Saturday, March 31, 2007

Intelligence and mental illness: Let's examine the old idea that smart people are more likely to have mental problems. Nietzsche went crazy, right--among others? The GSS asked people if they have ever had a mental illness, and here are their mean IQs:

Mean IQs--Whites

Mental illness 109.9
No mental illness 101.3

Mean IQs--Blacks

Mental Illness 100.1
No mental illness 94.4

For blacks and whites, those reporting having had a mental illness have higher average IQs. Once again, the data presented on this blog have a way of supporting stereotypes. Now, some will inevitably claim that smart people will admit their illness while less intelligent people won't, but you must admit the differences are quite large.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Inequality and Crime

Class differences are bread and butter for sociologists: what would they have to study without it? I found the above chart on the New York Times' website today, which focuses on the recent increase in income inequality, but also shows a gap that has been increasing since 1980. According to sociologists, the growing chasm should lead to Armageddon. Well, it's been more than 25 years, but I'm not sure that American society is less stable now than in the 70s. One indicator of instability--street crime--rose in the 70s and peaked around 1980. It should be peaking now if sociological theory were correct. On the other hand, the number of people incarcerated is MUCH higher now, so perhaps our get-tough policies are keeping a lid on the social chaos.
The Drunken Deist: General Social Survey respondents were asked if they sometimes drink too much. I looked to see if this varies with belief in God and church attendance:

Percent that drink too much

1. I don't believe in God. (34.0)
2. I don't know whether there is a God and I don't believe there is any way to find out. (40.9)
3. I don't believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some kind. (46.8)
4. I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others. (43.6)
5. While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God. (40.9)
6. I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it. (27.3)

1. Never attends religious services. (47.3)
2. Less than once a year. (44.1)
3. Once a year. (46.4)
4. Several times a year (38.1)
5. Once a month (39.0)
6. 2-3 times a month (32.8)
7. Nearly every week (28.1)
8. Every week (24.4)
8. More than once a week (12.8)

In terms of beliefs, the confident folks seem to have the least problem with drinking. The atheists and especially the non-doubters have the lowest numbers. The people who are not sure, as well as the group who don't believe in a personal God, are most likely to be drunks. This suggests that having conflicted or vague beliefs, or perhaps a wavering personality, may not be healthy.

The pattern is even clearer with church attendance. The more often you go, the less likely to drink too much.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Switching religions: Which religions best retain their adherents, and when people exit, where do they most often go? As usual, the General Social Survey provides answers when we get curious. Respondents were asked about the religion of their childhood, and about their current choice. Below I list the childhood religion and below that the percent distributions of their current status:

Current Religion (%)--Protestant at 16

Protestant 88.3
Catholic 3.2
Jewish .1
None 6.7
Other 1.1
Buddhist .1
Christian .2
Interdenominational .2

Current Religion (%)--Catholic at 16

Protestant 10.7
Catholic 78.7
Jewish .3
None 8.4
Other 1.1
Christian .4
Interdenominational .2

Current Religion (%)--Jewish at 16

Protestant 3.0
Catholic 1.6
Jewish 84.0
None 10.1
Other .9
Buddhist .3

Current Religion (%)--None at 16

Protestant 36.3
Catholic 7.4
Jewish 1.3
None 51.1
Other 2.4
Buddhist .2
Hindu .1
Other Eastern .2
Muslim .1
Orthodox .1
Christian .9
Interdenominational .2

Current religion (%)--Buddhist at 16

Protestant 13.7
Catholic 7.8
Jewish 2.0
None 17.6
Other 2.0
Buddhist 52.9
Other Eastern 2.0
Christian 2.0

Current religion (%)--Hindu at 16

Protestant 3.8
None 15.4
Hindu 76.9
Muslim 3.8

Current religion (%)--Muslim at 16

Catholic 1.8
None 14.5
Hindu 5.5
Other Eastern 1.8
Muslim 74.5
Christian 1.8

Current religion (%)--Orthodox at 16

Protestant 12.5
Catholic 4.7
None 10.9
Orthodox 71.9

Current religion (%)--Christian at 16

Protestant 18.3
Catholic 2.5
None 18.3
Other 1.7
Buddhist .8
Orthodox .8
Christian 56.7
Interdenominational .8

