more from ron unz on iq

ron unz has a new post up: Unz on Race/IQ: The Rural/Urban Divide. he says:

“[O]ne very intriguing pattern is that according to Lynn’s IQ data certain European populations such as the South Italians, Irish, Greeks, and South Slavs tended to have IQs much lower than other European populations such as the British and the Dutch. However, according to the Wordsum-IQ data, this pattern is exactly reversed in the United States, with the descendents of immigrants from Southern Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia having much higher IQs than Americans of British or Dutch ancestry.”

as i (and others) have already pointed out to ron, he has no way of knowing from the gss data if italian- or irish- or greek- or slavic-americans are comparable to the italians and irish and greeks and slavs back in europe. for one thing, there is the problem with the irish of which irish we’re talking about, both in the u.s. and in the republic of ireland. native irish? scots-irish? anglo-irish? for another thing, how italian or slavic is someone who self-identifies themself as italian or slavic on the gss? fully? one-half? one-quarter? (is obama black or white?) if you don’t have your populations sorted out from the start, any comparisons will be a waste of time.

also, where are the wordsum data for all these groups? i mean, i know they’re in the gss, but how about a chart or a link or at least some search terms for the searches conducted. most sciencey bloggers nowadays present their data, not just write lengthy articles with barely any references. ron is making some strong, and possibly very interesting, claims here. someone out there might like to try to replicate his findings.

and how about looking at other data in additon to the gss (if possible)? chuck (the occidentalist) has shown that the gss wordsum scores for mexican-americans aren’t in accord with other iq measurements for that population, so maybe it would be a good idea to look at some additional data, too. just to be on the safe side. (note that i’m not discounting the gss wordsum data completely. i understand that it’s a fairly good proxy for iq scores.)
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ron also again rejects the idea that european immigrants to the u.s. (and elsewhere) might have “self-sorted” themselves — i.e. higher iq folks emigrating leaving lower iq folks behind, thus resulting in low average iqs back in europe and higher iqs for these populations in their new homes. because he believes this, ron concludes that nineteenth century european immigrants to the u.s., and europeans back in europe, have experienced extraordinary increases in their iqs in the last couple of generations:

“Finally, let us consider the European evidence. Today, the international PISA academic tests are widely regarded as one of the best means of estimating national IQs, and if we consider the 2009 PISA scores, we find that the scores were extremely similar for Ireland, Poland, Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and several other countries. Since Lynn standardizes the British IQ to 100, that indicates that Ireland and Poland today have IQs around 100, which seems quite plausible.

“However, a huge sample placed Ireland’s IQ at 87 in 1972, and Lynn himself has stated that his own Ireland research in the late 1960s convinced him that the Irish were a low IQ population, whose only hope for the future lay in a strong eugenics program. So the evidence indicates that the Irish IQ was around 87 at that point, and has risen nearly a full standard deviation in the four decades which followed. Lynn also provides two additional very large samples, which placed the Irish IQ at around 92 in the early 1990s, so at the half-way mark, the Irish IQ had risen by half the difference between the endpoints, which seems remarkably consistent.

“Obviously, for the Irish to raise their Flynn-adjusted IQ by nearly a full standard devision in just over one generation is a total absurdity from a genetic perspective; thus, the huge rise must be due to some class of ‘environmental’ factors. When we consider that Ireland had been one of most rural European countries and rapidly urbanized during exactly that period, the impact of urbanization seems a plausible possibility.”

to repeat, i don’t think ron has convincingly shown what the iqs of italian- and irish-, etc., americans are, so it remains difficult to compare the old and new world iqs for each of these populations. and several commenters (like in this discussion thread) have suggested that the one figure of 87 for the irish in 1972 is just one figure, so perhaps it’s not all that reliable. (the data on which that 87 score is based upon are from a master’s thesis, btw. i found the reference here – opens pdf.)

but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that that figure was correct. ron doesn’t think that this low score could’ve been the result of selective migration because he thinks the immigrants would’ve been from the lowest classes of european society (i.e. presumably those with the lowest iqs):

“Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible…. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation — rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable….”

this, however, is an erroneous assumption. from thomas sowell’s Ethnic America: A History (pgs. 22-23):

“Although the cost of a trip to the United States in the hold of a cargo vessel was less than ten pounds sterling (less than fifty dollars at contemporary exchange rates), the poorest of the Irish could not afford even that, so that immigration was very low from the poorest fourth of the Irish population. Those a notch above them on the economic scale emigrated in large numbers, often by selling their belongings, using up savings, and spending money sent by relatives already in America. From one-third to three-quarters of the Irish immigrations to America in the 1830s and 1840s was financed by money sent from North America.”

so, as i said in my previous post, it wasn’t “the poorer and most miserable”, or even “the smartest small slice of their generation” that emigrated from ireland to the u.s. (or britain or australia), but folks in the middle — individuals above “the poorest fourth of the Irish population”. in other words, people of average-ish iqs.

and they left in the millions. for 140-150+ years.

if that wasn’t a dysgenic brain drain, i don’t know what was.

and all that emigration (and famine-related deaths) is reflected in this population graph for the republic of ireland:

the population of the republic of ireland seems to have bottomed out just around the time of lynn’s 87 iq score for the irish in the 1970s. the irish economy improved in fits and starts in the decades after that, and really took off in the heydays of the celtic tiger nineties and noughties (how’d that work out for them anyway?). then there wasn’t any need for anyone with half a brain to leave the country anymore — and there was an additon of something like 1.4 million individuals in two-and-a-half generations (ca. a 35% increase in the population) — and the iq scores started to improve (as ron points out the average iq was measured to be 93 in the early 1990s) — possibly (i’d say likely) as the national average regressed to its natural mean (whatever that might be, presumably higher than 87). (plus the usual flynn effect and possibly effects of better nutrition and other stuff like that.)

that scenario is a strong possibilty anyway, which ron just dismisses based on very shaky evidence.

speaking of dysgenic brain drains, how about southern italy? according to wikipedia (so it must be true!), 80% of immigrants from italy to the u.s. came from southern italy. and look at the iq (pisa) scores there today.

(btw, i don’t think this mass emigration scenario is the whole story re. the low iq scores for the peripheral european countries, but it certainly shouldn’t be discounted as easily as ron has done.)
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ron theorizes that these differences in average iqs have something to do with urban vs. rural living, which is an interesting idea, but he hasn’t made a convincing argument i think. he talks, for instance, about differences in iqs between urban and rural white americans:

“Next, consider the aggregate IQs of rural and urban/suburban whites. During the 1970s according to Wordsum-IQ data, the intelligence gap between whites raised on farms and those who grew up in an urban/suburban background was enormous, almost exactly equal to the white/black gap.”

well, that’s interesting, but again i ask — where are the data? (show me the data! (~_^) )
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finally, ron says:

“Unfortunately, this discussion has been almost entirely restricted to narrow racialist circles, with virtually all non-racialist journalists or pundits maintaining a studious silence on the matter and giving the controversy a very wide berth, although I would argue that issues of race and intelligence have considerable importance in American society.”

i agree! the situation is unfortunate. very unfortunate. i wish everybody would think and talk about human biodiversity all the time! (ok, maybe not all of the time.) i wish it were a regular topic on oprah! (does she even have a show anymore?) i can’t see how we’re gonna solve even half the world’s problems if we don’t — but then i’m beginning to suspect that most people aren’t really interested in that (prolly me, neither). *sigh*

thanks to ron for bringing up the subject at all! (^_^) (although i think there are big holes in his argument. (~_^) )

previously: ron unz and iq and mexican-american iq and a message for ron unz

(note: comments do not require an email. hi there!)

27 Comments

  1. I’ve converted average wordsum values to average IQ scores by ancestry/ethnicity from the GSS. Unz is off when it comes to the English/British, who outscore all the groups he lists as demonstrating a reversal of trends, though he’s correct regarding those of Dutch descent.

