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.)
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.)
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! (~_^) )
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!)