Sunday, July 21, 2019

A note on Lynn's "Race Differences in Psychopathic Personality"

Lance Welton at does a nice job of summarizing Richard Lynn's brand new book Race Differences in Psychopathic Personality

I won't repeat Lance's points, but I see in the comments that some people are claiming that the racial differences are explained in terms of the environment. This, of course, is the standard explanation--the only one you will get in sociology class, if the instructor is honest enough to acknowledge that the group differences indeed exist.

There are two obvious reasons to think the racial gaps (psychopathy running from high to low in this order: black, Native American, Hispanic, white, Asian) are at least partially due to genetic differences: 1) the differences are basically universal–found historically (Lynn cites over 700 studies conducted from the 19th century to now) and all around the world, and 2) psychopathy is highly heritable, similar to general intelligence. Therapists find it practically impossible to treat.

As Arthur Jensen explained, it is reasonable to conclude that if genes explain 70% of the variation in a trait, they likely explain 70% of group differences. The only reason why the commonsense belief that “What You See is What You Get” is not popular today but “People Are Not Themselves But Their Surroundings” is assumed to be true is that we have been propagandized by armies of full-time storytellers for more than a century.

I do take issue with conceptualizing psychopathy as a disorder, as if human nature is naturally good, and antisociality suggests a brain that is not working properly. I’m not criticizing Lynn but psychiatry. Exploitativeness is a regrettable but perfectly healthy and natural supertrait.  Psychiatrists want to turn all problematic behaviors into forms of mental illness, which is just silly. Evolution has designed us to thrive and to be strong, not to be burdened on every side by illness and weakness.  Mainstream behavioral science portrays us--the descendants of nature's winners--as naturally frail.  Complete BS.

1 comment:

  1. For a species whose members only survive by being part of a cooperative group, psychopathy is definitely a disorder. Some psychologists think that cluster B disorders such as psychopathy are just one extreme of a general trait, p, representing a general factor of psychopathology.


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