1. IQ and national wealth
2. Racial differences in IQ
3. Is IQ innate?
4. What is measured by IQ Tests?
5. Does an IQ test measure general intelligence?
6. The intelligence of erudition
7. Did Darwin have a high IQ?
8. Reason is not the primary driver of Man
9. Sociological forces 10. How primitive is primitive?
11. Speciation by culture
12. Race and Man
13. An analogy with computers
14. The more primitive the society the less it relies on IQ related skills
15. Life in more complex societies
16. The increasing IQ demands of modern society
17. Low IQ behaviour
18. High IQ behaviour
19. Majority and minority
20. The low IQ individual in a high IQ society
21. The High IQ individual in a low IQ society
22. High status jobs and IQ
23. How the IQ level of a society rises
24. Why have Asians not dominated?
25. Why have whites dominated?
26. Blacks: the odd man out
27. A dysgenic future?
Appendix A White men can run
Appendix B Digital technology
Appendix C Two high status blacks
NB Throughout I use the terms white, black and Asian as synonyms for Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid respectively.
1. IQ and national wealth
In their books “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” and “IQ and Global Inequality” the psychologists Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen advance the theory that the economic state of a society is to a substantial degree reliant upon the IQ distribution within the population, with a tendency for higher IQ populations to produce stronger and more sophisticated economies than lower IQ populations. But there is not a simple relationship between IQ and economic development, for example, Asians probably (see section 2) have a higher average IQ than whites, yet it is whites who have produced the richest and most economically sophisticated societies to date. Moreover, there is no uniformity of economic development within races. Lynn and Vanhanen’s thesis is that IQ is a necessary but not sufficient condition for economic development. Put another way, societies with a high average IQ have the potential to progress to a sophisticated economic state but those with a low average IQ do not.
Such a conclusion is unsurprising because it mirrors what happens at the level of the individual – the lower the IQ of an individual the less likely the individual is to occupy a substantial and significant position in their society. This individual tendency is to varying degrees distorted by the amount of inherited material and social advantage an individual enjoys, but even within social groups with similar inherited advantage, the same tendency can be seen: the lower the IQ the less significant a position the individual is likely to occupy. In addition, there are absolute limits to what someone can do with a particular IQ, for example, someone with an IQ of 150 may or may not take a first in maths; someone with an IQ of 80 will never take a first in maths.
Lynn and Vanhanen’s correlations also suggest that the average IQ of a society will have a significant effect even if a society does not progress to the front rank of advanced states or peoples at any point in time. The Chinese and Japanese did not develop into modern industrialised states of their own volition, but even at the pre-industrial stage they had much more sophisticated economic systems than populations with lower average IQs, for example, compare China and Japan with sub-Saharan Africa at any point before China and Japan were forced into widespread trade with the West in the mid nineteenth century and began to industrialise.
If Lynn and Vanhanen are correct, they have achieved something much more profound than simply discover a relationship between economic development and IQ because the economic state of a society has fundamental implications for its social structure and social structure for the culture of the society. A more advanced economy necessarily requires a more sophisticated social organisation than a less advanced economy because the social relationships needed to produce it are inherently more complex. An industrialised state requires large scale urban development to produce the concentrated population required to man factories. Urban development allows greater division of labour and increases the opportunity for a wider range of occupations, including greater scope for those which are not utilitarian such as the arts. Large conglomerations of people require extensive public administration and works.
What Lynn and Vanhanen are actually arguing for is a link between average national IQ and general social organisation: the higher the average IQ, the greater the opportunity for social complexity is the implication of their work. If this is true then the general nature of a society will be governed by the IQ distribution of its inhabitants. Societies will share certain fundamental structural similarities because IQ distribution sets limits to what a society may be, although that does not mean societies with a similar IQ distribution will match each other in the detail of their respective cultures. Take as an example two tribes of hunter-gatherers, one in South America and one in Africa. They will differ in their tribal rituals, the weapons they make, their marriage customs and the means by which they hunt and so forth, but they will share the same general social arrangements which allow them to survive: a high degree of group dependence, the general means by which they live (hunting and gathering), the division of labour between men and women, a nomadic life and so on.
