Race and IQ – a serious discussion

Professor Richard Lynn, guru of modern eugenics, race and IQ

Like a bad penny, former Macquarie University legal academic Andrew Fraser keeps turning up. Michael Duffy wrote an opinion piece in Saturday’s SMH resurrecting Fraser’s pet issue of race and IQ:

[Last] Wednesday, The Australian newspaper published a letter from six American and European professors, and two other scholars, protesting against the commission’s decision. They said: “Fraser has done no more than restate hypotheses offered for more than half a century by eminent psychologists and anthropologists at leading universities.” (That’s outside Australia, of course.) Indeed, “There is an important and legitimate academic debate going on about race, intelligence and genetics.” (Not in Australia, mind you.)

I agree. However, Fraser didn’t even attempt to raise or discuss the academic debate about race and IQ in any meaningful sense. He merely used (and misrepresented) it as a pretext for odiously racist political advocacy. Africans, Fraser thinks, shouldn’t be allowed to migrate to Australia because they’re too stupid, and will therefore be prone to criminality and violence. And Asians shouldn’t be allowed to migrate either, because they’re too intelligent and will take the jobs of existing Australians!

Not only is there no evidence for either claim, they’re both actually contrary to the evidence.   See here (Mukherjee, 1998) and here (Collins, 2002) for two excellent studies on race, ethnicity and crime, and here (Garnaut, 2003) for material on the economic effects of migration. New Zealander migrants, Lebanese, Pacific islanders and Vietnamese have somewhat higher levels of crime than existing Australians, while pretty well all other racial and ethnic migrant groups have lower rates.   Fairly clearly, the reasons for higher crime rates of some ehtnic groups are social and cultural not genetic.

And on the “Asians are taking our jobs” meme, the research in fact shows that smarter, better educated migrants make a net positive contribution to jobs and growth.

Whether Fraser should have been sacked from Macquarie, or subjected to legal action under racial vilification laws, for expressing his views is another question entirely. But Duffy did no-one any favours by implicitly suggesting that Fraser has made any contribution whatever to the academic debate about race and IQ.

Nevertheless, I agree with Duffy that race and intelligence is an important issue that has been little discussed in Australia, no doubt largely for reasons of misguided political correctness (although nervousness is entirely understandable given the Nazi Holocaust). So let’s kick off a real discussion here. A civil, thoughtful one. Let’s conduct it on the basis of actually looking at some of the material (or at least readily available web resources that summarise it). Here’s a link to the website of Richard Lynn, perhaps the foremost academic researcher on race and IQ. Here’s the Wikipedia article on Lynn, here’s a long article by Jason Molloy at the blog Gene Expression reviewing Lynn’s book ‘Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis’, and here’s the more general Wikipedia entry on race and intelligence.

No-one seriously challenges that the comparative figures Lynn (and others) cite in relation to race and IQ are real ones, generally based on many surveys over a quite long period of time. The controversy arises when one attempts to extrapolate and hypothesise causes, consequences and policies. In general terms, Lynn finds:

His conclusions are that the East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) have the highest mean IQ at 105. These are followed by the Europeans (IQ 100). Some way below these are the Inuit (Eskimos) (IQ 91), South East Asians (IQ 87), Native American Indians (IQ 87), Pacific Islanders (IQ 85), South Asians and North Africans (IQ 84). Well below these come the sub-Saharan Africans (IQ 67) followed by the Australian Aborigines (IQ 62). The least intelligent races are the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert together with the Pygmies of the Congo rain forests (IQ 54).

In relation purely to Europeans, Lynn finds smaller differences (a spread of around 10 IQ points from highest to lowest European country, which he still claims are significant. Lynn asserts a genetic/evolutionary explanation, and that’s where his work becomes questionable:

The early humans that migrated out of Africa and spread throughout the world would have carried all the alleles for high and low intelligence with them, but those who colonized Asia and Europe were exposed to the cognitively demanding problems of survival during cold winters. Many of those carrying the alleles for low intelligence would have been unable to survive during the cold winters and the less intelligent individuals and tribes would have died out, leaving as survivors the more intelligent. This process would have reduced and possibly eliminated the alleles for low intelligence, leaving a higher proportion of the alleles for high intelligence. The more severe the winter temperatures, the greater the selection pressure for the elimination of low IQ individuals carrying low IQ alleles. This process explains the broad association between coldest winter temperatures and IQs and brain size.

But if you actually look at the figures, some northern European countries (where it’s colder so that Lynn argues IQ is higher) actually have lower average IQ than some southern European countries.

Moreover, there’s been large amounts of migration between European countries, pretty well continuously over the last couple of thousand years at least: northwards invasions by the Romans, then southwards invasions by Germanic and Scandinavian tribes, and ongoing voluntary migration (at least by the middle and upper classes) associated with the rise of European market capitalism from (say) 1700 onwards. Moving on to modern times, freedom of movement within the EU also promotes extensive admixture of nationalities. Unless the IQ studies on which Lynn relies conducted exhaustive genealogical studies on each of their individual subjects (which I bet they didn’t), it would be impossible to draw any meaningful conclusion that measured differences in average IQ of this modest magnitude have a genetic explanation.

The contrast with IQ figures for Africans and Australian Aborigines, however, is much more stark. It really can’t simply be dismissed as irrelevant, and no doubt that’s Duffy’s point. Jason Molloy summarises Lynn’s findings on Australian Aborigines:

Lynn first looked at the Australian Aborigines in his 1978 chapter – it listed 3 studies, and he estimated their intelligence, much like Sub-Saharan Africans, as 85. In 1991 the same three studies were listed, and there is no suggestion Lynn lowered his estimate. When Ed Miller examined studies of Australoid intelligence in 1996, he too suggested something like 85. In comparison RDiI now lists data from 29 studies of Australoid populations, including those of New Guinea for a combined sample of 4,785. Since that time Lynn has dropped the Australoid IQ average a dramatic 23 points, down to 62. This is considerably lower than all previous estimates have suggested, but Lynn’s review also highlights just how neglected this populations intelligence has been, even by Lynn, until now. Small admixture and adoption studies exist for Australian Aborigine intelligence and both suggest something hereditary. These populations have had some of the lowest technological development of all populations and also have the smallest brains of any living population. An exception is the visual parts of the cortex, which are much larger than in Europeans. Interesting given their much lower intelligence, then, that their visual memory abilities are substantially superior – one researcher found a visual memory IQ of 119. Genetics are further suggested because the advantage is also true for very young children and for aborigines born into modern urban settings.

