Friday, January 31, 2020

"If you can judge a wise man by the color of his skin, then, mister, you're a better man than I."

I often listen to classic rock radio stations. Once in awhile I hear "Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith, and think about why they inserted the following lyrics: "If you can judge a wise man by the color of his skin, then, mister, you're a better man than I." The song came out in 1993, so this was prior to the Bell Curve brouhaha. Rushton was publishing articles on the issue, but I doubt Rock-n-Rollers would know anything about that. Too busy snorting coke and screwing groupies. Maybe the band was simply responding to the stereotype that blacks are unintelligent.

So, are they right about choosing wise men? In one way, I would answer yes. All races are made up of mostly unwise people. If you have two random people, one black and one white, and you guess the white one is the wise one, you're likely to be wrong. Chances are, they're both ordinary.

On the other hand in choosing the white guy, you'd be less likely to be wrong. If we were to set the cutoff for wiseness at an IQ of 115, for example, there is a 16% chance you'd be right with the white guy, but you've only got a 2.5% probability with the black guy. In other words, you're 6.4 times more likely to guess right by betting on the white person.

The Left calls us racists, but the truth seems to be that they are the people who think in absolutes and categories, and we're the guys who didn't sleep through stats class and so know a little something about probability.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Which sex is more likely to reject evolution, and why?

Research indicates that men have more general knowledge than women, and--important for this blog--men know more about science. People like Richard Lynn see this as evidence that men have, on average, higher levels of general intelligence. The idea is that smart people seek out and absorb more information than others.

Perhaps this is relevant to the issue of belief in evolution. Understanding science better, are men more likely than women to accept the theory of evolution?

The General Social Survey asked participants if they believe that man descended from other species. In a sample of 6,375, 59.1% of men and 48.2% of women answered yes. That's roughly an 11 percentage point difference.

Now, let's see if superior knowledge of science helps explain the gender gap. We'll use logistic regression.  Here is the relationship between gender and acceptance of evolution

Belief in evolution--logistic regression coefficients

Male   .44***

***p < .001, two-tailed test

Men are significantly more likely to accept Darwin. Now let's see how much the coefficient shrinks when scores on a science quiz are added:

Male   .38***
Science Quiz   .42***

So some of the gender gap is due to superior male knowledge of science. How about religion? Women are more religious than men, and there is a tension between religious belief and acceptance of evolution.

Male   .14**
Science Quiz   .27**
Belief in God   -.62***
Church attendance   -.18***

**p < .01, two-tailed test

The gap closes even more: Women are less likely to accept evolution, in part, because they are more religious than men.

My last hypothesis goes beyond the sex difference in religiosity--perhaps men are more likely than women to accept ideas that are unpleasant. Most people are not thrilled to think that life has no objective meaning or purpose, or that they have a monkey for a grandfather.

The question was asked if the respondent agreed with this: "Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself."

Let's add this variable to the model:

Male  -.05
Science Quiz  .15
Belief in God   -.62***
Church attendance   -.14***
Meaning subjective    .32***

Gender and even science knowledge drop to non-significance when the meaning variable is added. The gender gap in belief in evolution seems to be explained by men's harsher, more secular worldview.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Which religious group is most likely to reject evolution?

The Left dislikes evangelicals as much as they dislike anybody, and one of the reasons they don't like them is because they tend to reject the theory of evolution--which is ironic since the Left rejects the implications of evolution for human nature. But what about Muslims? Don't they reject evolution as well? The Left is usually silent about Muslim fundamentalism.

How many American Muslims don't believe that humans descended from earlier species of animals? General Social Survey (GSS) respondents were asked this question. Here are the percent who answered no listed by religion (sample size = 6,353):

Percent who don't believe humans descended from animals

Muslims  65.6
Christians  65.5
Protestants  63.6
Catholics  36.2
Orthodox Christians  32.1
Jewish   20.1
No religion  19.8
Buddhists   4.5
Hindus   3.2

Muslims are at the top of the list. Compare them to Buddhists and Hindus. An enormous difference.

If fundamentalism is an impediment to a pro-science culture, why isn't it a problem when it's found among Muslims? For the Christian fundamentalists always you have with you, but inviting the growing Muslim world to move to the US is a choice.

UPDATE: My 12-year-old son informs me that Hindus naturally accept evolution because they believe in a God that is an elephant.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

What is the profile of a scientifically knowledgeable person?

Scientific progress is crucial for the problems we humans face, but what types of people know science the best?

The General Social Survey (GSS) asked respondents 12 basic science questions. A random example is, does the father determine the sex of the child? One problem with the list of questions is that they are a bit too easy; the mean number correct is 9.5.

