Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hispanics in the Arizona primary

How exactly does the Republican candidate who talks the toughest against illegal immigration get the highest share of Hispanic votes in the Arizona primary? I suspect that Hispanics are not quite as race-faithful as liberals wish they were.  Not to worry, folks: they'll vote for you anyway because that's what perennially poor people do.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Do blacks value education?

Elites, even many conservatives, think racial preferences are justified because blacks are disadvantaged due to a lack of culture which puts a premium on education. Bill O'Reilly said exactly that on his show tonight.

From the data I've seen, blacks as a group think getting educated is very important. The GSS asked respondents to list in order of importance those factors that should be used to determine an employee's pay. Only 103 blacks were asked this question, so I merged those who listed education as either first or second most important:

Percent thinking education is important for determining pay (sample size = 1,090):

Blacks 29.1
Whites 22.2
School teachers 24.1

More blacks think education is valuable than whites or even teachers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Race and sex differences in infant digit ratios

This recent study examined 2D:4D digit ratios for 364 infants from birth through the second birthday. (Digit ratios are thought to reflect prenatal exposure and/or sensitivity to testosterone.) Six measures were taken: during the first month, the first and second birthdays, and both the left and right hands at each visit. I averaged the six measures for both boys and girls: Cohen's d for the difference between the boys'and girls' means is .167--a small difference.

The authors gave Cohen's d for the black-white differences for each of the six measures. I averaged them and got .383--a moderate difference with blacks being more masculinized. (The number might be an underestimate because they ignored the fathers and based racial classification on the mother's race alone. Mixed-race babies might have blurred the difference.) Anyway, in this study of prenatal testosterone, the size of the racial gap is more than double the gender gap.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Racial differences in childhood myopia

There is a stereotype of the nerdy Asian or white kid with thick glasses, but research presents a more complex picture of myopia (nearsightedness). Based on three studies of children (most are 11 or under) (here, here, and here), prevalence rates look like this:

Myopia prevalence among children

Chinese (Singapore) 40.1
Indians (Singapore) 34.1
Chinese (Malaysia) 30.9
South Asians (British) 25.2
Malays (Singapore) 22.1
Asian Americans 18.5
Hispanic Americans 13.2
Indians (Malaysia) 12.5
Black African Caribbeans (British) 10.0
Malays (Malaysia) 9.2
Black Americans 6.4
White Americans 4.4
British whites  3.4

So the ranking goes: Asians, Hispanics, blacks, and whites on the bottom--not quite the stereotype.

UPDATE: It looks like the black-white gap reverses by adulthood. More later...

Friday, February 17, 2012

More on the black-white difference in sexual dimorphism

Reader Fenris suggests that if I am interested in black-white differences in sexual dimorphism, I shouldn't look at indirect measure like life expectancy, but should investigate height differences. I thought I had done it previously, but turns out that it was blacks and Asians that I compared before.

To make the best comparison, it makes sense to look at populations with environments that are as equal as possible. How about young blacks and whites measured recently? In fact, the data indicate that racial differences have reversed in the U.S. over time. I used Fenris' source and also found a newer one.

Here is the black sex difference in height minus the white sex difference for different age groups and periods:

Ages 40-59 (1988-94) -1.4 cm
Ages 20-39 (1988-94) -.2 cm
Ages 20-39 (2003-06) +.7 cm

As conditions have improved for blacks, their sexual height difference has changed from being smaller than that of whites to becoming larger.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jews and vegetarianism

OneSTDV and Half Sigma have been writing about the link between Jews and vegetarianism. That made me wonder if: 1) Jews as a group are more sympathetic toward not eating meat; and 2) if so, is it simply a reflection of their liberalism. Back when I was a liberal in college, I was a vegetarian for two years. (It sucked.)

Following Half Sigma, let's look a the GSS question, "And how often do you refuse to eat meat for moral or environmental reasons?" (This is a weird question. Most people avoid meat for putative health reasons.)

I reverse-scored the answers and regressed the numbers on whether someone is Jewish or not (sample size = 2,882). The standardized regression coefficient is .049 (p < .01) which means that Jews refuse to eat meat more often than others. Next, I looked to see if, among Jews, the tendency is related to religious commitment. The beta is .165 which suggests more abstaining with more religious service attendance (but the relationship falls short of statistical significance, probably because of the small sample--only 70 people) .

Finally, I added a measure of political orientation as a control to the model with the full sample.

Standardized Regression Coefficients

Jewish .041*
Conservatism -.097*

*statistically significant

Including political orientation does little to reduce the link between being Jewish and favoring vegetarianism, so the correlation is not just a reflection of liberalism; it appears to be a cultural difference.

By the way, I despise having to reassure people (I HATED Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate because he defended himself every other sentence) but I don't blame Jews collectively for anything, not even for Howie Mandel.

Another by the way--I really can't be too opposed to vegetarianism as an Orthodox Christian. I'm supposed to abstain from meat and dairy every Wednesday and Friday, and during fast periods like Lent. (I suppose I could blame the Jew Jesus for fasting 40 days.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Are blacks more sexually dimorphic than whites?

We know that some species are more sexually dimorphic than others. Species with big differences are polygamous and are called "tournament" species (due to the intense male-male competition) while those with small sex differences are monogamous and are called "pair-bonding" species. (Small) differences might exist across human races as well.

One indication of the degree of dimorphism is the gender difference in life expectancy. According to the NCHS, current life expectancy is 80.6 years for (non-Hispanic) white females and 75.8 years for white males. So among whites, women live 4.8 years or 6.3 percent longer. Expectancies among (non-Hispanic) blacks are 76.5 for women and 69.6 for men. So black women live 6.9 years or 9.9 percent longer. I take this as evidence that blacks are more sexually dimorphic than whites. (Keep in mind that racial differences are reduced since American blacks have roughly 20 percent European ancestry.)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Scientific views and deviant behavior

In the Folly of Fools, Robert Trivers describes experimental research which shows that people are more likely to cheat after being told that behavior is determined by a combination of nature and nurture. The idea that scientific views corrode morals made me wonder what the GSS might tell us. I looked to see if biologists are more likely to cheat on their spouse. Only 15 of them were asked about cheating, but their numbers are similar to the general population. Twenty percent of male biologists and ten percent of females have strayed. The corresponding numbers for the overall population are 23 and 14.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Predictors of a big penis

I doubt that many Inductivist readers want to know how to predict which men have big penises, but what the hell. In a study of 3,762 college males, a list of characteristics reflecting the level of one's masculinity was found to be positively correlated with self-reported criminality. All these factors were also intercorrelated. Here are the correlations with penis length:


Lower body strength      .386
Upper body strength      .378
Amount of body hair      .312
Strength of sex drive     .248
Physical strength           .248 
Masculine mannerisms   .231
Masculine body build      .222
Low-deep voice             .148 

So forget the stuff about big hands or big feet: Look for the strong hairy dude with the deep voice. But don't forget he might be a criminal, too.

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 ...