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?

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 ...