Monday, December 31, 2007

God versus Darwin: What is the best predictor of belief in evolution? I guessed education, but I was wrong. The General Social Survey asked a representative sample of Americans in 2006 whether the idea that humans evolved from earlier animals is true or false. Only 49.6% said true. Here is the list of predictors I included in a multivariate model, and the standardized OLS coefficients. (I know, I know--my dependent variable should be normally distributed when estimating OLS coefficients, but the technique is robust enough to handle a dichotomous variable that is evenly distributed between the two categories).

Belief in evolution (standardized OLS regression coefficients)

Age -.07
Sex -.08
Race -.01*
Years of education .17
IQ .14
Informed about sci/tech .07
Liberal politics .14
Church attendance -.34

R-squared .29
Number of valid cases 737

* not significant at .05 level, two-tailed test

Except for race (black v. white) all the effects are statistically significant. Men and younger people are more likely to accept evolution, but the tendency is slight. Being more educated, smarter, or saying that you are informed about science and technology is not particularly predictive--at least not more than being liberal.

It turns out that the bigger winner is religiosity--as church attendance increases, so does skepticism about evolution. Seventy-two percent of people who never go to church believe we evolved from earlier animals: the number for those who attend more than weekly is only 13%! God and Darwin may not necessarily be logically incompatible, but there is a clear sociological divide.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sixteen percent of female veterans are lesbian: Folks with their eyes open can see that gay men are more feminine than straight guys, while lesbians are more masculine than hetero women. Don't believe me? Well, let's test the hypothesis with the military. I bet that the percentage of female veterans who are lesbian is higher than the share of male veterans who are gay. The General Social Survey asked 3,644 Americans about the gender of their sex partners, and if they have served in the military. Here are the percentages who are gay and straight (warning: samples sizes are low for homosexual men and lesbians):

Percent who are homosexual

Male veterans 1.5
Male non-veterans 3.2
Female veterans 15.6
Female non-veterans 0.9

See? I told you so.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Religion appeals to the smart, but not the really smart: It's my impression that the smarter the person, the less religious they tend to be. I figure that smart people read a lot, and as one digs deeper into any religion, it is unlikely to bear careful scrutiny. On the other hand, there are many intelligent people who are very involved in a particular faith, so let's have the data decide. The General Social Survey asked 22,845 people how often they attend church, as well as administering to them a ten word vocabulary test. I calculated mean attendance at each level of questions answered correctly:

Mean church attendance

0: 4.08
1: 3.91
2: 3.90
3: 3.80
4: 3.79
5: 3.84
6: 3.92
7: 3.97
8: 4.01
9: 3.70
10: 3.70
Total: 3.87

A "4" means the respondent attends monthly, "3" is a few times a year, and "5" is 2 or 3 times a month. The two smartest categories go to church the least: even less frequently than the low-IQ folks who would be expected to show less middle-class conformity. I'm not surprised that peak attendance is seen among smart, but not really smart people. (The modal category for vocab is 6 out of 10 correct). Highly intelligent people can be religious, but evidently it is an uphill battle.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

India: A survey-based profile

In previous posts, I've drawn characterizations of a number of large countries (United States, China, and Mexico) based on World Values Surveys. Now, I would like to report what I found for India. In 1990, 2,500 Indians were sampled and asked more than 200 questions about their values and beliefs over a broad range of areas: work, family, religion, government, and nation. I list below those questions where Indian responses were in the top three or bottom three among all the countries surveyed (Ten to 50 countries were surveyed, depending on the question. Keep in mind that the sample was tilted toward more-developed countries). This strategy allows us to see in which ways a country is distinctive. There are many questions where Indians were in the middle, which indicates that the country is not much different than a typical country in the sample on many issues:

Top 3
work is very important in my life
I enjoy my work: it is the most important thing in my life
most important aspect of a job is the chance of promotion
there are people in the country who are poor because they are lazy

no previous marriages
spouse has same attitudes toward religion; social attitudes
faithfulness is very important for a successful marriage
same background is very important for a successful marriage
sharing household responsibities is very important for a successful marriage
a preschool child will suffer if mom works
children should be encourage to learn good manners; obedience
approves of abortion if mom is single
approves of women's movement

belongs to a religious denomination
brought up religiously at home
believes in reincarnation

has a lot of confidence in church; armed forces; civil service; political system
proud of country's scientific achievements
proud to be Indian

does not want criminals for neighbors
does not want left-wingers for neighbors
does not want drinkers for neighbors
does not want unstable people for neighbors
does not want foreigners for neighbors
does not want people with AIDS for neighbors
does not want drug addicts for neighbors
does not want homosexuals for neighbors
does not want Jews for neighbors

trust my family
trust my nationality
trust my ethnic group

cheating on taxes; married people cheating; homosexuality; prostitution; divorce; suicide are never justified

we have to accept environmental problems to combat unemployment

Bottom 3

during the past few weeks, I felt pleased about something I accomplished
success is due to luck and connections, not hard work
work should become less important in our lives
self-development should become more important

parents talked about sex
agrees with the idea of sexually freedom
marriage is outdated
approves of single motherhood
being a housewife is just as fulfilling as a paid job
there should be more emphasis on family life

it is proper for churches to speak out on abortion; disarmament; Third World problems; extramarital affairs; unemployment; racial discrimination; euthanasia; and ecology

believes in resurrection

if an unjust law were passed, I could do nothing about it

Summary: Based on the list, India can be characterized as: work-oriented; socially conservative but in favor of reforms for women; moralistic; religious; against politically active religion; not tolerant; trusting of those in power and other Indians; ethnically and nationally proud; and politically self-efficacious.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Censorship at freedom-loving Chronicles

My comment was just deleted from this thread at Chronicles. I was debating Mr. Fleming about Mormonism. In a nutshell, he wrote a series of posts about how dreadful that religion is, and I defended it. He seems to like writing all sorts of nasty things about people and groups, but when I responded in kind, he showed his little-girl sensitivity and deleted my last post. So, in case any of the readers of that thread wander over to this blog, here is my (paraphrased) censored post:

1. Fleming claims I am a liar: I say I'm one faith, when really I'm secretly Mormon. I told him to give me an e-mail address, and I'll have my priest vouch for me. [This outrageous offer really deserves censorship, no?] I then told him his baseless maligning of me and a perfectly respectable religion (Mormonism) reveals a shriveled soul. (Fleming is free to come here and call me anything, and it will, of course, not be deleted).

2. Fleming droned about how prohibiting Catholic and Orthodox members from associating with members of another faith is not superstitious, and proceeded to give me the endless history--what a windy prof--explaining that prohibition. I then responded that, by his way of arguing, only the policies of our faiths can be given historical explanations to show they are understandable and reasonable. Every Mormon practice, however, is wacko, sinister, or stupid.

3. Fleming admitted that he is not a good enough person to pray for people like Mormons to become Christians. I responded, exactly, the truth emerges. I told him that my wife read his comments and suggests that he go to confession.

UPDATE: It now looks like I have been banned from posting at Chronicles--I attempted unsuccesfully to post that my previous comments had been deleted, and could be found here at my blog. The enemies of the Old Right may have a point about there being fascists (and bigots) in our ranks.

My Chronicles link will remain, however, because I don't censor.

