Friday, December 31, 2010

Are survey responses to HBD questions honest?

In yesterday's post on the popularity of HBD, readers raised the reasonable concern that a person might be unwilling to tell an interviewer face-to-face (that's how the GSS is done) that he thinks that blacks are innately less intelligent than whites.

Fortunately, the GSS allows us to vary interview conditions in two ways: 1) was it a face-to-face interview or one done over the phone; and 2) was the interviewer white or black?

Here are the percentages who agreed that blacks are innately less intelligent:

Percent answering yes--white sample (N = 2,044)

White interviewer over the phone 3.4
White interviewer in home 8.5
Black interviewer over the phone 7.7
Black interviewer in home 4.4

Not much evidence here for the view that people are responding to the conditions of the interview. Whites should feel most comfortable giving the pro-HBD response to a white interviewer over the phone, but this condition gets the fewest affirmative responses. Myself, I would have the hardest time expressing my position to a black person, but the second-highest rate of positive response was given to black interviewers over the phone.

On the other hand, interviews over the phone are uncommon, so cell sizes are low. If we focus only on the in-home interviews, there is more support for the idea that people tend to give socially approved answers. 8.5 percent of respondents answered yes to a white interviewer at home, compared to only 4.4 percent of those responding to a black person. The difference, however, is not statistically significant. Whites might be responding to conditions, but keep in mind that only 9 percent of interviews were given by blacks.  

Race and substance abuse

According to self-report data, blacks use less alcohol and drugs than whites. Black students in my classes have argued that this is evidence that the criminal justice system is biased since blacks are arrested at high rates for drug-related offenses. (Let's leave aside the question of dealing, and that research suggests that blacks under-report deviant behavior). 

Treatment data, however, reveal that blacks are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. In 2008, 21.3% of Americans admitted for treatment of a drug or alcohol problem were black, although they are only 13% of Americans (and are less able to afford treatment). Black admissions are particularly high for crack and marijuana, but blacks are overrepresented even among those admitted for alcohol (16.8 percent of the total).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

There is no Silent but Sensible HBD Majority

Steve Sailer wonders if there is a Silent but Sensible Majority out there when it comes to HBD-related issues like racial differences in academic performance. The GSS convinces me that the answer is definitely no.

Beginning in 1977, survey particpants were asked: "On the average, blacks have worse jobs, income, and housing than white people. Do you think these differences are because most blacks have less in-born ability to learn?"
Here are the percentages who answered yes by year:

There were quite a few race realists in the 70s, but the number has dropped to around 10 percent. Things have only gotten worse post-Bell Curve (1994).
Yes, but it's educated opinion that really matters. Perhaps they have more sense (the graphs shows 4-year college grads or higher):
Educated people didn't believe blacks differ innately three decades ago; even fewer do now.
Verdict: public opinion doesn't follow the data in the least. It is irrational; it follows fads.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Atheism not spreading

After months of therapy, I am finally able to return to John Derbyshire's We are Doomed (buy it, bitches) to test one of his ideas. He contends that 9/11 has unleased an atheist movement which some nominal believers have responded to affirmatively. 

So is the number of atheists growing? According to the GSS, the answer so far is no. Taking the six surveys between 1988 and 2000 that ask about belief in God (N = 8,027), 2.5 percent of Americans do not believe there is a God. For the two post-9/11 surveys--2006 and 2008 (N = 4,971)--2.5 percent are atheists. Holding steady.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gay flexibility

We all know that homosexuality is fixed, right?  The conventional wisdom is that homosexuals can no more have straight sex than we heteros can have gay sex. Myself, I couldn't have sex with a man if a gun were put to my head. Gay men are the same, right--just on the other side.

Then why are the numbers so unequal? Using GSS data, we can define homosexuals as men who say they only have sex with men, and straight men defined as those who say they have sex exclusively with women. Only 3.6% of heterosexual men so defined have ever had sex with another men. It sounds like a gun to the head situation. Not so for gay men. Fifty percent of homosexuals have had female partners. Here's the breakdown (sample size = 244):

Number of female sex partners since age 18--percent:

Zero 50.0
One 12.7
Two 7.0
Three 7.8
Four 2.0
Five or more 20.5

I could imagine a gay guy, feeling society's pressure, trying to force himself to have sex with a woman once, then realizing that the idea was simply impossible. But more than 37 percent of gay men have had more than one female sex partner. More than 20 percent have had sex with five or more women! The median number for straight men is only 6 or 7 women.