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  2. “However, according to the Wordsum-IQ data, this pattern is exactly reversed in the United States, with the descendents of immigrants from Southern Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia having much higher IQs than Americans of British or Dutch ancestry.””

    I suspect some underlying ethnic hostility is being brought to the surface through pique.

    .
    “he has no way of knowing from the gss data if italian- or irish- or greek- or slavic-americans are comparable to the italians and irish and greeks and slavs back in europe”

    I think a potential factor in this is recent Hollywood as anglos generally and English specifically are often portrayed as lisping, effeminate sociopaths so if you have someone who is actually 3/4 anglo and 1/4 something else they are inclined to accentuate the 1/4.

    Also more generally the PC culture bases ethnic value on victim status and anglos haven’t been victims for quite a well hence things like ultra-anglo Elixabeth Warren wanting to be a Cherokee.

    .
    I wouldn’t rule out the possibility completely however. I think it is possible that the urban anglo-dutch may have had higher average IQs than the rural ones and as the urban ones were submerged in the cities that higher average IQ came to be a component part of who they were submerged by.

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  3. “anglos generally and English specifically are often portrayed as lisping, effeminate sociopaths”

    Mitchell Heisman would say that this a repressed memory of the Norman Conquest, and something intrinsic to anglo-saxon culture.

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  4. @the awesome epigone – “Unz is off when it comes to the English/British, who outscore all the groups he lists as demonstrating a reversal of trends, though he’s correct regarding those of Dutch descent.”

    so you’re saying ron is wrong about the south-italian-americans, irish-americans, greek-americans and southern-slavic-americans having a hgher average iq than anglo-americans, but he is right that they all have a higher average iq than dutch-americans. thanks!

    i still have a bug about being able to distinguish native- vs. scots- vs. anglo-irish in the gss, and now i have a new bug: how does anyone distinguish southern-italian-americans in the gss?

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  5. @g.w. – “I think a potential factor in this is recent Hollywood as anglos generally and English specifically are often portrayed as lisping, effeminate sociopaths so if you have someone who is actually 3/4 anglo and 1/4 something else they are inclined to accentuate the 1/4.”

    wow. i am so out of touch.

    what you said here is recognizable to me tho:

    “Also more generally the PC culture bases ethnic value on victim status and anglos haven’t been victims for quite a well hence things like ultra-anglo Elixabeth Warren wanting to be a Cherokee.”

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  6. “i agree! the situation is unfortunate. very unfortunate.”

    I disagree. I am glad these discussions stay in “narrow realist” circles. If non-realist ever actually educated themselves and engaged there is a chance that they could not come up with some super smart charlatan to convince them that we are a bunch of morons whom they can disregard. Gould is dead and discredited, Cosma is too obscure and his indirect arguments are weak, and Unz is too confident to lie. With out a champion they would have nervous breakdowns that could lead to violent rages. No, it is better these things stay in “narrow circles.”

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  7. HBDChick: also, where are the wordsum data for all these groups? i mean, i know they’re in the gss, but how about a chart or a link or at least some search terms for the searches conducted. most sciencey bloggers nowadays present their data

    That’s a perfectly reasonable request. Since I’ve never been a blogger, I’m not familiar with formatting GSS results-tables or that sort of thing. Magazine articles very rarely have footnotes, and interspersing GSS codes and data in the text would look very peculiar, but I should certainly be able to provide an explanation of my calculation.

    Audacious Epigone: Unz is off when it comes to the English/British

    My “British” total included the low-performing “Old Stock” population, which no longer traces to a particular European ancestry, but is almost certainly overwhelmingly British in origin. The descriptions in the current text came from a spreadsheet containing a great deal of ethnicity stratification data which I’d produced several months ago, and I’ll go back and recheck the calculations. It’s certainly possible I might have made a mistake somewhere, since I ended up using almost none of the data in my original article, and hence didn’t check it as thoroughly as the detailed IQ figures.