Current religion (%)--Mormon at 16

Mormon 97
None 3

Current religion (%)--Jehovah's Witness at 16

Jehovah's Witness 50
None 50

Current religion (%)--Seventh-Day Adventist at 16

Seventh-Day Adventist 88
Catholic 6
None 6

Current religion (%)--Pentecostal at 16

Pentecostal 96
None 4

Whew, that was a lot of typing. So what conclusions can we draw here? Well, the percent remaining Protestant exaggerates stability since some are changing from one Protestant denomination to another. On the other hand, even if there is some movement these numbers don't show, it is not usually movement to a completely different religion. (I'm sure most of the movement is from mainline to evangelical). It looks to me like Jews hold onto their own better than any other faith (84%) with Catholics coming in second (79%). Now, you might respond that Mormons are at 97% and some of these other small, new religions seem to have very high rates of retention. The problem is that sample sizes are so small, we simply can't conclude anything with confidence. I do think it's very interesting, however, that Jehovah's Witnesses lose half according to these numbers. If I grew up not celebrating my birthday or Christmas, I might want to make a change too. (Another reason to proceed with caution is that when respondents were asked about their current religion, only Protestant was given as a response choice for all these different groups, so I had to assume, for example, that someone who was a Mormon at 16 and a "Protestant" now had not changed religions. Is that clear as mud?) It's also interesting that among these small, intense religions, if someone does exit the faith, they usually don't replace it with something else. I suspect that being raised in this kind of religion convinces you that all other religions are unattractive.

More than others, Jews become people with no religion--a function of high IQ, I imagine. (The number might be higher for Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Orthodox, and Christians if we trust the small samples). About half of those raised with no religion join some church, a plurality becoming Protestant. This is probably due to numbers: if people usually convert through the influence of friends and significant others (I wince at the use of that term) and you form these relationships through proximity, well you bump into Protestants more often than anyone else.

There are other interesting patterns here, but this post is getting long, so sniff around if you feel like it, and let me know if you'd like me to look at related questions.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We need the right kind of SOB: According to Derbyshire, Guiliani is just the kind of SOB we need. I'm all for electing an SOB, but the real issue is where one points his SOB-ness. I can see Rudy being a real a-hole (AH) with terrorists, but he is going to turn warm-and-fuzzy on many issues conservatives care about. Guiliani in a sentimental voice: "Undocumented workers make this country better...This is a great nation of immigrants." Said with the sweetness of a househusband: "We don't want to return to the days of back-alley abortions." Wearing a dress like when he was on SNL: "Guns are scary...Why would anyone want to carry one for protection? You'll hurt someone with that thing." And wearing chartreuse pants and a black polka-dot shirt: "Homosexuals have the right to love each other too."

Friday, March 23, 2007

More on Mex-Ams: You'd think I made it up. I'm interested in ethnic differences and am concerned about too-rapid Mexican immigration. For a long time, I've long suspected that Mex-Ams are not quite the angels immigration enthusiasts claim they are. Browsing General Social Survey (GSS) questions just now, I wondered about two personality traits that many Americans seem to value: optimism and unselfishness. It turns out that these traits are least frequent among Mex-Ams. Look:

Percent pessimistic

Mexicans 38.0
Blacks 24.5
Italians 23.5
Germans 22.9
American Indians 22.8
Irish 19.4
England/Welsh 13.0
Scots 12.7

Percent selfish

Mexicans 19.5
Germans 17.2
English/Welsh 13.0
Blacks 12.2
Italians 9.8
Irish 9.1
Scots 6.4
American Indians 6.2

These image-breaking stats keep popping up. Mex-Ams are thought to exemplify conservative values--familism and industriousness, for example--but the GSS and other surveys have revealed that this group has many comparatively undesirable characteristics: criminality; gang proliferation; indifference to education; big government and pro-censorship values; indifference to the environment; lack of cleanliness; marital and relationship instability; female infidelity; "race" consciousness and ethnocentrism; school misbehavior--need I continue?

Like an oily used car salesman, the open borders crowd has sold us a lemon. At the risk of sounding like a pessimist, the hustle might continue to dupe, but readers of this blog at least know their getting screwed. I don't know about you, but I don't like to sleep through a good screwing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Seeing oneself as white faciliates assimilation: I sometimes treat American Hispanic groups as if they are all the same, but some are much more assimilated than others. Educational attainment is a nice indicator of just how far a person has entered the cultural mainstream, so using the American Community Survey I looked at mean educational levels of the different Latino groups. I wish the scores made more sense: a 7 means 12 years of education, a 6 is 11 years, and a 5 is 10 years.