I can hear you responding that these men have sex with women because society pressures them to. But you are simply making my point. The whole country could gather around me and bark orders to have sex with a man, or else. I'd have to take the "or else." Fifty percent of gay men choose sex with a woman. There's substantial flexibility there, contrary to the PC version of homosexuality.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waste of time

In the late 80s and early 90s, GSS participants were asked if they have ever served in the military. Slightly more than 20 percent of gay men (of all ages) said they had. This is a much greater estimate than we would get for young gay men now, but let's stick with it. According to CNN, only one-sixth of gay enlisted men plan to come out now that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy will be ended. So multiplying the two percentages gives us 3 percent of gay men who will ever make use of the new policy. According to research, around 3 percent of all men are gay, so if we multiply 3 percent by 3 percent, we get basically 1 out of 1,000 men who will ever be affected by the change in policy. The number would be probably be even smaller for women since there are half as many lesbians as gay men (according to the GSS, 21.6% of lesbians say they have served). 

I'm pleased that the Democrats feel so good about themselves after getting the policy changed, because otherwise it kinda seems like a waste of time. 

Personally, I wish lawmakers would focus on issues slightly more important; for instance, whether the hundreds of thousands of embryos and fetuses that are killed every year are immature humans or not.      

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Conservatives give more to non-religious charities

Lawrence O'Donnell responds here to Ann Coulter's empirical claim that conservatives give more in charity than liberals by praising the generosity of his audience and asking Ann to buy some school desks for kids in Malawi.

It's pretty common knowledge that conservatives give more (O'Donnell didn't dispute the claim) but maybe it's due to religious charitable giving? 

In 1998, the GSS asked people how much they gave in non-religious charity last year. Here are the means in dollars by choice for President in 1996 (sample size = 787):

Mean dollars donated

Dole 399
Clinton 387

Even setting aside money donated to churches, conservatives give more.
I, for one, look forward to the end of "don't ask, don't tell" for conservatives in higher education.

How to reduce teen pregnancy

Want to reduce teen pregnancy? Then make it hard to get an abortion. Using state-level data, Marshall Medoff finds that raising the cost of abortions, Medicaid funding restrictions, and informed consent laws lower rates of teenage pregnancy. The author concludes that youths are more careful about sex if abortions are harder to get.  

Ways to reduce abortion

This study shows that policies short of prohibition of abortion can lower rates. In a state-level analysis, the author found that parental involvement laws, regulation of abortion providers, and Medicaid funding restrictions in particular reduce abortion levels.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Men with more friends at work have more kids

In his book Men in Groups, Lionel Tiger (damn, I wish I could have cool animals for my first and last names--Tiger Woods, eat your heart out) hypothesized that men who are attached to male groups will have greater reproductive success than isolated men. Even if a guy is not dominant, being a part of a group will enhance his attractiveness since he is perceived to have greater access to resources and protection.

Men who participated in the GSS were asked: 1) the number of close friends they have at work, and 2) the number of children they have (n = 136). The correlation between the two for guys who are old enough to have completed their families but are not yet retirement age (45-64) is .19. It is small but statistically significant. Men with more friends at work do tend to have more kids. (Work is not generally an all-male group, but it does tend to be dominated by men and is thus "male" in that sense). 

UPDATE: I thought men with many friends at work might earn more due to connections which, in turn, would lead them to have more kids since they could better afford them, but the impact of friends on family size is not reduced when income is entered into an OLS regression model.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Predictors of infidelity

What predicts infidelity?  Here are the results listed for men and women separately (GSS data):

Logistic regression coefficients--men (sample size = 2,379)

Age .01
Black .77
Other race .33
Education .01
Conservatism -.12
Church attendance -.08
IQ .09
Income -.01

All relationships are statistically significant except for Other Race and Education. Male cheaters tend to be: older, black, liberal, not religious, smart, and low-income.

Logistic regression coefficients--women (sample size = 3,315)

Age -.01
Black .77
Other race .09
Education -.05
Conservatism -.12
Church attendance -.11
IQ .19
Income -.01

Other Race is the only independent variable that is unrelated to cheating. Female cheaters are likely to be: young, black, less educated, liberal, not religious, smart, and low-income. The main difference between men and women is age: older men have higher rates of cheating than younger men, but younger women have a higher probability of infidelity than older women. Also--education predicts a faithful wife, but is unrelated to fidelity among husbands.

What's the underlying theme of these predictors? Unconventionality, perhaps? You might want to think twice about committing to an unconventional person.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elites are ruining the country

Just when I begin to develop some hope that America might be able to survive the ethnic diversification of the country, some Lefty moron throws cold water. This Asian UCLA professor tells the crowd of DREAM Act activists that they will someday replace the old white men in Congress. So did the crowd, in defense of a color blind America, boo him? On the contrary: the quiescent audience burst into cheers as the words "old white men" were uttered.

My approach on this blog is limited because surveys capture the attitudes of the average person. But history is driven by elites, and all too many of them want whites to take their rightful place at the bottom of American society. All this talk of equality and justice for all is just a smokescreen. It's about power and domination for these people, pure and simple.

Many ordinary people might have benign intentions, but they are easily manipulated by demogogues. Race-baiting and racial politics as methods to advance politically are such powerful temptations, I'm afraid the country is going to become increasingly dysfunctional. 