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  8. “Mitchell Heisman would say that this a repressed memory of the Norman Conquest, and something intrinsic to anglo-saxon culture.”

    Hollywood is dominated by a repressed memory of the Norman conquest?

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  9. You’re completely overstating the distinction that can be made between what you seem to imagine is a monolithic, homogenous ‘native’ Irish population and the Scots-Irish. Many of the latter came from areas that enjoyed a long history of trade and migration with Ireland.

    It seems you acquired a reasonable (yet still largely facile) understanding of a few of the major fissures within Irish social history, and have run a little wild with it. Yes, the Pale was a reality. But so was the movement of native Irish into the towns and cities. And just as real was the assimilation of many of the older Gaelic noble families into the new English order.

    In any case, to be fully consistent with your own argument, you ought to pay attention to the differences within your category of ‘native’ Irish. Each of the historic regions of Ireland has a distinctive history of trade and migration – Munster, for example, has enjoyed significant links with continental Europe for millenia. Not to mention the monopolisation by certain families of disciplines like law, history and medicine within the Gaelic social order – that would surely be of interest to those in the HBD field exploring issues like IQ and heredity?

    As for those clever Anglo-Irish. Plenty of intermarriage (and even more of illicit interbreeding) with the ‘native’ Irish was possible since the twelfth (and even the seventeenth) century. And a few of those Anglo-Irish even enjoy the honour of an anglicised surname.

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  10. Well, it does indeed look like I made a careless error. But in fact, I think my corrected claim might strengthen my theoretical argument.

    I’d certainly been mistaken in stating that Americans of British origins had lower Wordsum-IQ than those from Ireland, Italy, Greece, or Yugoslavia. In fact, the two ethnicities—England/Wales and Scotland—both have rather high Wordsum-IQs, higher than all the four other groups in question. But it also turns out that neither of those groups is particularly rural, so it accords with my hypothesis.

    A much better example I should have used instead were German-Americans, who are significantly more rural than the white American average and have a Wordsum-IQ below the Greeks, Yugoslavs, Irish, and Italians. Furthermore, according to Lynn’s IQ data, Germans have one of the highest IQs in Europe, significantly above the British and far, far above the Irish, Greeks, (South) Italians, and Yugoslavs. So the reversal in America is even more inexplicable from a genetic model of IQ.

    Thus, my comparison using “British and Dutch” should be changed to “Germans and Dutch,” with the two highest IQ nationalities in Europe becoming two of the lowest white IQ ethnicities in America, even as they switched from being among the most urbanized Europeans to generally being rural in America, while the Greeks, Irish, Italians, and Yugoslavs moved in the opposite direction on both the IQ and rural fronts. This seems far too strong to merely be coincidence.

    As for my GSS calculation, I just used RACE=WHITE, ETHNIC, and WORDSUM. My ethnic urban/rural estimate substituted RES16 for WORDSUM, and I considered Country+Farm as being “rural” while “City+Suburb+Big City” was considered urban. The Italians, Irish, Greeks, and Yugoslavs come out heavily urban, the Dutch heavily rural, and the Germans somewhat rural.

    Anyway, thanks for spotting my error, especially since fixing it seems to actually strengthen my case.

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  11. ” the gss wordsum scores for mexican-americans aren’t in accord with other iq measurements for that population,”

    And what about other populations, such as urban and rural whites? I’m still not buying the “urban/rural gap is almost as large as the black/white gap” claim.

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  12. I suspect the reason why the urban/rural influence on IQ has gotten so little attention is because anxiety over the genetic influence of intelligence has primarily been driven by the black/white IQ gap, but since blacks are relatively more urbanized in the U.S, the urban/rural divide isn’t a very useful explanation for that disparity.

    As for Unz’s lamentation that his research is only gaining interest from “narrow racialist circles”, Josh Rothman just published a favorable article in The Boston Globe’s Brainiac blog.