I dealt with Lynn’s findings in general terms in a post some time ago on the egregious Andrew Fraser:

But more recent research seems to undermine the odiously racist conclusions touted expressly by Rushton and Andrew Fraser (and implicitly by Herrnstein and Murray). Although it now seems fairly well accepted that there are significant measurable differences in average IQ between races, that doesn’t mean what racists like Fraser would have us believe. Some researchers (e.g. Fischer et al. (1996)) have argued that the type of IQ test used by Herrnstein and Murray is really a test of schooling rather than intelligence (a critique that arguably applies to most IQ tests to some extent). Perhaps more importantly, recent research indicates that heredity/genes account for only 40-50% of a person’s intelligence, with the rest being attributable to environment.

However, that still leaves a difference of around 20 IQ points between Aborigines and Europeans as conceivably having a genetic basis. That’s a very large difference, which may well have major policy implications in terms of the types of education, training and enterprise development programs delivered to Aboriginal communities. But what implications? And is the IQ difference actually genetic at all? Recent primate research (on marmosets) by Elizabeth Gould found:

Eight years after Gould defied the entrenched dogma of her science and proved that the primate brain is always creating new neurons, she has gone on to demonstrate an even more startling fact: The structure of our brain, from the details of our dendrites to the density of our hippocampus, is incredibly influenced by our surroundings. Put a primate under stressful conditions, and its brain begins to starve. It stops creating new cells. The cells it already has retreat inwards. The mind is disfigured.
The social implications of this research are staggering. If boring environments, stressful noises, and the primate’s particular slot in the dominance hierarchy all shape the architecture of the brain¢â¬âand Gould’s team has shown that they do¢â¬âthen the playing field isn’t level. Poverty and stress aren’t just an idea: they are an anatomy. Some brains never even have a chance.

Anyone familiar with modern remote Aboriginal communities could only agree that they are quintessentially ‘boring’ and ‘stressful’ environments, for a complex range of reasons. Federal Minister Joe Hockey recently described Central Australian Aboriginal communities as every bit as bad as the notorious Crossways ghetto in apartheid era South Africa.

Maybe that’s why Aboriginal IQ scores are so dramatically lower than Europeans. Maybe the explanation is biological but not genetic. And if that’s so, then far from supporting the demands of racists like Fraser for excluding ‘inferior’ races, Gould’s findings instead demand that our governments, communities and individuals  make the most stringent efforts to improve the environment in impoverished communities, so that children get something vaguely resembling an equal opportunity for their brains and lives to develop and flourish in the same way as their wealthier human cousins.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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60 Responses to Race and IQ – a serious discussion

  1. armaniac says:

    Hah! It’s proven- black people are not as adept at pointless puzzles. They’ll have to settle for using their intellects in vaguely useful ways that IQ tests have no bearing on.


  2. Ken,

    Looks like that Wiki page on Race and Intelligence is going through another of its periodic rewrite wars. One of your quotes from the page seems to have gone walkies, to wit:

    “No-one seriously challenges that the comparative figures Lynn (and others) cite in relation to race and IQ are real ones, generally based on many surveys over a quite long period of time…”

    Might be back later after I’ve done a little more of the required reading. At the very least I might drop back for a couple of whacks of the hatchet at Lynn’s work on IQ and the Wealth of Nations ;)

  3. Shaun says:

    Excellent post, Ken.

    Interesting quote:

    “There is an important and legitimate academic debate going on about race, intelligence and genetics”

    This is exactly what the evolution deniers claim. Usually means that there is some fury signifying not much at all.

    There is an interesting question of how fast homo sapiens is evolving at the moment – zilch, a bit, better hold on to your hats folks. The rate of evolution does have implications for issues of genetics, IQ etc.

    Like Gummo I need to do some more reading on this as well.

  4. Ken Parish says:

    For the sake of completeness (and to deal in part with Armaniac’s comment, I should have included a link to the Wikipedia article on IQ. On armaniac’s point Wikipedia observes:

    In response to the controversy surrounding The Bell Curve [and Stpehen Jay Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man], the American Psychological Association’s Board of Scientific Affairs established a task force to write a consensus statement on the state of intelligence research which could be used by all sides as a basis for discussion. The full text of the report is available at a third-party website.

    The findings of the task force state that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual (but not necessarily population) differences in school achievement. They confirm the predictive validity of IQ for adult occupational status, even when variables such as education and family background have been statistically controlled. They agree that individual (again, not necessarily population) differences in intelligence are substantially influenced by genetics.

    They state there is little evidence to show that childhood diet influences intelligence except in cases of severe malnutrition. They agree that there are no significant differences between the average IQ scores of males and females. The task force agrees that large differences do exist between the average IQ scores of blacks and whites, and that these differences cannot be attributed to biases in test construction. While they admit there is no empirical evidence supporting it, the APA task force suggests that explanations based on social status and cultural differences may be possible. Regarding genetic causes, they noted that there is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.

  5. Fyodor says:

    Oh, bugger. If everyone insists on being well-informed we’re not going to have much of a stoush, are we?

    Where’s the Jackerstrocchi when you need him?

  6. Ken Parish says:

    BTW Anticipating Gummo’s further contribution, there is an equally detailed Wikipedia entry on Lynn’s book IQ and the Wealth of Nations. A short summary is that, although Lynn’s data and statistical methods have been strongly questioned, most but not all subsequent academic studies have suggested that there may well be a significant positive correlation between national average IQ and national wealth.

    However, if Elizabeth Gould’s (any relation to the late Stephen Jay Gould, I wonder?) research is borne out in humans, then these differences become essentially irrelevant. Countries aren’t poor because their people are stupid, rather their people are stupid because they’re poor!!!

  7. wmmbb says:

    What is the evidence that difference in intellectual ability is genetically determined and not culturally conditioned?

    Seen in this light, the usual evidence from twin studies, I suggest, is limited if not irrelevant. Furthermore, standard IQ tests did not measure gifted individuals accurately anyway, because they were more able than the people who had designed the tests.

    I thought this report from the BBC would be of interest relating to the research that used brain scans to growth rates of the cortex. Professor Passsingham comment on the research was:

    “It is tempting to assume that this developmental change in brain structure is determined by a person’s genes,” he said.

    “But one should be very wary of such a conclusion. The body’s development is intimately linked to interactions with its environment.

    I stand to be corrected regarding my opinion of twin studies.

  8. david tiley says:

    This leads me to picture a bunch of white people sitting an IQ test set by aboriginal elders.