UPDATE II: I see that Fleming has also banned the Mormon commentator on this thread. So he can trash them, but then does not allow a response. He's too thick to realize that this approach just convinces Mormons that everyone is out to get them and therefore is proof of the truth of their faith.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting a break on a traffic ticket is degrading

As a follow-up to the last post, I looked at the 10,792 men and women who were asked if they ever received a ticket for a traffic violation. Exactly 65.5% of men did, but only 30.0% of women have been ticketed. Now, the God of Equality has written on tablets that men and women are interchangeable, so these numbers do not reflect differences in driving. So law enforcement must be targeting men, but no... wait... the God of the Underdog has written on other tablets that the powerful exploit the powerless, so the cops must somehow be going after women.... I give up--I guess the Gods' ways are mysterious, and we must walk by faith.

Aha! I knew the Gods would show me the way. Men objectify women, and since they see them as sex objects and not human beings, they think giving a woman a break might lead to sex, and so they deny her the dignity of receiving a ticket like any fully human person would get. Yes!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mex-Ams are the worst drivers: A large sample of Americans (8,517) was asked by the General Social Survey if they had ever been given a traffic ticket. I calculated the percent who answered "yes" for every ethnic group with at least 100 respondents:

Percent who ever received a traffic ticket

Mexican 54.8
English/Welsh 51.3
Scottish 50.9
Norwegian 50.0
Amerindian 49.4
German 49.2
Czech 47.9
Irish 47.0
Italian 46.6

USA 46.3

French 45.5
Jewish 44.9
Russian 43.7
Polish 42.9
Swedish 42.8
Black 38.5
Dutch 37.7

Some of the pattern might be explained by where you live: people of English, German, Scottish, Norwegian, or Amerindian ancestry are disproportionately rural/small town/suburban--areas where people drive a lot. But this does not get Mex-Ams off the hook. They tend to be urban: Seventy-two percent live in more populated areas, compared to 62% of Americans.

And take notice of all those African Americans who are being ticketed for "driving while Black."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Married women who are very liberal are most likely to cheat or be in an open relationship: The General Social Survey asks participants their marital status and the number of sexual partners one has had in the past year (N=3,330). Here are the numbers for women:

Percent of married women who had more than one sex partner in the past year

Extremely liberal 9.6
Liberal 3.7
Slightly liberal 2.9
Moderate 1.7
Slightly conservative 1.7
Conservative 1.5
Extremely conservative 4.2

One out of ten extremely liberal married women had sex with someone other than their husband. So all you guys out their who like to sleep with married women, you now know where to focus your search. (If your town is short on radicals, the extreme Right seems to be the next best choice.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Mexican Americans use drugs than any other group: General Social Survey respondents (N=1839) were asked if they had used illegal drugs in the past year. Here are the percentages who answered yes by their ethnic background:

Percent who used illegal drugs in the past year:

Mexican 9.0
Amerindian 6.7
Scottish 6.6
English/Welsh 6.6
German 6.6

USA 4.8

Irish 3.3
Italian 2.8
Black 1.8

This accords with other survey data which indicate illicit drug use is high for Native Americans and Mex-Ams, moderate for whites, and low for blacks. Something new is that use is lower for whites from Catholic countries.
Question: Can the Holy Trinity legally drive in the carpool lane?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Religion, immigration, and abortion: With 2006 General Social Survey data now being available to the public, we've now got enough cases (when added to earlier years) to analyze small religious groups. Listed below are the percent who think a woman whould have the right to have an abortion for any reason:

Percent in favor of right to an abortion for any reason

Jewish 77.8
Buddhists 71.1
None 66.3
Eastern Orthodox 56.2
Hindus 50.0
Inter-denominational 48.9
Muslims 44.4

USA 40.1

Christian 39.2
Catholic 35.4
Protestant 36.0

These numbers explode the myth that immigrants make the country more socially conservative. Buddhists, Hindus, Orthodox Christians, and even Muslims have above-average percentages. The table looks like various immigrants with Jews and the non-religious all lined up against native-born Christians. But of course, that's not right since Mexicans and Filipinos are large immigrant groups and are heavily Catholic (Mexicans 73.2%, Filipinos 77.1%). Let's look at the views toward abortion for immigrant groups:

Percent in favor of the right to abortion for any reason

Russians 77.4
English/Welsh 64.3
German 50.8
India 49.2
Polish 47.9
China 47.8
Irish 46.3
Scottish 44.1
Arab 41.7
Africa 37.1
Filipinos 35.0
Spanish 30.9
Italian 29.3
Puerto Ricans 23.5
Mexico 20.6

Those from Catholic countries have below-average numbers, except for Ireland and Poland, which like the rest of Europe (except for Spain and Italy) suck. Let me add that Asian Indians suck and Chinese immigrants suck too. Put Arabs on the suck list, but Africans are okay.

The problem with Mexicans is that, compared to immigrants, those born here move to the left: thirty four percent favor abortion on demand.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ethnic loyality among Jews: A theme I often run across on the blogosphere is the extent to which Jews think about collective Jewish interests when forming political views. People often confuse four different entities: 1) a relatively small number of famous elites; 2) Jewish elites in general; 3) major Jewish organizations; and 4) Jews as a group. This website is devoted to data, especially survey data, and such an approach lends itself to assessing question #4. In past posts, data have indicated that only a minority of American Jews are what could be termed ethnocentric. The only measures I have seen which demonstrate consensus or something approaching consensus have been Jews' belief in immigration and preference for Democratic political candidates.

One measure of ethnic loyalty available from the General Social Survey is whether or not you think of yourself as mainly an American when considering social and political issues, or as a member of an ethnic group. Almost 1,200 people were asked this. Here are the percentages who answered "mainly just as an American":

Percent who think of themselves as just an American

German 99.2
English/Welsh 97.5
Protestant Irish 97.1
Scottish 95.2
Catholic Irish 94.7
Amerindian 92.2

USA 88.8

Italian 88.2
Jewish 84.1
Mexicans (born in U.S) 83.3
Black 56.5

A commentor at Sailer's blog claimed that American Jews are like Irish Americans, but the data tell us that they are more like Mexicans: most don't form opinions qua minorities, but some do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Which ethnic group has the classiest tastes? There are all kinds of good music, but you must admit that there are only three kinds that we would call really classy: classical, opera, and jazz. So who likes these types of music the most? The General Social Survey asked almost 1,200 Americans about their musical preferences. Answers ranged from "like it very much" (1) to "dislike it very much" (5). I calculated the means for ethnic groups with at least 30 respondents, and subtracted them from 5 so that higher scores indicate more preference for the music:

Mean classical music score

Scottish 2.77
Jewish 2.65
Polish 2.53
English/Welsh 2.52

USA 2.43

Italian 2.41
Irish 2.32
Dutch 2.39
German 2.32
Black 2.12
Amerindian 1.87

Mean opera score

Polish 1.86
Scots 1.83
Italian 1.74
English/Welsh 1.61
Dutch 1.58
Jewish 1.58

USA 1.57

Black 1.55
German 1.46
Irish 1.41
Amerindian 1.31

Mean jazz score

Black 3.05
Jewish 3.00
Polish 2.63

USA 2.44

English/Welsh 2.41
Irish 2.40
Italian 2.38
German 2.29
Scots 2.24
Amerindian 2.19
Dutch 2.00

Not surprisingly, Blacks like climb to the top of the list for jazz, and Italian Americans move up for opera. But overall, Polish Americans are at the top. Jews aren't too crazy about opera, and people of Scottish descent like classical and opera but not jazz. Amerindians don't dig any of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is it just an unfair stereotype that women have more emotional difficulties than men? The General Social Survey asked 1,410 Americans if, in the past 4 weeks, emotional problems had prevented them from accomplishing as much as they would like. Here are the percentages who said yes:

Percent reporting emotional difficulties

Women 21.8
Men 14.8

That's about 50% more women than men. Skeptics will claim that women are only more likely to report emotional difficulties, but the question is quite specific: it is asking for the type of emotional difficulty that undermines productivity.