Predictors of patriotism

I was interested in predicting patriotism. GSS participants were asked how close they feel to America. I recoded the variable so that "close" and "very close" equal 1 and "not very close" and "not close at all" equal 0.  Here are the logistic regression coefficients:

Logistic regression coefficients (sample size = 2,441)

Male .49
Age .03
Black -.86
Other race -.29
Born in America .37
Jewish 1.45
Church attendance .09
Mid-Atlantic resident -.32

All of the relationships are statistically significant except for those of some other race. Keep in mind that the coefficients are unstandardized so they cannot be compared for size. Age, race, gender, and church attendance have the strongest impact. The profile of a person who loves America goes like this: white, male, older, native-born, Jewish, religious, and does not live in the Mid-Atlantic region (NY, NJ, PA). (Education, income, IQ, job prestige, and political orientation were found to be unrelated to feeling close to the country).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homosexuals love America as much as straights

We learned recently that the servicemen who gave Wikileaks a zillion secret documents is gay. Ann Coulter suggests that homosexuality might be a risk factor for treason. I guess the idea behind it is that gays are more likely to hate America because of its homophobia, and are thus more likely to betray it. 

The General Social Survey asked people how close they feel to America. The percent of heterosexuals who answered "not very close" or "not close at all" is 16.2. For homosexuals and bisexuals of both sexes (n = 52) it's 19.2 percent. Basically the same.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gallup: Little evidence of an American desire to soak the rich

Here's a new Gallup poll on attitudes toward extending tax cuts to all Americans (and unemployment benefits). Where's the evidence that ordinary Americans are itching to stick it to the rich?  Sixty-six percent of all Americans wants the tax cuts extended for all Americans; a majority (52 percent) of Democrats favor the extension.

The country is split (44% vs. 40%) when respondents are given explicitly the choice to raise taxes on the wealthy. Obama is wrong to claim that the people are on the Dems' side on this issue. Based on my analysis of GSS data, many of those who favor it are black and Hispanic.  

Mean IQ of Americans with advanced degrees has dropped almost nine points

When GSS data revealed that the mean IQs of college graduates dropped almost nine points over the past four decades, I assumed that grad schools, by contrast, had not lowered standards so much. I was wrong. Here are the means by decade for Americans in their thirties with an advanced degree:

Mean IQ of Americans with advanced degrees (sample size = 446)

1970s 115.7
1980s 112.7
1990s 110.0
2000s 107.1*

* significantly lower than 1970s

The mean IQ dropped 8.6 points over the four decades--just as much as for undergraduates. College degrees across the board do not mean what they used to.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Trailer Park America

Take a guess:  What is the average IQ of a white dude who lives in a trailer? According to the GSS, it's 93.1. It's 85.5 if you're black and 88.6 if you're Hispanic.

Whites who live in mobile homes are not average whites in terms of IQ. They are lower- or working-class people. Blacks and Hispanics, on the other hand, who live in trailers have IQs typical for their respective groups.

This helps give us an image of the kind of America we are becoming as the country Latinizes. Instead of a traditional America which has been middle-class, we're headed toward Trailer Park America.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Real punishment

I was looking forward to Pfc. Bradley Manning spending a good long time behind bars. Turns out he's gay, so prison is gonna be one big party. For him to really feel his punishment, the warden needs to ban all Lady Gaga CDs.

While I'm at it, let's remember today the America-loving men who, as my grandma would have put it, eventually kicked Jap ass. My maternal grandfather was one of those men, God rest his soul.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A bright side to AIDS

According to this study of U.S. states, the perceived threat of HIV lowered the rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.  The PC strategy of scaring the hell out of heterosexuals turned out to be a good thing. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Closeness to ovulation predicted voting for Obama

In a recent study of young white women, researchers found that subjects were more likely to plan to vote for Obama for president if asked around the time when they were ovulating. This was only true, however, if the women perceived Obama to be lighter-skinned than he actually is. If they perceived him to be darker than he is, closeness to ovulation lowered the chance of voting for him.

The authors interpreted this to mean that women become sensitive to men as potential mates around the time when they are most fertile; if a man seems dangerous (in this study blackness is thought to be associated with dangerousness) they are repelled by him out of fear of sexual assault; if a man seems powerful, attractive, and safe, they will be attracted to him. The study also found that these tendencies were particularly strong among conservative women (liberal women planned to vote for Obama, regardless). 

The authors also suggest that, since Obama won the election, many whites do not perceive him as black. They imply that people look at more than skin color when determining race, and Obama's education, career, demeanor, Waspishness, and restraint communicate whiteness.

The message here for Republicans for 2012 is that a few percentage points might be gained among women if the nominee is a powerful, attractive yet safe candidate. Of the current prospective men, I suspect that Romney best fits the description, which is not saying much. Most of the candidates seem weak or unattractive: politics attracts many weasels. 