    Seriously though…

    Stephen J. Gould’s book ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ is a fabulous read, and mounts a sustained challenge by a man who both understands evolution deeply, and has a fair grasp on statistical theory. He focuses on that notion of ‘g’, the generalisable function which binds together all the other tests.

    It is hard to see how practically that makes any difference, when we have the batteries of constituting tests which do correlate closely with known abilities. That is, the important analysis for any one of us and our children trying to live actual lives in a real world, is about a multivalent list of what we are good at, not so good at, and improvably bad at.

    I don’t need to know that my kid has an IQ of 140, or 87. I need to know the kid is pretty good on verbal skills and ratshit at three dimensional problem solving so a career in journalism is more plausible than flying a fighter jet, no matter how excited the tacker is by huge motors and large explosions.

    I remember Howard Gardner, the multiple intelligence person, saying on the radio that IQ basically measures our ability to be lawyers, in a society that basically trains us to be lawyers. In that framework, the correlation with ‘g’ and success is essentially circular.

    While you may laugh, stop and ask yourself just how much education you had which might support your three dimensional processing skills. The sort of thing that makes aboriginal footballers so brilliant.

    I note from that last Wikipedia article that the correlation between intelligence and economic achievement is very low. If you believe that ‘g’ is important, you end up thinking that smart people see through the trap of commercialism, and do good work in areas which are badly rewarded. Thus, society and the economy is unjust.

    I don’t see how ‘g’ is much use, but I do pull out one component – memory. And the ability to remember new things, which changes with age. I think memory is a kind of ‘g’ generalisable function, apart from specific processing skills, that increases brain effectiveness significantly.

    On that basis I am intrigued by the fact that IQ is supposed to be on average comparatively low for aborigines. They have a memory driven society, don’t they? Hundreds of generations of people committing a complex world view to their minds, using picture, country and song as mnemonic devices. In an evolutionary sense, that would surely privilege memory? And therefore IQ…

    Just as a final remark: IQ tests pretty obviously do not test interpersonal ability, or the capacity to understand feelings. EQ, to use that populist notion. Howard Gardner’s range of different intelligences is not well captured by traditional IQ tests.

  9. Ken Parish says:


    Yes, I think that’s exactly what Elizabeth Gould’s research implies. Brain and environment are intimately linked, much more so than was suspected even quite recently. So adverse environment, especially during gestation, may have dramatic effecets on brain structure and function. The effects are large and biological but not genetic and therefore not heritable.


    Yes, Aboriginal society was (and still is, to the extent it isn’t fractured and destroyed by drugs and alcohol and violence) extraordinarily subtle and complex. Just as the IQ tests picked up that Aboriginal visual IQ was much higher than average (around 119), so too I suspect that tests which effectively measured emotional intelligence would show Aboriginal people to be a long way above the European average in that area too.

    Although I’m hardly an expert in the area, I think the standard IQ tests only measure well the things that European middle class males are good at doing. Hence it’s hardly urprising that they come up with a conclusion that European males (and East Asians as well) are way smarter at those things than others. So those types of intelligence are indeed “privilieged” (both in a post-modern and traditional sense). In part they’re also abilities that equip people to compete effectively in a globalised world that is dominated economically by activities where western male-type intelligences confer a great advantage.

  10. Thanks Ken,

    An interesting post, but I’m happy not worrying about the issue of race and IQ. Unless the differences were huge, I’m not sure what I’d do with the result that some races were more (less) intelligent than others. We want social systems that select well for intelligence where it is a useful characteristic. And we want them to select on merit in that sense. Even if some races are below average there will be exceptions. So I can see huge amounts of mischief and not much benefit from getting an answer to the question of the average IQ of different races.

    Quite apart from the idea that there are different kinds of intelligences. Those aborigines sure can paint.

  11. derrida derider says:

    Ken, I think that bit about the direction of causality is obvious. The fact is there is no instrument available which lets you demonstrate which way the causality runs. I’m therefore very sceptical of claims of empiric evidence for racist views.

    So if direct empirics can’t help, let’s try deduction. Human races diverged very very recently. Under plausible estimates of mutation rates (remember we’re talking multiple genes here for IQ) and differences in selection pressure (note it’s the differential selection pressure that matters here, not the strength of selection pressure for higher IQ common to all) then it is not possible for large interracial differences in inherited IQ to arise. I also suspect Jared Diamond is right – you need to be a lot smarter to propagate a family in a hunter-gatherer society than in a peasant one, which puts the differential pressure in the wrong direction for the racists. And all that’s before we consider whether measured IQ actually means much across cultures (vide SJ Gould and Gummo Trotsky) and whether it’s mainly inherited.

    And of course even if all this is wrong and Lynn is right that can’t justify the contemptible Fraser. While I don’t like to see even the contemptible losing a job just for expressing a view, I wouldn’t fancy my chances of doing well in a class he teaches if I was a student with the wrong skin pigment. The uni was right to think of its reputation.

  12. Ken Parish says:


    Yes, I agree. See my previous comment, which you probably didn’t get a chance to read before posting your own comment. My primary post reflection on migration patterns in western Europe over millenia right up to the present was in part intended to convey the implausibility of a Darwinian explanation for measurable differences in national average IQ.

  13. Paul Watson says:

    See my comments on the Fraser fracas at Catallaxy http://badanalysis.com/catallaxy/?p=1699 , where I suggest that anyone determined (or even mildly curious) to create taxonomies of human IQ/criminal propensity etc, would be on much firmer scientific ground using postcodes for their analysis, rather than “race”.

    Pure taxonomies of “race” cannot exist without pre-existing, applied contexts. Ken, you thus suggest that low (non-visual) IQ for Indigenous Australians explains outback community dysfunction, while conversely, their high visual IQ explains their artistic prowess. Whatever

  14. Ken Parish says:

    “you thus suggest that low (non-visual) IQ for Indigenous Australians explains outback community dysfunction”

    In fact if you read my post again you’ll see that I’m actually suggesting exactly the opposite, based on Elizabeth Gould’s research, namely that dysfunctional communities (caused by a whole range of factors) create a hostile environemtn in which children’s (and foetal) brains fail to thrive, imprinting disabilities that then persist for life.

    “I would have thought that traditional kinship/economic systems, and their incompatibility with virulent capitalism, are a more proximate cause of such dysfunction. ”

    Yes, I agree, although it’s not the only cause.

