rural white americans

i admit it: this old/new world european, rural/urban iq discussion is starting make my head spin. (o_O) but i’m going to stick with it, d*mnit! (~_^)

ok. lemme see if i’ve got this straight. ron thinks that living in a stimulating urban environment raises the average iqs of certain populations a LOT in a relatively short period of time — like in a couple of generations. examples? europeans? check. east asians? nope. mexicans? he thinks so. blacks? he doesn’t say. the upshot is: iq is not something that is strongly genetic, and so we shouldn’t be too worried about tens of millions of mexicans moving to the united states ’cause they’re just gonna become smart like us in no time at all.

hmmmm.

his proof of this consists (in part) of: 1) the rising iq of mexicans in the u.s. over the last two generations or so — only chuck the occidentalist has shown that this does NOT seem to be the case; and 2) the rising iqs of rural europeans who became urbanites after moving to the u.s., and the falling iqs of urban europeans who became country hicks after moving to the u.s. ron says:

“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.”

so according to ron, the germans and the dutch are generally rural in america while the greeks, irish, italians, and yugoslavs are urban. and the german-americans are significantly more rural than other white americans.

ron says he got this data from the gss by looking up the following search terms (thanks, 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.”

i never know what people mean when they say they looked something up in the gss ’cause you can use a couple of different databases: there’s the sda @berkeley which has data from 1972 through 2010, and the nesstar database which has data from 1972 through 2006. i’ve elected to use the nesstar database ’cause you can easily download a spreadsheet of whatever data you’re looking at. if you can do that on the sda site, i haven’t figured it out (if you know, please tell me!). so, if ron used the sda site, his results might be a bit different than mine.

having said that, i looked at RACE, ETHNIC (COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN), and RES16 (TYPE OF PLACE LIVED IN WHEN 16 YRS OLD). i looked at the raw data so i could calculate the percentage of rural and urban residents for each of the different ethnic groups. rural=“in open country, but not on a farm” and “on a farm”. urban=“in a small town or city (less than 50,000),” “in a medium sized city (50,000-250,000),” “in a suburb near a large city,” and “in a large city (over 250,000).”

here’s what i got — i’ve sorted these results by most rural on the top to most urban on the bottom (i.e. the difference between rural and urban for each ethnic group) — click on chart for LARGER view (should open in a new window/tab — click on it again there to get it to be REALLY BIG):

dutch-americans certainly are very rural folk — they’re in the top 5 groups of white americans who live in rural areas, right after swiss-americans, belgian-americans, american-americans and finnish-americans. and italian-americans, greek-americans and yugoslav-americans are certainly more uban than rural — italians and greeks are very urban (confirming the stereotypes!).

but german-americans are hardly signficantly more rural than groups like anglo-, scots- or irish-americans. 33% of german-americans live (or grew up, rather, i guess) in a rural setting, while 29% of anglo-americans did, and 27% of both scots- and irish-americans. that’s awfully similar, afaics.

and what about the american-americans (“american only”)? who are they, anybody know? mightn’t they be a lot of anglo-, scots-, even irish-americans? i dunno, but they are very rural. and german-americans are less rural than they are.

also, as far as i know, finns and norwegians back in europe are pretty rural peoples — particularly in the nineteenth century when they immigrated in large numbers to the u.s. and they’re very rural here in the u.s. and today their iqs are pretty durned high back in their home countries. and the norwegian-american iq is pretty durned high here, too, despite the fact that they are still overwhelmingly rural in the u.s. (dunno about the finnish-americans.) so it doesn’t seem like you need to move to an urban place to get a high iq. you can start off rural and stay rural and still be very clever.

nope. don’t think i’m buying ron’s “move to the city and become smart” thesis. there seems to be too many exceptions to the rule (not that i don’t like those!): east asians, mexicans, anglos, scots, irish, germans, norwegians….

if i feel like it, i might process the sda gss data. then again i might not. again, if anyone knows how i can download it quickly into a spreadsheet, please let me know.