I can't speak for all couples, but in my marriage my wife is usually more (negatively) emotional, and I'm the reassuring one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Having a gun stuck in you face is a common experience

The General Social Survey asked 6,599 men if they had ever been threatened with a gun or shot at. Here are the percentages by ethnic group:

Percent ever threatened with a gun or shot at

American Indian 44.9
Mexican 42.3
Blacks 42.1
French 35.9
Protestant Irish 34.8
Czech 33.3
Russian 32.4
German 32.0
Jewish 31.7

USA 31.5

Catholic Irish 31.4
Scottish 30.0
English/Welsh 29.2
Austrian 27.5
Danish 26.9
Swedish 26.3
Polish 26.0
Italian 24.3
French Canadian 22.7
Dutch 15.5
Asian 12.5

My first reaction is the frequency of this type of victimization: almost 1/3 of all males. I must hang out with the right kind of people because this has never happened to me or anyone I know. (The numbers might be inflated a bit by reports of military experiences). Seconds, NAMs (non-Asian Minorities) inhabit the most violent worlds. Amerindians face a higher risk of victimization than either blacks or Mex-Ams. Whites are in the middle, and Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) are not surpisingly at the bottom. These numbers suggest that being a victim is corrrelated with being a perpetrator: assaulted one day, assaulting the next. Even though Asians tend to be urban, they have very low rates of victimization. Why? Well, they don't provoke others, and much of the time they are moving among other Asians--a group whose members rarely point guns at people.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Compared to 1990, twice as many favor marijuana legalization

Since 1973, General Social Survey respondents have been asked if marijuana use should legalized. Looking at the graph, we can see that support has been on the increase since the early 90s. In a graph not shown, about 50 percent of young people (ages 18-30) now favor legalization. The feeling that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as nobody gets hurts has evidently been growing incrementally over the past 2 decades (with a plateauing in recent years).

Monday, November 12, 2007

My faith in the people's wisdom is restored: GSS respondents were asked how scientific is the discipline of sociology. I display the answers below, along with attitudes toward biology for the sake of comparison.

Percent saying sociology is scientific

Very scientific 8.6
Pretty scientific 43.8
Not too scientific 30.3
Not scientific 9.1
Haven't heard of it 8.2

Percent saying biology is scientific

Very scientific 71.7
Pretty scientific 24.6
Not too scientific 2.1
Not scientific 0.8
Haven't heard of it 0.8

I am so pleased to learn that only 9% of people think a discipline that believes that behavior is 100% environmentally produced is "very scientific." Yes, you might find an odd sociologist who accepts that genes and biology matter, but sociology did not convince of him of that.

And I am also tickled to learn that 8 percent of people haven't even heard of sociology! Were it 80%!
Is there a declining interest in science? Over at Steve Sailer's blog, there was a recent discussion about a loss of interest in science. I wondered if it were true of the population in general and mined some data from the 2006 science module of the General Social Survey. Respondents were asked if they would be interested in a TV program on the polar regions. I calculated the percentages who said they would be "very likely" to watch the show by age range:

Percent who are very likely to watch a TV science program

18-30 25.1
31-45 30.7
46-60 41.8
61+ 40.1

Now, I can't tell if these differences show a dropping in interest in science, an age effect (a tendency to like science more as one ages) or a cohort effect (something--like landing on the moon--impacted specific age cohorts). It's not due to more TV watching in general on the part of older people: only seniors watch (slightly) more TV than 18-30s.

If younger people are turning away from science, it's not for lack of studying it in school. Respondents were also asked if they took a physics class in high school:

Percent who took physics in high school

18-30 41.0
31-45 34.0
46-60 24.4
61+ 26.7

Science is difficult, technical, and dry. Traditionally a nerdy white guy thing, most of those types I see on campus now don't have the discipline for it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lazy Americans? The open borders crowd gleefully tell us how much immigrants inject energy into an otherwise lazy America. Well, I looked at data from the California Workforce Survey to see who does the most overtime. Respondents (N=868) were asked how often they worked more than 40 hours a week. Here are the percentages who said "usually" by racial/ethnic group:

Percent who usually work overtime

White 31.2
Black 22.4
American-born Hispanic 24.2
Immigrant Hispanic 26.2

Those fat, lazy white people might be fat, but they ain't lazy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Long gun ownership on the decline

As a follow-up on the post about the decline of hunting, I generated these stacked bar charts showing trends in the household ownership of rifles, shotguns, and pistols. You can see that fewer people own either type of long gun which matches the dropping interest in hunting. The rate of handgun ownership, by contrast, seemed to grow very slightly until about a decade ago, probably in response to fear of crime, and may be slipping a bit more recently as crime rates have fallen. The NRA and all lovers of self-reliance must not be too happy about these trends.
One-third of very old blacks thinks the IQ race gap is genetic: As a follow-up to the last post, I wanted to look further into this very odd phenomenon of blacks who believe that their group does not learn as well because of inborn differences. I discovered that many elderly blacks (ages 70-90) believe this, especially if they were asked this question in the 1980s and were, therefore, born in the early part of the 20th century. The number for this group is 33 percent. Is the high number the result of experience and freedom from modern-day indoctrination, or were they indeed indoctrinated, only by the segregationist culture of their youth? I report, you decide.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fewer Americans believe genes explain the race IQ gap



Other races

I haven't taught for 30 years, but combining my time as student and teacher, it has been my impression in the classroom that people have grown less inclined to turn to genes as an explanation for behavior. This has seemed odd to me since scholarship has turned increasingly in that direction over the same period. The best scientists have been telling us one thing, while the classroom instructors, the media, and the public have been telling us something very different.

But this has all been my sense of the situation, so let's see what the data say. The General Social Survey has asked since 1977 if respondents agree that blacks are poorer and have worse jobs and housing because of an innate inability to learn. Over that time more than 20,000 Americans have answered that question, and the results for whites, blacks, and "others" are displayed above. The first year is 1977 and the last is 2006.

My hunch was correct. For whites, those agreeing dropped steadily from 27% in 1977 to 8% in 2006. Blacks have been asked this question only from 1985 on, and those agreeing fell from 18 to 12% over the period. Notice, how more blacks than whites look to genes now. The sample sizes are small for "others" but their numbers have fallen as well.

This suggests that public opinion does not follow science, at least in the short run. It follows instead the cultural and political trends of the time. There is something like a 50 year lag, and we've been under the dominance of the extreme environmental determinists for a long time now. Maybe before I'm dead the race realists will lead the culture, but I ain't putting any money on it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Growing prissiness among American men? I looked at the General Social Survey to see if hunting is on the decline and if males hunters differ from other guys in IQ. Here are the numbers (total sample=11,659):

Percent of men who hunt
1977 34.1
1987 25.1
1996 27.8
2006 18.9

It sure is in decline. Is this a sign of a increasing prissiness among American men? Perhaps the couch is more comfortable and the Xbox safer and less work?