  15. Link says:

    “Although I’m hardly an expert in the area, I think the standard IQ tests only measure well the things that European middle class males are good at doing. Hence it’s hardly urprising that they come up with a conclusion that European males (and East Asians as well) are way smarter at those things than others.”

    Very glad to read this in the comments. Rather pointless discussion I feel. Titillating, for the white suprematists amongst us, Asian results notwithstanding, but the sort of discussion I suspect which inevitably leads to the kind of thinking that seeks to equate an individual’s intelligence with his level of morality, and civility.

    White men have spent far too much time, trying to prove that they are smarter, better and wiser than black people. Odious topic. And I agree with David, I would rather know that my kid was happy, well adjusted, competant and responsble for himself before I would be the vaguest bit interested in knowing what his intelligence quotient was. The only reason I would seek to find this out was if I suspected him to be a complete imbecile.

  16. Ken Parish says:

    “Rather pointless discussion I feel.”

    I strongly disagree. If we leave the field to the white supremacists to put their own spin on academic research in this area (and any other), then the vast majority who have no way of knowing any different may become convinced by the lack of response that the supremacists’ interpretation is unarguably correct. Suppressing discussion for fear of inflaming racist sentiment is therefore likely to prove counterproductive. The skewed interpretations of people like Andrew Fraser can and should be countered and disproved on the evidence by people of goodwill, lest the racists win by default.

  17. Ken Parish says:


    The sentences in my previous comment immediately following the ones you quoted are also important:

    So those types of intelligence are indeed “privileged”

  18. Link says:

    Like it or not, we’re all (Aboriginal and Caucasian alike) living in a world dominated by western global capitalism. Those skills that western and East Asian males are so good at are largely the ones that equip a person to succeed in that dominant culture.

    Perpetuating and supporting this monster we call the dominant culture the vain and inglorious western global capitalist economy is, imo patently misguided. Yes its all we’ve got, no I don’t like it, but these kind of eugenics type enquiries have been around for too long already and have proved nothing other than the ongoing stupidity of white western males.

  19. Jason Soon says:

    ‘Perpetuating and supporting this monster we call the dominant culture the vain and inglorious western global capitalist economy is, imo patently misguided’

    Yep, this very same monster that is at this very moment allowing you to type your words and transmit them hundreds of thousands of miles to the eyes of anyone willing to sift through their contents. Yep, it clearly shows the ‘stupidity of white western males’.

    I agree with Ken and Nick. I’m agnostic about the IQ-ethnicity link, and I don’t think it has any implications for how we treat people even if a link was demonstrated as long as one is ‘stupid western’ liberal who believes in treating individuals on their merits. There are other better targeted ways of remedying cognitive deficiencies which are clearly due to nutrition and lack of stimulation – better diets. better education and so on.

    • Julie Thomas says:

      “Yep, it clearly shows the ‘stupidity of white western males’.”

      Not suggesting you are sexist here Jason, – but you are gratuitously snarky – but did only males participate in the development of the technology that is allowing all of us the sort of social communication that the Australian blackfellas had, before we came and rubbished their culture and their humanity?

  20. Link says:

    Hurrah for western capitalism! Onwards and upwards. Growth at ALL costs. it so needs your defence of it Jason. This is a tedious, nonsense argument one more often employed by RWDB types and I’m surprised you use it.

    I should learn to be more ingratiating– grateful towards the stupid white men and all the marvels they have given me.

    Know my place and keep me in it eh?

  21. Jason Soon says:

    Let’s strip away all this silly rhetoric, Link, and look at what you’re implicitly proposing.
    Ken wrote:”Like it or not, we’re all (Aboriginal and Caucasian alike) living in a world dominated by western global capitalism. Those skills that western and East Asian males are so good at are largely the ones that equip a person to succeed in that dominant culture”

    To which you wrote:
    “Perpetuating and supporting this monster we call the dominant culture the vain and inglorious western global capitalist economy is, imo patently misguided’

    So what do you mean by ‘perpetuating ths monster’? You mean ‘improving the skill levels of people to allow them to navigate the dominant culture’. What are these skills? Regardless of whether they are intrinsically ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than other skills or make people ‘better’ human beings than others is irrelevant metaphysics. These skills are skills which are captued in IQ tests – namely literacy and numeracy, and the ability to deal with abstractions, the sorts of skills that Clinton adviser Robert Reich dubbed the skills of ‘symbolic analysts’.

    And your response to all that? that no, we should bury our heads in the sand and sing Kumbaya and make dot paintings all day. Now no doubt some spolt Western hippie downshifting middle class brats can well afford to do that, and some Aboriginal artists have managed to make a living out of their paintings but to argue against improving these ‘symbolic analyst’ skills which *are* of great utility, including for engineering the technology that allows hippie New Agers to spew bile about ‘capitalism’ through broadband, to scorn these skils on the basis that they are associated with ‘dumb white males’ and ‘multinational capitalism’ is ostrich-like in the extreme.

  22. James Dudek says:

    Who actually cares about IQ?

    There is no link between IQ and real world achievement. It’s a pointless measure.

  23. Jason Soon says:

    I suggest you read this

    I am simply being pragmatic about this issue, as Ken is. We can leave the debate about whether possession of higher IQ makes one a better human being to the theologians and other dealers in pointless metaphysics. Just about the only people who might believe this are those who use the research to justify their pre-existing racism and those people also tend to hate Jews and may therefore have issues with higher Jewish IQ. The genetic contribution to IQ may be of intrinsic interest to some researchers but for public policy purposes has little impact since we can only change our environment, and we have enough work in that department such as early childhood intervention programmes. What matters is that insofar as certain marginalised ethnic groups like African Americans and Aboriginal Australians score lower on this test which is, as Ken, points out, a good measurement of one’s ability to navigate the modern Western landscape, then there may be reason to believe that their poor outcomes in this landscape are partly caused by these low scores. This can and should be addressed by traditional liberal and social-democratic means and have no ‘Nazi’ implications as people like Link wish to suggest.

  24. Ken Parish says:

    An excellent article Jason. Thanks for the link.

  25. millipede says:

    Link is right.

    IQ (or g) is simply a system designed by white capitalist males to confirm that white capitalist males deserve the fruits of their oppression.

    I believe that so-called “Islamic extremism” is simply an expression of non white non capitalists reacting to the global hegemony of white capitalist males. Unfortunately they have resorted to violence out of frustration to prove their point, but that does not mean that their grievance is not real and also applies to other disenfranchised groups such as aboriginal peoples.

    I will wager that if aboriginal or Muslim people designed a test and applied it to white capitalist males most of you would fail.

