A Follow-Up On Phil Rushton And Jiggery-Pokery In The Human Sciences
April 10, 2013, 04:38 PM
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VDARE.com has posted Jared Taylor’s tributes to the late Arthur Jensen and J. Philippe Rushton, delivered at the American Renaissance conference last weekend.

Jared’s speech was followed by a brief Q&A session in which I made a point that I think is worth repeating.

From 2002 to 2012 Rushton was president of the Pioneer Fund, much denounced by utopian egalitarians and the money-racket SPLC (oops, sorry:  the VDARE.com style book prefers “$PLC”) as a bastion of “white supremacy.”

It was therefore during Rushton’s presidency that Bruce Lahn’s 2005 papers on microcephaly genes were published.

Lahn, a geneticist, had identified two gene variants implicated, in ways not clearly understood, in infant brain development.  Both variants seemed to have been highly “visible” to natural selection: that is, they conferred some survival advantage to the humans possessing them.  Both were unevenly distributed:  rare in sub-Saharan Africans, for example.  (I wrote all this up for, believe it or not, National Review.)

The question now obviously arose:  Were these gene variants implicated in the known mean-IQ differences between races?

Not difficult to investigate.  Assemble a group of people with the advantageous variants, and another group without them, and see if the first group had significantly higher mean IQ than the second.

But who would do the investigation?  Given the inflammable nature of the topic, researchers at major universities and institutes would flee from it like the proverbial kitchen roaches when a light switch is flipped on.

Rushton volunteered to do the work.

Now, given the wide scope for data-fudging jiggery-pokery in the human sciences, one might expect that the president of the sinister Pioneer Fund, dedicated to asserting white superiority, would nudge his results in a white-supremacist direction.

To the contrary, Rushton reported to the International Society for Intelligence Research in December 2006 that he had found no connection between possession of these variants and high IQ. 

It was, in other words, a dry well.  This happens a lot in the sciences, and Rushton’s report on his investigation shows him to have been a professional, objective researcher who valued truth over opportunities for ideological point-scoring.  This is hardly what you would have expected if all you knew about Rushton and the Pioneer Fund was $PLC and mainstream-media propaganda.

For sure you should trust an objective truth-seeker like Rushton over any journo-school graduate or a writer credentialed in some pseudoscience like economics.

There is an example in the opinion columns of today’s press:  Thomas Sowell on the racial statistics for students who passed the entrance exam for highly-selective Stuyvesant High School in New York City:

Recent statistics on the students who passed the examination to get into Stuyvesant raise troubling questions that are unlikely to receive the kind of serious answers they deserve. The successful applicants included 9 black students, 24 Latinos, 177 whites and 620 Asian-Americans.

It’s nice that Prof. Sowell noticed that and wrote about it, but what does he conclude?  That we need better parenting!

A few years ago, Amy Chua caused a controversy when she wrote a book about Asian “Tiger Moms” who put heavy pressure on their children to succeed in school. But a more recent book (“Gifted Hands”) by Benjamin Carson shows that his mother was as much of a Tiger Mom as the Asians.

Not only did Dr. Carson rise from the ghetto to become an internationally recognized neurosurgeon, his brother became an engineer — both of them black children of a poverty-stricken mother with only three years of education. But Tiger Moms get results.

Nothing to do with innate race differences, then?  Good Heavens, no!

These differences are not set in stone. Back during the First World War, low mental test scores among Jewish soldiers in the US Army led one expert to declare that this tended to “disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent.”

But many of the men taking the Army’s mental tests then were the children of immigrants, and had grown up in homes where English was not the language used. Mental tests in later years showed Jews scoring above the national average.

I can’t find a source for the WW1 study Sowell is referring to, though I find many, many other unsourced references to it.  The Bell Curve has nothing to say about it; though it does debunk that other darling of IQ denialists, H.H. Goddard’s 1913 study on the IQs of immigrants. 

(See Rushton on the misrepresentation of Goddard`s inquiries here: “Goddard explicitly did not assert that 80% of Russians, Jews, or any immigrant group in general were feeble minded nor that the figures were representative of all immigrants from those nations. Nor did he claim that the feeblemindedness he was measuring was due to heredity . . .”)

Whether or not there really was such a WW1 result, though, you can’t help but notice — well, you can’t if your vision is not degraded by ideology or wishful thinking — the fondness with which IQ denialists again and again bring up results, or pseudo-results, from 100 years ago, when IQ testing was in its infancy.  You have to wonder:  Do these people all drive Stanley Steamers?

In February 2012 I attended a meeting about immigration addressed by a social sciences academic, whose blushes I shall spare by keeping him strictly anonymous. 

In some post-meeting email exchanges, he referred to “the enormous IQ gains of immigrant groups once assimilated.”

I prodded him on that.  From my email records:

Eh?  Do you have references from the recent literature?

Here is the most positive study I can find along those lines, and even the claims made there are modest and larded with cautions (“It appears that groups with a mean level of g that is substantially below that of the Dutch have dif?culties integrating . . .,” etc.)

“Enormous”?  Really?  Please post references, if it`s not too much trouble.

Another meeting participant, also a credentialed academic, backed up my request:

I too would appreciate receiving references on this point.  Thanks.

Our social scientist replied thus:

I can, but it will be a while since I am swamped now and will need to try to dig some things out when I get a chance.

That was February 22nd last year.  We never heard back.