Mean IQ

Hunters 95.4
Non-hunters 100.8

Hunters 86.6
Non-hunters 90.9

For both races, hunters are 4 or 5 points less intelligent. I don't imagine this was always the case: who hunted more than aristocrats? Is it a growing refinement of the right half of the bell curve? Once again, who was more refined than aristocrats? The American Male has morphed from Jim Bowie into David Bowie. (The singer got his name from the Alamo hero, by the way).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Approval for spanking is on the decline: Since 1986, the GSS has asked Americans if they feel that spanking is sometimes necessary. I looked the percent who said no:

Percent thinking that spanking is not necessary

1986 16.5
1996 27.1
2006 27.7

There was a jump in the late 80s, but it has leveled off in the past decade. This matches the trend I have witnessed in the classroom: more people seem to be uncomfortable with not only spanking, but also punishment in general. I could count on one hand the number of times I have spanked my kids, but no punishment? You gotta be crazy. No wonder we have so many poorly behaved kids.
Dumb people watch a lot of TV: I was pretty sure that brainiacs don't watch much TV, but it is blog policy to verify with hard data. The General Social Survey asked 14,233 Americans how many hours per day do they watch television. I calculated means for three levels of IQ by race:

Mean hours of TV per day by IQ

High IQ (126) 2.08
Medium IQ (98) 2.87
Low IQ (77) 3.24

High IQ (126) 2.89
Medium IQ (98) 3.77
Low IQ (77) 4.06

It is true that IQ varies inversely with watching TV for both blacks and whites, but it interesting that blacks watch roughly an hour more than whites at the same IQ level. TV is a low-energy way to pass one's free time; whites might prefer more active pursuits. There aren't enough Mexican Americans to do the same analysis, but their overall mean is high at 3.48 hours per day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Is IQ correlated with skin tone among blacks? The General Social Survey gave 437 blacks an IQ test (10 vocabulary words) and interviewers also recorded how dark their skin was from "very dark brown" to "very light brown." Here are the means:

Mean IQ by darkness of skin

Very dark brown 86.99
Dark brown 84.05
Medium brown 90.38
Light brown 92.77
Very light brown 90.99
All blacks 88.91

You might wonder why the mean is not 85 for all blacks--the black-white gap is not as large for verbal ability. Also--due to small samples, the only significant differences at the 95% level are medium and light over dark.

Dark and light browns are almost 9 points apart, a gap more than large enough to produce classes among blacks based on skin color. (Or the color-based classes produced the IQ gap?)
More than 1/3 of libs approve of sex among 14 year olds: The General Social Survey asked 16, 973 Americans about their political orientation and how they felt about 14-16 year olds having sex. Below you'll see the percentage who said it's not wrong or only sometimes wrong:

Percent who think sex among 14-16 year olds is not wrong

Extremely liberal 34.9
Liberal 22.4
Slightly liberal 15.6
Moderate 12.2
Slightly conservative 11.0
Conservative 6.5
Extremely conservative 7.7

What is wrong with you libs? Either you're total relativists--"bestiality isn't wrong if no one gets hurt"--or you make yourselves stupid by dropping all context: "well, nature has made these two 14 year olds capable of sex, and they do it in Timbuktu, so who are you to deny them their human rights?" The belief that every consensual act done by anyone at any time is peachy is dogmatic and is short on common sense.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

American Indians are the most anti-immigrant (that's the Indians with the feathers, by the way): Using General Social Survey data, I calculated a mean score for each ethnic group in America on a question if one agrees that immigrants' ideas and culture improve American society. Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5) so a high mean indicates that the group is least likely to think that immigrants make things better.

Mean anti-immigration score

American Indian 2.76
German 2.65
Irish 2.63
Italian 2.62
Blacks 2.53

USA 2.50

English/Welsh 2.42
Mexican 2.23

The focus on immigration these days is from Mexico, so it is no surprise the poor minority groups see little benefit from having tens of thousands of low-skill immigrants come to the U.S. each year to compete with them for jobs. Black liberalism offsets this a bit; American Indians are not as liberal. White ethnics seem less likely to buy the hype as well. Ethnic solidarity seems to trump job competition for Mexican Americans.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Young people increasingly against abortion

The question of the values of young people interest me since they indicate the direction in which the country is moving. The General Social Survey has been asking Americans about their attitudes toward abortion since 1972. I generated these graphs to show the trends in views of women ages 18 to 30 (yearly samples range from 110 to 250). Men of the same age group show similar trends, but the the pattern is a bit stronger for females. What we see is a basically flat trend (if you smooth out the wrinkles) until the mid-90s. At this point, feeling that abortion should be permitted begins to drop. This pattern holds for all the reasons given for an abortion.
So why are young people shifting toward more conservative values on abortion? Are they reacting to the excesses of their parents? We see a big drop circa 2000--are some young folks rejecting Clintonian sleeziness? Are evangelicals making inroads among this demographic?
Paleos dread Giuliani in the White House because endless war means more dead soldiers. Compared to hundreds of thousands of embryos and fetuses killed in cold blood every year, a few thousand guys who volunteered to die for honor and glory is small potatoes. Insider Republicans have already pissed little people like me off over issues of the war and immigration. Abortion is a vote determinant for quite a few voters (my mom doesn't give a damn about anything else), and people like me and an increasing number of young people are going to stay home or find another party if candidates like Giuliani are foisted on us.
Jews and cheating the government: My wife reminded me that in an analysis I did some time ago on ethnic differences in attitudes toward cheating on taxes, Jews were the worst, but that I didn't include them in the last post on lying to get benefits. So I calculated the estimate for the 49 Jews in the GSS sample, and zero percent said that it is not wrong to do that. Perhaps the differing results can be attributed to taxes being of particular concern to this wealthy group, while obtaining government benefits is more relevant to poor people.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Attitudes toward cheating the government: Americans (2,032 of them) were asked by the General Social Survey if it is wrong to give the government false information in order to get benefits. I calculated the percent who said it is not wrong by ethnic group:

Blacks 16.2
Puerto Rican 13.7
Mexican 11.7
Polish 11.3
American Indian 6.1
Italian 6.0
German 5.6

USA 5.6

Irish 4.1
French 1.9
English/Welsh 1.7
Scottish 0.0

Americans of Western European descent are the most honest, while poor minorities (except for Amerindians) and Eastern Europeans are least honest.

And by now you must think I'm harping on this point, but as our largest immigrant group--Mexicans--continues to pour into the country, the number of people trying to cheat the system will increase.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The most amazing thing I have heard in some time: Today, the Dean--a man who has spent much of his career trying to fill the school's faculty vacancies with women and minorities--in a room of six women, two Hispanics, one black, and one white man, said that only a sick racist would believe that white men are the group most discriminated against. (He was referring to comments in class by students that we faculty need to put a stop to.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Does getting arrested help or hurt your chances of getting laid? Is it really true that that girls are attracted to bad boys? The General Social Survey asked 168 men ages 18 to 30 if they were arrested in the past year, and they were also asked how many sex partners they had during the same time period. Here are the mean number of partners:

Mean number of sexual partners in the past year

Arrestees 3.04
Non-arrestees 1.67

No competition. The brutes flout the law and deflower the girls, and evidently the girls like it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stuck-up street people: An amusing thing happened to me today, and I wouldn't mention it except that something very similar happened just a fews days before.