    Australia has an opportunity, which we are failing to take, to break out of this hegemonous system.

    We need to recognize that aboriginals (and others ) can not and should not succeed in the vain and inglorious western global capitalist economy.

    Let aboriginals and others -Pacific Islanders, Muslims,- succeed or fail in their own indigenous cultures and ways of being. Don’t force them into the western capitalist mold. Give them the same resources that white capitalist have taken for themselves. Make sure that they have what they need and want out of life.

    And let them design and test IQ for the rest and see how white capitalist males succeed in a world not of their own choosing.

  26. Paul Watson says:

    Ken wrote:

    “The skewed interpretations of people like Andrew Fraser can and should be countered and disproved on the evidence by people of goodwill, lest the racists win by default”.

    A classic motherhood statement, but one which I feel compelled to qualify. Contrary to popular opinion, media (especially OpEd/academic) space is *not” an infinite resource. In the last decade, the Internet has admittedly enabled just about any First-Worlder with an opinion to self-publish it, but there is little overlap between blogs et al and serious media space. (A controversial comment I know, but the evidence of the Windschuttle fracas is instructive here: W’s theories on Tasmania’s Indigenes only it the spotlight in 2002 when they were published in a hardcopy journal, and then a newspaper, in 2002. Likewise his book (self-published, ironically enough) but never his blog took the Windschuttle publicity machine to a whole new level in 2003.)

    A necessary consequence of media space being a scarce resource is that there have to be rules and so gatekeepers controlling access to it. Which concept is very easy to simply pejoratively label as “censorship”, but I don’t buy that.

    As an example, in Dec 2002 a letter to the ed of the Australian, written by three academics including Melbourne’s Marcia Langton, shortly and simply stated:

    “We are deeply concerned that Keith Windschuttle should be given space to attack the credibility of major Australian historians (Opinion 9/12)

    Windschuttle has no reputation as an historian, having contributed nothing to the field except polemic.

    It is a tragedy for Australian society that someone with such a twisted view of history, based on the flimsiest tinkering with the evidence, should be given any support or credence.”

  27. Link says:

    So much for dropping the rhetoric Jason (as I drag myself away from my dot painting, Kumbaya playing over and over in my middle-class hippie head). Broadband? No Jason, you have broadband not me.

    Needless to say at this point, I find the title of the post quite offensive, because as I said, history has already demonstrated to us, that once you start proving that certain races are ‘dumber’ than others, it is only a short leap before judgements about other aspects of what makes a human human are brought into quesiton. These same sort of studies rendered the American Indians non-people and they form the basis for racism by giving it some sort of ‘scientific’ validation. It is an extremely dangerous area of investigation when couched within these parameters. (Not to mention highly offensive to us dumbfucks.)

    I have no delusions about us all being equal. I am all for improving people’s lot in life, but intelligence while it can be improved marginally by providing individuals with love, affection, attention and good nutirition, any mprovements are marginal. What one is born with is basically what one has by way of intelligence and none of us get to choose the circumstances of our birth.

    My scorn at the monster of western capitalism is that it is flat out denying people these basic needs with greed and surivival of the richest as its driving force. If one is lucky enough to have been born bright- well and good, white and bright well then you’re really lucky, but dumb (by IQ test standards) and black well then you basically have no hope.

    We did some IQ tests at school (I think they were IQ tests) I found them really difficult not to mention totally irrelevant. I have no idea what the results were. I noticed, however, intractable child that I was that the teachers gave up on me, post IQ testing.

  28. A friend of mine and I were discussing this earlier; I made a few edits to the Wikipedia article on “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”. As so many other genetic characteristics can be (on a statistical basis) determined to be more strongly present in some “races” than others, it would be very surprising if ones related to intelligence were somehow an exception to this, as some like to claim. But the kind of radical differentiation attributable to genetics that wackers like Lynn and his coauthors claim suggests that there’s something radically wrong with their methodology.

    Basically, IQ scores as low as they measure for groups like Aborigines indicate that the average Aboriginal has an IQ score little higher than the typical Down’s Syndrome sufferer. Assuming the average Aussie has an IQ of 100, that would mean that the average Aboriginal has an IQ higher (assuming I’ve done my maths right) than only about 0.5% of the general population. Now think of a sample of 200 random Australians. Do you really think the average Aboriginal person is dumber than all but one of those 200 random Aussies? To me, that indicates that there is either something radically wrong with their data collection, or something wrong with the statistic they are measuring. Or both.

  29. Ken Parish says:


    You’re right. Except when intoxicated, the Aboriginal people that I know (and there are lots) all present as being of at least average intelligence. They’re certainly not borderline Down Syndrome! So either there’s something radically wrong with Lynn’s methodology or that of the psychologists who administered the tests, or (more likely) a much higher proportion of Aboriginal than Caucasian subjects say to themselves as they sit the IQ test: “This is just a heap of pointless whitefella crap. I’ll finish the questions just to be polite, but I’ll be stuffed if I’m going to expend any mental energy on bullshit like this“. Hardly an irrational response, and arguably more intelligent than any of us whitefellas who take such tests seriously.

  30. Jason Soon says:

    I think we’ve already established that the IQ test is not a good measurement of individual potential where the population in question is subject to overwhelming nutritional and environmental deficiencies. And it’s likely that the IQ and Wealth of Nations score for Aborigines is based on a small sample size and is therefore invalid anyway. So there’s no need to create an even more absurd strawman. The point is the measurement
    (1) works well enough for people in middle class environments
    (2) the score does have some bearing on one’s ability to navigate the modern cultural landscape as it is basically a test of literacy and numeracy and the ability to manipulate concepts arising from familiarity with literacy and numeracy.

    I do agree the average scores that Lynn has worked out for Aborigines and sub saharan Africans not just borders on the absurd but actually is.

    • Tel says:

      My feelings on this forbidden topic are pretty similar.

      As a believer in Evolution, I find it difficult to accept that while most humans have similar physical brain sizes and while those brains are made of similar material, some humans just magically use much more of their brains than others. Evolution tends to be efficient, so we grew big brains for some reason, although the tautological concept of “survival of the fittest, and fitness is defined by survival” will never tell you what that reason is.

      Since it’s only been 200 years of European occupation in Australia, I would regard this as not much time in an evolutionary sense, but it is a lot of time in terms of cross breeding. There are very few pure Aboriginals left, but a large number of people with some Aboriginal genetics, mixed with many other things as well.