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

update 07/28: see also ron unz’s rural/urban data…

(note: comments do not require an email. the most interesting sifaka in the world.)

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42 Comments

  1. There are plenty of smart people in rural areas in the US. They’re in fact smarter than the GSS likely credits them since wordsum is exclusively a vocabulary test. The ‘smart redneck’ category, from which a very high fraction of our engineers and technicians are drawn from, tends to be stronger in math and spatial relations than in verbal intelligence. The urban ‘Second Sigma’ tends towards the reverse.

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  2. You’re probably right not to ignore it even if it is nonsense e.g. all germans in 19thC germany can be defined as “urban”. It’s annoying because it feels like the ghosts of Boas / Gould / Lewontin invading an interesting place, but anyway…

    Let’s look at an alternate model

    “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.

    Except it isn’t.

    Taking the premise from the genetic model that the average IQ of a population is related to the latitude that population evolved in and that average IQ is a *limit* which can be lowered by things like inbreeding depression and that inbreeding depression relates particularly to cultural marriage patterns but which *may* also be related to simply having a limited breeding pool over a long period of time. If so then the very rural *low population density* parts of any population would have a larger amount of inbreeding depression than the urban population *if* there isn’t a cultural tradition of marrying close-kin which applies to both the rural and urban population.

    For the sake of argument let’s say the average IQ in Ireland / Poland / Greece etc and Germany was 100 and the inbreeding depression was 10 points so the urban part of each population had an average IQ of 100 and the rural part of each population had an average IQ of 90.

    So what would happen if the lowered IQ rural part of the German population moved to America and settled down as farmers while the lowered IQ rural part of the other populations settled in the cities?

    The inbreeding depression would lift in both cases but to different degrees.

    (nb I don’t think the data particularly fits either model as i expect a lot of people of German descent have amalgamated into American-Americans so a disproportionate amount of the ones who still identify as German-Americans are in the rural areas and even then according to hubchik’s post the gap in “rurality” is quite small.)

    Anyway, a lot of nonsense imo except possibly good in a way as i think it accidentally highlights something that may well have happened (and still be happening around the world) i.e the lifting of inbreeding depression with urbanization *except* in places where close-kin marriage customs prevent it.

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  3. Hi

    I think you raised the question of why Polish IQ apparently declined during the communist era. Could this be related to the declining numbers of Polish Jews?

    At the start of WW2 Poland had 3.5m Jews. The Holocaust massively reduced this number, to between 40,000 and 100,000. It’s difficult to know how low the Jewish population really was by the War’s end: the expulsion of Poles (including Jews) from the eastern provinces annexed by the USSR may have added anything from 50 to 170 thousand Jews to the Polish population. So it’s plausible Poland still had maybe a quarter of a million Jews in 1945.

    But they left in various successive waves during the Communist era. By 1989, Poland had only 5,000 to 10,000 Jews.

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  4. One thing to consider is the social Darwinism factor. It could be that immigrant groups that aggregated in urban areas were under greater selective pressure than ones which settled in rural areas, at least insofar as IQ is concerned. I’ve seen it written many times that a huge portion of Italian immigrants, about 40%, did not stay permanently and returned to Italy or moved on to Latin America. You would think that the ones who stayed were from the smarter segment since they were the ones that “made it” in the country of far greater wealthy and opportunity. I’ve never seen any info on German reverse migration, which leads me to think it was probably lower. And rationally you just would not expect that people farming on open land are under the same selective pressure as people competing in a limited job market in densely populated areas.

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  5. “don’t think i’m buying ron’s ‘move to the city and become smart’ thesis. there seems to be too many exceptions to the rule (not that i don’t like those!): east asians, mexicans, anglos, scots, irish, germans, norwegians….”