Mean education score (percent white in parentheses)

Argentinean 6.80 (87.9)
Venezuelan 6.77 (74.8)
Chilean 6.63 (78.1)
Peruvian 6.55 (62.1)

Not Hispanic 6.50 (84.1)

Panamanian 6.52 (42.6)
Spaniard 6.41 (81.4)
Bolivian 6.38 (72.5)
South American 6.37 (69.8)
Columbian 6.35 (71.5)
Costa Rican 6.24 (68.5)
Cuban 6.22 (86.9)
Uruguayan 6.11 (86.6)
Ecuadorian 5.98 (57.9)
Nicaraguan 5.88 (65.0)
Central American 5.56 (44.7)
Puerto Rican 5.47 (57.8)
Dominican 5.31 (36.3)
Honduran 5.13 (54.6)
Mexican 4.82 (58.8)
Guatemalan 4.76 (51.4)
Salvadoran 4.76 (52.3)

As you can see, four South American groups are higher than the non-Hispanic average. (Keep in mind that non-Hispanics are older which lowers the mean, and the mean is further reduced by inclusion of blacks). My favorite group, Mexicans, along with two Central American countries, are at the bottom. Caribbean groups are also on the bottom half. Evidently, educational levels tend to be higher among people who've come from more distant Latin American countries.

I suspected that greater numbers of white Hispanics would assimilate, so I calculated the percent in each group that is white (shown in parentheses). Race is self-described, and it is clear that, unlike with some other minority groups, there is a bias to see oneself as white. I take this as a good sign that many Latinos identify with mainstream American society. I calculated the Pearson correlation between mean educational score and percent white: it's .62. This squares with the idea that, in general, being white faciliates assimilation in American society. Or more accurately, seeing oneself as white, rather than being seen as white, facilitates assimilation.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The gang nightmare: just posted a piece by Steve Sailer on the growing Hispanic gang problem. Among many items, he describes how California has been exporting gangs to the rest of country. A few months ago I was talking to a professor who had participated in a study of gangs in Denver. Now, Denver would not be the first city to come to mind as a gang capital. Chicago, yes, but when I think of Denver, hip ski bums come to mind. According to the study, FIFTY PERCENT of adolescent male Hispanics belong to a gang. Folks, gangbanging is becoming NORMATIVE behavior for these kids. Estimates put gang members nationwide at close to 1 million, and more than half of that is Latino. Their latest strategy is to spread their crews to Indian reservations. In the past, gangs were basically limited to big cities, but now they've even made it to the reservation--a place most whites can't find with a map. This is a tidal wave, I'm telling you.

In my own classes, Hispanic students clearly feel some kind of weird identification with these gangs. Many seem to be saying: the life is cool, but I don't want to end up dead or in prison (or dead in prison), as if the only reason not to join is the impracticality of it.

I'm sure people passing through this website think that I have some irrational dislike of Latinos, but my criticisms are intellectual. My personal interactions with Hispanics have been 98% positive, but you begin to wonder about policy when your country goes from 100,000 gang members to one million in 20 years, and most of the growth is driven by immigration and Hispanic communities.

Let me say the words again, if you missed it before: FIFTY PERCENT. I'll use Will Ferrell's words from Talledega Nights: "What does that do? Does that blow your mind? That just happened."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Are whites the sicko criminals?

The New York Times reported that Lorenzo Gulyard of Kansas City was convicted today of murdering 6 prostitutes in the 80s. (They don't show his photo, but I found this one).

Black criminality is so conspicuous in American society, people have hunted around to find some kind of terrible behavior that whites specialize in. Serial killings have been a great one to latch onto. For example, I have heard black comedians say something like: "Us black folks might get violent once in a while, but when whites kill, they go apeshit." According to research by Eric Hickey, 20% of American serial killers have been black. That figure is two times their historical share of the U.S. population.

People also push the idea that it's whites who are the child molesters, and they put this all together to say that non-whites commit the cool crimes like gangbanging, while whites commit sicko crimes. But not only is the serial killer stereotype incorrect, so is the one of the white pedophile. While it is true that, according to the oft-quoted 1991 survey of state prisoners, almost 70% of those convicted for violence against children are white males, people conveniently forget that this number corresponds roughly to their share of the total male population. It's a bit of a stretch to say, you guys are the child molesters because you equal the rates of other groups.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

IQ and alcoholism: I'm interested in the moral character of smart people, so I took a look at the IQs of drunks, using GSS data. People were asked if they have a drinking problem. Here are their mean IQs.