      Humans adapt their raw brain power to specific tasks at hand by three mechanisms: [1] genetic predisposition (e.g. sensory processing, vs analytic processing, vs motor skills), [2] learning by doing (over time an individual wiith repeated exposure to any task will improve their ability to do that task) and [3] culture and technology (learning a task from someone who is already a master is much more efficient than puzzling it out on your own).

      Psychologists spend a lot of time teasing the various effects apart, or rather they spend time convincing themselves that they are able to tease these effects apart, in a world where genetics, culture, and environment are always highly correlated.

      Aboriginals (more precisely, part-Aboriginals where that part may be various) have done well at many sports, especially those requiring endurance, fast reaction time, mental agility, and hand/eye coordination (e.g. boxing and AFL) but not so well in sports requiring brute strength and mastery of complex technique (e.g. wrestling). Could this be genetic or merely a matter of opportunity? I don’t believe there’s any way of telling, nor do I believe we are going to come up with any quick and reliable test for an individual to determine what he/she will be good at. The statistics are curious, but highly speculative at best.

  31. observa says:

    Does development really track closely to ethnic male’s attitudes towards women, rather than perhaps cruder measures like IQ? Was it the pedestal of Wordsworth and Keats that would fuel some men’s development far beyond Arabic Islam or tribal Africans?

  32. observa says:

    Or to put it another way, is that the real IQ?

  33. Jason Soon says:

    The shorter Observa:
    IQ is whatever allow me to go on another rant about Islam:-)

  34. observa says:

    Not really my cup of tea Jason, but one for the feminists to run with perhaps? OTOH perhaps it’s big families?http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/biorder.htm

  35. observa says:

    “The shorter Observa: IQ is whatever allow me to go on another rant about Islam:-)”

    Perhaps you just might have considered how Chinese treated women Jason, instead of blocking your ears to a what if? You know Jason, things like feet binding and getting rid of girl babies. What about tribal Africa Jason? How do most African males treat women? I note that in America, 70% of Afro-American males grow up without a father. Any reason for that Jason? Do you think that might have some impact on generational development? It certainly seems to for white families. Yes and there is the question of Arabic/Islamic treatment of women. Food for thought or beneath the dignity of experts such as yourself Jason?

  36. observa says:

    Another question for you Jason. Did it require the dictatorial hand of Mao to emancipate Chinese women and with it male attitudes in order for China to really take off on the development road, unlike other cultures. Perhaps British colonialism achieved some of the same in India? Suttee is not the best way of improving women’s overall contributions to society I would have thought.

    Perhaps a seemingly dumb question can really require some intelligent answering. Human progress has often hinged on that very process. What if a seemingly dumb hypothesis is true?

  37. Jason Soon says:

    the topic is the usefulness of IQ, and the possible genetic contribution to IQ, not ‘development’ which you haven’t even bothered to define.
    so aside from your usual schtick of hurling around impressions helter skelter and the odd URL I’m not really sure what your point is.

  38. observa says:

    Or just a whole new branch of Womens Studies eh Jas? ;)

  39. Jason Soon says:

    ‘Another question for you Jason. Did it require the dictatorial hand of Mao to emancipate Chinese women and with it male attitudes in order for China to really take off on the development road, unlike other cultures. ‘

    Now we’re really going off topic here but unfortunately for your theory, China *started off* being scientifically advanced (see the work of Joseph Needham) and then declined. it declined because it turned inwards and the emperor decide to end all major seafaring voyages. then after stagnation under a whole list of other emperors, it underwent a period of warlordism, and then when Mao took over it eventually went shithouse even more . have you become a communist now?

    Oh, and if you were trying to stir me up with the foot-binding remark I should point out that I’m Hakka and so none of my ancestors can be indicted for foot-binding.

  40. derrida derider says:

    Oh what joy for all the RWDBs lurking here! millipede above has demonstrated that the warm, fuzzy, pomo muddleheaded leftist views that they constantly assume their opponents hold are in fact actualy held by some real life humans somewhere (where they’re wrong, of course, is to assume that this sort of stuff is actually held by enough people to matter).

    “Let aboriginals and others -Pacific Islanders, Muslims,- succeed or fail in their own indigenous cultures and ways of being.” – millipede

    Alas for the noble savage. milipede clearly has not seen small children swarming with flies, has never been the victim of a drunken assault, has not had to face violent religious bigots, has not bothered to read enough anthropology and history to understand that life is in fact nasty brutish and short pretty well everywhere except where modern world capitalism and/or democratic socialism has held sway. If she saw the consequences of “failing in their own way” she would be much less complacent about it.

  41. Caesar says:

    I tend to agree with Millipede “Let …(the)…others – succeed or fail in their own indigenous cultures and ways of being.”

  42. Nabakov says:

    Couldn’t agree more Caeser and millipede.

    In fact I can assure you, that as an Alpha white male at the top of the pyramid, I’d have no hestitation in tipping you two out of the boat first. That way there’s more room for biodiverse breeding stock (ie: groovy black chicks.)

    I know you guys won’t mind. It’s for the common good after all.

  43. Nabakov says:

    And oh yes, Andrew Fraser would follow you into the water tout suite. Too old. Not fertile anymore.

    “”Well I… I would hate to have to decide who stays up and who goes down.”

    “Well, that would not be necessary Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would bemuch time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years.”

  44. Caesar says:

    Navakov,whether you are the alpha male has yet to be determined!

    And as it seems, you are playing safe and pandering to the ruling taboos & cliches you are more likely to be a Zeta,Theta,Kappa or even an Omega male-hardly likely to be optimal breeding stock!
    Better leave the black chicks ( & the yellow,browns & whites for that matter !!!) to me.

  45. Mathilda says:


    Relative brain mass varies between races, and relative brain mass has been shown to have a VERY high correlation to IQ/G in multiple recent MRI/IQ studies.

    It’s a total myth that IQ only tests your schooling, and there is a long leter from the American psycology association from the nineties saying that no-one supports this claim. There are a set of tests for illiterates called ‘Raven’s matrices’ that show consistent results across cultures and educational levels, and are in no way culturally biased.

    The most common POV among psychology phd’s that specialise in intellligence is that racial differences in IQ are at least partially genetic, about three times more common than the ‘it’s enviromnmental’ school. There is a letter called ‘Egalitarian fiction, collective fraud’ by a psychology phd that makes this very clear. So far the bulk of the data collected shows that racial IQ difference are mainly genetic in difference. The real problem is that most academics are terrified of supporting this publicly, and most will only respond to the polls on the subject if they can do so anonymously. The media completely misrepresents what most of them beleive to be true, leading the public to beleive that the paradigm is ‘equality’ when it isn’t at all.