    Also Amish: http://tinyurl.com/cfqq7tu

    Moving to the city does not make one smart. There’s even good reason to question whether it makes one test better on IQ, because for most traits, urban outcomes are worse than rural ones: Asthma, schizophrenia, and other disorders are much more prevalent in the cities.

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  6. Yes, I’d been aware of the Norwegian exception to the rural/urban IQ pattern and various others as well. I certainly never claimed that the rule was absolute or that the pattern was perfect. I’m also not claiming that my hypothesis is proven, just that there seems to be quite a lot of evidence for it. Remember, the Wordsum-IQ ethnic patterns in the U.S. represents only a small part of evidence I’ve collected.

    Anyway, what’s an alternate explanation? Given how low the Greek, South Italian, Yugoslav, etc. IQs are in Europe, is it really plausible to argue that only the smartest tiny slice of those populations came to the America? And given how high the Dutch and German IQs are, we’d also need to argue that only the absolutely dumbest people from those countries immigrated. Isn’t that a huge number of totally ad hoc assumptions to make? Maybe there’s a better explanation than my rural/urban hypothesis, but that was the one which immediately jumped out at me.

    Keep in mind that most of these groups arrived something like 4-6 generations ago, though perhaps the Dutch might go back quite a bit farther. You’d need absolutely massive selective pressure to shift population IQs that quickly, and why would the shifts have been in completely opposite directions for the various groups? None of this makes any sense.

    And I’d also noticed myself that the American-Americans were just about the most rural whites in America and also had just about the lowest Wordsum-IQ, but didn’t bother including them.

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  7. @g.w. – “the lifting of inbreeding depression with urbanization *except* in places where close-kin marriage customs prevent it.”

    this is really important, i think.

    (^_^)

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  8. @ Ron: “Anyway, what’s an alternate explanation? Given how low the Greek, South Italian, Yugoslav, etc. IQs are in Europe”

    You mean how low they currently are? Because if the smarter ones left, then who did they leave behind?

    “is it really plausible to argue that only the smartest tiny slice of those populations came to the America?”

    Of course it is. It’s not just plausible – it’s a priori obvious.

    “And given how high the Dutch and German IQs are, we’d also need to argue that only the absolutely dumbest people from those countries immigrated.”

    Not really. The Dutch and Germans aren’t any smarter than anyone else.

    “None of this makes any sense.”

    I’m sorry.

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  9. “this is really important, i think.”

    It would possibly explain India/Pakistan at least.

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  10. @ron – “I’m also not claiming that my hypothesis is proven, just that there seems to be quite a lot of evidence for it.”

    well, i’m glad that you say that ’cause so far: chuck has showed that the mexican-american wordsum scores don’t add up when you look at other iq measurements; the awesome epigone showed that you didn’t get the wordsum/iq calculations quite right for all the american ethnic groups; i’ve shown (in two posts) that you’re not right in claiming it was either the lowest or the highest iq groups that emigrated from europe but rather those in the middle; and now i’ve shown that you may not have the urban/rural indicators quite right. and other commenters have pointed out other errors, too (here for example). on top of all that, you admit, too, that there are a bunch of exceptions to your hypothesis: like the norwegians and the east asians.

    which is all fine and not a problem, afaiac. i LIKE hypothesizing and brainstorming and picking through the data to see what’s there! i like new ideas, too. h*ll, that’s all i do around here is throw out mostly unsubstantiated ideas to see if they float or not (prolly they’ll all just sink). what i DON’T do, however, is to publish my ideas in a political magazine without references or a presentation of the data and in such a way as to give ordinary readers an idea that the matter is even remotely settled.

    your original article in TAC left the impression that you thought your hypothesis was quite sound, when now it turns out it isn’t. and the section entitled “Implications for the American Immigration Debate” frankly reads like a propaganda piece written by someone from la raza whose main goal in life is to promote mexican immigration to the u.s. — NOT as though it was written by someone working out a potentially interesting hypothesis about how iq works.

    the last time i checked, to conserve means to guard and to prevent the destruction of something. that’s not how your “Race, IQ, and Wealth” article read at all. and nor did your “His-Panic” article. and that’s fine — you’re entitled to your opinions, of course. they just don’t really fit with the definition of conservative — which is why you get a lot of flak when you publish these sorts of things.