On the morality of remittances

A good point by Hanson on the morality of remittances:
It is deemed noble to send billions of dollars back to families and friends struggling in Latin America. But how is such a considerable loss of income made up? Are American taxpayers supposed to step in to subsidize increased social services so that illegal immigrants can afford to send billions of dollars back across the border? What is the morality of that equation in times of recession? Shouldn't illegal immigrants at least try to buy health insurance before sending cash back to Mexico?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Almost half of Muslims say terrorism may be justified

World Values Survey respondents in 13 European countries and the United States were asked the following question: "Terrorism is everyday news. In principle, most people are against it, but there is still room for differences of opinion. Which of these two statements do you tend to agree with?  A) There may be certain circumstances where terrorism is justified; B) Terrorism for whatever motive must always be condemned."

Of those who answered the question, here are the percentages who responded "A" by religion:

Percent saying terrorism may be justified (sample size = 14,566) 

Muslims 46.2
Hindu 26.3
Jewish 16.6
Protestant 15.3

Total sample 14.9

Catholic 14.7
Non-denominational 12.5
Other 11.1

Almost half of Muslims feel that terrorism can be acceptable--a rate that is more than three times that of the total sample. Sympathy for terrorists appears to be common among Muslims living in Western countries. (Warning: there are only 21 Muslims in the sample).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This study I linked to in the last post is interesting. Based on trends in fertility, immigration, secularization, conversions, and religious fundamentalism, the authors project that the modal American voter 30 years from now will describe himself as a conservative Democrat. (Of course, the large projected growth in Catholic Hispanics contributes significantly to such a conclusion). The authors also estimate that in the U.S. the total number of Muslims will surpass Jews in a decade or so.   

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gays and Straights: No IQ difference

Using GSS data, I found in an earlier analysis that gay men and lesbians had higher average IQs. To check this, I examined mean IQs by sexual orientation for adolescents from the Add Health Study. IQ is measured with a vocabulary test. Students were asked if they were ever sexually attracted to a female and/or a male. I limited the analysis to whites: the overall mean is 104.3 (it is high because the mean for the whole sample that includes many NAMs is set at 100).

Mean IQ score (sample size = 6,145)

Bisexual female 108.1
Straight male 105.9
Lesbian 105.9

All whites 104.3

Bisexual male 104.3
Straight female 104.0
Gay male 102.6

There are a range of means, but the only statistically significant difference is between bisexual and straight females. It's close to one-third of a standard deviation difference, which is fairly small.

Unlike the GSS analysis, lesbians and gay males do not appear to be smarter than other groups. The GSS asked about sexual behavior, not attraction. It might be the case that smarter people are more likely to act on non-conformist desires.   

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do religious teens who have sex fail to use a condom?

Let's assess that argument that religious teens who have sex will be less likely to use a condom because they have not been taught to act rationally with respect to sex.

The Add Health Study asked teens: 1) if they have ever had sex; and 2) if so, did they ever use a condom? A sample of 516 youths admitted to sexual intercourse.  Here are the percentages who have used a condom by importance of religion to self:

Percent of those who've had sex who have used a condom

Very important 58.1
Fairly important 62.8
Fairly unimportant 64.6
Unimportant 64.7

The probability of condom use falls a little with greater religiosity, but none of the differences is statistically significant.    

Sunday, November 21, 2010

America still seems to do a good job of winning over its people

MIDUS Study participants were asked the following: "How closely do you identify with being an American, in the sense of being a U.S. citizen?" Answers ranged from "not at all closely" (1) to "very closely" (4). I calculated the means for each ethnic group with at least 30 respondents:
Mean American identity score (N = 4,561)
Lebanese 3.86 (n = 14)
Polish 3.86
Amerindian 3.86
Norwegian 3.86
Mexican 3.85
Czech 3.81
Irish 3.81
Swedish 3.80
French 3.79

All Americans 3.79

German 3.79
England 3.78
Italian 3.78
Russian 3.77
Scottish 3.77
Black 3.75

All groups score very high, with no significant differences among them. I included Lebanese Americans even though there were only 14 respondents. Most individuals from all ethnic groups closely identify with being American. This is true even of groups with many immigrants and connections to the Old Country (e.g., Mexican Americans) and for groups that were mistreated historically (i.e., Amerindians and blacks). Surprisingly, somehow, America still seems to do a good job of winning over its people. God bless her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Religiosity, the Big 5, and jail time

In a number of analyses, I have found that greater religiosity is associated with a lower risk of ever having been arrested, but it is easy to conclude that the correlation is non-causal and simply due to some biologically-influenced personality trait (or traits) like conscientiousness.

The MIDUS study measured the Big 5 personality traits, along with religiosity (importance of religion to self) and having ever been in jail. With jail as the dependent variable and the other six measures as predictors, here are the estimates for a logistic regression model (sample size = 2,262):

Logistic regression coefficients

Religiosity -.60*
Extraversion -.14
Negative emotionality .26*
Conscientiousness -.63*
Agreeableness -.20
Openness to Experience .59*

* p < .05

All of the predictors except for extraversion and agreeableness are significantly related to jail detention. People who are less emotionally stable, less conscientious, and more open to experience are at higher risk.