Mean IQ

Has a drinking problem 98.3
Does not 103.1

Has a drinking problem 86.2
Does not 93.2

For whites and blacks, alcoholics are less intelligent. Ideas about why?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There is a "God Gap"...for whites and Mex-Ams, anyway: Razib links to a survey which reports that the "God Gap" between Democrats and Republicans is not as large as is conventionally thought. The survey fails to discuss differences by race, so let's help them out. I'll cut to the chase and only look at how often people go to church, and how they vote. If they attend religious services at least once a month, I categorized them as religious. The General Social Survey does not have voting behavior more recent than the 2000 presidential race.

Percent religious

Gore 40.5
Bush 58.8
Nader 21.8

Gore 74.0
Bush 75.0

Gore 49.0
Bush 73.8

Church attendence differentiates white voters (especially Nader fans from the rest) and it differentiates Mex-Ams even more. On the other hand, African American Gore voters are just as religious and three blacks who voted for Bush. When I addressed previously the question about what does differentiate black GOP from Democrat voters, the only thing I found was that men are more often Republicans. (I don't present Nader numbers for the two minority groups since sample sizes are too small).

While there are differences here, people like Ann Coulter who say that Democrats are godless exaggerate wildly, even if speaking of whites: two-fifths of whites, one-half of Mexicans, and three-quarters of blacks who voted in 2000 for Gore go to church at least once a month.
The least intelligent region in America: In an earlier post, I used the General Social Survey (GSS) to show that mean IQ is lowest (94.2) in the East South Central Division, which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Now, part of the reason for the low average is that a large number of blacks live in the region: 22% of the total population, according to the GSS. In the table shown below, the black mean in the region is 87.5, almost 10 points lower than for whites. But the white IQ is also below-average (96.1), so the question arises whether this low mean is due to smart people leaving for higher-opportunity regions. Here are the numbers:

Mean IQ--East South Central Division

Total 94.2
White 96.1
Black 87.5
Other 99.4

Stayers 91.2
Leavers 99.6
Comers 101.4

Stayers 87.4
Leavers 89.2
Comers 87.4

It doesn't surprise me that whites who move out are smarter than the stayers, but it is a bit of a surprise that whites who have moved into that part of the country are just as smart as the leavers (in fact a bit smarter) and are almost as numerous (14.1% of the total regional population versus 16.6%). So, basically the leavers and the comers cancel each other out in terms of IQ. Those who move out lower the IQ, only to have it raised to the previous level by those moving in. This, by the way, is the same thing I saw when I looked at New England in the earlier post.

The pattern for blacks is also a surprise. Stayers are about as smart as leavers or comers. So blacks, as a group, don't appear to move because their brains would profit them more in another region.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Smart, white, conservative men to the rescue again: I just can't think of very many political values that I cherish more than free speech. So I decided to run a multiple regression with General Social Survey data to identify folks who are its weakest supporters. For my dependent variable, I chose whether or not you favored allowing a racist to speak in public (1 for yes, 0 for no).

Here are the standardized coefficients, from strongest to weakest:

Standardized Coefficients

IQ .15
Years of education .12
Frequency of church attendance -.11
Being a woman -.07
Politically liberal -.05
Being black -.04
Income .03

So, a free speecher is likely to be smart, educated, non-churchgoing, male, conservative, white, and wealthy. The first three are especially important. Generally, I like churchy people, but I suppose they do have an authoritarian streak. But look how it's the libs who want to shut people up. And I'm not surprised that the mommies want to wash our mouths out with soap for saying bad words.