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  11. @ron – “Anyway, what’s an alternate explanation? Given how low the Greek, South Italian, Yugoslav, etc. IQs are in Europe, is it really plausible to argue that only the smartest tiny slice of those populations came to the America?”

    well, like i’ve tried to explain in two posts now, it was prolly neither the lowest nor the highest iq people that left any of these european countries for the new world. sowell is quite clear on that wrt ireland and i don’t see why that scenario couldn’t apply for other countries as well. the lowest iq people don’t emigrate ’cause they just don’t manage to (where on earth do they get the money/wherewithal from?), and the highest iq people have no need to ’cause they’ve got everything already right where they are.

    then what i think i’d want to know — and i only know this for a couple of countries — is how many people emigrated. millions left italy — especially southern italy — and millions left ireland. that sounds like the potential for a brain drain to me, leaving mostly low-iqers behind. millions (or a million or something) also left norway, too, though — something like one-quarter of the population i think. the norwegians — always so awkward! (~_^)

    the greeks and the southern slavs — i just dunno. same with the germans and dutch.

    @ron – “You’d need absolutely massive selective pressure to shift population IQs that quickly….”

    as greying wanderer has suggested, perhaps we don’t have to think about changing gene frequencies in these populations. perhaps we just need to think about relieving patterns of inbreeding depression. (keep in mind that most of the historic inbreeding in europe has happened in the peripheral populations: the PIIGS and eastern europe and the balkans. see my Mating Patterns in Europe series in the left-hand column below.)

    speaking of inbreeding depression — it may be that it’s not just all about genes. i was gonna post about this tomorrow, but check this out: Inbreeding’s Downside Is Not All in the Genes.

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  12. Mark: You mean how low they currently are? Because if the smarter ones left, then who did they leave behind?

    The problem is that merely a small fraction of the existing Greek, Yugoslav, etc. populations ever immigrated to America. So even if the smartest ones mostly left, the remaining average wouldn’t have changed too much. Furthermore, mean regression would have dissipated about half the difference after one generation.

    Not really. The Dutch and Germans aren’t any smarter than anyone else.

    Well, if you go by Lynn’s IQ studies, they do have about the highest IQs in Europe. Admittedly, some of this comes from the Buj studies, which may not be too reliable. But if you look at the 2009 PISA results, and exclude immigrants, the native Germans and Dutch do have just about the highest scores in Europe, certainly far above the Western European average, let alone the horrible PISA scores in the Balkans and Southern Europe. And PISA results are often used as a proxy for IQ.

    Remember, I’m the one who says we have to be very cautious in actually believing what IQ-type scores tell us. But that is what they are telling us.

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  13. HBDChick: your original article in TAC left the impression that you thought your hypothesis was quite sound, when now it turns out it isn’t

    Actually, I think you’re missing something.

    The central focus of my main TAC article was that there exists overwhelming evidence that the large IQ differences between various European peoples are probably not genetic but mostly “environmental.” I was debunking the Strong IQ Hypothesis and I think my case is a very strong one. As to the particular “environmental” factors responsible, I devoted a few paragraphs to a Rural/Urban Hypothesis as one possibility, but hardly claimed to have proven it. Then, in my most recent piece, I provided a great deal of additional evidence for the Rural/Urban Hypothesis, strengthening the case but still certainly not proving it.

    So I think I’ve convincingly refuted the Strong IQ Hypothesis and provided a plausible replacement, but you’re certainly welcome to come up with a superior one.

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  14. @ Ron Unz:

    “Remember, I’m the one who says we have to be very cautious in actually believing what IQ-type scores tell us. But that is what they are telling us.”