Even after taking into account the influence of the Big 5 supertraits, religiosity significantly reduces the risk of time in jail. In fact, the coefficient for religiosity is almost the same size when the Big 5 measures are removed from the model. Moreover, it looks like religiosity is the most powerful predictor in the model (measures are in different metrics which doesn't make it easy to compare them). So according to MIDUS data, the lower criminality of religious people is not due to a greater likelihood of possessing crime-reducing traits (at least the 5 we looked at).

Friday, November 19, 2010

People see you more positively than how you see yourself

This is interesting:
Consensus studies from 4 cultures—in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Germany—as well as secondary analyses of self- and observer-reported Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) data from 29 cultures suggest that there is a cross-culturally replicable pattern of difference between internal and external perspectives for the Big Five personality traits. People see themselves as more neurotic and open to experience compared to how they are seen by other people. External observers generally hold a higher opinion of an individual's conscientiousness than he or she does about him- or herself. As a rule, people think that they have more positive emotions and excitement seeking but much less assertiveness than it seems from the vantage point of an external observer. This cross-culturally replicable disparity between internal and external perspectives was not consistent with predictions based on the actor–observer hypothesis because the size of the disparity was unrelated to the visibility of personality traits. A relatively strong negative correlation (r = −.53) between the average self-minus-observer profile and social desirability ratings suggests that people in most studied cultures view themselves less favorably than they are perceived by others.
I doubt that others are seeing you more accurately than you do. More likely, you project an image that is better than the truth. For example, I clean up before company comes over so they don't know how messy I am.
Why is everybody getting so worked up about groin pat downs at the airport?  I usually have to pay to get felt up.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do NAMs want to tax the rich because they're poor or because they're NAMs?

Predictors of wanting to tax the rich, N = 4,743.

Compared to whites, non-Asian minorities (NAMs) are more likely to favor the government reducing income inequality by taxing the wealthy. Is this because they are poor and liberal, or because they are NAMs?

The table displays unstandardized OLS coefficients. The first model includes only two predictors: whether or not the respondent is black and whether or not the respondent is Hispanic.  Both groups are significantly more likely than whites and Asians (the reference group) to favor taxing the rich. In the second equation, income is added. Not surprisingly, higher-income people are less likely to favor being taxed to reduce inequality. This is the same finding reported in the last post. The coefficients indicate that the influence of income reduces the effect of race, but even with the adjustment, blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to favor income equalization. And you can see that even when the extent of one's liberalism is added to the model, the racial gap persists, just in a reduced form.

In other words, blacks and Hispanics want to tax the rich: 1) because they are poor; 2) because they are liberal; and 3) because they are minorities. Each of the variables has an independent effect, but of course, income and liberalism may just be mediating the relationship between race and taxes. It is not unreasonable to conclude that NAMs are poor and liberal because they are NAMs.

But even if we partial out the effects of income and politics to see what is left of race, income and liberalism reduce the racial effect by less than half (just compare coefficients across the models). The pattern of results is consistent with the view that NAMs want high taxes for the wealthy because they perceive them as privileged and white, and this feeling goes beyond simply being poor and liberal .     

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The GSS speaks on taxing the rich

TGGP was so right in the last post to ask, "Where's the data?"

GSS respondents were asked the following question: "Some people think that the income differences between the rich and the poor ought to be reduced, perhaps by raising the taxes of wealthy families or by giving income assistance to the poor. Others think that the government should not concern itself with reducing this income difference between the rich and the poor. Here is a card with a scale from 1 to 7. Think of a score of 1 as meaning that the government ought to reduce the income differences between rich and poor, and a score of 7 meaning that the government should not concern itself with reducing income differences. What score between 1 and 7 comes closest to the way you feel?" 

Unfortunately, the question is double-barrelled, asking about taxing the rich and helping the poor, but if anything, the wording should tilt responses toward government intervention.

I divided the sample of whites from surveys from the past decade into three equally sized groups: low-income, middle-income, and high income. The mean responses to the question look like this:

Mean score

Low-income 3.66
Middle-income 3.72
High-income 4.28

The low- and middle-income groups are significantly more in favor of equalizing, but the differences are fairly small (Cohen's d for the low/high comparison is .32).

Plus, the typical response for the poorest group is close to 4, which is the neutral answer. Even poor whites are pretty indifferent about reducing inequality. I don't see stick-it-to-the-rich sentiment here.    

Monday, November 15, 2010

Elite liberals don't get us

These elite liberals are completely mystified about why ordinary Americans don't want to tax the rich aggressively. These supposedly creative people even lack the imagination to come up with a good answer. So as the son of a retired maintenance man, let me help them out. The problem is that they assume that we rubes are naturally good at hating, so how in the world could we not want to stick it to the people who clearly deserve our hostility? They make the mistake of believing that we think like them.