Roughly 90% of the panhandlers that hit me up for money are black in a town that's maybe 15% African American. The rest are white--I cannot recall a Hispanic ever asking me for money. And we are not talking a small sample size. In many parts of town, I cannot get out of my car to fill up the tank without someone delivering some lame story why they need my loose change. And I usually give them the coins in my pocket just so they will just leave me alone.

The other day, a very experienced bum approached me, saying something incoherent about needing change to cash a check for $20 (I thought, "Huh? Are you serious with that?"). I reached in to draw out my normally abundant load of change, and discovered that I had one dime. I told him all I had was the ten cents, and handed it to him. Then the amusing part happened: he totally snubs me! He gave me a haughty look, turned away coldly, and made me feel like a dirty beggar!

Then, today, someone sent a girl over to me with a story about them needing gas money to make it home. So I reach in and hand her about 75 cents, and this 12 year old hustler gets a sour look on her face and marches away irritated--and forget about her saying thanks.

I'm thinking about starting a march where I hold up a poster that reads: "To all you panhandlers: I am a Man!"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Does Hispanic immigration help Republicans in unexpected ways? Republican "strategists" tell us that immigration from Latino countries is good since these people, under all their liberal voting, are natural conservatives who embrace hard work and family values. People like me who actually consult the data know better, but what about the idea that a greater Hispanic presence drives whites to the right?

California is a great place to test this hypothesis since the Latino population is high but varied. I examined data from the 2000-2001 California Workforce Survey, where white residents were asked their party affiliation as well as the percentage of their community that is Hispanic. The sample size was 211, so I split the group roughly by forming one group of those who said that the Latino presence was somewhere between 1 and 3 out of 10; the other group was 4 to 10 out of 10. In the low-Hispanic group, 21% of whites said they were Republicans; for the high-Hispanic group, the number was 30%. Not a huge difference, but noteworthy.

It is also surprising, given that wealthy people can most easily select themselves out of high-Hispanic (poor) areas, and since wealthy people are more likely to vote Republican, this should decrease the Republican presence in Hispanic communities.

I would not be surprised at all to see whites grow increasingly race conscious and turning to the Republicans to deliver pro-white policies, as the country diversifies. The recent defeat of immigration amnesty is probably a sign of this.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fear-mongering feminists

Readers have expressed skepticism that feminists are pushing the idea that marriage is dangerous for women because of the high risk of wife battery. Here's a little visual evidence I found on the Internet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mexican-Americans are least likely to read newspapers: If people are going to be good citizens, they need to be well-informed, and reading the daily newspaper is a big help. So which ethnic groups read the paper the most? The General Social Survey asked 24,672 Americans how often do they read the paper, with answers ranging from never (5) to daily (1). I calculated the means for each ethnic groups with at least 100 respondents (unless noted), then I subtracted the estimate from 5 so that the highest numbers reflect the most frequent reading:

Mean newspaper reading score

Poles 3.40
Lithuanians 3.38 (78)
Austrians 3.36
Russians 3.35
Danes 3.35
English/Welsh 3.23
Japanese 3.21
French Canadians 3.2o
Scots 3.17
Finns 3.16
Yugoslavs 3.16
Norwegians 3.16
Czechs 3.19
Swiss 3.18
Swedes 3.11
Dutch 3.11
Germans 3.11
Irish 3.10
Italians 3.10

USA 3.03

Hungarians 3.01
Chinese 3.00
West Indians 2.98
French 2.97
Greeks 2.97
Arabs 2.95 (N=41)
Blacks 2.83
Spain 2.83
Portuguese 2.81 (N=68)
Asian Indians 2.76
American Indians 2.63
Puerto Ricans 2.59
Mexicans 2.41

Eastern and Northern Europeans read the most, while Southern Europeans, Arabs, Asian Indians (I'm surprised) and poor minorities read the least. And like with so many of my lists, Mexicans fall to the very bottom. But hey, white racism cripples their motivation, and who can afford 50 cents these days? (By the way, did the rapper 50 Cent get his name from his love of newspapers?)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do blacks drink less than other groups? Surveys usually indicate the whites and Hispanics drink more than blacks. This is sometimes used to argue that blacks also engage in less problem drinking. (A black student once berated me for suggesting that blacks are less likely than whites to be arrested for DUIs because they drive less: she said any idiot knows that blacks drink less). The General Social Survey can shed some light on this question. Respondents were asked what was the maximum number of drinks they had in one day over the past year. Here are the percentages at different levels (Caution: the sample size is only 41 for blacks and 36 for Hispanics):

Maximum drinks in one day in the past year--percent in each category

Doesn't drink 8.3
1-4 drinks 58.4
5 or more 33.3

Doesn't drink 31.7
1-4 drinks 46.3
5 or more 22.0

Doesn't drink 18.0
1-4 drinks 65.4
5 or more 16.6

These data help clarify the issue: blacks are more likely to be teatotallers and heavy drinkers, with fewer who are moderate.

And the Inductivist does it again: while answering a question about another topic, he runs across numbers that make Hispanics look bad. Of the three groups, they have the most heavy drinkers and the fewest abstainers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Self-righteous libs are the ones with underperforming hearts: Readers expressed interest about altruism by ethnic group and political views, so here are the percentages who donated blood in the past year:

Percent who gave blood in the past year

Vote in 2000
Bush 20.3
Gore 14.5

Ethnic group
Dutch 23.3
Norwegian 22.1
Mexican 21.0
Irish 19.4
English/Welsh 19.3
Scots 18.3
Italian 17.6

USA 17.5

German 17.0
American Indian 14.7
Puerto Ricans 13.3
Black 12.9
Swedish 12.1
Jewish 11.9
French 10.9
Poles 9.6

Let me begin with the less interesting first: Americans of northwestern European descent appear to be the most altruistic (with Swedes as an exception--the blood alcohol content is too high for donation, perhaps?). Since I am always running into data that make Mex-Ams look bad, they should get their props here. And blacks are low, as a reader suggested.

Now for the fun part: conservatives can't possibly donate a lot of blood because you have to have a heart to have blood, right? WRONG: those self-righteous libs are actually the ones with underperforming hearts.
Religion and donating blood: Some readers evidently didn't like my analysis on religion and soft-heartedness. In their view, the measure I used is problematic, and behavior, not self-characterization, is the important question. Well, the Inductivist is here to please, so I have calculated the percent who have donated blood in the past year at least once by religion (I limited analyses to religions with at least 30 survey respondents):

Percent who donated blood in the past year

Christian 19.7
Catholic 17.5
None 16.2
Protestant 15.6
Inter-denominational 12.9
Jewish 11.9

These numbers do not support the view that religion generates altruistic behavior since those without a religion are ranked third in a field of six. Again, I am surprised that Jews are at the bottom.

Of course, it's conventional wisdom in sociology (if it can be said to possess any wisdom) that affiliation is not particularly potent--it's commitment to a religion that matters. So does blood donation vary by attendance?