    Right. Because I definitely never said anything like that. Twice in a row. Right on this thread, where you posted:

    https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/ron-unz-and-iq/#comment-11760

    “So I think I’ve convincingly refuted the Strong IQ Hypothesis and provided a plausible replacement”

    Good job, Ron!

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  15. @ron – there exists overwhelming evidence that the large IQ differences between various European peoples are probably not genetic but mostly ‘environmental.'”

    but there’s not. not with all the holes in/exceptions to your evidence (some of which i spelled out in my comment above) which you’ve barely addressed. you keep just ignoring most of them.

    @ron – “…but you’re certainly welcome to come up with a superior one.”

    well, like i said at the start, the whole iq question is just not my main interest in life. (^_^) and just ’cause i don’t won’t make your hypothesis correct. (~_^)

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  16. “but check this out: Inbreeding’s Downside Is Not All in the Genes.”

    It’s funny the first line of that article mentions the Hapsburgs as inbreeding is so commonly cited when it relates to euro aristocracy or hillbillies yet almost never mentioned in other contexts. It was thinking about your post about the Italian aristo families contantly marrying between a few families that first made me wonder about inbreeding depression.

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  17. OT (or maybe not) but those Shanghai PISA scores:

    “Shanghai had 170,000 students enrolled in high school in 2010, but there were 570,000 migrant children aged 15 to 19 living in the city who were unable to attend those schools.” link

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  18. Luke Lea

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17585201

    “China’s results in international education tests – which have never been published – are “remarkable”, says Andreas Schleicher, responsible for the highly-influential Pisa tests…

    The findings indicate that China has an education system that is overtaking many Western countries… Mr Schleicher says the unpublished results reveal that pupils in other parts of China are also performing strongly. “Even in rural areas and in disadvantaged environments, you see a remarkable performance.” In particular, he said the test results showed the “resilience” of pupils to succeed despite tough backgrounds – and the “high levels of equity” between rich and poor pupils. “Shanghai is an exceptional case – and the results there are close to what I expected. But what surprised me more were the results from poor provinces that came out really well. The levels of resilience are just incredible… The results for disadvantaged pupils would be the envy of any Western country, he says.

    Mr Schleicher is confident of the robustness of this outline view of China’s education standards. In an attempt to get a representative picture, tests were taken in nine provinces, including poor, middle-income and wealthier regions. The Chinese government has so far not allowed the OECD to publish the actual data. But Mr Schleicher says the results reveal a picture of a society investing individually and collectively in education.”

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  19. As HBDchick posted, less than 1% of marriages were consanguineous in Ireland 40-50 years ago:
    https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/inbreeding-in-ireland-in-modern-times/

    And as Gene Expression posted, cousin marriage may reduce IQ by 4 to 10 IQ points (the latter being the highest estimate in the literature, almost certainly too high).

    So it looks like the inbreeding effects should be pretty negligible for Ireland. They might matter more for immigrants from the Middle East or Pakistan with cousin marriage rates of 20-30%, but not here.

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  20. @reader – “So it looks like the inbreeding effects should be pretty negligible for Ireland.”

    well, ireland, like the other peripheral countries of europe, has a loooong history of inbreeding/close marriages, so the inbreeding effects on the population in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries may not have been neglibigle. forty-fifty years ago, the irish may not have been marrying their close cousins, but if they married locally they may often, in effect, have been marrying third or fourth cousins. in other words, it might’ve taken some time to unwind the cumulative effects of inbreeding depression in ireland (and other peripheral european populations). it might still be ongoing, in fact.

    @reader – “They might matter more for immigrants from the Middle East or Pakistan with cousin marriage rates of 20-30%….”

    absolutely!

