Tag Archives: genetics

My thoughts on race and IQ

I’ve been hesitating a bit to get into this topic, not so much because I’m afraid of sharing my views, but because I don’t want to use this blog too much for discussions that are not directly relevant to open borders. However, given that the topic of “race” seems to have come up in Nathan’s recent post, and in BK’s comments, and since I’ve already commented sharing some of my views, I think it’s best that I go on the record with my views. Note that these are just my personal views. I won’t say that they are completely irrelevant to my case for open borders, but what I would say is that the case for open borders is, to my mind, sufficiently robust under changes to my views on this matter. The goal of this post is merely as a reference I can point to so that I can write in the future about these issues without having to provide long justifications and caveats.

To keep this post short, I will not discuss either the moral issues or the relevance to open borders.

I already signed on to the overall IQ consensus (ignoring the racial issues) at the beginning of this post, so I won’t repeat that here. But you might want to take a look at these two consensus statements, this journalistic survey, and this PDF summary by Linda Gottfredson. So here goes.

My understanding of the genetics-focused human biodiversity/race realist position

The genetics-focused human biodiversity/race realist position can be summed up thus. There are, roughly speaking, three sub-races of the human race: Whites, Blacks, and East Asians. Although most population geneticists don’t use the term “race” in their discussions, this tri-racial scheme is reasonably consistent with genetic distance classifications such as the Cavalli-Sforza tree, which identifies 42 subpopulations of the human species.

The race realist position goes on to argue that the mean “genetic IQs” of the three groups are 100, 85, and 105 respectively (some people use different numbers; I’m just using approximate numbers here). Genetic IQ is an ill-defined term, but roughly, you could think of it as meaning what the average IQ would be if they lived in a well-to-do country such as the US with a middle-class lifestyle. The standard deviations within each group is 15 or lower. Thus, blacks are one standard deviation below whites in average IQ.

Caveat 1: Lynn estimates African IQ as about 67, but says that the “genetic IQ” of Africans is probably 80. But I’m rounding that up to 85 since Lynn is relatively extreme. In the comments, BK has pointed out to the work of Jelte Wicherts which casts some doubt on Lynn’s pessimistic estimates, and suggests that current IQ in South Africa is about 80, which suggests that the “genetic IQ” may be around 85 (see also here).

Caveat 2: Some people, such as Lynn, consider genetic attribution of IQ differences even within sub-races and between ethnically similar populations in different regions of the same country. For instance, Lynn applies genetics to considering differences between Northern and Southern Italy. In a critical piece, Ron Unz writes of Lynn:

Although Lynn attributed this large deficit in Southern Italian IQ to substantial North African or Near Eastern genetic admixture, poverty and cultural deprivation seem more likely explanations.

Still, I think Lynn is a bit of an outlier in the fineness with which he makes genetic distinctions and uses admixture to explain differences between nearby regions. Continue reading “My thoughts on race and IQ” »