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Thread: Liberal Creationism, or: Yippee, Itís Bell-Curve Time Again!

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by boombox View Post
    Your statement is wilfully disingenuous. Mixed Biscuits was merely seeking well-informed dissection of researched facts.
    No it isn't, on the contrary: if you cannot recognise out-and-out racism posing as 'scientific research', then no amount of 'well-informed dissection of researched facts' will persuade you.



    Quote Originally Posted by boombox View Post
    It is intriguing to know if there are differences between the races of mankind.
    What 'races of mankind'? There is no such thing as 'race', except of course for racists. As for Reed's "slurs and nebulous diatribes", as you disingenuously term them, it is the sick 'research' he is criticising that should be so described. His anger is to be defended. Murray is a sick fuck in need of counselling, not a 'scientist', unless you wish to describe the Nazi scientists as having been 'scientific.'

    Some other 'well-informed' criticisms for those who don't even understand the concept of racism:

    BOOK REVIEW: The Bell Curve Cracks

    Inequality by Design-Cracking the Bell Curve Myth, by Claude S. Fischer, Michael Hout, Martin Sanchez Jankowski, Samuel R. Lucas, Ann Swidler, and Kim Voss. Princeton University Press, 1996. 318 pages.

    Reviewed by Brian Siano

    A mountain peak, and its darker silhouette displaced by 'one standard deviation,' is the image from The Bell Curve that persists in memory. It's the purported shape of the distribution of IQ scores classified by race, derived from the scores of 11,878 people taking the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), and it appears in TBC's notorious "Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Ability" chapter. (It also appeared in the New Republic's cover story on the book, as well as in the pages of Skeptic,) One could easily imagine the shapes rising into view as Microsoft Excel or SAS scattered the points on the computer screen, like a lost Aztec city shining through a false color enhancement of satellite data. The symmetry of the slopes, of course, spoke for a natural evenness of distribution- the classic "bell curve" one sees for height, life expectancy, shooting craps, and other natural processes. The conclusion: an underlying pattern has been revealed through the ruthless application of statistics.

    On page 32 of Inequality by Design, the authors provide a re-casting of the same magic runes. As before, the whites-only Matterhorn of Herrnstein and Murray is present. But beside it is a grey lump, slouching towards the high ends of the scale in defiance of the demanded symmetry. This insubordinate lump is the original distribution of scores on the AFQT.

    Looking further in The Bell Curve for an explanation, one finds that answers are somewhat elusive. Herrnstein and Murray could have used centile scores-placing people in the 99th percentile of scores, the 98th percentile, etc. This would have been a lot simpler. In Appendix 2, they state they "we knew from collateral data" that the important IQ stuff "occurs at the tails of the distribution," and "using centiles throws away the tails." In short: the original scores are not a bell curve; but IQ scores must follow a bell curve; all the action in our project happens at the tail ends of a bell curve; therefore, we must derive a bell curve with distinct tails from the unruly data. If you're one of those people who feel that data should shape the theory, this may seem somewhat less than valid. Toss in the fact that intelligence tests are frequently designed to provide bell-curve distributions of scores, and we notice a kind of circular reasoning implicit in the psychometric model used by Herrnstein and Murray. Reshaping the lump into the mountain was, in the words of Inequality by Design, the result of "a good deal of statistical mashing and stretching," demanded by the assumption "that intelligence must be distributed in a bell curve."

    The authors take Herrnstein and Murray to task for presenting the AFQT as an intelligence test. This isn't the case: the AFQT was designed to predict performance in the armed forces (no wisecracks, class), and it functions best as a test of the level of schooling the subject has received. The math sections, which make the greatest differences in the final scores, require having had exposure to high school algebra. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which administered the AFQT to its thousands of subjects, measured schooling at a very crude level (number of years and whether the subject was in an academic track), but these two factors correlated well with AFQT scores. Other studies, using the same data, argue that Herrnstein and Murray drastically underestimated the influence of schooling.

    (In one passage, the authors argue that if we keep education level constant, age correlates negatively with AFQT score. In other words, older respondents with 12 years of education score lower than younger respondent with the same level. If AFQT measures education level, then this difference is explained by the fact that the older respondents had been out of school longer, and had forgotten some of their education. But if we accept the psychometric claim that the test measures innate ability, then we'd have to believe that people start getting stupider around their midteens.)

    What can we say about Herrnstein and Murray's "cognitive elite," that upper 5%? They were people who had had schooling beyond the high school level, disproportionately male (thanks to the weighting in favor of math), and just plain lucky; one or two more wrong answers, and they would've dropped down into the "bright" category. As for the other end of the curve, 27 % had dropped out of school at least three years before taking the test.