The reality is that ordinary American assume that they are just as good as rich people; they are just people like ourselves. They are not cardboard monsters like liberals want us to believe. They are just folks. And just like we don't want blacks or Hispanics or Jews or regular white guys to get hosed, we don't want anyone to get hosed. If I don't get angry that some rich guy pays the same for a lawnmower at Sears as I do, why am I going to get worked up if he doesn't pay taxes at a higher rate?  He's paying much more into the system than I am as it is. If the government is giving him sweet deals that I don't get, then that should be stopped. But why squeeze more out of him?

I see soaking the rich as a little like gang robbery. We take his money because we've got the numbers to get away with it. And then liberals make us feel righteous about our crime. "Social justice" sounds so noble, doesn't it? We don't want to bleed the guy because we're not criminals. If he stole the money, then he needs to rot in prison.  But we don't believe capitalism is organized theft. If he didn't break any laws to get it, then I'm the thief if I join the mob to strip him of his cash.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jews like Muslims more than Muslims do

The World Values Survey asked people all around the world the following question: "On this list are various groups of people, could you please sort out any that you would not like to have as neighbors?" It was a long list of many religions and ethnic groups. Here are the percentages by religion who mentioned that they did not want to live next to Muslims (sample size = 102,674):

Percent mentioning Muslims

Hindu 31.8
Buddhist 28.6
Ancestral religion 25.0
Orthodox 24.1
Jain 21.6
Independent African Church 21.3
Seventh Day Adventist 21.3
Pentecostal 19.5

World 19.3

Protestant 18.8
Roman Catholic 18.0
Evangelical 17.0
Born-Again 15.9
Muslim 15.6
Jew 15.1
C&S Celestial 15.0
Other 14.9
Non-denominational 14.0
Church of Sweden 13.6
Jehovah's Witness 13.5
Independent Church 11.9
Mormon 9.9
Baptist 8.4

Do I detect a tendency for those who intereact with more Muslims to be less in favor of living by them? If so, that goes against the PC doctrine that to know the other is to love the other.

This is further confirmed by the fact that nine religions -- one of them being Jews -- like Muslims more than Muslims do. Amazing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gay men are disgusted by lesbian sex

I didn't know that gay men are not necessarily disgusted by depictions of heterosexual sex but are disgusted by lesbian sex (check out the study here). It makes sense though: If there is at least one actor whom you find sexually attractive, you will focus on him or her and be able to find the scene arousing; otherwise, it will disgust you.    

Decline in family values continues unabated

The Family/Gender/Sexual Revolution is a complex phenomenon, but there are signs that the rejection of traditional values continues to spread--50 years after it began.

Here are the percentage of Americans who think that various actions are morally acceptable, measured at the beginning and the end of the last decade (from Gallup):

Percent thinking the behavior is morally acceptable

Sex between unmarried man and woman
Beginning 53
End 59
Change +6

Beginning 59
End 69
Change +10

Having a baby outside of marriage
Beginning 45
End 54
Change +9

Gay marriage should be valid
Beginning 27
End 44
Change +17

Attitudes toward gay marriage have changed most dramatically, but this issue is just the most recently-grown leg of a monster that was born in the Sixties. The new ethic replacing the traditional one claims that any kind of relationship is good as long as it is honest, voluntary, and egalitarian (infidelity and polygamy are as condemned now as 10 years ago). Any limitations beyond that are considered judgmental. Questions of what is good for children or what is good for the country are irrelevant. Freedom from sexual rules, self-fulfillment, accommodativeness, egalitarianism, and androgyny are the new idols. The new Prophet is half Beatnik, half Woman.       

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Antisocial behavior more heritable for girls and the wealthy

According to this Swedish twin study, heritability for teenage antisocial behavior is higher for females and people from high-income homes. This pattern indicates that environments are more uniformly prosocial for girls and wealthy kids, so the impact of genes becomes more powerful. By contrast, men and poor people inhabit more diverse environments which can either encourage or discourage bad behavior, so genes end up comparatively less important.

These findings are consistent with a claim made by Emile Durkheim a century ago that social conditions make or break men more than women.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Abortion is Communist-inspired

Oh this is fun. I see that the International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences says:
Abortion was almost universally illegal in the early twentieth century. This first changed in the early years of the Soviet Union, where from 1920 to 1936 abortion was legal, widely available, and encouraged as the primary method of fertility control.
I guess contraceptives were not bloody enough for Bolsheviks.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Marilyn Monroe knew what she was doing: Feminine voices are sexy

In this new study, researchers found that men find feminine female voices more sexually attractive, especially for short-term mating.  Women also perceive femininity in other female voices to be more flirtatious and attractive to men. The authors conclude that women use vocal femininity to track the threat potential of competitors.   