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  21. georgedelatour: China’s results in international education tests – which have never been published – are “remarkable”..Even in rural areas and in disadvantaged environments, you see a remarkable performance…the test results showed the “resilience” of pupils to succeed despite tough backgrounds…The levels of resilience are just incredible

    Yes, exactly. I’d seen those comments by Schleicher on the Chinese PISA results when they appeared, and I think I actually alluded to them in one of my recent comments somewhere. But I didn’t bother including them in any of my articles on East Asian differences, though perhaps I should have.

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  22. Hi Ron

    I guess 1500 years of the Chinese Civil Service exam must have affected the Chinese attitude to education – certainly culturally, and maybe genetically too.

    On your broader point. I agree that many HBD enthusiasts probably overestimate genes and underestimate environment. But if environment’s more important, what do the top-scoring PISA locations suggest about it? It’s not good news for either the USA or the UK. They suggest the following advice for any country trying to raise its PISA scores:

    Be as mono-ethnic, monoglot and/or mono-cultural as you possibly can. China is incredibly mono-ethnic and mono-cultural for the most populous nation on Earth: 92% of the population is Han Chinese. Taiwan is 98%, Hong Kong 90% and Singapore 74%. That’s four of the top PISA scoring locations having large Chinese majorities. Is it an advantage conferred by Chinese genes? Or is it a cultural advantage; either from having Chinese culture as your dominating monoculture, or simply from having one strong culture clearly dominant?

    Will any randomly selected culture do the job just as well? No. Saudi Arabia has a ruthlessly enforced monoculture. But it sucks.

    South Korea and Japan are PISA top scorers; both have a genetic / cultural connection to China. So is a Confucian or Buddhist culture crucial? No, because Finland is also a top PISA scorer and its not Confucian or Buddhist. But it IS basically mono-ethnic / monoglot / monocultural – at least compared to the UK and the USA. That probably matters.

    The top PISA scorers tend to have a strongly conformist culture. In the UK and the USA we tend to think that conformity kills inspiration. We’re more punk rock – or something. But maybe strong cohesive conformist mores are helpful at motivating students to study harder. Bad pop music might even be a good predictor of PISA success. If all your rap music is crap music, you’re probably heading for the top.

    Maybe cultural diversity just makes education more difficult for the educators to get on with. A friend was recently teaching in Tower Hamlets, London, in a school where over 80% of the kids don’t speak English as their first language. She’s Jewish-Irish, and very PC in her default attitudes. She started off highly motivated. Then she became worried by the abysmal performance of her Somali girl pupils. And it proved impossible to raise that issue in any version of PC Newspeak. The girls’ failure can’t be genetic, obviously. But in PC land it can’t be cultural either; because that amounts to saying that Somali culture or Islamic culture is inferior to British culture. Basically, you’re only allowed to suggest that their failure is a product of white racism. Even when you know it isn’t.

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  23. reader
    “As HBDchick posted, less than 1% of marriages were consanguineous in Ireland 40-50 years ago…And as Gene Expression posted, cousin marriage may reduce IQ by 4 to 10 IQ points (the latter being the highest estimate in the literature, almost certainly too high)…So it looks like the inbreeding effects should be pretty negligible for Ireland.”

    The literature – according to Mr Khan – is old and the subject unpopular. Nobody seems to like talking about it – except when it’s directed at euro aristocracy or hillbillies where it’s taken as a given.

    So maybe – if you have a mechanism with repeated *intentional* cousin marriages over time that causes inbreeding depression – that mechanism can be mimiced somewhat by having a very low breeding population – lower than Iceland – over very long periods of time.

    Now if you could calculate the average effective breeding population of a valley-sized human ecology over the last few millenia how big would it be? It would depend a lot on fertility and pop. density i’d guess so there could be a difference between say rice-growing high pop.density populations where a valley’s worth of people was larger than the average for a very long time but in the average valley or perhaps better the average marginal – especially low pop. density pastoral like southern Ireland – valley with the same much smaller group of people inter-marrying over millenia – couldn’t that mimic consistent cousin marriage somewhat?

