Yes, I've read Ioannidis. However you're using this quote here as a rather blatant aid to your confirmation bias.

I think everyone should consider that published research findings are likely to be wrong each time they are seeking research findings. If you agree that we should be skeptical about research findings, why do you think that asking questions about whether the research controlled for multiple factors, was replicated etc. should be taken as evidence of confirmation bias? Maybe you disagree that we should be skeptical about research findings?

There have been many, many studies which all show the same thing.

Every single one? I would find that hard to believe for any topic, especially one as politically charged and controversial as this one, where both sides have a motive to bias research in their particular direction. If that is true, I would find it surprising. Assuming you were referring to the results of a meta-analysis, would you point to that meta-analysis please?

Precisely because these results are so controversial they have been the subject of very thorough checking, vetting, and multiple attempts to debunk them. The results survived all this. What, do you think that for the last 50 years no one really tried to find holes in the studies showing racial IQ differences? Many highly qualified people tried. The results still stand.

Are you saying that studies used for "The Bell Curve" did take into account the factors I mentioned, were replicated and / or may contain a meta-analysis that states that all the studies that could be found had similar findings?

If you aren't specific about what measures were taken to ensure quality in the information you're providing, I have no way to make the distinction between a matter of opinion and a matter of fact when you claim things like "The results survived all this." Please be specific about what particular quality features the data in The Bell Curve provides.

The Bell Curve

I started checking out this book because of your high praise and was surprised to find this:

On page 270, The Bell Curve clearly states: "The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved"

Can you explain why you seem to be disagreeing with me, when both myself and The Bell Curve agree that we don't have a good way to tell whether IQ differences are nature or nurture? (Note: In addition to that, my view is also influenced by skepticism about research in general and an understanding that although IQ tests are correlated with various things, they have some limitations.)

That there are population level differences in IQ is not controversial (except in the sense that evolution is controversial because more than 30% of Americans don't believe in it).

That IQ is a useful proxy for general intelligence and a useful tool in determining life outcomes is not controversial.

That IQ is heritable is not controversial.

That the differences are genetic is controversial but the data does seem to suggest that much of the difference is indeed genetic and another portion is biological (pre-natal care, early nutrition).

http://occidentalascent... (read more)

0Lumifer7ySigh. I don't believe you're listening and really have no inclination to play the "yes, but" game. Neither do I feel the need to prove anything to you. You can believe whatever you want to believe, it's just that such an attitude looks strange here.

Why Are Individual IQ Differences OK?

by Eliezer Yudkowsky 2 min read26th Oct 2007527 comments


Idang Alibi of Abuja, Nigeria writes on the James Watson affair:

A few days ago, the Nobel Laureate, Dr. James Watson, made a remark that is now generating worldwide uproar, especially among blacks.  He said what to me looks like a self-evident truth.  He told The Sunday Times of London in an interview that in his humble opinion, black people are less intelligent than the White people...

An intriguing opening.  Is Idang Alibi about to take a position on the real heart of the uproar?

I do not know what constitutes intelligence.  I leave that to our so-called scholars.  But I do know that in terms of organising society for the benefit of the people living in it, we blacks have not shown any intelligence in that direction at all.  I am so ashamed of this and sometimes feel that I ought to have belonged to another race...

Darn, it's just a lecture on personal and national responsibility.  Of course, for African nationals, taking responsibility for their country's problems is the most productive attitude regardless.  But it doesn't engage with the controversies that got Watson fired.

Later in the article came this:

As I write this, I do so with great pains in my heart because I know that God has given intelligence in equal measure to all his children irrespective of the colour of their skin.

This intrigued me for two reasons:  First, I'm always on the lookout for yet another case of theology making a falsifiable experimental prediction.  And second, the prediction follows obviously if God is just, but what does skin colour have to do with it at all?

A great deal has already been said about the Watson affair, and I suspect that in most respects I have little to contribute that has not been said before.

But why is it that the rest of the world seems to think that individual genetic differences are okay, whereas racial genetic differences in intelligence are not?  Am I the only one who's every bit as horrified by the proposition that there's any way whatsoever to be screwed before you even start, whether it's genes or lead-based paint or Down's Syndrome?  What difference does skin colour make?  At all?

This is only half a rhetorical question.  Race adds extra controversy to anything; in that sense, it's obvious what difference skin colour makes politically.  However, just because this attitude is common, should not cause us to overlook its insanity.  Some kind of different psychological processing is taking place around individually-unfair intelligence distributions, and group-unfair intelligence distributions.

So, in defiance of this psychological difference, and in defiance of politics, let me point out that a group injustice has no existence apart from injustice to individuals.  It's individuals who have brains to experience suffering.  It's individuals who deserve, and often don't get, a fair chance at life.  If God has not given intelligence in equal measure to all his children, God stands convicted of a crime against humanity, period.  Skin colour has nothing to do with it, nothing at all.

And I don't think there's any serious scholar of intelligence who disputes that God has been definitively shown to be most terribly unfair.  Never mind the airtight case that intelligence has a hereditary genetic component among individuals; if you think that being born with Down's Syndrome doesn't impact life outcomes, then you are on crack.  What about lead-based paint?  Does it not count, because parents theoretically could have prevented it but didn't?  In the beginning no one knew that it was damaging.  How is it just for such a tiny mistake to have such huge, irrevocable consequences?  And regardless, would not a just God damn us for only our own choices?  Kids don't choose to live in apartments with lead-based paint.

So much for God being "just", unless you count the people whom God has just screwed over.  Maybe that's part of the fuel in the burning controversy - that people do realize, on some level, the implications for religion.  They can rationalize away the implications of a child born with no legs, but not a child born with no possibility of ever understanding calculus.  But then this doesn't help explain the original observation, which is that people, for some odd reason, think that adding race makes it worse somehow.

And why is my own perspective, apparently, unusual?  Perhaps because I also think that intelligence deficits will be fixable given sufficiently advanced technology, biotech or nanotech.  When truly huge horrors are believed unfixable, the mind's eye tends to just skip over the hideous unfairness - for much the same reason you don't deliberately rest your hand on a hot stoveburner; it hurts.