The evidence on which Lynn and Vanhanen base their theory is substantial. In IQ and the Wealth of Nations they examined nearly two hundred IQ studies from around the world to obtain average national IQs for 81 countries. For those countries where the data is lacking Lynn and Vanhanen extrapolated their national average IQs from nearby countries with similar racial populations for which data does exist. For example, country A with no test data has two neighbours B and C with racially similar populations to country A. Countries B and C have test data which allows their national IQs to be measured at 85 and 87 respectively. The national IQ of country A is given as 86, the mean of B and C. Objections were made to this form of estimation by critics but Lynn and Vanhanen found a very high correlation of 0.91 between the 32 countries which were estimated in their first book from neighbouring country IQs but calculated from measured IQs in their second book.
In “IQ and Global Inequality”, Lynn and Vanhanen increased the number of countries for which they were able to calculate national IQs from test data from 81 to 113. The correlation between IQ and per capita income for 2002 (0.68) was the similar to that in “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”.
For their second book Lynn and Vanhanen managed to calculate national IQs for all other countries without test data, thus obtaining national IQs for all 192 countries in the world. They found a correlation of 0.60 between IQ and per capita income for 2002 for the 192 countries. The correlation is close to that in their first book.
Lynn and Vanhanen have probably done as good a job as can be done with the available data in justifying their hypothesis by the correlation of data. However, it will not convince everyone, not even all of those who are not ideologically opposed to their ideas. Is there another method by which their hypothesis can be bolstered? There is – by taking the sociological/ anthropological/ historical and the commonsense route of appealing to what any individual can see for themselves in their everyday life.
Such an approach has the advantage of making the subject accessible to the general public, or at least to the intelligent and educated lay reader. This is a vitally important consideration, because the implications of research such as Lynn and Vanhanen’s are as political as it is possible for academic research to be. By definition it is a subject which affects everyone and consequently should be made accessible to as many people as possible.
I have a second end in view, namely, I want to explore the implications of Lynn and Vanhanen’s work if it does represent reality.
2. Racial differences in IQ
The largest difference is between blacks and Asians, or possibly if the white/Asian gap is not accepted, between blacks and whites and Asians. Lynn and Vanhanen estimate the average of IQ of blacks in sub-Saharan Africa at 70. Startlingly low many will think. I have more to say on this subject in section 26.
Estimates of black IQs elsewhere are problematic because so much of the evidence comes from the USA where there is a substantial white admixture within the black population. The consensus amongst academics is that the American black population has an average IQ of 85. Interestingly, this is similar to the average IQ found amongst the mixed race population of SA which was traditionally known as coloured. This is strong circumstantial evidence for a large genetic component to IQ.
Logic would suggest that if genetics is the prime mover in determining IQ, the part of the black American population without any white admixture would have an average IQ similar to that of the sub-Saharan black population. I have not been able to locate any study which attempts to sort the IQs of the “black” US population by racial composition, but Lynn and Vanhanen’s calculated IQs for countries outside Africa which have overwhelmingly black populations and whose blacks have little white admixture support such a view, for instance, Jamaica with an average national IQ of 72. (IQ and the Wealth of Nations p76).
The difference between whites and Asians is much less stark, if it exists at all. The majority of studies support such a difference, although a few such as that of Harold Stevenson suggest otherwise. Stephenson “administered a battery of mental tests to elementary school children in Japan, Taiwan and Minnesota…Stevenson and his colleagues carefully matched children in socioeconomic and demographic variables. No significant difference in overall IQ was found and Stevenson and his colleagues concluded ‘This study offers no support for the argument that there are differences in the general cognitive functioning of Chinese, Japanese and American children.” (The Bell Curve p274)
The authors of the Bell Curve, Murray and Herrstein reviewed the literature thoroughly and concluded: “In our judgement, the balance of the evidence supports the proposition that the overall Asian mean is higher than the white mean. If we had to put a number on it, three IQ points currently most resembles a consensus, tentative though it still is (The Bell Curve P276).