Percent who donated blood in the past year by frequency of church attendance

More than weekly 19.7
Weekly 19.0
Nearly every week 17.4
Two or three times/month 19.8
Once a month 20.1
Several times a year 16.7
Once a year 14.4
Less than once a year 15.9
Never 11.1

Those who attend, whatever the frequency, are not that far apart, but the irreligious are noticeably stingier with their blood.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The social skills of brainiacs: Intelligent people are thought to be socially inept, and while I would agree that the brainiest are rarely the social butterflies at a party, the General Social Survey supports the idea that individuals with high IQs are social in the sense that they discuss things with a broader network of people. Participants in the survey were asked how many different people do they regularly discuss important matters with. Here is the average by IQ:

Mean number of people with whom you discuss important matters by IQ

High IQ (126) 3.17
Medium (98) 2.33
Low (70) 1.68

Dumb people chat--an essential skill in casual social situations--while smart people discuss. They see small talk as a waste of time and fail to develop those skills, and their social lives suffer as a result.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Does Christianity make people soft-hearted? I often wonder how much influence religion really has on people. The General Social Survey asks people how well does the term soft-hearted describe them. Their answers range from "not well" (1) to "very well" (5). Here are the means by religion:

Mean soft-heartedness score

Inter-denominational 4.37
Protestant 4.23
Christian 4.16
Catholic 4.08
Jewish 3.95
None 3.91
Muslim 3.69
Buddhist 3.12

Clearly, Christians are the most compassionate. From knowing people, I would have guessed Jews.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Homosexuality and IQ: Looking at educational data in a post last year, I showed that men who report exclusively homosexual sex have above average years of schooling. I'm not sure why, but let's take a look at IQ data from the General Social Survey and look at a broader range of sexual orientations (I've limited the analysis to whites since sample sizes are too small for blacks):

Mean IQ

Gay men 104.8
Bisexual men 98.0
Straight men 100.0
Lesbians 102.2
Bisexual women 99.3
Straight women 101.3

First, gay men and lesbians have the highest numbers. In the earlier comments, someone made the reasonable speculation that smart people are simply more likely to admit they are homosexual. (Keep in mind they are simply asked about sexual behavior, not orientation). But shouldn't the numbers also be high for bisexuals as well? They are not. Perhaps smarter people also have the courage and decisiveness to make a clean break from heterosexual behavior? Or, are gay men and lesbians really smarter for someone unknown reason? They seem smart to me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hunger in America? Americans are so fat and rich, I assume that no one ever lacks food here. That's not exactly right. According to the General Social Survey, here are the percentages of those who have been unable to purchase food they needed sometime in the past year by sex and ethnicity:

Percent unable to buy food they needed (first men, then women in parentheses)

Blacks 6.9 (9.3)
Mexicans 7.1 (8.5)
American Indians 0.0 (12.3)
Germans 5.6 (5.5)
Scotts 2.4 (8.8)

USA 3.4 (5.6)

English/Welsh 2.4 (3.4)
Italians 0.0 (5.2)
Irish 2.9 (1.4)

For most groups, this hardship hits women more than men. Many of these women are single with dependent children. Few two-parent households are this poor. These are the fruits of feminists telling us that men are not essential to the household: women's natural abilities and Papa Government can do the job.

Monday, September 10, 2007

More on astrology: A reader suggested in the previous post that most of those nutty astrology people are women. Here's the breakdown, according to the General Social Survey:

Percent who think astrology is very, or sort of, scientific

Women 36.1
Men 27.8

And while we're at it:

Blacks 49.4
Whites 28.4

Wow, half of blacks. Moonbeam Obama Mamas is about right.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Liberals think that astrology is scientific: Liberals enjoy a nice laugh at the anti-science of religious fundamentalists, but the 2006 General Social Survey shows us that they, more than anyone, believe that astrology is scientific. Here is the percentage breakdown:

Percent who believe astrology is very or sort of scientific

Extremely liberal 43.3
Liberal 32.2
Slightly liberal 31.4
Moderate 25.9
Slightly conservative 25.9
Conservative 26.1
Extremely conservative 25.0

Almost half of those who are very liberal believe astrology is good science. So why do we believe what they tell us about anything?

Next, what are the IQ differences?

Mean IQ by view on astrology

It's very scientific 90.1
It's sort of scientific 96.5
It's not scientific at all 101.2

These differences are large. If you're like me, you've heard endless jokes about the Bible-thumping, inbreeding, redneck Bush supporters, but how about those moonbeam Obama Mamas?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The sex partner-porn correlation: positive or negative?



Is erotica used the most when a guy has no other option, or do porn and partners go hand-in-hand (pardon the pun)? The two tables above summarize General Social Survey data on whether you have seen at least one x-rated movie in the past year (y-axis) and your number of sex partners over the same time period (x-axis--0,1,2,3,4,5-10,11-20,21-100 partners from left to right). Ages range from 18 to 30. For both sexes, celibates are the least likely to view porn, and the probability peaks (or climaxes, perhaps?) for those with 5-10 partners. Single, religious folks might abstain from porn as well as sex, but there is evidence here that people vary a great deal in their sex drives. Some people seem to need very little sexual pleasure, while others can't get enough.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ignore your sociology professor who comments on blogs: A sociologist commented in an earlier post that married women are, on average, more likely to be depressed than unmarried women. I'm not sure if he means never-married women or all unmarried women of all types, but either way the General Social Survey says he's wrong. Here are the percent of women by marital status who felt depressed in the past 30 days, either some, a good bit of, most, or all of the time:

Percent of women feeling depressed

Married 26.6
Never married 33.2
Separated 58.9
Divorced 23.7
Widowed 45.0

Here we have another sociologist rattling off facts that make marriage look bad that are false. I can understand how a discipline could get wrong results because of study flaws, but isn't it funny how errors always somehow support the liberal/feminist view?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are smart people clean or dirty? Haven't you seen both images, right? The squeaky clean George Will on the one hand, and the professor who looks like he slept in those clothes on the other. General Social Survey interviewers rated the cleanliness of houses along with asking a zillion questions, and here is the mean IQ for each rating:

Mean IQ

Very clean 101.6
Clean 99.5
So-so 96.9
Not very clean 92.5
Dirty 97.0

Very clean 91.7
Clean 92.2
So-so 89.7
Not very clean 82.2
Dirty 82.6

For both races, smarter people tend to be cleaner. This is a bit of support that virtues tend to run together. Notice, however, that the mean IQ for whites jumps up a bit among the "dirty" so the stereotype of the brainy white slob is probably true for a minority of smart people.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on IQ trends

Whites 18 to 40

Blacks 18 to 40

Whites 41+

Blacks 41+

In my earlier post on IQ trends, Steve Sailer asked if age had something to do with pattern. I don't have enough cases to do a fine-grain analysis, but I was able to split blacks and whites into under 41 and 41 and over. Looking at whites first, the prevalence of mid-level IQs grew over the past 35 years for both young and older groups at the expense of the low IQ category. The percent with high IQs (10 for 10 on the vocab test) dropped for both groups, but the younger group stayed consistenly below the older. (In fact, those 40 and under fell to zero in 2006--not perfectly accurate, I'm sure).

Black trends bounce around more due to small samples sizes. I think all we can conclude from them is that more blacks--both young and old--are in the mid-range compared to 35 years ago, and there seems to be noticeable improvement for both age groups in the past decade.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


In the movie "Knocked Up" we are shown a guy and girl who have unprotected sex. After they go their separate ways, the message "8 weeks later" is flashed and we are shown something that looks like the top picture. In the interest of accuracy, they are showing something that is actually a day or two old: the bottom photo is of a 8 week old embryo. Cute, idn't ee? (I'll cut the movie some slack--when the woman is first examined, the doctor indicates that the heart is beating.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

IQ trends



Glancing at GSS data on IQ (based on a vocabulary test) it looked to me like scores, for both blacks and whites, have been moving away from the extremes over the past 35 years. A closer look shows that I was more or less right. The bottom two graphs above are from 1973 to 2006. The top graph shows that percent with a particular score--6 is modal. To smooth the trends, I merged those with low scores (0-5); those with average scores (6-9); and those with perfect 10s. (I decided on these categories based on what appeared to move together over time). On the graphs, 3 (or green) is for the high group, 2 (or blue) for the middle, and 1 (or red) for the low group.

