Friday, April 19, 2019

Data: Despite liberation, gay men are less happy than in 1980

The General Social Survey asks participants, "Taken all together, how would you say things are these days - would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?"  I calculated the mean happiness for gay males over the past four decades.  Here is the graph:
















In terms of liberation, life has been good for homosexuals since 1980. Approval of homosexual sex by the general public has skyrocketed.  When I was an undergraduate, gay marriage was not even on the radar for progressives. Now it is the law of the land.  An openly gay man -- Buttigieg -- is a popular Democratic presidential candidate. In my department meeting Wednesday, a colleague boasted that her son now identifies as gay, making us all feel inferior because our kids are straight.

All this progress and liberation has really delivered on gay happiness, right?  Actually, mean happiness has dropped in every decade. Homosexual men are less happy than they were at the height of the AIDS epidemic. 

This reminds me of female liberation. Women are also less happy. Look at the graph.

















Liberation has not delivered.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Data: I'm skeptical that the Hispanic crime rate is similar to that of whites

I doubt the Hispanic crime rate is similar to that of whites. Let's put aside police statistics and victim surveys because both depend on someone reporting the crime, and immigrants are notorious for failing to report crimes out of fear of authorities.  And arrest data also depend on law enforcement policies.

Criminologists understand that homicide is a good measure of serious violent crime because corpses advertise crimes loudly.

The CDC has a neat website for analyzing mortality data.  I looked at homicide rates for 2017, the most recent year available. Here are the rates per 100,000 in the specific population:

Homicide Rate
Black  23.0
American Indian  9.7
Hispanic  5.3
White  2.8
Asian  1.7

Not surprisingly, blacks are at the top with a rate that is 13 1/2 times the Asian rate.  American Indians are second with a rate that is 5.7 times that of Asians.  This reminds me of Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending's hypothesis (if I remember correctly) that Native Americans never got pacified by centuries of the state weeding out the most violent.  Henry and Peter Frost published a paper three years ago that found that the English proclivity to execute criminals with abandon resulted in a country with a homicide rate that is a tiny fraction of what it was a 1,000 years ago.

Criminologists excuse black violence by blaming criminogenic urban environments. If living in a big city is the key to violence, why are rural Indians so murderous? Genes explain better than sociology.

When it comes to homicide, Hispanics resemble their racial reality: they are somewhere between American Indians and whites. Looking at Latin America, I'm pretty sure crime is a more serious problem for Hispanics than it is for whites.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Data: If Taleb is right that IQ is a BS measure, why do higher scorers have big brains? And why the perfect racial rankings?

A 2015 meta-analysis of 88 studies found that the correlation between human brain volume and intelligence is .24, a small-to-moderate size relationship.  In new research that re-analyzed the data from the 2015 study, the authors showed that the strength of the link depends on how well IQ is measured and the degree to which studies include a full range of values for brain volume and IQ (For example, if only college students are included, many lower IQ people will be excluded, and this will shrink the correlation.)

Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated that the true brain volume/IQ correlation is around .40 -- a fairly strong correlation.

Keep in mind that many researchers have reported racial differences in brain volume that match up with IQ differences. Rushton and Ankney (2009) summarized the research. For example, Beals et al. (1984) measured the endocranial volumes of close to 20,000 skulls from around the world. The Asian-black gap was reported to be a roughly 150 cubic centimeter advantage for Asians.

If IQ is BS measure like Nassim Taleb says, why do high scorers have big brains? 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sociologists like to crow about the immigration-low crime connection, but it undercuts their own theories

For the past few decades, conservatives have been linking illegal immigration to crime. In response, a whole new literature appeared among liberal researchers showing that more immigration results in less crime.  In usual liberal fashion, they treat illegal immigration as the same thing as legal or overall immigration.

But let's not get into that literature -- that's a discussion for another day.  I'm interested in the fact that social scientists have spent a great deal of energy for more than a century concocting excuses for why poor minorities -- immigrants or native-borns -- are so heavily involved in crime.  The list is long: 1) low crime neighborhoods require years of committed investment in institutions charged with socializing youths, and migrant neighborhoods lack to residential stability, resources, and population homogeneity needed to build effective institutions; 2) migrants tend to come in with low human, social, and cultural capital which makes a criminal career more attractive; 3) due to America's xenophobia, migrants are blocked from opportunities to become integrated into mainstream society with its middle-class jobs and middle-class values; 4) the youthful migrant is torn between Old Country traditions of his parents and the lower-class American values of his native-born peers. Such alienation leads to crime.  And the list goes on and on.

But for these sociologists, refuting conservative claims takes priority over consistency. After a century of predicting lots of immigrant crime, now they're scrambling to explain why immigrants are better behaved than the rest of us, and, of course, everyone knows that they always have been better than us. 