Lynn and Vahanan (pp 74-77 IQ and the Wealth of Nations) give average IQs of China 100, Japan 106, North Korea 104, South Korea 106.
However, IQs are not of a piece. For example, men and women score similarly but women have a narrower distribution than men, that is, fewer representatives at the extremes of the distribution. Similarly, there are differences in IQ configurations for blacks, whites and Asians.
Blacks score more strongly on verbal questions than the visiospatial; whites are best balanced between verbal and visiospatial, while Asians show slightly less strongly on verbal questions and significantly more strongly on the visospatial than whites, viz:
“East Asians living overseas score about the same or slightly lower than whites on verbal IQ and substantially higher on visiospatial IQ. Even in the rare studies that have found overall Japanese or Chinese IQs no higher than white IQs (e.g., the Stevenson study of Japanese, Taiwanese and Minnesotans mentioned previously) the discrepancy between verbal and visospatial IQ persists. For Japanese living in Asia, a 1987 review of the literature demonstrated without much question that the verbal-visiospatial difference persists even in examinations thoroughly adapted to the Japanese language and, indeed, in tests developed by the Japanese themselves.” (The Bell Curve p300).
That is the broad picture. It is important to realise that there are significant variations amongst the broad racial groups. In “IQ and Global Inequality” the “East Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) all have IQs in the range of 105 to 108. The 29 European countries all have IQs in the range of 92 to 102. The 19 countries of sub-Saharan Africa all have IQs in the range of 59 to 73. Much of the rest of the world has IQs in the 80-90 range.
The position of many of the world’s states is complicated by the existence of very racially mixed populations. For example, India’s calculated national IQ is 81, which is below that of US blacks. But despite such a paltry national average India manifestly has a very large component in their population of the intellectually capable, a fact attested by their growing international importance in the area of intellectual property. A low or mediocre overall national IQ does not necessarily equal no chance of social and economic advancement. What seems to be important for movement to a more sophisticated society is that there is a sufficient weight of IQ related ability rather than that all members of the society must be part of a higher IQ group (although if the number of low IQ individuals is larger than it would be in a homogeneously higher IQ population it will impose costs on a society). What that sufficient weight is problematical, but clearly there must be sufficient people throughout the IQ distribution to do the more demanding IQ tasks, whether they be jobs needing an IQ of 100 or jobs needing an IQ of 150. The necessary number of people with IQs of 140+, is probably quite small. There is almost certainly a growing need for people with IQs in the range 110-140 because of the demands made by modern technology.
3. Is IQ innate?
In June 2005 Prof Rushton and University of California psychology professor Arthur Jensen published a 60-page study in Psychology, Public Policy and Law in which they concluded: “Neither the existence nor the size of race differences in IQ are a matter of dispute, only their cause”. Rushton revisited Andrew Duffy The Ottawa Citizen October 1, 2005 http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=6c9fe76b-f1 bd-4cfb-baa8-5d006efdf650&page=1
What is the cause? Is it nurture or Nature? That of course is the question that makes the very notion of IQ as a meaningful measure of mental ability anathema to most white liberals, which means most people with power and influence in the West today.
Liberals dislike the idea of IQ tests because it goes against the belief which underpins modern liberalism, namely, that no meaningful distinctions can be made between people as a group. A liberal may allow that a particular person may be good bad or indifferent in some respect but not the group. Many liberals in practice go beyond the repudiation of group distinctions and apply the idea to the individual, claiming (or at least implying by their behaviour) that if someone is deficient in some quality it is merely a matter of circumstances and upbringing.
The liberal would not necessarily be keen on IQ testing even if IQ could be shown to be entirely the product of the environment, because that which is the consequence of upbringing may be as fixed as that which is innate. Unless it could be shown that IQ could be altered radically at every stage of life the liberal would be left with the awkward problem of what to do with those whose IQ is already fixed. The liberal would have the further problem of how to alter society to prevent future disadvantage due to the environment If some magic genetic engineering bullet or other artificial means such as cybernetic enhancement could not be found do the job, the only plausible means to improve IQ would be to radically reduce the differences in the environments in which children are raised.. If it was material differences which mattered that would be difficult enough, but what if it was found that the primary causative agent of the development of IQ was the influence of family and peers? How would the child of parents who lacked intellect or parents who had little interest in their child be compensated for a poor environment? As for material differences, it is noteworthy that modern liberals show very little practical interest in reducing material inequality. Indeed, most have bought into the free trade, free market ideology where property is sacrosanct.