    The core of Herrnstein and Murray's argument is that IQ is a better predictor of life outcomes than the usual measure of socioeconomic status (SES). Contrary to the forbidden-data claims of The Bell Curve, sociologists have been working with intelligence tests and the AFQT for years. The authors of Inequality by Design "accepted Herrnstein and Murray's evidence, their measure of intelligence, and their basic methodology and then reexamined the results. By simply correcting a handful of errors, we showed that coming from a disadvantaged home was almost as important a risk factor for poverty as a low AFQT score."

    Herrnstein and Murray defined SES very narrowly, as four factors: level of education, income, and parents' occupation(s). They then needlessly compiled these into a single index-thus giving them equal weight amongst each other. This is a major error, since NLSY data shows that parental income has a far greater effect than parental education on a child's life outcome.

    Also, when such information was missing from the NLSY respondents, they simply assigned them the average value derived from other respondents. (This introduces error, in the case of respondents who are rich or poor, and reduces the statistical association with effect variables.) The NLSY only included four questions about parental SES, which makes it far less reliable than the 105-question AFQT-which stacks the IQ-vs-SES face-off in Herrnstein and Murray's favor.

    Herrnstein and Murray also left out several factors known to have effects on a subject's life outcome. The number of siblings, for example, was not incorporated into their analysis. The adult community environment-local unemployment rate, geographic region (rural, urban, suburban)-was also overlooked. Was the subject, at age 14, living in a two-parent household? What about access to quality schools? Bringing these factors into play provides a probability-of-poverty graph that matches Herrnstein and Murray's AFQT curves. In short, the authors conclude that the subjects' "life chances depend on their social surroundings at least as much as their own intelligence... The key finding of The Bell Curve turns out to be an artifact of its method."

    Inequality by Design goes on to present a far more detailed analysis of poverty. For example, despite rough parity in IQ scores, women are far more likelier than men to be poor. Using the NLSY-AFQT data, the authors state that "a young woman would have had to score forty-one points higher on the AFQT than a young man of the same age, formal schooling, and background in order for her risk of being poor to have been as low as his." [Italics in original.] Having children increases the risk of being poor. The economic effects of marriage and divorce are more dramatic for adults who grew up in low-income families. Herrnstein and Murray say nothing substantial about gender; instead, they argue that unmarried status is a result of lower intelligence. But the AFQT scores of unmarried respondents were no higher than those of marrieds....

    Again, data seems to have lost primacy over theory through much of The Bell Curve. In one spectacular example, Herrnstein and Murray claim that a three-point drop in average American IQ would increase unwed motherhood and incarceration rates by about 10 % (pp. 364-368). But to explain the doubling of incarcerated men in the 1980s, the 150% increase in unwed motherhood since 1970, and the rises and dips of poverty between 1960 to 1992, we'd have to believe that average IQ varies as much as 55 points within a single generation-a claim Herrnstein and Murray explicitly rule out.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by hundredmillionlifetimes View Post
    What 'races of mankind'? There is no such thing as 'race', except of course for racists.
    So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin View Post
    When the Irish became white did their IQ go up? What about Italians? Or did they drag the White Race down?
    Did you notice the other exasperatingly bizarre articles on that site [ William Saletan's Liberal Creationism] that Guybrush linked to? Especially this other one by Saletan: Jewgenics: Jewish intelligence, Jewish genes, and Jewish values.

    Just convert the population of Africa to Judaism, dispatch them to Israel, and their IQs will automatically double!

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by hundredmillionlifetimes View Post
    Did you notice the other exasperatingly bizarre articles on that site [ William Saletan's Liberal Creationism] that Guybrush linked to? Especially this other one by Saletan: Jewgenics: Jewish intelligence, Jewish genes, and Jewish values.

    Just convert the population of Africa to Judaism, dispatch them to Israel, and their IQs will automatically double!
    Er, what?

    Didn't you read the words "Jewish genes" in the post you just made?

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit?
    Yeah, and two-legged people tend to have two-legged kids.

    Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour, segregating them so, concocting 'tests' for purposes of proving their 'innate' inferiority to ultimately legislate for a fascist ideology ... is racism. It is formally wrong, so arguing about these loonies' 'research findings' is to implicitly accept their terms of reference, the terms of their research ie that racism is an acceptable ideology.

    So now you're defending institutionalized racism. Charming ... and predictable.

  6. #36

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Er, what?

    Didn't you read the words "Jewish genes" in the post you just made?
    This is mind-boggling in its hilarious insanity. Jewish genes? If someone is Jewish they have 'Jewish genes'; by becoming a Jew, by converting to Judaism, you, by definition, then have 'Jewish genes', being Jewish an' all ... and should you later decide to become an atheist [a 'self-hating Jew' as they are popularly dismissed and derided], why, you'll have 'atheist genes.' Isn't that amazing!