After a century of telling us that communities must be slowly built up into an ecosystem of strong institutions that effectively control the behavior of adolescents, now they tell us that people who just crossed the Rio Grande and found some shack to live in instantly create stronger communities than groups who have lived in a neighborhood for generations. 

The kid whose parents come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador enjoys a rich, healthy culture that actually frowns on crime, unlike mainstream American culture. Being forced into barrios and excluded from white society is a good thing because these Hispanic communities are tight-knit, while mainstream society is atomistic and dog-eat-dog. These researchers are hilarious.  They truly suck at predicting the future, but they are very skilled at concocting explanations after the fact.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Data: What is the average IQ of your healthcare providers?

I get annoyed when a low IQ kid gets my fast food order wrong, but no biggie. It's a different story when my child is sick and needs medical treatment. 

What is the mean IQ of health care workers?  To get a sufficiently large sample (GSS, no immigrants), I included the following jobs: physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists other health diagnosing practitioners, registered nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, physical therapists, speech therapists, and other therapists. 

For the whole group, I get a mean of 104.8. Not good. For occupations with at least 10 survey respondents:

Mean IQ

Physicians  114.5
Dentists  108.4
Registered nurses  104.6
Pharmacists  108.2
Dieticians  90.9
Physical therapists 110.6
Speech therapists  104.6
Other therapists   109.4

All of these numbers are discouraging. Don't take advice from a dietician.  

What about race? We can only look at the overall mean for all healthcare providers. For whites, it's 105.9; for blacks, 96.1; and for other races, it's 99.2.  A little bit scary.   

And gender? 109.9 for men, and 103.5 for women. 


Interpreting Your Genetics Summit

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Data: Compared to dumb people, are smart individuals more interested in politics?

I've always assumed that smart people are fascinated by politics. One complaint I have of social scientists is that they're so obsessed with politics, they can't conduct fair research. (But I can hear you saying, "You said SMART people.")  Anyway, is my assumption correct? Is it different for men and women?

The General Social Survey asked respondents: "How interested would you say you personally are in politics?" Answers ranged from 'very interested' to 'not at all interested.'  I measure IQ with a 10 question vocabulary quiz (sample size = 1,141):
















Look at how those scoring a perfect score on the test are much more interested in politics than any other group. To get precise, the correlation between the two variables is .20 -- a moderate relationship.

Now for the women (sample size = 1,507):



I separated by sex because I suspected that the rise in interest as one moves up the IQ scale might be sharper for men. My experience is that smart women are more interested in politics than less intelligent women, but I see more intensity among men.

The female pattern is similar to that for men. The correlation is slightly weaker -- .18. The gender gap is pretty visible at the highest IQ level: 16.8% of these women have little or no interest, compared to only 5.4% of the men.


Interpreting Your Genetics Summit

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Data: What predicts believing that the environment is more important than genes?

In the last post, we looked at ethnic differences in whether the environment or genes are thought to be more important for a variety of traits. Now let's see which factors predict choosing nurture over nature.

Using GSS data, I estimated linear regression models (OLS) with each of the four questions as dependent variables, plus a scale of all four of them summed.  I included all demographic predictors I could think of, including: sex, age, race, southern region, immigrant vs. native-born,  educational level, income, church attendance, number of children, and political orientation. I list below the significant effects (beta weights are shown):

Obesity
Black  -.15
Education  .10

So blacks, compared to whites, and less educated people think environment is less important. Race is the more powerful predictor.

Alcohol Abuse
Female  -.08
Education  .07

Females and the less educated think genes are more important for alcohol abuse.

Altruism
Female  -.06
Black  -.06

Women and blacks are shifted toward seeing genes as important for altruism.

Athleticism
Education  .06
South  -.07

For athletic ability, Southerners and the less educated tend to see genes as being more important.

Nurture over nature scale
Black  -.11
Education  .11

When the scores for all four questions are added together to make a scale, blacks and the less education are shifted toward genes having the most impact.

Not surprisingly, people exposed to more education tend to believe in the power of the environment. After years of getting the same message from liberal teachers, what do you expect?  It is a surprise, though, that blacks, after adjusting for education, give higher estimates to the power of genes.

UPDATE: It might surprise you that political orientation (liberal vs. conservative) is unrelated to one's view of the importance of genes. 

UPDATE II: I wonder if the race difference comes from the fact that blacks are more fatalistic than whites, and people tend to assume (wrongly in my view) that genes imply determinism but environment does not. Whites might embrace nurturism because it sounds compatible with the idea that we can take control of our lives and improve things.  

Data: Despite liberation, gay men are less happy than in 1980

The General Social Survey asks participants, "Taken all together, how would you say things are these days - would you say that you are ...