For both races, the low IQ group has shrunk while the middle group has grown, but this upward movement for blacks appeared only after 1994. It is not clear if the prevalence of high IQ blacks has increased, but the number for whites has dropped from 9 to 4%.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Does it pay to playboy?



Continuing the theme of being misled on family matters, the Sexual Revolution spread the message that uninhibited sex is essential to psychological health and happiness. Men, of course, have been only too happy to embrace this idea, especially the playboy version of it. Monogamy and marriage are cages, right? Like the one bull said to the other as they looked down on a herd of cows: why run and grab one, when you can strut down and have them all?

Well, GSS data show us that this kind of attitude doesn't deliver. The bottom two charts display happiness by the number of sexual partners had in the past year. At the very left are celibates, then one partner, then two, etc. The last two categories are 5-10 partners and 11-20. (21-100 were left off due to insufficient cases). For both men and women, people with one parter are much more likely to be very happy than any other group. (I'll grant that the most promiscuous male group is as low on "not too happy" people as among the monogamous group, but the sample size is small, and the rest of the multiple-partner groups are higher). Contrary to what the sexual experts have been telling us, celibacy does not make men less happy than promiscuity, and celibate women have a higher percent in the "very happy" group than in any multiple-partner group.

Of course, much of the happiness reported by monogamous people is connected to the fact that they are married. The top chart shows that married folks are much happier than people in all other statuses, including the wild and free category of never-marrieds. Prison turns out to be a refuge.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ignore your sociology professor

College girls are routinely instructed by social science professors that wife beating is a very common phenomenon, and when it comes to violence, the home is one of the most dangerous places for a woman. The not-so-subtle message is that a woman should think twice before getting married. The only problem with this advice is that, compared to the never-married, married females face only a fraction of the risk of being assaulted. According to the General Social Survey, 5 percent of never-married women were attacked in the past year. That's 5 times the risk that married women have. Marriage does not lead to violence; it protects against it. You know this if you follow common sense. You don't know this if you listen to your sociology professor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

As women move up in the workplace, the institution of marriage declines

High Job Prestige

Mid-level Job Prestige

Low Job Prestige

In the last post, I showed that marital decline has accompanied the movement of women into the workforce. What about occupational status? Feminists have told us for decades that increases in female job prestige will equalize men and women, and equality will improve the quality of relationships. The graph above (generated from GSS data for Americans 30 and over) shows marital status by job prestige--high, middle, and low prestige as we move from top to bottom. The green section of the bars indicate the percent divorced, and yellow is for separated. About 35% are the middle and high status women are separated, divorced, or never married, compared to 25% of low-prestige women. Once again, liberal social scientists have gotten it wrong: as women move up in the workplace, the institution of marriage declines.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Female employment and marital decline

Feminists have been telling us for decades that one's power in a marriage depends on one's personal income, and that women need to be employed to create equality between spouses. This equality, in turn, will lead to more mutually satisfying relationships. The lower graph is the employment status for women ages 30-60 over the period 1972-2006. Full-time employment has grown from 30 to 55%, while being a housewife has plummeted from 55 to less than 20%. While more and more women have moved into the workforce, women's marital happiness has slipped a little over this period (shown in the previous post). The top graph shows that, instead of improving marriage, growth in female employment has paraleled a decline in marriage--more divorced and never-married people. As we saw in the last post, rational predictions about the family made by liberal experts turned out to be exactly wrong.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Easy divorce has not raised average marital happiness

Liberals told us in the 1960s that America needed no-fault divorce to allow unhappy people to split up. By making divorce easy, the average satisfaction of married people would rise as the unhappy ones joined the ranks of single people. Well, that seems perfectly rational, right, so California passed a no-fault divorce law in 1970--a trend which quickly spread to the rest of the country. GSS data from 1973-2006 shows us that their prediction was incorrect. The top graph is for married men, and the bottom is for women. For both groups, the percent who are very happily married has dropped about five percent points over the past 35 years. I plan to post several analyses on family matters over the next week or two, so I'll comment on this later.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gay men have the most sex partners, right? Actually, they come in a distant third. Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the mean number of sex partners in the past year for people 18-30. (It's not precisely the mean since the highest estimates were assigned lower numbers--dumb, I know, but I didn't design the damn thing). Here are the results:

Mean number of sex partners in the past year

Bisexual men 4.50
Bisexual women 3.83
Gay men 2.54
Straight men 1.93
Lesbians 1.45
Straight women 1.43

By far, guys who swing both ways have the most partners, and I'm amazed that women of any stripe beat gay men. On the other hand, I'm not surpised to see lesbians (and straight women, of course) on the low end. Overall, the numbers might be lower than you would expect for young people. My thinking is that we get a distorted view of the frequency and prevalence of this kind of behavior from the media. Life isn't as wild as depicted on the screen.

If we look at those on the extreme end, the promiscuous gay man appears:

Percent with 11-100 sex partners last year

Gay men 9.3
Bisexual men 7.1
Bisexual women 2.9
Straight men 2.2
Straight women 0.3
Lesbians 0.0

Evidently, there is a small group of homosexual guys who conform to the stereotype of many, many partners, but this does not appear to be the norm. It's unheard of for a lesbian to act that way (showing once again that lesbians are not like gay men), and rare for a straight woman--the 0.3 percent might be prostitutes. Oh, come to think of it, some of those gay and bisexual men might do it for money too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In this decade, the moral values of young people are not becoming more liberal

The values of young adults are interesting, especially since they give us a sense of the direction in which we are heading. In 2005, it looked to me like young Americans were developing more conservative moral attitudes. As you can see on the two graphs above, the second-to-last point is 2004, and there were big drops in favoring abortion for any reason and approving of homosexuality among those ages 18-30. Well, that year looks to be anomalous, because the numbers jumped back up in 2006, and are more consistent with overall trends. Support for abortion on demand has fallen from its peak in 1993 (49.3%) down to 37% in 2006, and a after a clear value shift in the 90s in favor of homosexuality, support has plateaued at about 43%. The speed at which Americans have reversed certain values is striking. The majority of young Americans went from believing that premarital sex was wrong to feeling it was right in the 5 years surrounding 1970 (graph not shown), and from 1988 to 1998, the percent thinking that nothing is wrong with homosexuality went from 16.0% to 44% among those ages 18 to 30.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A decline in gay men? In light of the findings reported in the last post, I wondered if there were any detectable decline in the prevalence of young homosexuals. To maximize the sample sizes, I compared two periods, with six surveys given in each period:

Percent of men that are gay, ages 18-30

1988-95: 2.6 (95% CI: 1.4-3.8)

1996-2006: 3.4 (95% CI: 2.4-4.6)