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by hundredmillionlifetimes View Post
    This is mind-boggling in its hilarious insanity. Jewish genes? If someone is Jewish they have 'Jewish genes'; by becoming a Jew, by converting to Judaism, you, by definition, then have 'Jewish genes', being Jewish an' all ... and should you later decide to become an atheist [a 'self-hating Jew' as they are popularly dismissed and derided], why, you'll have 'atheist genes.' Isn't that amazing!
    It's not really that hard to understand:

    Jewish genes = member of a group with common ancestors called "Jews"

    Judaism = Abrahamic religion historically practiced by Jews

    So simply converting to Judaism will do nothing for your genes, obviously.

    Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour
    It certainly seems as though you're the only person here obsessing over this, but let me ask you -- do you believe that differences in skin colour exist?
    Last edited by vimothy; 21-11-2007 at 05:45 PM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by hundredmillionlifetimes View Post
    Obsessing over skin colour, distinguishing people primarily on the basis of skin colour, segregating them so, concocting 'tests' for purposes of proving their 'innate' inferiority to ultimately legislate for a fascist ideology ... is racism.
    What about concocting tests for purposes of proving that there is no innate correlation between skin colour and intelligence? Or rather, for purposes of finding out whether there is or not. And if there is no innate correlation, then that should be the result that it turns up. And if research suggests that there is an innate difference when there isn't, then it should be easy to pick holes in the methodology - which I thought was what had already happened with IQ tests.

    You seem to be saying "of course there is no innate difference. But doing research that might prove that would be an attempt to justify racism."

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    So simply converting to Judaism will do nothing for your genes, obviously.
    Which is why to speak of Jewish genes [and the implied 'genetic' superiority] is not only nonsense, but thoroughly racist.

    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    It certainly seems as though you're the only person here obssessing over this, but let me ask you -- do you believe that differences in skin colour exist?
    Leave it to Vimothy! Those who are racist don't obsess over skin colour, never, but those who expose racism obsess over skin colour!

    [Differences in eye colour exist too: let's create a slave trade based on eye colour! "What a very clever idea! You must have a really high IQ!"]

    Addendum:


    "rac·ism (rszm) n.

    1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others."

    By that definition, the authors of The Bell Curve and any who subscribe to its thesis are racists. The dictionary is neutral about the empirical validity of racism, but given the huge wealth of empirical evidence that race is not a biological category, but a semiotic construct, and that environmental factors greatly contribute to social stratification, anyone who claims that "there is a good probability that this is one of these cases" is clearly a racist in the standard pejorative sense.
    Last edited by hundredmillionlifetimes; 21-11-2007 at 06:34 PM.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothrop View Post
    What about concocting tests for purposes of proving that there is no innate correlation between skin colour and intelligence? Or rather, for purposes of finding out whether there is or not. And if there is no innate correlation, then that should be the result that it turns up. And if research suggests that there is an innate difference when there isn't, then it should be easy to pick holes in the methodology - which I thought was what had already happened with IQ tests.

    You seem to be saying "of course there is no innate difference. But doing research that might prove that would be an attempt to justify racism."
    The thing is that the racial classifications that they are using are the exact same ones that have been used by racists to discriminate against people in the first place. It's not the research methods and statistics that they use that are faulty, it's the classification of people along pre-determined racial lines that's problematic.

    If they were really interested in the relationship between genetics and intelligence, what would really be reasonable would be to take a sampling of the entire genetic pool of the human race and subdivide it into groups based on actual genetic similarity, and then compare intelligence (finding something better than IQ tests would be a good idea too). It's following these classifications of race which have an unquestionable racist origin that makes this such bad research.

    Edit: I should also add that even if they use a more scientific grouping of genetic similarity, that STILL wouldn't get rid of cultural/economic factors. They'd really have to run the tests on cross sections within similar social and economic groups, so for example middle-class germans or working-class brazillians...
    Last edited by turtles; 21-11-2007 at 06:57 PM.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    So black people tend to have black kids and white people tend to have white kids...why, exactly? Coincidence? Force of habit?
    oh for fuck's sake. 'race' is a meaningless term scientifically. it is used, as padraig rightly points out by racists to create 'difference'.

    colour of skin=race in your book?

  13. #43
    nomadologist Guest

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    Another hilarious round of Vimothizing on race...

    The human genome mapping has finally laid to rest any idea of "Jewishness" as a racially-based identity--they've traced all Ashkenazis to a set of four common matriarchal ancestors, none of whom bear any genetic relationship to Semitic people.

  14. #44
    nomadologist Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt b View Post
    oh for fuck's sake. 'race' is a meaningless term scientifically.
    it sure is

  15. #45
    nomadologist Guest

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    Oh yeah, and IQ tests don't measure anything but your ability to score highly on IQ tests.

    The type of "intelligence" they measure is a very limited and "left-brained" type that only takes a person so far in life.

    Most of my ancestors were illiterate people with what seems like serious ADD and other learning disabilities looking back who ended up owning crime on the east coast. You don't have to possess a high score on an IQ tests to have traits that help you shore up resources from an "evolutionary" standpoint.

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