    It would depend on what precisely causes inbreeding depression for IQ and height iof course but so far i haven’t seen any evidence that it’s ever been checked?

    Anyway it seems at least plausible to me. And of course there’s height to test the theory on for which there should be a lot more data than IQ and of course the Flynn effect as *if* it’s related to the lifting of inbreeding depression – mainly due to the forming of an urban middle class after independence – there ought to be a difference between those countries which have intentional cousin marriage – preventing the depression from lifting – and those who don’t, even if they had the same improved diet over the same time period.

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  24. georgedelatour: Be as mono-ethnic, monoglot and/or mono-cultural as you possibly can. China is incredibly mono-ethnic and mono-cultural for the most populous nation on Earth: 92% of the population is Han Chinese.

    Actually, I tend to doubt that ethnic homogeneity is much of a factor, except at a very secondary level. I just think that the Han Chinese tend to be smart and hard-working, and would probably be just as smart and hard-working in a country where they were a small minority…like the U.S.

    However I’d suggest that even the 92% Han figure tends to exaggerate China’s ethnic diversity. I think most of the non-Han population lives in a few outlying provinces, most of which hadn’t even been part of China until they were conquered along with China itself by the Manchus and incorporated into the same empire. So it’s a little like if America were 92% white European, but with almost all the non-whites living in Hawaii, Alaska, and New Mexico, and the other states being 98% white.

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  25. georgesdelatour

    “China’s results in international education tests – which have never been published – are “remarkable”, says Andreas Schleicher, responsible for the highly-influential Pisa tests…”

    I’m not contesting that East Asians (China, Korea, Japan) consistently score two or three points above the norm (100) on standard intelligence tests, even here in the U.S.. But once you get above that range, especially in China proper, you have to be on guard against systematic cheating, which is a regular feature of Chinese communist society and of Chinese culture in general, as I have been surprised to learn in my recent reading in Chinese history. That would apply to the provinces, too, and I would be surprised if Andreas Schleicher took this possibility into account. Ask him. I’d be interested in his answer.

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  26. re: georgesdelatour and those PISA scores in China again

    Here is a link I just found. A good rule of thumb is not to take any statistic coming out of China on trust, especially if it reflects on the welfare of that society under Party rule. If it is possible to cheat they will cheat — and here I am speaking of official corruption not individual students, thought they will to if given the chance. It is a cultural thing. (And don’t forget that Hong Kong is part of China now.)

    If you want to learn about China, the good, the bad, and the ugly, here is a good place to start. China produces marvelous individuals but as a society and a culture it is all fucked up (like all pre-modern societies — still the ancient regime basically).

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  27. Luke Lea

    I probably agree with you about Chinese cheating, with a caveat.

    Ben Johnson cheated to win an olympic gold medal. But clearly he was already a good enough athlete to have a chance of the gold medal anyway. If I took the drugs he did, I still wouldn’t make it past the first round of the competition.

    Four ethnically Chinese regions and two countries ethnically close to China are all in the PISA top ten. I doubt that whole picture of East Asian academic excellence is a product of cheating. Maybe Shanghai cheated a bit to make sure it got the gold medal in all three PISA categories. But I suspect it’d still be in the PISA top ten anyway. It’s not likely to be really as poorly performing as, say, Peru (ranked number 70 in the PISA league tables).

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  28. It’s strange that whenever anybody checks Unz’ data, it turns out that he’s full of crap.

    Reply

  29. “China’s results in international education tests – which have never been published – are “remarkable”..Even in rural areas and in disadvantaged environments, you see a remarkable performance”

    Given that they have never been published, I fail to see what grounds exist for claiming that their results are “remarkable”.

    Another problem is that the Chinese government, like all totalitarian governments, is very prone to changing any such results to its own advantage.

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  30. Unz>>” I’m also not claiming that my hypothesis is proven, just that there seems to be quite a lot of evidence for it. Remember, the Wordsum-IQ ethnic patterns in the U.S. represents only a small part of evidence I’ve collected.”

