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.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Indian Americans are least supportive of free speech; Mexicans are 2nd worst: A reader named "hicsto" claims that free speech is a male, northwestern European (MNWE) phenomenon; Jews don't support it as much; and as the influence of MNWEs declines, so will the freedom to speak freely. What do the data tell us (about the American context, anyway)? General Social Survey respondents (all Americans) were asked if a person who believed blacks were inferior should be allowed to speak in public. This is the percent of men by ethnic background who said yes (groups with at least 50 respondents are included with two noted exceptions):

Percent in favor of allowing someone speaking in public about black inferiority

Japanese 82.5 (N=28)
Swedes 78.9
Hungarians 77.8
Scots 74.3
English/Welsh 74.2
Filipinos 72.5 (N=40)
Irish 72.3
Poles 71.0
Danes 70.5
French 70.3
Jews 69.8
Germans 69.8
Norwegians 69.3
Czechs 68.3

USA 67.5

French Canadians 67.2
Austrians 67.2
Italians 66.5
Russians 62.7
Spain 60.8
Chinese 60.0
Dutch 59.1
Blacks 58.8
American Indians 59.5
Puerto Ricans 58.5
Mexicans 49.1
Indians 46.1

Support for free speech among whites may be higher as we move north and west, but the pattern is not perfect. Jews are in the top half of the table, and clearly are not less supportive than other whites. Among non-whites, East Asians are split with Japanese and Filipinos toward the top and Chinese in the bottom half. Other non-whites congregate at the bottom, with the very large immigration group of Mexicans bringing anti-free speech values with them. One's attitude toward free speech is a good indicator of assimilation to mainstream American values, and Mexicans are almost ten percentage points behind blacks on a question about black inferiority!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

An invitation to haters: Bill O'Reilly brought a representative from on to his show the other night to chastise him for not being sufficiently vigilant in banning haters from the website. This was obviously a response to liberals accusing O'Reilly of only pointing out hate sites on the Left, and an attempt to show others that he is not a hater from the Right because he identifies and condemns the real conservative haters.

I have been banned for comments at several websites: liberal and white nationalist websites, and itself for committing the crime of citing statistics. (I cited UCR data showing that social class does not explain the link between race and street crime. I didn't even say a word about why that would be). Don't worry, Bill, if what you want is to shut down speech you don't agree with (data, in my case)--Free Republic is doing a hell of a job.

So, since I believe in the First Amendment and know what it is like to be treated like an animal--muzzles are for dogs--I offer this invitation to all the so-called haters out there: please come and express yourself at this little blog. I make a solemn vow that, as long as you do not make a call for violence, I will never censor you.

Come all you racists, you homophobes, you Communists. Come all you atheists, you bigots, you anti-Christs. Come all you misogynists, you Bush-haters, you anarchists. Come all you cop-haters, you white-haters, you Bolsheviks.

Come and get that craziness off your chest, and what may sound like hate to some will sound like poetry to me because it's free. And who knows--some of that craziness may actually turn out to be true.

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 ...