Friday, November 26, 2010

Re: Are Muslims lowering the intelligence of German society?

Billy Blogblather writes,

Lawrence: " Goodhart bemoans the fact that Sarrazin muddied the water of his otherwise good book with pseudo-eugenics. And yet Sarrazin is doing something very like what Herrnstein and Murray did in their 1994 book The Bell Curve. People were outraged and just about everyone denounced the book, but their arguments were valid and almost immediately changes were made to the American Welfare system, during the Clinton administration, no less."

Blogblather: Their arguments were valid? Says who? You? Others take issue.

From Wiki:

Melvin Konner, professor of anthropology and associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory University, called Bell Curve a "deliberate assault on efforts to improve the school performance of African-Americans":

"This book presented strong evidence that genes play a role in intelligence but linked it to the unsupported claim that genes explain the small but consistent black-white difference in IQ. The juxtaposition of good argument with a bad one seemed politically motivated, and persuasive refutations soon appeared. Actually, African-Americans have excelled in virtually every enriched environment they have been placed in, most of which they were previously barred from, and this in only the first decade or two of improved but still not equal opportunity. It is likely that the real curves for the two races will one day be superimposable on each other, but this may require decades of change and different environments for different people. Claims about genetic potential are meaningless except in light of this requirement.


"Much of the criticism of The Bell Curve has focused on potential flaws in the basic assumptions made at the beginning of the book. William J. Matthews and Stephen Jay Gould list four basic assumptions of The Bell Curve:

1. Intelligence must be reducible to a single number.

2. Intelligence must be capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.

3. Intelligence must be primarily genetically based.

4. Intelligence must be essentially immutable.

According to Gould, if any of these premises are false, then their entire argument disintegrates (Gould, 1994). Similarly, in "Science" in the service of Racism, C. Loring Brace writes that The Bell Curve makes six basic assumptions at the beginning of the book:

1. Human Cognitive ability is a single general entity, depictable as a single number.

2. Cognitive ability has a heritability of between 40 and 80 percent and is therefore primarily genetically based.

3. IQ is essentially immutable, fixed over the course of a life span.

4. IQ tests measure how "smart" or "intelligent" people are and are capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.

5. IQ tests can measure this accurately.

6. IQ tests are not biased with regard to race ethnic group or socioeconomic status.

Brace proceeds to argue that there are faults in every one of these assumptions."

I'm surprised that you would resort to such a scurrilous study to support your xenophobia. Just come out and say you don't like these people. They're different. They scare you. And at least then we wouldn't have to wade through this all phony science garbage to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Lawrence responds:

Yeah, yeah. I read the criticisms at the time, but unlike most of the critics, I also read the book. The authors argue that intelligence isn't entirely or even largely a function of environment as a Liberal prejudice would have it, but that probably 50% of intelligence is a function of heredity.  But they don’t insist on a number.  There argument would have validity if only 25% of intelligence was based upon heredity.  They don't distinguish between black and white (as those who haven’t read their book assume). They distinguished between the dumb and the smart. They offer evidence; so if you pay those whose intelligence is subnormal to have extra children (through welfare) then you are lowering the overall intelligence level of society by some number.  They don’t say what that number is. (This is what Sarrazin is saying about German society as well. Quit paying those with subnormal IQs to have more children.) As we know, shortly after the publication of The Bell Curve, the recommendations for an overhaul of the welfare system were begun -- in accordance with the recommendations of the authors of The Bell Curve, during the Clinton administration. You quote Wikipedia. Here is another Wikipedia quote:

"In 1994, libertarian author Charles Murray suggested that welfare causes dependency. He argued that as welfare benefits increased, the number of recipients also increased; this behavior, he said, was rational: there is little reason to work if one can receive benefits for a long period of time without having to work.[8] The later work of Charles Murray, Richard J. Herrnstein, and others suggested possible merit to the theory of a dysgenic effect,[ however, the data are not entirely clear. Right or wrong, this argument was among the stepping stones leading to the modification of AFDC toward TANF.

"Reform: In 1996, President Bill Clinton negotiated with the Republican-controlled Congress to pass the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which drastically restructured the program. Among other changes, a lifetime limit of five years was imposed for the receipt of benefits, and the newly-limited nature of the replacement program was reinforced by calling AFDC's successor Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Many Americans continue to refer to TANF as "welfare" or AFDC.

No comments: