Sunday, November 30, 2008
So, if a person is raised in a religion but then loses his faith, does he becomes more nihlistic? Is he more likely to break the law?
The General Social Survey asked people about their current religion and the religion of their youth. Here are mean nihilism scores:
Mean nihilism score
Raised in a religion, still has one .32
Raised in a religion, none now .76
No religion as a kid, has one now .47
No religion as a kid, none now .56
Losing one's faith is associated with more nihilism. People raised with no religion do better, but, as we saw in the previous post, belonging to a church currently is best.
And what about bad behavior? I'd like to look at crime, but the question was not asked in the year that childhood religion was. Let's look at attitudes toward cheating on taxes:
Mean wrongness of cheating on taxes score
Raised in a religion, still has one 3.14
Raised in a religion, none now 2.90
No religion as a kid, has one now 3.10
No religion as a kid, none now 2.88
Those who have abandoned religion have basically the same mean score as those who were raised without it. People who have always belonged to a church disapprove of cheating on taxes the most. No evidence here anyway that people who turn away from religion become antisocial.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Are non-believers more likely to think that life is pointless? I've posted on the topic before but spent little time on it.
The General Social Survey asked 2,367 people if they agree with the statement that life does not serve any purpose. The graphs show the answers by church attendance (top) and belief in God (bottom). We can't pay too much attention to those who agree or strongly agree with the statement, especially among non-believers, because sample sizes are extremely low. A better way to approach it is to calculate means:
Mean nihilism score
Never attends .73
Doesn't believe in God .64
These numbers indicate that there is a tendency for the irreligious to find life lacking in meaning. To get a better sense of the strength of the relationship, I calculated the correlations: it's -.13 for church attendance and -.16 for confidence in the existence of God.
More often than not, I find that religiosity is related to good things, but the strength of the correlations is always disappointing. If intense religious commitment has only a weak impact on outcomes, this seems to me evidence that beliefs and values in general are not broadly powerful. Biology and material incentives are probably much more potent for most behaviors.
I'm not saying that culture never matters. For example, I strongly suspect that alcoholic liver disease mortality rates are very low in Utah County, Utah because the Mormon church tells its adherents that God commands them not to consume alcohol. Most do not drink, so they don't get hooked, and don't ruin their livers. So we should look for where worldviews have consequences, but in competition with powerful forces like genes, we shouldn't be too surprised when we find that beliefs and attitudes don't matter much.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So congrats, Steve. I know you're just catching your breath, but how about another? Maybe one on how PC stupidity is ruining not only America, but the whole world?
Do all country club Republicans think like tards? Her argument reminds me of the reaction after 9/11: "Al-Qaeda has attacked us. Let's get Saddam!"
Here are quotes from her column and my responses:
"In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle."
Yes, surveys clearly show that moderates went for Obama because the GOP panders to born-agains. The prospect of The Great Depression 2.0 had nothing to do with it. And don't give me the "Palin Screwed It Up For Us" argument. If there are people who decided against the Republican ticket because of Palin, it was because they perceived her as being stupid. They never got past that. The lesson there is to pick candidates who instill confidence, not that evangelical candidates are losers.
"Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting."
Right, nursing home residents speak in tongues, but young people have nothing to do with all that stuff. All those born-again clubs I see on campus are just anomalies. Here are the percentage of people who say they are born again by age group (GSS):
Percent who are born again
60 plus 35.9
That's 18 million born-again young adults. The only young people Kathleen is aware of are the ones she reads about in the New York Times.
"The young will get older, of course. Most eventually will marry, and some will become their parents. But nonwhites won't get whiter."
Exactly, all those black and Hispanics reject the GOP because it's too religious and anti-science. And evangelism is a wacky, white thing:
Percent who are born again
Parker calls for a new Republican base. Perhaps secularists? A whole 20.6% of those who never attend church voted for that famous holy roller Bob Dole. All we have to do is kick out the oogedy-boogedy Christians, and the secularists will come running.
New York City Republicans should become the center of the party. That there are six of them and 100 million born-agains isn't the point; the NYC-ers are way cooler.
(By the way, I'm not an evangelical. Not even close.)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I found a study of American students by Lynn (Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 271-273, 1996) which reported spatial IQ scores for whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Using WORDSUM, I calculated mean IQs for each of the four groups and then estimated a correlation across the four groups. It was .98. Admittedly, it's an N of 4, but the results are reassuring nevertheless.
Ethnic power index
Non-Jewish whites 1,142,643
American Indians 761,674
Same story. Keep in mind that my approach assumes that the three factors are of equal importance.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
But I haven't analyzed power. If immigrant groups are ethnocentric enough, large enough, and smart enough, they can dominate and potentially exploit the rest of us.
Following this line of thinking, I used General Social Survey data to calculate standardized scores for important racial/ethnic groups for the following three factors: 1) degree that people think of ethnicity first when considering social and political issues; 2) mean group IQs; and 3) the size of the ethnic group. I summed the three standardized scores, which gives equal weight to each factor. Here are the summed scores from most powerful to least:
Ethnic power index
Non-Jewish whites 1.79
American Indians -1.94
Asians at the top is a big surprise--they don't seem to be a big player currently--but the reasons for the high number are clear: their high IQ and high ethnocentric scores (not as "Asians" but as Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, etc). On the one hand, the number exaggerates the situation since this group is made up of many diverse groups. Chinese Americans may identify strongly with their group, but as far as I know, there is no Chinese-Asian Indian organizing. On the other hand, the high number points at least to high potential power, and sticking with the Chinese/Indian example, there are unlimited numbers of potential immigrants from those countries.
Non-Jewish whites have a high number obviously because they are the giant in the bunch. They do not rise to the top because there is very little ethnocentricity among this group. (You can find some among Italian, Irish, and Polish Americans). If whites were as ethnocentric as Asians, their total score would be 4.70.
Jews have a high score because of a very high mean IQ along with moderate ethnocentricity.
The low mean IQs of blacks and Hispanics give them low power scores, and the Latino number is lower because they are less ethnocentric. Their population would have to grow dramatically to make them a real power player.
I included American Indians for contrast. They are way below everyone else because they have low scores on all three dimensions--even ethnocentricity. (Now that I think about it, I should have excluded the whites who say their ethnicity is Native American.) Moral of the story: do not allow yourselves to become like American Indians.
(Question: do you think I should have assumed these factors operate in a multiplicative way?)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Only an unreasonable person would argue that it's okay to abort this 22 week old fetus. The argument gets a little more complicated as we move closer to conception, but as far as I'm concerned killing this baby is murder (with the one exception of taking its life saving the life of the mother).
Pro-choice folks might respond that these types of abortions rarely happen; only 1% of all cases or a total of 16,450 were fetuses 22 weeks or older last year. Well, in 2007 the national total of all murders was 15,707--743 fewer deaths than from these types of abortions.
I don't need to go into all the ways this country frets over our homicide problem and how many resources are devoted to its reduction. Hands are wrung over all the the dead drug dealers, but only right-wing nut jobs like me care about abortion. Plus, murder is usually something like two idiots arguing over 20 bucks, while late-term abortions are industrial slaughter.
And women are not having these kinds of abortions to save their lives:
"In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), an affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), collected questionnaires from 1,900 women who were at abortion clinics procuring abortions. Of the 1,900, '420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks.' These 420 women were asked to choose among a menu of reasons why they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. Only two percent (2%) said 'a fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy,' compared to 71% who responded 'did not recognize that she was pregnant or misjudged gestation,' 48% who said 'found it hard to make arrangements,' and 33% who said 'was afraid to tell her partner or parents.' The report did not indicate that any of the 420 late abortions were performed because of maternal health problems." ["Why Do Women Have Abortions?," Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988.]
The main reason for these abortions is stupidity, and those involved are criminals.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Concerned about AIDS, researchers asked people if they have done any of these things in the past year: IV drug use, exchanging money for sex, anal sex without a condom, or getting treated for a STD. Here are the percentages by race/ethnicity:
Percent with risky behavior in past year, N = 192,186
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 4.0
American Indian 3.8
Other race 3.2
No surprises here, except to those folks who believe that Hispanics are short, tanned white people.
Innumerate readers, no doubt, will say, "All these numbers are small and close together, so we can say that for practical purposes that all groups are the same."
No, what the numbers say, for example, is that the prevalence of high-risk people among Hispanics is roughly double that of Asians. Adjusting for group size, there are two Hispanics for every one Asian at risk of HIV infection. According to this article, the lifetime economic cost of one HIV-positive person is close to one million dollars.
The more Asians we invite to the country, the more the HIV/AIDS problem will be reduced. If we want a bigger problem, let's keep up all the immigration from Latin America.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"That reminds me - I need to buy more bookshelves. A stack of books fell over the other day, and another one is threatening to follow. Horrible mess.
"Oh, and my partner keeps spreading her Phd research material all over the floor - what a mess.
"Our friends must think we're total losers.
"If only our place could be more like our neighbour's house - shelves are filled with well dusted trinkets. They have a set of rather cute little figurines of cats playing."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Whites, N = 1,790
I've been around professors for many years. Many of them have filthy offices and seem to take pride in their slovenly ways. They are horrified at the thought of having neatly combed hair. (Liberal) popular culture picked up on this a long time ago and continues to celebrate personal disorderliness. (According to research, a disregard for personal hygiene is a sign of mental disorder).
General Social Survey interviewers ask their questions in people's homes. In 2000, they also recorded how clean the respondent's place was. The top graphs summarizes cleanliness by political views. Conservatives keep a tightier house.
In case you suspect that this is due to the messiness of the homes of poor minorities, look at the bottom graph for whites only. The pattern remains.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Reason number one: Looking at NYT exit polls, we see that 57% of them voted for McCain, and the share voting for the Republican has ranged from 56 to 74 since 1980. A majority of them reliably support our side and thus should be rewarded with the party's loyalty. Democrats reliably get moderate majorities (with the exception of 1984) so we owe the middle nothing.
Reason number two: You might counter that since BAs are the base, they can therefore be taken for granted. The fact is that this group swings about as much as moderates. The range of the swing for born-agains since 1980 is 18 points; it's 22 points for moderates (and the low end of the swing for the latter was caused by the anomaly of Perot). Not only do BAs swing alot, they are notorious for staying home if they are unenthusiastic, and they can decide elections if they get fired up (as in 2004).
Reason number three: Once again, you might respond that, unlike moderates, they are a small group. In 2008, they are 38% of the electorate versus 44% for moderates. Yes, I know that some of the BAs are blacks, but so are some of the moderates. Add to this that BAs are growing. In 2004, white BAs were 23% of the electorate; now they are 26%.
Reason number four: The Republican track record is better when we put up non-moderates. Reagan garnered 59% of the vote in 1984. A weak candidate, Bush II was elected two times. Moderates are losers: Ford, Dole, McCain. Bush I was a one-termer who owes his victory to the non-moderate Reagan.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Republican 2004-2008 losses--percentage points
Dick Morris claims that these number show that Palin helped rather than hurt McCain by losing fewer women.
Asians and especially Hispanics turned away from McCain more than whites. Is this evidence that angry immigration restrictionists like me turned of non-white voters? Maybe.
60 plus -3
Obama pulled away more young people and not many older voters.
Midwesterner Obama gained more from the West Coast--whiterpeople effect? More Hispanic voters?
Less than high school -14
High school -6
Some college -7
College graduates -4
Obama attracted the bottom and the top more than the middle.
White Protestants -2
White Catholics -4
Attends church at least weekly -5
More evangelicals and frequent churchgoers abandoned the Republicans. Religious blacks? Idealist whites? No evidence here that evangelical whites are racists. By the way they are a HUGE share of the electorate (38%). We need them like oxygen.
Less than 15k -11
Once again, the bottom and the top liked Obama. Maybe many of the poor are blacks. Whiterpeople disease is prevalent among rich people, and perhaps some were turned off by Palin? It's a big loss.
Over 500,000 population -11
People in towns of populations between 10,000 and 50,000 were one of the few groups to increase their numbers voting for the Republican.
First time voters -15
A large turn toward the Democrat this time around.
Whites, 18-29 -11
Whites, 30-44 -5
Whites, 45-59 -1
Whites, 60 plus -1
Same age trend for whites only.
White men -5
White women -2
Black men -8
Black women -7
Once again, women were not drawn away from McCain as much as men. Palin effect? Security concerns?
Whites, Northeast -3
Whites, Midwest -5
Whites, South -2
Whites, West -6
Northeasterners liked Kerry. Southerners liked Obama least.
Now let's look at changes in the distribution of the electorate. Let's do it in this form: subtract the 2004 share from the 2008 share:
Not much change here. The conservative instinct is to be manly, but women seem to like optimism and positive messages. To become popular, hard conservative truths have to be packaged very carefully. Republicans should always be looking for a Reagan--conservatism with a smile. Women like security, both the tough type and the helping type.
Whites are still the prize that nobody ever talks about. As Sailer tells us, the Hispanic numbers are inflated, but it's probably constant over the two elections, so we can conclude that the Latino share has grown a bit and will continue to grow a bit every four years. To save their long-term prospects, Republicans need to keep fighting illegal immigration in the name of security and law and order, as well as an emphasis on more quality immigrants and less family reunification. White and/or Christian immigrants are most likely to vote Republican.
The message should reassure Hispanic and other non-white citizens that immigration concerns are not about them. I publish a lot of hard facts on this blog, and interested people need to know about them, but the race-hysterical general public must be met where they are at.
60 plus 23-24=-1
Obama IS the new Messiah. He managed to increase the youth share by... ONE WHOLE PERCENT!! I AM impressed.
Less than high school 4-4=0
High school 20-22=-2
Some college 31-32=-1
College grad or more 45-42=3
The American public is gradually getting more educated. Republicans cannot afford to look like the anti-science party.
Pop. over 500k 11-13=2
The suburbs are huge and grew in the past 4 years. Once again, conservatism needs to be principled, but it has got to pick Reaganesque people, not old grumps like Dole or McCain. Myself, I love a real ass-kicker like Buchanan, but the squishy burbs can't handle it.
First time voters 11-11=0
Little things like facts won't get in the way of the inspiring story of Barack Obama, America's greatest president (who is going to get his own holiday before he's even inaugurated) who, like a modern-day Moses, led tens of millions of citizens out of the bondage of indifference and cynicism to the freedom of hope and change.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the association between percent black and the difference between the white and black mean years of school across the survey's nine regions. You might assume I would simply look at the relationship between the black share of the population and their mean educational levels, but the problem is that there are fewer blacks in the North, and all races are smarter in that region compared to the South.
To adjust for this, I'm looking to see if the black-white gap shrinks in regions with fewer blacks. The Pearson correlation is .52. In other words, blacks get closer to white levels in places with smaller black populations. For example, the black-white gap is smallest in the Mountain States, the region that has the smallest percentage of African Americans--2.2%.
(Of course, this whole post is premised on the idea that it's good for blacks to stay in school. As you've seen in other posts, some people stay in school too long.)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Out of the mouth of babes.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Mean completed years of education of high IQ Americans
This decade 16.67
No need to worry about fewer smart people getting educated.
It wasn't until the 1980s, however, that the average education of intelligent Americans approached four years of college. In my view, our smartest folks should get a four-year degree, so we're doing a better job for this population than we used to.
But how many high-IQ Americans don't go to college? Here's the breakdown:
Highest degree earned--percentage
Junior college 3.5
High school 20.3
Less than high school 2.3
While the percent going to college is at the highest level in 50 years, the proportion of smart people who do not go is still disturbingly high. Well, we know how things are here in America. Institutional racism is still obviously holding back intelligent blacks.
Oops. I did the calculations, and 92% of the sample of smart students not attending college are white. Only 5% are black, and 3% are some other race. We need some white outreach.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Assuming that I'm correct, let's see which decade had the most rational approach for both blacks and whites. Using General Social Survey data, here is what I found:
Correlation between IQ and years of education--whites
This decade .36
Correlation between IQ and years of education--blacks
This decade .39
First, we see the highest numbers were in the 1950s and 1960s for whites. The system was most rational during that period for that population. It's gotten worse ever since.