Smart people think like economists

From a study by Bryan Caplan and Stephen Miller, published in the latest issue of Intelligence:
Education is by far the strongest predictor of whether a non-economist will share the economic beliefs of the average economist. (Caplan, 2001) Is the effect of education as large as it seems? Or is education largely a proxy for cognitive ability? Using data from the General Social Survey (GSS), we show that the estimated effect of education sharply falls after controlling for intelligence. In fact, education is driven down to second place, and intelligence replaces it at the top of the list of variables that make people "think like economists." Thus, to a fair degree education is proxy for intelligence, though there are some areas—international economics in particular—where education still dominates. An important implication is that the political externalities of education may not be as large as they initially appear.

Do Muslims differ from other Americans on gender-and-politics questions?

Sample size = 25,284

This GSS graph shows the percent of Americans separated by religion who would vote for a female for President. You can see the Muslims are not out of the mainstream (there are 16 Muslim respondents). Thirteen percent of them say no compared to 14 percent of all Americans. Muslims are a young population, and younger people have more modern views of gender roles.  

Sample size = 26,970

People were also asked if they agreed with, "Most men are better suited emotionally for politics than are most women." (In other words, are men better liars). Muslims are more somewhat more traditional on  this question: 40 percent of them agree compared to 31 percent of all Americans. (There are 47 Muslims in this sample.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

The relationship between religiosity and infidelity differs by religion

Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the relationship between attending religious services and cheating on your spouse for people of various religions. (The sample is whites only, except in the case of Hindus).  

Logistic Regression Coefficients

Protestant -.12*
Catholic -.15*
Jewish -.21*
Buddhist .22
Hindu .26
Muslim -.10
No religion .04

*p < .05

More attendance of religious services predicts remaining faithful for the Abrahamic religions only, and the effect for Muslims is not statistically significant. Buddhists, Hindus, and people with no religion who are active in religious activities are just as likely to cheat as those who never attend. Being a religious Jew is the strongest predictor of fidelity.  

Thirty percent of Episcopalian women fail to have any kids

In a recent post, I showed that approval of abortion for any reason is widespread among Jewish women, and that almost one-quarter fail to have even a single child. The situation is even worse with another elite American group--Episcopalians. Sixty-three percent of women of that faith believe in unlimited abortion, and a whopping 30 percent end up having zero children (GSS data). Politically and culturally, it may be a good thing that our elites are not replacing themselves because they have been a disaster.

American Muslims

From the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture: 
In this essay the author gives an historical overview of Islam in America from its earliest beginnings in pre-Columbia America until the present. Details on the origins, growth and spread of the three largest American Muslim groups - African American, Arab and South Asian - are explored as are the tensions and frictions between the three communities, which undermine the unity of these adherents and their potential influence on the United States' domestic and foreign policies. Also explored are the ideological struggles some Muslims - perhaps a large percentage in the three groups - have regarding their position in the American mosaic. Are they “Muslims in America” or are they “American Muslims?” Some African Americans, many of whom have adopted Islam and the “new” identity it provides as an antidote to this group's long history of ostracism and marginalization, are alienated from any wholesale embrace of their American heritage and identity. Among Arab and South Asian Muslims, some feel a loyalty to their homelands and are often opposed to U. S. policies related to them. Others see the U.S. as morally bankrupt and beyond redemption and are therefore unwilling to totally embrace an American identity. Post 9-11 events in the U.S. in which Muslims with immigrant backgrounds have been targeted have further alienated those who already had their doubts and pushed others who were on the fence into the camp of those who see no real place for Muslims in the American body politic. Lastly, the author lays out her views on how all three Muslim communities can find ways to unite internally and why it is to their advantage to fully embrace their American identity and citizenship in order to influence her future policies, both domestic and international.
So Muslims as a group are alienated from America's heritage; they think she is morally bankrupt and beyond redemption; they are more worried about the Old Country's welfare than American interests; and so they do not fully identify as Americans. But the author thinks they should, not out of affection, but as a means to make America more pro-Islam. I, for one, am reassured by this essay. 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Compared to their light-skinned compatriots, dark-skinned Mexicans are much poorer

In the latest issue of American Sociological Review--the flagship journal of U.S. sociology--Andres Villareal finds that even after a number of factors are taken into account (i.e., gender, age, indigeneity, educational level, region, and rurality) darker skinned Mexicans--in Mexico--are poorer than their paler counterparts. The poverty gap is roughly as large as the American black-white difference. Even though the main ethnic division in Mexico is between indigenous people and mestizos, and skin tone variation among mestizos is not socially emphasized, Villareal concludes that the results are strong evidence for intense discrimination based on color. 

Keep in mind that this research has appeared in the best quantitative sociology journal in the United States; perhaps in the world. The author is interested in discrimination, but treats skin tone variation as his measure of discrimination. Why not measure discrimination directly? At least ask respondents concerning perceived instances of mistreatment. Is that too difficult to ask about? Why doesn't he save himself a lot of work, skip the data collection and analysis, and simply write a speculative paper asserting discrimination?