    I’d also like to point out that the IQ studies of Europeans show a very consistent north/south clinal variation, consistent with the hypothesis that IQ is affected by climate in someway. The current population pattern of Europe was established in the Neolithic, and since then all the migrations and invasions have made only a negilible impact on the genetics of each nation.

    More to the point, I’ve talked with an anthropolgist whose specialist area is the evolution of the human brain, and he’s made it perfectly clear there is zero evolutionary reason for human intelligence to be the same across races. You would have to assume (for them to be equal) that the human brain ceased evolving over 130,000 years ago when African and non African populations split up from each other. We know this is not the case as some mutations affecting brain developement appear in Europeans/Asians but not Africans and only have a TMRCA of about 35,000 years or less. Also, the neolithic era (the last 10,000 years) has been an era of unprecedented change in the way we live, and we know of a many mutations that affect Europeans and Asians date to this era and not Africans/Aborigines etc.

    Finally, it has been shown on many occassions to be a strong correlation between low IQ’s and criminality/negative life outcomes (see the work of Linda Gottfriedsen). Culture factors in too, but IQ is a major factor in the cause of criminality.

  46. Edward Mariyani-Squire says:


    What’s a “race”?

  47. Christoph says:

    Hi Ken,

    It’s amazing just how much the environment is shown to affect the actual physical development of the brain’s structures, isn’t it?

    And the weaknesses of the theory that cold climates alone explain intelligence differences between populations are readily apparent, I agree, as you have pointed out.

    I think both of those things are factors. And hopefully the environment proves to be a larger factor on brain size and structure, because the environment is under our control.

    Yet Lynn’s theory that there is a substantial fixed genetic component may be true by an entirely different mechanism than the one he proposed. It’s an extremely simple idea. I think you’ll want to be aware of it and given an opportunity to consider it:

    Population size. And how larger populations have more beneficial genetic mutations to draw upon, resulting in, over time, faster increase in positive adaptive traits such as g.

    Would you please read this article and comment about whether you think it’s a reasonable proposition worthy of further scientific inquiry? I’d be most interested to hear your opinion.

    I just read it today for the first time. I am no expert. But the idea itself seemed to me to have enormous merit: Simplicity, a plus for a scientific hypothesis, and a very plausible mechanism to explain the genetically-determined portion of the differential intelligence Lynn believes is there.

    Sincerely yours,


    P.S. I was raised most especially by my father to believe in equality between all the races EXCEPT for culture. My father introduced people of other races to me at an early age. One of whom was (and is) a very fine fellow my sister and I called “Fuzzy”. This was before the hysteria that a man shouldn’t be alone with non-related children.

    He looked after my sister on I for many an outing and we both loved him dearly. He was a really smart, loving, great fun fellow, and completely decent. He’s now an awesome husband and father.

    I was and am a passionate opponent of racism. I hate racists. I have been outspoken about this for decades. I’m mixed race (although not visibly so), I love a mixed race person (different mixture than I) more than anyone else on the planet), and I like people of all the races, having dated and/or had friends of several different ones.

    I’ve seen brilliant African American scientists, for example, women scientists, etc. I would love for the whole different racial groups have differing average levels of intelligence based on genetics hypothesis to be wrong.

    However, looking at the data, I’m finding it hard to hold on to my lifelong view, which I only started questioning weeks ago. This even caused some emotional turmoil for me, initially, and yet the case seemed logical.

    I’m just telling you this so you understand I have no vested interest, or desire, to prove that “my” race is superior to another race intellectually. For almost my entire life it was was an article of faith for me that it (they?) are not.

  48. Christoph says:


    Fuzzy was of African ancestry if you haven’t figured it out. He had one wicked afro.

  49. Paul Frijters says:


    in terms of sheer variance of genes within a species, you must be right that a larger population means more diversity in genetic material (a more recent article saying the same thing is described here: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1043228620071210).

    In terms of speed of change of a whole species though, as far as I know, the argument goes the opposite way, i.e. that evolutionary change of a whole species is fastest in smaller populations. The argument is that in large population with sufficient random cross-breeding, any change quickly gets diluted whilst in a small population you can match closely related people to each other reducing the dilution in changes (for better or worse!). Dog breeding, cow breeding, pig breeding, etc. thus all work on the principle of strenuously selecting and cross-breeding of a small population until you have sufficiently amplified the desired traits.

  50. Christoph says:

    Thank you for your reply, Paul. You make a good point.

    Have you read the article I linked?

    The author answered, I felt, that question quite well when forming his hypothesis. Basically it’s that intelligence is complex and is the interaction of many alleles, unlike many simpler traits which require less genetic information to make a noticeable difference.

    One exception to this principle would be the action of chance, what is known in population genetics as drift. If a population is small, the accumulated action of chance can cause the frequency of a single gene in one population to differ considerably from that in another population (see any population genetics text such as Cavalli-Sforza & Bodmer, 1971). If intelligence was determined by a single gene, observed population differences in intelligence could easily be explained by drift. However, if drift was the only factor operating, different intelligence promoting alleles would predominant in different populations. One population might have an advantage in having a higher frequency of one intelligence promoting allele, and another population would have an advantage in the frequency of another intelligence promoting allele. Many of the differences in frequency would cancel each other out, leaving relatively small differences between populations in intelligence, even if there were large differences in the frequencies of specific intelligence promoting genes.

    If we leave aside the influence of differential natural selection and drift, natural selection with a uniform strength would apper [sic] unable to change gene frequencies sufficiently to produce population wide intelligence differences. Yet we do observe such differences. Why? A possible answer is that, if populations do differ in size, they will differ in number of advantageous mutations. This will lead to differences in intelligence.

    Incidentally, this same theory could be applied to other issues such as the evolution of disease resistance. The disease organisms in a large population should have evolved more effective mechanisms for overcoming the host’s defenses than the organisms in a small population. When the populations come into contact, there will be more diseases spreading from the large population to the small population, than from the small to the large population. This is indeed what was observed when the New and Old World populations were brought into contact. The diseases introduced from Europe and Africa into the Amerindian populations were more numerous and caused more harm than the diseases introduced from the Americas into Europe (of which syphilis appears the chief example).


    The hypothesis he makes seems to correlate very well with actual recorded IQs as well as providing yet another mechanism to explain the “Flynn Effect” (that, worldwide, IQ test scores are increasing … as our population explodes).