    Every single piece of evidence you’ve collected turns out, on closer inspection, to be flawed. At this point I would not believe you if you said that “My studies suggest that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow”. You’ve been working hard to destroy your own credibility for some time now.

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  31. Unz>>”Remember, I’m the one who says we have to be very cautious in actually believing what IQ-type scores tell us.”

    [*redacted* – let’s keep the conversation civil, please. thanks. – h.chick] When you WANT to believe something which you believe an IQ score tells you, there is nobody more credulous than you. You are not the one saying” We have to be very cautious in actually believing what IQ-type scores tell us”. You are the one most prone to making far-reaching claims about intelligence on the basis of a couple of cherry-picked data points of dubious reliability.

    Go back to selling mortgages to people who cannot afford them and leave the data analysis to people who understand it.

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  32. re: Is China ethnically homogeneous?

    “China is incredibly mono-ethnic and mono-cultural for the most populous nation on Earth: 92% of the population is Han Chinese.”

    I read recently somewhere that the Han ethnicity is to a certain extent fictive. It was the product of a vast mixture of diverse ethnicities of milllennia, not unlike what happened in Europe. Do we have good sample of Chinese genetic diversity?

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  33. Luke Lea

    “I read recently somewhere that the Han ethnicity is to a certain extent fictive. It was the product of a vast mixture of diverse ethnicities of millennia, not unlike what happened in Europe. Do we have good sample of Chinese genetic diversity?”

    When it comes to the hard science of alleles etc that’s way above my pay grade. I’ll defer to the opinion of others who know more than I do.

    I phrased my comments to allow for the possibility that being Han Chinese might be a part-cultural construct which still functions as an important social glue.

    China has been politically united since 221 BC. So there’s been enough shared history for people in China to develop a feeling of unity. I’m not assuming the Uyghurs and Tibetans share that feeling.

    Europe has never been politically united. The Roman Empire was a Mediterranean empire including the territory of modern Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Armenia; but not Germany, Poland, Scotland, Ireland or Scandinavia. From a Roman point of view, the EU is mostly Barbarian.

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  34. @luke – “I read recently somewhere that the Han ethnicity is to a certain extent fictive.”

    @georgesdelatour – “When it comes to the hard science of alleles etc that’s way above my pay grade.”

    i have a hard time believing that 1.something billion people are so similar genetically speaking as to be one discrete population, but maybe i’m wrong (above my pay grade, too!). over the years, i’ve seen stuff zipping by in science news stories and on hbd blogs about a broad north-south divide in the genetics in china (looking away from the hilltribes and uyghurs and such), but beyond that i really don’t know.

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  35. @georgesdelatour – “I doubt that whole picture of East Asian academic excellence is a product of cheating.”

    good cavaet. sounds like that ought to be right to me.

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  36. @luke – “in China proper, you have to be on guard against systematic cheating, which is a regular feature of Chinese communist society and of Chinese culture in general….”

    i’m with you 100% on the chinese cheating thing — part of their culture/nature, afaics. more so than nw europeans.

    having said that, i betcha there’s some fiddling with the pisa scores in a lot of places. italy? spain? greece? eastern europe? i mean, it’s not like cheating on tests scores and grades only happens in nclb circles! after all, there’s money and funding and people’s careers at stake here.

    Reply

  37. @g.w. – “It’s funny the first line of that article mentions the Hapsburgs as inbreeding is so commonly cited when it relates to euro aristocracy or hillbillies yet almost never mentioned in other contexts.”

    well, it’s ok to make fun of those two groups, isn’t it? =/

    Reply

  38. @ron – “The problem is that merely a small fraction of the existing Greek, Yugoslav, etc. populations ever immigrated to America.”

    that’s interesting. i wasn’t sure about that. i had that impression, but wasn’t certain.

    so the brain-drain idea prolly doesn’t apply to them.

    Reply

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