Shown below are OLS standardized coefficient for a number of factors I thought might predict scores on this science quiz (sample size = 203):

Standardized OLS regression coefficients

Male  .09
Age   .01
Black   -.19**
Other race   .00
Years of education   .32***
Believe in God   -.19**
Church attendance   -.07
Political conservatism  -.06

**p < .01, ***p < .001, two-tail test

According to the results, basic scientific knowledge is predicted significantly by being white; having more education; and being skeptical about the existence of God. The other variables are not predictive.

But you might be thinking, hey, this is a HBD blog--where's IQ?  Well, I wanted to throw it in last to see how it changes things:

Standardized OLS regression coefficients--IQ added to model

IQ   .35***
Male  .20
Age   -.10
Black   .08
Other race   .04
Years of education   .08
Believe in God   -.33**
Church attendance   -.04
Political conservatism   -.01

**p < .01, ***p < .001, two-tail test

Education and being black drop to non-significance when IQ is added to the equation.  In other words, the reason why more education people know more science is because they are smarter, not because they were exposed to more information than less educated people, and blacks score lower because they are, on average, less intelligent.

By contrast, skepticism about God strongly predicts scientific knowledge even after taking IQ into account. This suggests that, at least under current conditions, skeptics take to science more than believers, even after controlling for differences in IQ.

UPDATE:  I discovered that fewer people were asked the last science question, so I dropped it to get the sample size up to 1,039--much bigger. Here are results for the final model:

Standardized OLS regression coefficients--IQ added to model

IQ   .29***
Male  .14**
Age   -.02
Black   -.12***
Other race   -.03
Years of education   .22***
Believe in God   -.16***
Church attendance   -.12***
Political conservatism   -.07*

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001, two-tail test

We now have the statistical power to see smaller effects.  IQ still dominates the model, but now we see that the following traits predict knowledge: male, white, more education, disbelief, not attending church, and liberal political orientation.

After IQ, education is most important, followed by skepticism, gender, race, attendance, and political orientation. Keep in mind that these factors matter even after taking IQ into account. For example, and man whose IQ is the same as a woman's is likely to know more science than she does.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Race differences in drug dealing

What are the racial differences for drug sales? Arrest data for 2018 were provided by the FBI:

Percent of Arrests for Marijuana Manufacture/Sales
Black   44
White   52
Asian     2
Native American   1

According to the Census, blacks were 13% of Americans in 2018. The Census lumps Hispanics and whites together: They were 77% of Americans in 2018.

Based on these numbers, the black rate of marijuana sales is 5 times that of whites/Hispanics.

Percent Arrests for Opium or Cocaine Manufacture/Sales
Black   47
White   51
Asian     1
Native American   1

Using the same calculation, the black rate of opium/cocaine sales is 5 1/2 that of whites/Hispanics.

Percent Arrests for Other Dangerous Nonnarcotic Drug Sales
Black   19
White   78  
Asian     1
Native American   1<1 font="">

Compared to whites/Hispanics, the rate of other dangerous drug sales by blacks is almost 1 1/2 times higher.

Percent Arrests for Synthetic Narcotic Sales
Black   21
White   78  
Asian     1<1 font="">
Native American    1

Finally, the black rate for synthetic narcotic sales is 1.6 times that of whites/Hispanics.

Blacks surpass whites in all types of sales, especially opium, cocaine, and marijuana. Of course, with Asians being only 6% of the country, comparing them with blacks would reveal much larger differences.

Have white liberals veered left in recent years because they've lost their moderates?

Zach Goldberg has documented how white liberals have done a sharp left turn on racial issues over the past few years, a phenomenon that's called the "Great Awokening." I wondered how much of this is due to more moderate white liberals shifting to a moderate or conservative self-label.

The graph above shows trends in political self-identification among whites, according to General Social Survey (GSS). Let's summarize the trends over the past, say, decade by creating a list:

2010-2108 Trends in Political Self-Identification

1. More extreme liberals
2. More extreme conservatives
3. Fewer moderates
4. Fewer slightly liberal
5. Similar number of liberals
6. Similar number of conservatives
7. Similar number of slightly conservative

Changes have not been dramatic, but overall the extremes have grown at the expense of the middle. A small number of slight liberals have moved, but it is not clear to where. Let's look at a chart where all conservatives are lumped together and the same for all liberals.

First, we see the same shrinkage among moderates. Since 2010, conservatives ticked up a bit as did liberals. So, bottom line, it looks at though liberals really haven't gotten more radicalized because they've lost moderates. Their size is similar to a decade ago; they have simply veered left on racial issues.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Does the racial gap in fertility shrink in low-cost areas?

When it comes to having kids, it's possible that whites are more sensitive to the cost of living than are blacks or Hispanics. Perhaps the racial differences in fertility are smaller in inexpensive regions. Using General Social Survey (GSS) data, I calculated the mean number of offspring for women ages 40-59 during the years 2010-18.  The GSS records the region of the country in which the respondent lives. There are nine regions: I decided to compare the Pacific (west coast) and West South Central (TX, LA, OK, AR) regions since the former is expensive while the latter is more affordable.

