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.


  1. Thanks.

    Can you do me a favor and use a bigger font size for your X-axis labels in the future? It would be fun to look at the years.

  2. mensarefugee4:14 PM

    If the x-axis were bigger. Was that bump up near the end due to the Bell Curve?

  3. Not surprising even for the highly intelligent citizen. For years Gould, Diamond, Lewontin and others have been "leading scientists" who have published best-selling popular science books saying that IQ, race, etc., are meaningless.

    And a pretty uniform MSM, and public education identical take on the issue. What is Joe Public supposed to believe?

  4. Wow! The left has successfully brainwashed the public.

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