanation. But, the key finding in the classic meta-analysis (Schmidt & Hunter, linked to in Greg’s blog) is that the IQ/job performance correlation is much stronger when objective measures of JP are used (units produced; sales volume; units produced that meet quality standards, etc) versus subjective measures (joe is outstanding; suzie is above average; bob is poor / not a team player).

    What really gets me, though, is ignore the typical paper and pencil (verbal based culturally loaded) IQ test. Let’s instead measure speed (the line length task I talked about, or how fast one can arrange blocks to form a picture, or how fast one can point to a lightbulb in a series of lightbulbs after it lights up) or memory capacity (how accurately one can recall a string of random digits backwards; or whether one can solve 12 x 13 while also remembering these three words: cat, time, doctor; or how many “animals” one can name in 30 seconds).

    These tasks predict as well as the “iq test”. That’s amazing (to me). To me, there is no cultural bias present in judging which of two rapidly presented lines is longer. There is no bias present in deciding which of three light bulbs is farthest away. There can’t be by deduction: If the test is biased, scores cannot predict anything important for minorities. If the minority refuses to try hard because of lack of motivation or whatever, the scores will not predict (unless you’re willing to also claim the minority is not interested in getting the job, and if he/she does get the job, he/she will intentionally slack off; perform worse than whites).

    The Wonderlic is the verbal based/culturally loaded paper and pencil IQ test. It is however speeded (that’s another thing, too, this test takes 12 MINUTES to complete, and costs about $2.00 if bought in bulk. Yet, IQ emerges as the single best predictor of job performance…). I bet a large part of it’s validity is not because it tells who can define “ubiquitous” and who can’t, but because it measures cognitive speed.

    By the way, taking the line-judging test to the field and correlating it with job performance is the grant that I didn’t get funded from the Pioneer fund.

  70. December 27th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Bryan says:

    10 more minutes:

    Oran: b) so much of this worldview takes “job performance” as if it were a result given my God, when, it would seem from my meeting that it would be a figure highly susceptible to just the sort of social biases we’re talking about here. I don’t think correlation with job performance legitimates IQ or g as a measure of intelligence broadly speaking and certainly doesn’t point us to a world where we merely accept racial differentials in performance as inevitable (seemingly the holy grail of both psychometrics and the Chamber of Commerce)

    I do agree that showing a link between IQ and JP is not direct evidence that IQ measures intelligence. It is indirect and converging evidence, though, against a backdrop of massive evidence that IQ is measuring something critical to success in life– find something important, I will cite you a study showing IQ predicts it. Then, link IQ scores to basic cognitive and brain processes and I think the conclusion that IQ measures intelligence is secure.

    The correlation, though, is evidence that IQ impressively measures something important– job performance (and I will submit that JP is defined as important by a western / white culture).

    Ironically, I suggest the job performance / IQ link would be even stronger (it’s around r = .50) if we could better measure job performance. I think it’s called criterion contamination– JP is far less reliable than is IQ (IQ tests typically have reliabilities in the upper .90s. Some subjective measures of JP have reliabilities of essentially zero. Statistically, reliability determines how much a variable like JP can possibly correlate with any other variable, like IQ).

    ***
    I don’t think race differences are inevitable. But we will never know how to solve the problem, because anyone studying this stuff is immediately dismissed as a racist crank. Smart black people exist in gobs. Companies suck them up, and they contribute greatly to society. That’s wholly consistent with the fact that a group mean difference still exists. Race inequality is as important as global warming. But, we can’t talk it about it or use science to understand it and fix it.

    Finally, I like to appeal to the american court system and the EEOC. They are the opposite of racist, and the civil rights act has sharp teeth for any company that dares to use something biased in employment decisions. I submit, given public attitudes about IQ tests, there’s no way in holy hell any company could use them in America were not the validity (and lack of bias) evidence for them staggering.

  71. December 27th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Um … Bryan?

  72. December 27th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Unless science blogs is willing to advertise that the opinions of their bloggers are no better than those of non-scientists, then the web site should stfu and not present itself as an authority.

    This cluelessness as to the purpose of ScienceBlogs when you have had it explained to you is where you lose my respect for your intelligence. ScienceBlogs dot com blogs are not presented as “an authority.” It is a gathering of blogs with a general topical issue of science, kind of, for the most part, but often not. That’s all it is. Most of their members blogged somewhere else before being added into the collective, as it is often lovingly referred to. Many of the bloggers are not scientists at all, so their opinions are accepted as being no better than those of “non-scientists.”