"The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
IQ and living in New England: According to the General Social Survey, New England has the highest average IQ. Now, is this due to the intelligence of those born there, or those who have moved in? Let's call those who were born in New England and have stayed there "stayers"; those who were born there and left after age 16 for another region "leavers"; and those who lived in another region at age 16 and later moved to New England "comers." Here are the means of the three groups:

Mean IQ

Stayers, 102.8
Comers, 109.5
Leavers, 107.8

Stayers and comers, 104.3
Stayers and leavers, 104.0

So, both comers and and leavers are smarter than stayers, but they essentially cancel each other out. New England is more intelligent than other regions because their stayers are smarter than the stayers in other regions, plus the smart people they lose are replaced with smart peoplle who move in.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sailer's true identity revealed: I was reading the post on Steve Sailer's website about how he has been banned by Kmart. At first, I was mad about it, then I began looking at his name, and all of a sudden it was as if God parted the clouds, and a brilliant light shone through. I saw in my mind the letters of his name rearranged into two new words, and they were--don't be afraid--Sielver Saten! Now you might think that this is not spelled right, but isn't that exactly the kind of thing that the Devil would do? But why Silver Satan? Well, silver means second place, so put 2 and 2 together: Steve Sailer is Lucifer's wingman! And, and, he has a beard, right? I'll bet a stack of dollar bills that his hair is not naturally curly: he does that to hide the horns.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Musical taste and IQ by race: Steve Sailer suggested that I display results from the last post broken out by race to see what happens. Here are mean IQs for whites:

Mean IQs--whites

Opera 108.2
Classical 108.2
New Age 107.5
Jazz 107.2
Showtunes 107.0
Blues 106.3
Big Band 105.2
Folk 104.6
Latin 103.3
Oldies 102.3
Contemporary Rock 101.1
Easy Listening 100.2
Reggae 99.7
Heavy Metal 98.5
Bluegrass 98.1
Country 97.1
Gospel 96.0
Rap 93.5

The ranking is similar to what we saw belowe (since whites are by far the largest group). Not surprisingly, the IQs are higher for whites, and they rose the most among genres that are popular among non-whites: Latin, jazz, blues, reggae.

Here are the means for blacks:

Mean IQs--blacks

New Age 113.9
Opera 107.0
Folk 103.5
Latin 97.8
Classical 96.3
Showtunes 96.1
Easy Listening 95.8
Oldies 95.5
Jazz 94.5
Blues 94.2
Bluegrass 94.2
Contemporary Rock 93.2
Gospel 91.9
Big Band 91.4
Reggae 89.7
Country 89.7
Rap 88.2
Heavy Metal 87.6

Caution: sample sizes are extremely small for less popular types of music.
Opera fans are the smartest, rap fans are the dumbest: Following Jason Malloy's comments and analysis, I calculated the mean IQ for people who said they really like the following types of music:

Mean IQs

Opera 108.6
New Age 107.0
Classical 106.5
Showtunes 106.3
Big Band 104.2
Blues 103.8
Jazz 103.7
Folk 103.2
Oldies 101.6
Contemporary Rock 100.6
Easy Listening 99.4
Latin 99.3
Heavy Metal 99.1
Bluegrass 97.9
Reggae 97.2
Country 96.3
Gospel 94.4
Rap 91.1

(For some unknown reason, these numbers are a bit different from Jason's). Surprises: Big band, blues, and showtunes fans come in smarter than jazz fans. Latin is a bit higher than I would have guessed, and bluegrass a bit lower.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

IQ and Classical Music: I like to listen to Yahoo's internet radio, but am bothered by the fact that they offer 316 stations, only one of which is a classical station. I can get Tupac Radio, Booty Time, Uber Indie, Outlaw Country, Gay Club Mix, Klezmer, and Salsa Cien Por Ciento, but the greatest artists in the history of the world only rate one station? Tupac gets a whole one for himself: where's my "Beethoven 24/7"?

The country is just not smart enough for Vivaldi. I looked at the General Social Survey, and the IQ threshold seems to be about 125: any lower than this, and not even one-quarter of people really enjoy listening to classical music. Now you might suspect that it's simply a matter of taste and background and that intelligence doesn't have much to do with it. According to the data, the correlation between IQ and liking this kind of music is .30--a noteworthy connection.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Orthodox Sunday: A haunting image keeps returning to my mind that I want to describe. Last Sunday was "Orthodox Sunday" at the Greek Orthodox church. It was a day to commemorate the restoration of icons in 843. There had been a century long conflict in the Byzantine Empire over the use of images in the church. The highlight of the service was to give each child an icon painting to hold, and then they all walked in a line along the outer aisle, and circled the congregation a couple of times. This was the first time I had ever witnessed this, and as I watched the little girls in Sunday dresses showing everyone these very old works of art, I thought to myself that this puts those shit-in-a-can "installations" at the university to shame.