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?)

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 ...