Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Are smart people not athletic?

A commenter on Twitter claimed that we HBD folks have a tacit belief that intelligence and athletic ability are inversely related. I've never read anyone make that hypothesis. If anything, HBD types would probably say that the two tend to run together since they are both reflections of health-promoting genes (or the absence of deleterious mutations).

I suppose this is getting pieced together from certain HBD-emphasized facts: West Africans tend to be fast sprinters, but have low average IQ scores; Jews, on average, are smart but you have to go back 100 years to see them thrive in the NBA. That kind of thing.

I looked at General Social Survey data, and found the following correlations between IQ and self-reported athleticism:

Correlation between IQ and athletic ability (sample size = 1,130)

Total sample  .05
Whites  .02
Blacks  .15
Asians  -.09

We see a very weak positive link for the full sample, but it varies by race: It's basically non-existent for whites, noticeably positive for blacks, and negative for Asian Americans. Perhaps smart blacks look at sports as an opportunity for scholarships, while smart Asians see sports as a distraction.

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