    It is not presenting itself as an online version of Nature in any manner shape nor form. Greg Laden’s blog is an independently run blog, and he is not obligated to run it your way.

    Nor is Quiche Moraine a great place for you to continue to air your hurt and grievances.

  73. December 27th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Mike, the conversation here is useful, although perhaps not in quite the way Bryan would like it to be.

    However, Bryan, since you’ve gone to the trouble to try to discredit Greg’s integrity and courage, it is time to tell him what it is about which you want to debate him. What are those disagreements? Now.

  74. December 27th, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    The conversation is useful, I just am irritated by this and I wish that Bryan would discuss the issue more and forget such inaccurate irrelevancies. I also want him to explain his factual differences with what Greg has said.

  75. December 27th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Bryan, I’m still waiting for you to explain to me what you perceive our differences … the ones you want to debate in an “open forum” … to be.

    Your barely articulate rantings which seem to come in ten minute vomitus blobs are becoming boring and annoying. And, frankly, embarrassing. You do know that this is The Internet and everyone can see you, right? Are you really at a place in your career that you don’t mind potential funders or employers learning how badly you react to people challenging your private White Castle? I mean Ivory Tower?

    Your apparent sock puppets and/or ill behaved anonymous colleagues were troublesome and border on unethical. Your refusal for days to answer the most basic question from me while you continue to scream at me in your on impotent way puts you on fairly shaky ground. Your refusal, apparently, to address a critique of your published paper by Stephanie (http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/12/reaction_times_and_iq_tests.php) makes you look weak. Your constant yammering about my lack of knowledge, nefarious activities and inappropriate behavior along side your suggestion that legal action will be taken to protect your reputation is laughable, offensive, and may very well cause you to end up in a legal bind but not the one you were hoping for. Your specific accusations are either absurd or unfounded. They are either mere whinging about how the world should act gratuitously in your favor, or so grossly inaccurate as to make one wonder about your intelligence. Seriously. You have made yourself look like an idiot again and again. If you keep tying these insults and attacks to Scienceblogs, who knows, you may end up offending someone in the Seed Magazine publishing empire! That would be fun to watch.

    You need to grow some brains, and you need to grow some balls. Or just shut up. Seriously. Step back, re-read your rants. Is this really what you want out there?

  76. December 27th, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Huh. One looking on might thing the three of us planned to write the same exact comment at exactly the same time!

  77. December 27th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    And by thing I mean think.

  78. December 27th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Bryan says:

    Mike said:

    This cluelessness as to the purpose of ScienceBlogs when you have had it explained to you is where you lose my respect for your intelligence. ScienceBlogs dot com blogs are not presented as “an authority.” It is a gathering of blogs with a general topical issue of science, kind of, for the most part, but often not. That’s all it is. Most of their members blogged somewhere else before being added into the collective, as it is often lovingly referred to. Many of the bloggers are not scientists at all, so their opinions are accepted as being no better than those of “non-scientists.”

    It is not presenting itself as an online version of Nature in any manner shape nor form. Greg Laden’s blog is an independently run blog, and he is not obligated to run it your way.

    Nor is Quiche Moraine a great place for you to continue to air your hurt and grievances.

    ****

    I’m getting mixed signals. Tell me to STFU and I will calmly peacefully leave here and by offended by being booted. I agree completely that this is a private blog, and Stephanie or even regular posters have the right to tell me to GTFO.

    For everyone one post that says GTFO, though, it seems like there are several that ask for clarification.

    Indeed, let me know if I should go and I will.

    My opinion on science blogs is 180 degrees. My objection is using the brand / label / authority of the word “science” if it ain’t. I expressed that in very wordy posts several times. I get that everyone thinks my argument is loony. I still think it’s not. So, where do we go from here (your call).

    I do owe Greg a reply so tolerate one more post.

  79. December 27th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Oh, and Bryan Pesta, your facebook profile profile … what is that supposed to be? You in a pimp hat with our black president? You in a sombrero hanging around with some other dude smoking crack? Given the recent year of racist, white supremicist, tea-partying, right wing yahoos doctoring up photos of Obama to make him look “black and scary” or like Adolph Hitler or whatever, I think doctoring up photos of Obama is in general a little questionable.