For blacks, we see a small increase from the 50s to the 60s, perhaps indicating decreasing discrimination. After that, the numbers have fallen for blacks as well, and currently the correlation is low and similar to that of whites.
If I'm interpreting this correctly, we're seeing more and more blacks and whites stay in school beyond what their IQs would warrant.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Unless young people have shifted significantly since the last election, they are not all for gay marriage-it's evenly split. Yes, age is important here, but pundits are exaggerating trends among young adults. I don't know how much stock to put into this exit poll, but supposedly 60% of Californians under 30 were against Proposition 2008. Sixty percent in a liberal state is probably consistent with 50% nationwide.
The culture war is not only among the old fogies.
Oh, and while I'm at it, God bless the Mormon Church for taking a stand on an important moral issue. We need more churches to tell Hollywood, we don't take cues on morality from you. All you alcoholics and sex and drug addicts should be taking them from us.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I suspect the association is weaker than in the state data for at least two reason. Criminologists are skeptical about comparing levels of crime across nations because criminal justice systems are so different. I agree. Frankly, I don't trust data from countries like Zimbabwe--one of the 36 cases. If the country is excluded, for example, the correlation becomes -.53. (If I find time, I'll use World Health Statistics data which is more reliable.) In addition, this is a very diverse set of countries. There are probably many other factors (e.g., level of socioeconomic development) that play an important role, thus diminishing the impact of IQ.
One problem is that criminologists never examine macrolevel relationships. I cannot recall a single published study that assesses the relationship across geographical units. (I'm sure they are out there somewhere--I just haven't seen one).
I used Audacious' estimates of state-level IQs and correlated this with homicide rates averaged over the years 1999-2005. (Homicide is a rare event--criminologists routinely aggregate over several years).
The size of the Pearson correlation? It's -.80!!! That means that 64% of state-level homicide rates is explained by average differences in IQ. Even percent black explains only half the variance.
For example, New Hampshire has a mean IQ of 101, and 0.6 homicides per 100k population per year. By contrast, Louisiana's IQ is 95, and the homicide rate is 9.7.
So why are these results so much stronger than those found in individual-level studies? Well, macrolevel studies typically reduce measurement error, thus strengthening the correlation. In addition, studies typically focus on minor offenses, like delinquency, and it might be that IQ plays a more important role in serious crime.
According to research, most violence is mutual combat, so it won't usually happen unless two idiots cross paths. The higher the density of morons, the more frequent the occasions where conflict escalates into violence. Plus, a community of dolts might generate of culture of aggressiveness which would exacerbate the problem.
Unfortunately, mass immigration from low IQ countries is increasing moron density, so in the long run we can expect a more criminal society.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
How many hardcore pro-lifers vote Democrat? As a Catholic, I sometimes meet other members who believe that abortions should not be legal, but who nevertheless vote for Democrats. The most common argument seems to be that they are not one-issue voters. (I imagine that frequently the other issue they have in mind is their wallet).
The General Social Survey asked 1,262 Americans if they thought a woman should be able to get an abortion after being raped. The bottom graph shows that 29% of people who answered no still voted for Kerry. That's a pretty hardcore position on abortion, so I'm surprised to see even that many people vote for a pro-choice candidate.
How does that compare with an abortion-on-demand woman voting for a Republican? The top graph shows voting percentages by answer to the question, "Should a woman be allowed to get an abortion for any reason?" (Sample size is 750.) Thirty-three percent of woman who have this extreme position on abortion voted for Bush anyway. It looks like hardcore pro-life voters are about as willing to set their view aside when voting as strongly pro-abortion women are.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
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In the comments in the last post , some readers contended that Jews are not ethnocentric. Using the same question I used in the comments se...
Via a reader at iSteve, it looks like this might be the vocabulary test used by the General Social Survey. (Someone please tell me if I'...
Which factor reduces family size the most? Below are the standardized OLS regression coefficients for a sample of whites ages 40-59: Stand...