Mean number of offspring
Hispanic    2.92
Black         2.08
White         1.75

West South Central 
Hispanic    2.55
Black         2.27
White         2.11

As expected, Hispanic fertility is highest in both regions, while whites are on the bottom. While black and white women have more kids in the WSC region, Hispanic women in the Pacific have bigger families than Hispanics in the WSC, contrary to expectations.

Look at how the racial gap in the WSC is smaller than in the Pacific region. The Hispanic-white gap in the former is .44 kids, while it is 1.17 in the latter. Comparatively speaking, whites benefit from living in low-cost regions.

Do whites benefit when they move from a high-cost to an inexpensive region? The best I could do to answer this question with GSS data was to use a question about where you lived at age 16.  I extended the time span to 2000-2018 to get a large enough sample size and focused on a move from the Pacific to the Mountain region since it was the most common expensive-to-cheap move.

Mean number of offspring--whites

Pacific to Mountain States   2.17
Stayed in Pacific                  1.71

You can see that whites who lived in the Pacific region at age 16 but subsequently moved to the Mountain States averaged more kids than those who did not move out of the region. The move to cheaper regions seems to help fertility.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Are religious people more ethnocentric?

Does loyalty to one group you belong to predict loyalty to other groups?  I suspect that religious people are also more likely to value their ethnicity.  The General Social Survey (GSS) asked people how important their ethnicity is to them with answers ranging from unimportant (1) to very important (4). 

I categorized people as not religious if they attend religious services no more than once per year. All others I lumped into the religious group. The means for thinking ethnicity is important to you are listed below--the means for the religious in parentheses, the means for the irreligious without parentheses (sample size = 2,110)

"My ethnicity is important to me"-- means

American Indian  3.50  (3.50)
Black  3.47  (3.53)
Chinese  3.40  (3.75)
Mexican  3.22  (3.47)
Puerto Rican  3.19  (3.60)
Italian  2.85  (2.72)
Jewish  2.76  (3.26)

Total  Sample  2.60  (2.84)

Scottish  2.55  (2.44)
Irish  2.45  (2.60)
German  2.35  (2.50)
Swedish  2.29  (2.67)
Russian  2.25  (2.95)
English/Welsh  2.21 (2.50)
Polish  2.13  (2.67)

For most of the ethnic groups, ethnocentrism is higher for the religious group. The differences are generally not large but look, for example, at how religious Swedes are almost as ethnocentric as secular Jews.

The difference at the extremes is large: the gap between religious Chinese Americans on the high end and the irreligious Poles on the bottom is well over one standard deviation. The typical Chinese person who goes to church says his ethnicity is 'moderately' or 'very important.' Compare that to the average Polish American who is not religious: he says his ethnicity is 'slightly important.'

Friday, January 10, 2020

Which racial groups think science does more harm than good?

While I am not a science worshipper, I do think it offers answers to many of our problems, at least eventually. Unfortunately, science doesn't happen magically. It requires very talented people and a society with the means and culture to support scientific work. 

Americans vary a great deal in their attitudes toward science. The General Social Survey (GSS) asked participants the following: "How much do you agree or disagree that, overall, modern science does more harm than good?" Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5), so higher scores indicate greater belief in science. Here are the means by ethnic group (sample size = 6,226; I included religious affiliation as well):

Mean belief that science is good

Finnish  4.16
Jewish  4.08
Russian  3.99
Japanese  3.95
Lithuanian  3.87
Hungarian  3.86  
Buddhist  3.84
Austrian  3.83
Greek  3.83
English/Welsh  3.82
Danish  3.81
Scottish  3.81
Swedish  3.80
Norwegian  3.78
No religion 3.78
Italian  3.76
Irish  3.72
French  3.71
Hindu  3.67
Orthodox Christian  3.65
German  3.64
Swiss  3.64
Asian Indian  3.61
Dutch  3.61
Spanish  3.61

Total Sample  3.60

Muslim  3.60
Catholic  3.59
Chinese  3.53
Arab  3.50
Immigrants  3.37
Mexican  3.26
Black  3.20
American Indian  3.00
West Indian  2.82

The pattern is clear: whites groups have much more faith in science than non-whites. Japanese Americans, a smart, successful group, are an exception.  Among whites, Finns and Eastern/Central Europeans tend to be the most positive about science. Among religions, Jews come out on top. The gap between Finns at number one and West Indians on the bottom is well over one standard deviation--a very large difference. 

I included immigrants as a group: they are toward the bottom of the list. If we want to have a country fully in support of science, our immigration trends are counterproductive. 