    What do you think of it in that light, Paul? Especially how a larger population might give more opportunity for a complex trait like intelligence to advance considering the sheer number of beneficial mutations which would occur over and above those which would occur in a smaller population (even though a given mutation would be adopted by the population as a whole, quicker).

    Ken, have you had a chance to read the article? What do you think of the concept?

  51. Christoph says:

    His name is on the article itself, but I should give credit here. It was written by Professor Edward R. Miller, Ph.D. (Economics) of the University of New Orleans.

    I know nothing about his work aside from that one article. Yet, as I mentioned, his thesis seemed to me to be both logical and match up fairly well with the IQ test results, which is why I am asking you knowledgeable people for your thought and opinions.

    For my own part, I’m curious, as I am about most scientific questions, what studying the genome will eventually reveal on the question of race and average IQ. My preference would be it reveals no difference whatsoever. However now that I’ve just recently started thinking about it, I can’t bring myself to think that is likely.

    Not so much because of the data — it could be wrong (although there’s lots of it) — but because, logically, why should there be no difference whatsoever?

  52. Paul Frijters says:


    we seem to be talking cross-purposes here. It is almost indisputable that a large population will have more mutations in the gene pool. The analogy with diseases and resistence to diseases is not a good one though because, unlike genes, resistence to diseases can spreads accross the population without the death of people with the wrong genes via the learning ability of our immune system.

    More importantly, variation within a species is not the same as the genetic change of the whole poulation. All humans on this planet still appear to be part of the same species, yet we havent yet (as far as I know) seen the emergence of a new species that is resistent to malaria and lactose tolerant and height-adapted (think of Nepalese) and super-smart, etc. Hence it is not clear that our species as a whole has changed. With the genetic mixing that is happening now via migration, perhaps many adaptations that provide local advantages will eventually be lost.

    The Flyn effect clearly speaks for the importance of non-genetic factors.

    I did have a look at the article, but whilst I am no expert in this field, I do know the field has moved on. They are busy with particular neuro-receptors now, and are looking more directly for a whole set of mental traits. For instance, in the field of explaining risk-aversion, they are looking for things like serotonin inhibitors (receptor gene HRT7) and are taking blood-samples all over the place. These things definitely differ accross poulations.

  53. Christoph says:

    Thank you for your feedback, Paul.

    I still consider the idea interesting as a plausible mechanism. Yet it certainly isn’t mainstream even within the decidedly politically incorrect community of scientists studying IQ and genetic differences, including potentially within populations. Therefore, the other proposed mechanisms, such as North-South climate differential, and even random chance, are at least equally likely.

    You mention that the Flynn effect is due to non-genetic factors. Certainly I agree this is probably the case. As but one example, research shows parasites can reduce intelligence. Probably due to direct neural damage as well as the developing body being forced to divert resources from brain intelligence development to the energetic demands of the immune system. And then there’s simply the quality and quantity of calories, natural healthy fats, and protein.

    I read a piece in the Guardian where scientists speculated the reason northern Europeans (Teutons, Galls, etc.) were taller and more powerfully built than the Romans was dietary.

    The Northern Europeans ate, according to modern anthropologists, Julius Caesar, and contemporary Greco-Roman historians, more flesh and dairy. While we didn’t evolve on dairy for the better part of our development into Homo sapiens, it simulates the animal-protein and fat-rich food we did evolve on.

    My point with the “Flynn effect” is non-genetic factors can be at play. They can be the leading factor. And yet, over time, due to epigenetics and other processes, this can lead to aaccelerated by changes within the genome — by whichever mechanism(s): The non-genetic factors can drive genetic change.

    It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Whatever the truth turns out to be, I hope people will see the positive.

    Knowledge should be a good thing. And yet it has the potential to be abused.

  54. Although I will confess to being something of a freak for linking everything within geological or social sciences together, I wonder why nobody has had a look at the studies of Tom McMahon in Global Runoff: Continental Comparisons of Annual Flows and Peak Discharges and Tim Flannery in The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australian Lands and People.

    Although these two books are about distinctly different topics, if you look at Lynn’s results in the context of these two books and a little basic paleopedological knowledge, one comes to the conclusion that the low IQ of Aborigines would logically be an essential adaptation to ancient, impoverished soils and variable food availability that in part results from the constraints these soils place on productivity. Smaller brain size has the basic advantage of requiring less food, so that in Australia’s impoverished soils and seas that could not support settled populations until huge amounts of phosphate were imported from the Middle East and various Pacific atolls, those individuals with larger brains and higher IQ were unable to reproduce and disappeared.

    My guess is that this selection against the more intelligent alleles of DTNBP1 preceded in fact very rapidly by the standards of genetic selection. The reason I believe that such changes occurred rapidly rather than at an average rate is that the Highlanders of New Guinea, who live in a very fertile environment with none of the constraints of Australia, have no higher intelligence. This suggests that until New Guinea’s mountain glaciers retreated, there was no occupation of these regions, most likely because there were no large mammals in the alpine zone of New Guinea. By the time these fertile Highlands were settled, Australoids had evolved to such an extent that genes producing higher intelligence had been completely eliminated by selection in the infertile environments of Australia. In contrast, Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians had never had this problem, so that some genes that influenced IQ had never evolved in them to the point of major reductions in intelligence.

  55. jim morris says:

    I cannot understand why people are so upset by the research that shows Australian aborigines have very low IQ’s. It explains so much. “Why do aboriginal students fail when the equivalent non-segregated school nearby does so much better on far less money?” the politician asks, but if the IQ figures are mentioned everybody screams shame! racist! etc and ignores the obvious.

  56. MT Isa Miner says:

    Robert, in the same way that African Amer. & Aborigines have different iq’s – the af-american have been studied to buggery and the difference always comes to 1 standard deviation from white americans and Aborigines barely studied –the interesting key is the proposition that their OWN POPULATION’S standard deviation is estimated to be smaller not 15, maybe 8.

    Cutting to the chase: retard for us is not retard for them.
    this is a positive. In the golden olden days it didn’t matter as they were the ‘masters of the universe’ according to some posting here! But it’s still good.
    (Yeah ii know Downies are not retards unlike race deniers)

  57. jim morris says:

    Part of the The Bell Jar research shows that east asians are 5% smarter than caucasians but no-one flinches at that. This is another stupid argument that ignores science because it is all about personal politics. Please stop sending me updates.

  58. Jason McPherson says:

    Interesting discussion. I noticed the Flynn Effect mentioned but not much reference to Flynn’s work – Flynn’s books on these topics are among the very best.

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