Apparently James Flynn and Charles Murray have had another public debate about black/white IQ. Flynn is the only Leftist who is capable of sustaining an informed debate on the matter (people like Gardner and Sternberg are off with the fairies). There was another debate between Flynn and Murray a year ago. The report of the latest debate is by John Derbyshire, who is as cautious and polite as ever.

It is really sad to hear that Flynn is still leaning heavily on the old Eyferth study. Flynn himself knows the problems of generalizing from that study and I point them out with my usual brutal frankness here. Flynn is a perfectly competent IQ researcher so why he clings to something so unhelpful to his case is quite a mystery. It must just be that curious Leftist inability to cope with the world as it is. In Flynn’s case it is denial on a pathological scale.

If anything, the Eyferth study shows the central role of genetics in IQ. The study found that the children of black American GIs and white women had similar IQs to whites. But blacks at the time had to pass the same IQ test as whites to get into the army. So what the study shows is that what IQ tests test for is genetically transmitted! And it shows that it was genetically transmitted AMONG BLACKS! Nasty! Putting it another way, it shows that only a subset of blacks especially selected by IQ tests will get results similar to whites. Why Flynn thinks that study helps his case is rather a mystery. It does make him look like some sort of mental case. It might be worth noting that Leftists themselves are much less confident of their mental health than are conservatives.

The other study mentioned by Derb is the Ogbu (“Shaker Heights”) study. Black researcher Ogbu found that the children of middle class blacks did not do as well at school as the children of middle class whites. Ogbu himself attributed that to an anti-intellectual culture among blacks and there is no doubt that such a culture exists. A more straightforward explanation of his findings, however, is that affirmative action makes it easy for blacks of only average ability to rise into the middle class whereas whites have to be above-average to get there. So the children simply reflect the genetic endowment of their parents.

There is also a statistical effect known as regression to the mean that could be at work in the Ogbu study. The effect says that parents who are exceptional within their group will IN GENERAL have less exceptional children. That regression to the mean effect has always been a bit of a teeth-grinder for me, in fact. It has always had me wondering about how bright my son would turn out to be. His recent achievements in mathematics have allayed such doubts rather convincingly, however.

Reference:
Eyferth, K. (1961). Leistungenverchiedener Gruppen von Besatzungskindern im Hamburg Wechsler intelligenztest fuer Kinder (HAWIK). Archiv fuer die gesamte Psychologie, 1 13, 222 241.

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Be Sociable, Share!