    I’m sure you have a perfectly good explanation for that photo, and I’d like to hear it, then I’d like to see you change it to something with less potential to offend. Unless of course offense is your intention.

  80. December 27th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Bryan says:

    My plan was to post here only in this thread til it died then go on my merry way. I was also going to tell Greg that I retract my challenge to debate and apologize for challenging him then rejecting. I also will not post anymore anyhow on Greg’s blog. Given my quick double take from cocky to quitting (re challenging Greg), I’m ok with Greg posting anything and everything he wants exposing my lack of character on this or any issue where he thinks I’m scum. I would ask he not make further references to me needing meds, because I do need and am on them. He didn’t know that, so as long as no new posts bring that I’m up, I’m a happy camper.

    Before posting this “announcement” here (and I admit I dragged my ass on replying to Greg’s posts here), I noticed the 3 toed sloth blog (?) calling out to scientists to attempt trashing my one article on race and IQ. I am completely cool with that, but note that I really hope we’re not violating Elsevier’s copyright by linking to the article third party.

    Since that blog thread was created for the express purpose of scrutinizing my article, I hope that me posting there is not seen as tedious / obsessive / unwelcome or inappropriate. I will make an honest attempt to answer any and all concerns (but if I can’t reply immediately, I have sort of a life outside the interwebs, so it doesn’t necc mean I am being evasive). If Greg thinks it’s a good use of his time to post there, I will reply there but no where else.

  81. December 27th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Bryan says:

    Fuck greg, give me a break. I VOTED for OBAMA because I found him incredibly inspirational. It was my first time voting in 22 years. The photo is obama smoking. Nothing about obama in that photo is doctored. I took the head off whoever he was smoking with and put my head up there. Look at the date on when the photo was uploaded to FB– it’s at least a year old.

    I had Obama signs in my yard. I am disappointed in him regarding gay marriage and DOMA, and I’m not sure about the health care bill, but until this year I have never been more excited over a political candidate than I was with Obama.

    And, I think it’s about fucking time we elected someone non-white to be president.

    I think I can even dig up pictures of obama signs in my front yard. That’s a fucking odd thing to do if my goal is to demean his race.

    Fuck you.

  82. December 27th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    OK, Bryan, I’m hearing what you are saying but I still don’t understand that that is you are wearing on your head!!! WTF is that?

  83. December 27th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Bryan says:

    Search obama smoking on google.

    I will link to threads 12 months old on other internet forums where I sing Obama’s praises.

    I didn’t see your inane comment before I said I would stop replying here, but I cannot let that stand.

  84. December 27th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Bryan says:

    Ok I’ll calm down a bit. I moderate what used to be “the largest” atheist and agnostic group in the world (back when myspace was the shits). I’m not sure that claim was true, but ironically, it won me an award from Harvard (you probably know Greg Epstein) and the Secular Student Alliance. It was surreal as I got to speak at Harvard, basically, for starting a schmegging myspace group.

    My philosophy on that group for 5 years was absolutely no moderation or censorship of comments (except those that obviously violate myspace’s TOS like graphic porn). It’s evolved into four rules only: no posting dead animals; no posting pictures of people vomiting (though I had to exempt a semi-famous internet photo called “sparkle puke” because a user called me on it); no old man porn (don’t ask) and no making fun of members who post pictures in our various body parts threads (our most popular thread is where members post pg-13 pictures of their boobs/moobs).

    My goal was to do atheism social networking, versus atheism preaching to the choir. One sub-goal was to show people that heathens are sexual yet moral people– thus our emphasis on boobies (which I think could be the secret weapon that creates peace on earth).

    You did ask, so here’s my contribution to the boob thread there (it’s safe for work). Oh, I chain smoke too, and I suspect that Obama is still a closet smoker:

    http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/93/l_60d7f438e63c06a3e145609308d50b19.jpg

    The pimp hat was another contribution to that thread. I’m not sure it is a pimp hat; someone was selling it at a bar, and I bought it. My members know this; most of my friends are members of my myspace group. So, that explains it.

  85. December 27th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Okay, Bryan, now you get to explain who is inviting people to trash your reputation. Three-Toed Sloth hasn’t updated since early December and Google’s blog search is only turning up results for your name on my blogs and Greg’s.

  86. December 27th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Actually, I thought that hat was drawn on to a photo. But I now see that it is a real hat. Holy crap. You need to bury that hat under the ground where they are going to build an 8 lane highway or something! In the mean time, don’t let it near children or small pets!

  87. December 28th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Bryan says:

    Greg– thanks. My apologies for over-reacting; I do that at times. I hope my explanation for the picture is now clear.

    Stephanie. I don’t understand what you are saying? This is the guy who had no idea what a google whack was so if you think I am doing internet trickery, please explain.

    I have a deadline on a paper today and I doubt I will post much here or elsewhere, though I am curious about this google thingy.

  88. December 28th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Bryan says:

    Oh, I’ve searched “intelligence” “laden” “pesta” about 4 times total in the past week on google. That’s the extent of my exploitations.

  89. December 28th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    You said, “Before posting this “announcement” here (and I admit I dragged my ass on replying to Greg’s posts here), I noticed the 3 toed sloth blog (?) calling out to scientists to attempt trashing my one article on race and IQ.” Backing up that assertion or retracting it would be a very good idea.

  90. December 28th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Bryan says:

    I found it lurking on pharyngula– a sidebar link to top 5 blogs or whatever, which lead me to greg’s post on his blog, which lead me to your link. I do admit to running across the 3 toed blog before, at least it seemed familiar (it’s a very distinct name). But that would have been months to years ago. Curse pharyngula; lurking there is how this whole mess started (again, by looking at the side bar active blogs thing and then clicking on greg’s blog).

    Between the obama picture comment and your claim that I am somehow messing with google, I’m done here. You guys make for a fascinating illustration of groupthink.

    # Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

    # Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

    # Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

    # Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.

    # Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

    # Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

    # Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s decision; silence is seen as consent.

    # Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

    Thanks for not deleting my stuff; I’ll give you that. I’ll post in the 3 toed thingy til it dies; I suspect that’s coming soon.

  91. December 28th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Bryan, I’m not claiming you’re messing with Google. I’m not even claiming you know how to use it. I’m saying you said Three-Toed Sloth (or someone) is calling scientists to trash your reputation. I asked where that happened. You haven’t answered that directly, but your most recent comment here seems to indicate you’re confusing my personal blog, Almost Diamonds, or Greg’s personal blog on which I currently have a guest post up–blogging the article you asked us to look at and putting it in the context of other literature, as you insist is important–with one of the links in my guest post. I think. It’s hard to read through the confusion and paranoia.

    If you want to correct me by pointing to someone who has actually done what you claim, feel free. Otherwise, I’m chalking it up to the same impulse that made you insist I was questioning your credentials or Greg was unwilling to have his ignorance of…something…exposed in a debate, then apologize for them later.

  92. December 28th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Scotlyn says:

    Bryan – I read your paper linked on Stephanie Z’s recent post on Greg Laden’s blog.

    You commented above here:

    race is a fuzzy but measurable category

    .

    In the methods section of your paper you say:

    Race was self-reported from among the following categories: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, and Other.

    As a complete non-expert in this area, but also as a person with an awareness of the “stakes” that are in these discussions for the kind of society we want to live in, I would like to ask you the following unsophisticated lay-person’s question.

    In relying on “self-reported” “race” identifications made by your test subjects, how were you intending to differentiate between such “race” selections being based on a social construct, or being based on meaningfully different genomes? If “race” is a fuzzy but “measurable” category, with an apparently meaningful effect on your reaction time scores, why was the “self-reporting” of the subjects the only measure of it you felt it necessary to provide?

    To my layperson’s eyes, it would be very difficult to argue that the list above relates to real, discretely separate genetic populations. (The “Hispanic” label, for example, would not relate to any longstanding – ie more than a few generations – separation of a population such that it could approximate a “race” – rather it could only refer to a recent mixture of previously separated populations comprising three of the other selections on your list, if for “White” you read “European”, for “Black” you read “African” and for “Indian” you read “Native Hispano-American.” Likewise, people of rather mixed extractions (more the rule than the exception in the US) must have, in accordance with your “methods” restricted themselves to a single choice. Rather that being based on the kind of long isolated population which could give the term “race” a possible “genetic” meaning, your list simply appears to differentiate categories that relate to the social or “tribal” groupings that have a contemporary sort of validity in US culture by virtue of the historical conflicts that have gone into constructing them. People may include themselves in or out of these groups based on a range of personal characteristics, family histories, etc, without these groups having much bearing on the presence or absence of any particular gene or set of genes.