The relationship between skin tone and poverty could be explained in many different ways. If I claimed that the link is explained by genes associated both with economic success and skin color, my assertion would be just as plausible as his. But it goes without saying that he wouldn't admit (and doesn't mention in the paper) that a genetic explanation is possible since it is morally out of bounds. This trick of not measuring what you are studying and ruling out other explanations as unacceptable has been used in a thousand similar studies. Instead of relying on data, a whole discipline is based on moralistic faith. If we're going to defund NPR, let's do the same to sociology.     

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A critique of Charlton's "clever sillies"

In this paper, Michael Woodley critiques Bruce Charlton's hypothesis that "clever-sillies" use their high IQs and openness to experience to construct social and political views that are farther from the truth than views generated be common sense and social intelligence. According to Woodley: 1) smart people are not necessarily less socially intelligent; 2) smart people might tend to be politically correct only in cultures where liberalism is the dominant view; 3) high-IQ individuals who score high on conscientiousness (and conformity) will adopt PC views in a liberal environment and conservative views in a conservative environment; 4) traditional cultures value dominance, while the modern West values counter-dominance (or egalitarianism); and 5) adopting politically correct views is a way to signal to others that you are altruistic and support egalitarianism, which is then rewarded with enhanced social status and greater access to resources.

Woodley draws on Inglehart's work that has found that, as Western societies have become wealthy, a focus on material concerns (e.g., wealth, security) gives way to an emphasis on post-materialist values, which include self-expression, autonomy, and equality. Social status come less from wealth and more from "higher" pursuits like altruism. This is an evolutionarily novel state of affairs. While men have traditionally been admired for dominant behaviors, now they are rewarded for self-effacement. Believing, for example, in a natural hierarchy among men might have at one time been seen as the mark of a dominant and thus admired man. Now it seems arrogant and ungenerous, and is consequently penalized. High-IQ folks understand this more clearly than others and thus adopt politically correct views.       

Monday, November 01, 2010

Abortion reduces the number of our most talented

Jews approve of abortion more than almost any demographic group in America. Using GSS data, I calculated that 75 percent of Jewish women believe a woman should be able to have an abortion for any reason. I don't have data on the percentage of unwanted Jewish pregnancies that are terminated with abortion, but it should be higher for a group of people who don't see anything wrong with it. This might help explain why 23 percent of Jewish women ages 40 to 59 have no children (GSS data).

Our country needs all the scientifically gifted people we can get, and Jews contribute disproportionate numbers of talented people. It's a shame that almost a quarter of Jewish women fail to have even a single child.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gay marriage, religion, and accusations of hate

I watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's rally yesterday and enjoyed it a great deal. My favorite part was Stewart's castigating liberals for calling people bigots at every opportunity. A lot less finger-pointing and a lot more data would be helpful.

A recent case in point is gay marriage. I see that it has become a mantra among liberals that people who oppose gay marriage do so out of hate. The fact is that many Americans look to their religions for direction on moral issues, so when you call them haters, you are saying that their church is a hate factory. You are saying that their faith creates panting beasts of hate. The problem is that for religious people their churches are among the most cherished things in their lives. People love their church like they love their children, like they love their parents. Calling their religious beliefs hate is like your mother being called evil. How are you going to react if every time the subject of your mother comes up, some person goes on about what a whore she is? Chances are, you'll start to hate that person.     

Friday, October 29, 2010

Religiosity and porn

When I was a young man, I remember friends telling me they were skeptical that I abstained from sex and masturbation. "It's not possible. The drive is too strong," they would say. I told them I avoided it because every time I started fooling around with a girl, I saw the flames of hell. It was an excellent disincentive.  I'm not saying it worked perfectly--I had to confess some things more than once. But even though I had girlfriends from age 16 on, I was able to remain a virgin until 24, and only then did I indulge after becoming convinced there was no God. 

This study of BYU students found that while all the young men believe that pornography is immoral, those who are less active in church and who have less religious families are significantly more likely to view porn. Thinking that something that you want to do is bad is not enough to stop you; there has to be some conviction. Personality, I'm sure, comes into play. Principles might not work very well on an unprincipled person, and a principled person who can't find any authoritative principles is in a quandary as well.         

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Level of identity in Europe by religion

As a follow-up to the last post, I used World Values Survey data and included the 25 countries from the sample that belong to the European Union. Next, I calculated the percent who identify first with one of various levels ranging from one's locality to the whole world. Results are listed by religion in the table above (sample size = 67,103). 

You can see that Jews and Hindus are less likely to identify with their localities and more likely to identify with the continent or the world. Muslims, by contrast, have a high number of people who identify with their locality or the entire world. Catholics and Protestants are more tied to the locality or the region.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are Jews more likely to see themselves as "world citizens"?

The World Values Survey asked participants, "To which of these geographical groups would you say you belong first of all? Locality, region, country, continent, world." I calculated the percent who answered "world" for two groups: 1) Jews in a particular country, and 2) all people in that country. Results are listed in the table. 

Jews are a little more likely than their fellow countrymen to identify as world citizens, but only in France is the difference large.