The estimates indicate an increase in the prevalence of homosexuality, but the confidence intervals overlap, so we can't be certain there is any real change. One would expect the growing acceptance of homosexuality to encourage the self-reporting that one is gay. Anyway, there is no evidence here for a decline.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gay men are having significantly fewer children: A reader named Old Pete suggested in the previous post that greater homophobia could pressure gay men into getting married and having children predisposed to homosexuality, thus increasing their numbers. (This reminds me of the argument that anti-Semitism keeps the Jewish community from intermarrying and disappearing). I wondered if the opposite is happening now. Looking at the General Social Survey, I calculated the mean number of children for men 40 and over by sexual orientation and decade:

Mean number of children

Gay men 1.90
Straight men 2.65

Gay men .96
Straight men 2.38

Gay men .93
Straight men 2.17

The average number of kids has come down for both groups, but from the 80s to the 90s, it dropped dramatically for gay men. Things have levelled off in this decade, suggesting that for now gay men will average a little less than half the kids that straight men have.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Approval of homosexuality continues to climb

Now that the most recent year of the General Social survey is publicly available, let's look at the trend in attitudes toward homosexuality. I suspected that the gay marriage movement might be causing a backlash, but there's little evidence of that. Looking at the purple line, the percent saying that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality went up a little 2004-2006. Approval really starting growing in the early 90s, rose quickly, and has risen more slowly in this decade.

This trend evidently shows the power of the cultural elites. The AIDS epidemic--a deadly and expensive disease strongly associated with lifestyle--barely put a dent in attitudes in the 80s, but as soon as elites decided to ratchet up the pro-homosexual message, public opinion followed. I remember in a class in the early 90s--no one in a room full of liberals thought that America was ready for even civil unions.

Friday, August 10, 2007

One quarter of women believe the sun goes around the earth: As a follow-up to the analysis of ethnicity and belief about the sun revolving around the earth, let's look at gender. According to the General Social Survey, 24 percent of females but only 15 percent of males believe the earth is at the center. That's not double the number of men, but it's 60 percent more. And the difference can't be explained in terms of females not being given opportunities. This is the sort of information that is everywhere, and all people have heard the answer, but some people are more interested and spatial stuff is easier for some people. More often than not, those people are guys.

This reminds me of an old joke. A guy asks his buddy what kind of girlfriend he wants. The buddy answers that he wants to find a girl who is bad a math so he can convince her that 4 inches is really 8.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

(Short) quote for the day: The only way I can get my wife to exercise is to suggest that she go shop at a very big mall. (Ron Guhname)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

(Long) quote for the day: ...Our universe does seem singularly congenial as a home for intelligent life. L.J. Henderson's Fitness of the Environment extolled the remarkable life-enhancing properties of water, as well as pointing out the unique properties of the carbon atom, including the fact that carbon can bond with itself in a vastly larger number of combinations than any other atom. It is this wonderful property that makes complex organic chemistry possible.

Of course, these unique properties would have been little avail in fostering life, had it not been for the substantial abundance of oxygen and carbon. But since hydrogen and oxygen rank first and third, respectively, in cosmic abundance, water is guaranteed to be present throughout the universe, and carbon comes in fourth in order of cosmic abundance. If we were allowed to think of God in anthropomorphic terms, we would say, "Good planning!" Curiously enough, neither oxygen nor carbon emerged in the first three minutes of the Big Bang. At first glance, this might be labeled God's Goof. That's how the physicist George Gamow felt when he discovered the flaw in the nature of the light elements that prevented the heavier elements from forming. In the first minute of the Big Bang, energetic photons were transformed into protons, which fused into deuterium (nuclear particles of mass two), tritium (nuclear particles of mass three), and alpha particles (which would serve as mass-four nuclei of helium atoms). But there was no stable mass five, so at that point the fusion process stopped, well short of the twelve needed for carbon or the sixteen for oxygen...

...But far from being a design flaw in our universe, the absence of mass five seems essential to our existence. The lack of a stable mass five means that the element-building in the stars takes place as a two-step process: first, hydrogen is converted to helium, in the hot nuclear cauldrons at the cores of the stars; and then, once helium is abundant, it is built up into heavier atoms, in a second process. Because helium has a mass of four units, the fusion of two or three or four helium nuclei results in atoms of mass eight or twelve (carbon) or sixteen (oxygen), thus skipping over the unstable mass five. This second process requires a much higher temperature in the stellar interiors, one that is not reached until much of the hydrogen fuel has been exhausted--in the case of a star like the sun, only after about ten billion years. This guarantees a long, steady lifetime for sunlike stars. It is of course this tedious process that provides the stable solar environment in which the evolutionary biological sequences can work themselves out.

If mass five was not absent, that could not happen. Suppose that mass five were stable. Then, in the opening minutes of the universe, characterized by the overwhelming abundance of protons (each with a mass of one unit), atom-building could have taken place as mass increased by steps of one, right up the nuclear ladder toward iron. This would have left no special abundance of carbon (mass twelve) or oxygen (mass sixteen) , two essential building blocks of life...What at first glance appeared to be God's mistake turn out to be one of the Creator's most ingenious triumphs. (pp. 52-56 in God's Universe by Owen Gingerich, Professor of Astronomy and History of Science, Harvard University).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Immigrants from all over the world beat Americans of Mexican ancestry in an English vocabulary contest: Using General Social Survey data, I list below the mean IQs for ethnic groups born in the United States, and in parentheses I list mean intelligence for immigrants (legal and illegal). I limited my analysis to categories having at least 20 cases, so some estimates are missing:

Mean IQ for native-born Americans (immigrants in parentheses)

Jewish 109.7 (95.1)
Lithuanian 106.9
Austrian 106.5 (90.4)
Russian 106.5 (91.0)
Chinese 105.7 (86.3)
English 103.9 (112.5)
Danish 103.7
Scottish 103.4 (102.1)
Hungarian 103.2
Yugoslav 103.1
Norwegian 102.7
Swiss 102.6
Swedish 102.2
Japanese 102.2
Czech 101.7
Finnish 101.4
Greek 101.3
Irish 101.1 (103.6)
Polish 101.1 (95.5)
Italian 100.9 (90.6)
French 100.1 (103.1)
German 100.0 (98.9)

USA 99.3 (92.1)

Portuguese 98.8
Filipino (95.8)
Indian (95.6)
French Canadian 99.1 (93.5)
Dutch 97.2
Spain 96.8 (95.3)
Arabic (95.1)
American Indian 92.7
African 91.6 (90.0)
Puerto Rican 91.1 (81.6)
Mexican 90.3 (83.3)

First, readers may wonder why native-born blacks don't have IQs closer to 85. This measure of IQ is based on a ten question vocabulary test, and the black-white is not as large for verbal ability. This kind of test does not validly measure the IQ of immigrants whose first langauge is not English, but it can serve as an indicator of the ease with which immigrants can assimilate into American society.

Among native-born whites, IQ tends to rise to the north, with a number of exceptions. The IQs of countries like Russia are boosted by the Jewish component, but even without Jews, the number are still quite high. Japanese and especially Chinese are high, but there are not enough native-born Filipinos to estimate their mean. Other mixed or non-white groups are at the bottom. Both Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans born here have lower scores than blacks, probably due to all the Spanish being spoken in their environments.

As for potential assimilation and success in American society, Europeans from English-speaking countries are at the top, but Europeans in general have vocabularies well beyond that of Americans of Mexican ancestry. In fact, immigrants from just about every country beat Mexican Americans in an English vocabulary contest.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...