    So, what does it mean to you, when you say that “race is a …. measurable category?”

  93. January 3rd, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Observer says:

    The Mismeasure of Man is an interesting history, but contains a number of errors.

    1. Gould’s allegation that Morton had doctored his skull collection was re-investigated by John Michael. Michael found very few errors & those that were found were not in the direction Gould claimed. Michael found Gould was mistaken & that Morton’s studies were conducted with integrity. Michael JS 1988. A new look at Morton’s craniological research. Current Anthropology 29: 349- 54. In the 1996 edition of his book Gould completely avoids Michael’s study.

    2. Galton (1888) observed a brain size/cognitive ability relationship. Modern MRI imaging has confirmed a positive correlation. Gould managed to omit a major literature review on the correlation between brain size and cognitive ability by Van Dalen (1974). In his 1996 version Gould simply deleted the whole section as the MRI evidence on brain size & IQ was obviously damaging to Gould’s position.

    Recently Richard Haier, at Brain Research Institute, UC Irvine College of Medicine, found that general human intelligence appears to be correlated with the volume and location of gray matter tissue in the brain.

    ” By comparing brain maps of identical twins, which share the same genes, with fraternal twins, which share about half their genes, the team calculate that myelin integrity is genetically determined in many brain areas important for intelligence. This includes the corpus callosum, which integrates signals from the left and right sides of the body, and the parietal lobes, responsible for visual and spatial reasoning and logic (see above). Myelin quality in these areas was also correlated with scores on tests of abstract reasoning and overall intelligence (The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 29, p 2212).

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126993.300-highspeed-brains-are-in-the-genes.html

    Also, see this summary of the neurological basis for intelligence by UCLA Neuroscientist Paul Thompson and Yale Psychologist Jeremy Gray.

    http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/PDF/nrn0604-GrayThompson.pdf

    3. Gould’s criticism of factor analysis (and ‘g’) is flawed: see John Carroll’s review Intelligence 21, 121-134 1995 and also Jensen Contemporary Education Review Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.

    David J. Bartholomew, from London School of Economics, who has written a textbook on factor analysis, also explains in “Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies” explains where Gould goes wrong in this area.

    4. Gould suggests that Jews tested poorly in the 1920′s & this lead to the Immigration Act 1924. Both are incorrect.

    5. The idea that Jews tested poorly is actually based on a misrepresentation of a paper authored by Henry Goddard in 1917. Goddard gave IQ tests to people suspected of being mentally handicapped. He found the tests identified a number of such people from various immigrant groups, including Ashkenazi Jews. Leon Kamin in 1974 reported that Goddard had found Jews had low IQ scores. However, Goddard never found that Jews or other groups as a general population had low scores. There is other information that contradicts the idea that Jews did poorly on IQ tests around this time. In 1900, in London, Jews took a disproportionate number of academic prizes in spite of their poverty (C Russell & H.S. Lewis ‘The Jew in London’ Harper Collins 1900). Also, note that by 1922 Jewish students made up more than a fifth of Harvard undergraduates & the Ivy League was already instituting policies aimed at limiting Jewish admissions (the infamous ‘Jewish quotas’). Also, a 1920′s a survey of IQ scores in three London schools with mixed Jewish & non-Jewish student bodies – one prosperous, one poor and one very poor – showed that Jewish students, on average, had higher IQ’s than their schoolmates in each of the groups (A Hughes 1928).

    - see also: G. Cochran, J. Hardy, H. Harpending, Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, Journal of Biosocial Science 38 (5), pp. 659-693 (2006).

    6. The other misconception is that this contributed to the 1924 Immigration Act. However, Herrnstein & Snyderman found this was not the case (Intelligence Tests and the Immigration Act of 1924′ American Psychologist 38, September 1983).

    7. Although it was claimed Cyril Burt made up data for his twin studies, subsequent investigations have cast doubt on this. See the book Cyril Burt ‘Fraud or Framed’, edited by Nick Mackintosh former Chair of Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

    8. In 1981 Gould had suggested that twin studies could be useful for considering hereditary factors. Yet in his 1996 version Gould omitted the entire Minnesota Twin Study.