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  13. @Ron Unz:

    “A much better example I should have used instead were German-Americans, who are significantly more rural than the white American average and have a Wordsum-IQ below the Greeks, Yugoslavs, Irish, and Italians. Furthermore, according to Lynn’s IQ data, Germans have one of the highest IQs in Europe, significantly above the British and far, far above the Irish, Greeks, (South) Italians, and Yugoslavs. So the reversal in America is even more inexplicable from a genetic model of IQ.”

    No, not really. Overlooked in the discussion of different White ethnicities in America and the comparison of these peoples to their cousins in Europe–in addition to the aforementioned issues of self-identification and selective migration–is subsequent genetic change, i.e., evolution. As I discuss here and here, Whites in America, especially those in the far-flung rural West, have undergone significant evolutionary change during colonial history. This even further complicates attempts to compare them with the respective ethnicities in Europe. 

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  14. “I’d certainly been mistaken in stating that Americans of British origins had lower Wordsum-IQ than those from Ireland, Italy, Greece, or Yugoslavia. In fact, the two ethnicities—England/Wales and Scotland—both have rather high Wordsum-IQs, higher than all the four other groups in question.”

    Given Mr Unz’s dramatic mistakes with the data and how they, despite being random errors, all go in the same political direction i think he should be ignored.

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  15. How likely is it that the Old Stock families had some native or even black ancestry in them?

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  16. @ron – “As for my GSS calculation, I just used RACE=WHITE, ETHNIC, and WORDSUM. My ethnic urban/rural estimate substituted RES16 for WORDSUM, and I considered Country+Farm as being ‘rural’ while ‘City+Suburb+Big City’ was considered urban. The Italians, Irish, Greeks, and Yugoslavs come out heavily urban, the Dutch heavily rural, and the Germans somewhat rural.”

    thanks! (^_^)

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  17. @ron – “Magazine articles very rarely have footnotes, and interspersing GSS codes and data in the text would look very peculiar, but I should certainly be able to provide an explanation of my calculation.”

    yeah, that would be good to do in future articles i think. (^_^)

    while i’ve got you (as the publisher of TAC) on the line, i’d like to voice a complaint. and it doesn’t have to do just with TAC but with the msm/traditional media in general (which i know you can’t fix, but you can do something about your own magazine): why DON’T you guys include more hyperlinks to sources in your articles?!

    it really bugs me when i read something in the nyt or a reuters article or something in TAC and there’s a reference to such-and-such report that was just published by such-and-such and organization — and there’s NO LINK! ugh. and then i have to go googling it for myself…. sheesh, already.

    i’ve noticed that traditional media sources, like magazines, that are now online are finally getting better at this and including the odd link here and there — but the progress has been painfully slow. it’s the internet (or, rather, the world wide web), for chrissakes! hyperlinks! (<< see how easy that was?) that's the whole point!

    ok. pardon the rant, but it's something that really irritates me.

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  18. @donnacha – “You’re completely overstating the distinction that can be made between what you seem to imagine is a monolithic, homogenous ‘native’ Irish population and the Scots-Irish.”

    i never said any of these groups were “monolithic,” just that they can, in general, be distinguished from one another. of course there are overlaps between the groups — prolly more so with the older invading groups (vikings, normans, old english) than the newer ones — but there are still distinctions. see here and here for example. different religions and different languages keep peoples separate.

    @donnacha – “In any case, to be fully consistent with your own argument, you ought to pay attention to the differences within your category of ‘native’ Irish. Each of the historic regions of Ireland has a distinctive history of trade and migration – Munster, for example, has enjoyed significant links with continental Europe for millenia. Not to mention the monopolisation by certain families of disciplines like law, history and medicine within the Gaelic social order – that would surely be of interest to those in the HBD field exploring issues like IQ and heredity?”

    yeah, that would be very interesting! there are plenty of regional diffs in a lot of countries — ireland’s, too, are prolly important to know about.

    sorry, btw, for not responding to your comment sooner. was distracted by other things. like your avatar, btw! (^_^)

    Reply

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