It looks like some of the explanation for the pattern we see is IQ, but I wouldn't be surprised if non-whites have a tendency to see science as an evil white thing. Think Tuskegee. It's BS, but this might help explain negative attitudes. 

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Are the Scots-Irish leading the way toward race consciousness?

I'm thinking that one way to measure an ethnicity's meaningfulness as a group is the extent to which they vote as a bloc. For example, why do blacks, whether wealthy or poor, urban or rural, religious or not, vote overwhelmingly Democratic? Because race is very important for them, and the vast majority see the Democratic party as best serving their interests.

The numbers shown below were calculated like this: 1) Look to see whether more of the ethnic group voted for Hillary or Trump; 2) subtract from that number the percent of all Americans who voted for that candidate; and 3) give a positive sign for those skewed toward Hillary and a negative sign for those skewed toward Trump. I included major racial and ethnic groups, and religions as well since they can also be cohesive groups (General Social Survey, sample size = 1,128).

Voting bloc index

Asian  46.5
White Southern Baptists  -45.0
White--American only  -43.3
Black   41.3
Puerto Ricans  32.2
Protestant Irish  -25.2
Scottish  -23.1
Southern Baptist  -22.0
Jewish   18.9
Mexican  17.5
Catholic Irish  -16.2
German  -14.1
Italian  -10.9
Whites  -9.9
Scandanavian  -9.4
English/Welsh   -9.2
American Indian  8.4
Slavic (non-Jewish)  -8.4
Episcopalian  -7.3
Catholic  -3.5
United Methodist   -2.9

Not surprisingly, non-whites tend to be the most ethnocentric. Asians include people whose families came from China, Japan, and India--they score even higher than blacks.

Hispanics and Jews are in the mid-range, but the striking numbers are for: 1) white Southern Baptists; 2) whites who say their ethnicity is American--Scots-Irish are likely to say this; 3) the Protestant Irish; and 4) Scots. The numbers for white Southern Baptists and for "Americans" are second and third highest on the list (!) and the scores for the other two groups are higher than that of either Jews or Mexicans.

I interpret this as an inchoate sense of identity. For other white groups or religious denominations, there appears to be weaker group cohesiveness. It's higher than zero for all groups, but the Scots-Irish seem to be leading the way on a path toward race consciousness.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Which is a stronger predictor of belief in God: lower IQ or feeling like you don't have control over your life?

With the rise of militant, celebrity atheists, quite a bit of attention has been devoted to data that show that atheists tend to be smarter than theists.  Race realists are likely to rely on IQ to explain the greater religiosity of blacks and Hispanics.

I can think of another factor that might help explain these patterns: having a sense of control over one's fate, called locus of control by psychologists. As a religious person myself, I see that some people get interested in religion when they feel helpless. They turn to God when there is trouble they can't seem to handle. Many of my irreligious colleagues seem very in charge of their lives; they've got it all under control.

I've also read research that indicates that poor minorities tend to feel that they do not control their life outcomes. This is called an external locus of control. Maybe this sense of vulnerability explains their stronger belief in God.

The General Social Survey asked respondents, "Do you agree or disagree with the following: We each make our own fate." Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5).

They were also asked about their confidence in the existence of God with responses ranging from "don't believe" (1) to "know God really exists and have no doubts about it" (6). As a first step, let's use OLS regression analysis to see if race is linked to belief in God and locus of control (sample size = 741):

Confidence in the existence of God (standardized OLS coefficients)
Black   .13***

Hispanics did not differ from whites significantly in belief in God, so we'll focus on blacks. They have greater confidence in God's existence.

External locus of control
Black   .06**

Compared to non-blacks, blacks are more likely to think they do not make their own fate. Now let's look at race, IQ, and belief.

Confidence in the existence of God
IQ   -.16***

As expected, we see IQ is associated with more doubting, but the correlation is weak.

Confidence in the existence of God
Black   .10***
IQ   -.14***

Recall how the black estimate for belief was .13 when only race was entered into the model. We see that when IQ is added, the black coefficient shrinks but does not disappear. This indicates that some of the greater belief by blacks is explained in terms of lower IQ, but much of the gap remains unexplained. Let's add locus of control:

Confidence in the existence of God
Black   .00
IQ   -.14***
External locus of control  .18***

When external locus of control is added, the race coefficient drops to zero. Much of the reason why blacks are more likely to believe in God is because of a sense of helplessness.  And when it comes to predicting belief, an external locus of control is more powerful than IQ.

This is a reminder than while HBD-ers are right to focus on intelligence, there are other consequential traits. Moreover, there is evidence that locus of control, like practically all psychological traits, is genetically influenced. According to this twin study, about 1/3 of the variation of a sense of control over your own life is due to genes.

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 ...