    9. Burt’s findings regarding hereditary appear to be very consistent with subsequent twin studies. Steven Pinker wrote in the NY Times earlier this year:

    “To study something scientifically, you first have to measure it, and psychologists have developed tests for many mental traits. And contrary to popular opinion, the tests work pretty well: they give a similar measurement of a person every time they are administered, and they statistically predict life outcomes like school and job performance, psychiatric diagnoses and marital stability. Tests for intelligence might ask people to recite a string of digits backward, define a word like “predicament,” identify what an egg and a seed have in common or assemble four triangles into a square.

    The most prominent finding of behavioral genetics has been summarized by the psychologist Eric Turkheimer: “The nature-nurture debate is over. . . . All human behavioral traits are heritable.” By this he meant that a substantial fraction of the variation among individuals within a culture can be linked to variation in their genes. Whether you measure intelligence or personality, religiosity or political orientation, television watching or cigarette smoking, the outcome is the same. Identical twins (who share all their genes) are more similar than fraternal twins (who share half their genes that vary among people). Biological siblings (who share half those genes too) are more similar than adopted siblings (who share no more genes than do strangers). And identical twins separated at birth and raised in different adoptive homes (who share their genes but not their environments) are uncannily similar.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11Genome-t.html

    (see also

    “Multivariate genetic analyses indicate that general intelligence is highly heritable, and that the overlap in the cognitive processes is twice as great as the overall phenotypic overlap, with genetic correlations averaging around .80.”
    Plomin et al (2004) “A functional polymorphism in the succinate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase genes is associated with cognitive ability,” Molecular Psychology 9, 582-586.)

  94. January 4th, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    Observer, it’s rather fascinating that you feel the need to run around putting your copy-and-paste spam everywhere that Mismeasure of Man is mentioned.

  95. January 4th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Greg Laden says:

    Observer, some of the points you make are interesting, but some are misrepresented. It is not really that useful to run the literature against a single book that was written for public consumption, and I must say I never once recommended Mismeasure as a touchstone on this issue. Anyway….

    I want to point out a couple of considerations that anyone reading your long diatribe should consider.

    1) The twin studies are useful but not definitive at all. Ideticality of genes results in greater similarity of environment (even the twin studies people acknowledge this). Neruologically, the fact that the brain grows to meet, and adapts to, its physical and cultural/external environment (and thus most variation from one person to the next can be explained by environment rather than genes) is fully in accord with a greater similarity between genetically identical vs. less identical people.

    2) Twins separated at birth and raised in “different” settings are very rarely rased in different settings. They usually knew each other, were raised by different parts of the same family, wen to the same schools, etc. etc.

    3) The fact that the above two caveats are NEVER mentioned by those citing twin studies is a matter of serious intellectual dishonesty and should make us seriously question the validity of the source.

    4) Citing Herrnstein’s opinion or interpretation as supportive of genetics determining IQ is like citing Nixon as a source in support of increasing the powers of the president. Or Bernie Madoff in support of letting white collar criminals off easy.

    5) Jews are distributed over a very large area historically, but those referenced in the studies you mention are part of a subset of Jewish culture that everywhere and for the entire time period has promoted and supported a home environment condusive to learning in ways that ultimately match very well with the expectations of IQ tests, so of course these numbers are as you suggest they are (to some extent). Again, environment is affecting measured intelligence.

    6) Your characterization of the early days and uses of IQ is a bit understated and you’ve left quite a bit out. I’ll just say this: When racist white supremasists such as yourself use the early IQ data, they pick and chose, don’t they! Low IQs of groups you want to have low IQ’s get cited and cited again and again (from the same original source, such as Yerkes) and thus, are said to be ferified in “dozens” or “hundreds” of papers, though they are only repeated in those papers. IQ’s from the early days that show low values (such as all those white populations with low IQ’s only one of which you’ve mentioned) are explained away and not cited again and again.

    7) Failure to treat the above mentioned (in #6) issues honestly is a signal. Shame on you.

    8) Brain size is not like you say it is. There are some studies that show a low degree of effect of brain size. One problem wiht brain size research is that the Genes = IQ people have notoriously fudged the data in such a way as to require that brain size be a factor, so all brain size research by them is now necessarily suspect. It is too easy to fake these data. It turns out that the details of brain size and intelligence are much more complex, though interesting.

    9) Brain size is not espcially heritable. The relationship between brain size and intelligence might exist under certain circumstances, but outliers are so servere that the biology of this relationship is probably spurious. In other words, there is some subset of data that are skewing the results.

    10) Intelligence is likely heritable (genetically) to some extent. But not to the extent you need it to be to advance your political agenda, and the majority of variation in intelligence measured between groups is clearly and demonstrably caused by non-genetic factors.

  96. January 4th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Observer says:

    ***Stephanie Zvan, January 4th, 2010 12:38 am :

    Observer, it’s rather fascinating that you feel the need to run around putting your copy-and-paste spam everywhere that Mismeasure of Man is mentioned.***

    Stephanie, I will stop running around when people stop citing it! Although I can see it probably seems a little unnecessary.

    Greg,

    Yes, I saw your comment on another thread about Mismeasure not being that useful. I didn’t mean to imply you were recommending it. In terms of your comments:

    ***1) The twin studies are useful but not definitive at all. Ideticality of genes results in greater similarity of environment (even the twin studies people acknowledge this). Neruologically, the fact that the brain grows to meet, and adapts to, its physical and cultural/external environment (and thus most variation from one person to the next can be explained by environment rather than genes) is fully in accord with a greater similarity between genetically identical vs. less identical people.

    2) Twins separated at birth and raised in “different” settings are very rarely rased in different settings. They usually knew each other, were raised by different parts of the same family, wen to the same schools, etc. etc.***

    I agree that these studies aren’t definitive. In terms of whether the twins raised apart are in different settings, there is a comment here by Frank Sulloway responding to Kaplan:

    “Bouchard and his colleagues also tested the possible contribution made to IQ by pre-separation and post-reunion contact between the twins, another of the key issues raised by Professor Kaplan. Total contact time between the twins averaged 5.1 months prior to separation and 20.3 months following first reunion, when the twins were mostly in their late twenties and early thirties. Degree of contact accounted for almost none of the similarity in the twins’ IQs (r = .14, which was not significantly different from zero).”
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19985

    There is also an interesting exchange here between Dan Agin and Sulloway on the twins that share the same placenta and those that do not. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20731

    ****4) Citing Herrnstein’s opinion or interpretation as supportive of genetics determining IQ is like citing Nixon as a source in support of increasing the powers of the president. Or Bernie Madoff in support of letting white collar criminals off easy.***

    Fair enough, but I only refer to Herrnstein in relation to his paper about the role of psychometric tests in the passing of the 1924 Immigration Act.

    ***5) Jews are distributed over a very large area historically, but those referenced in the studies you mention are part of a subset of Jewish culture that everywhere and for the entire time period has promoted and supported a home environment condusive to learning in ways that ultimately match very well with the expectations of IQ tests, so of course these numbers are as you suggest they are (to some extent). Again, environment is affecting measured intelligence.***

    I don’t mean to deny that it does. My point was simply that Gould and Kamin apparently misrepresented Goddard’s findings.

    ***6) Your characterization of the early days and uses of IQ is a bit understated and you’ve left quite a bit out. I’ll just say this: When racist white supremasists such as yourself use the early IQ data, they pick and chose, don’t they! Low IQs of groups you want to have low IQ’s get cited and cited again and again (from the same original source, such as Yerkes) and thus, are said to be ferified in “dozens” or “hundreds” of papers, though they are only repeated in those papers. IQ’s from the early days that show low values (such as all those white populations with low IQ’s only one of which you’ve mentioned) are explained away and not cited again and again.***

    In terms of citations, I think the main one I’ve referred to is the 30 year Review paper by Rushton & Jensen. They cite a 2001 meta analysis by Philip L Roth which looks at 6,246,729 people from corporate, military, and higher education samples (Personnel Psychology, 54, 297-330).

    In terms of older samples Jensen has written about how some results (rural Georgia for example) were clearly depressed by poor environmental conditions.

    ***10) Intelligence is likely heritable (genetically) to some extent. But not to the extent you need it to be to advance your political agenda, and the majority of variation in intelligence measured between groups is clearly and demonstrably caused by non-genetic factors.***

    I agree non-genetic factors are important but I don’t think you can be confident they cause the majority of variation. In any case I don’t think I’ve made any political comments here.

    Even if it turned out that variation was 100% genetic it doesn’t follow that you should not provide people with good pre-natal care, early childhood education & access to learning etc. A point that Jensen makes is that siblings often vary by about 12 iq points – that doesn’t mean you just favour one sibling and provide them with all the opportunities. You try to give people the best chance to succeed.

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