There is a further problem for latter-day liberals: the fact that it is blacks who have the lowest average IQ. Blacks are the ultimate politically correct group for white liberals. If it was whites who had the lowest average IQ it is doubtful that liberals would be so utterly hostile to the idea of IQ as an innate quality. Indeed, it is probable that liberals would use the fact to bolster their claims that on average blacks have poor social outcomes compared with whites and Asians because of racism.
It is not only white liberals who have an emotional problem with IQ as an innate quality. Most of the developing world (essentially everywhere but those countries with Asian populations) has a problem because their national IQs are substantially lower than those of the advanced nations. No people are going to take kindly to the idea that they are as a people innately inferior in some important respect.
What applies to nations applies to any member of a low IQ group anywhere, most particularly blacks because their average IQ is so much lower than any other broad racial group. Such people will naturally resent being categorised as belonging to such a group, regardless of the fact that group IQ says nothing about the individual’s IQ (although a person’s race will increase the probability of what his or her IQ is likely to be.)
The ideologically committed nurturists should reflect on the implications of what they are saying. The only way mind could be divorced from natural selection is if it was not a product of biology. But of course that is not what the nurturists think, for they are generally materialists who are normally more than happy to accept that mind is simply a product of brain. Consequently, what the genetic determined IQ deniers are in effect saying is that natural selection does not operate on the brain, while they allow it operates on all other parts of not only Man but of the Natural World generally.
Interestingly, liberals have no problem with some genetic racial differences. For, example, sickle cell anaemia is happily acknowledged by liberals to be much more common in those of African ancestry and dNA tests which can predict with a high degree of probability a person’s race pass without comment.
The reason why white liberals normally have no problem with such genetic differences is twofold:(1)they do not say anything about the human being as a human being because they have nothing overtly to do with mind and(2) there is hard scientific evidence to say the differences exist – it would be literally absurd for a liberal to claim that sickle cell anaemia is not more prevalent in blacks.
There are other issues which are not so clear cut. A favourite argument of those who support the idea of racial difference in IQ is to invoke the claim that blacks are on average innately more gifted athletes than whites (there are considerable evidential difficulties with this claim and I examine the difficulties in appendix A “White men can run“ ) and hence it is not irrational or even unexpected to find other differences between races such as those uncovered by IQ testing. White liberals have a problem with this: they are torn between extolling an area of superiority for blacks and the realisation that if genetic superiority is conceded there the absolutist nurturist argument for IQ is weakened. This being so, they normally attempt to ignore the point, whilst allowing themselves to snigger in exquisite masochistic fashion about how “white men can‘t run“.
For those who are not hardline nurturists the question is how large a role genetics plays in IQ. Most psychologists who accept that there is a genetic component to IQ estimate it at anything between 40 per cent and 80 per cent. There are good reasons to believe it is at the upper end of those estimates, even plausibly above 80 per cent.
A child born in the most fortunate circumstances with every advantage of material advantage, health and education may have an IQ of 80: a child from the bottom of the social heap living without such advantages may have an IQ of 160. That this disparity between environment and IQ can happen – and of course it happens less dramatically all through the IQ distribution - points to IQ being largely genetically determined, perhaps even entirely determined by genetics, for why should high IQs be found amongst the poor and low IQs amongst the rich if this was not the case?
There are plenty of examples of men and women with little social advantage excelling in demanding jobs. Take the case of James Brindley. Brindley was the eighteenth century engineer who built the first great canal in England for the Duke of Bridgewater. The man was barely literate and came from a most unpromising background. Notwithstanding that he solved many utterly daunting engineering problems, problems which he had to solve from the bottom up because they were engineering challenges no one in England had previously solved. Clearly he was a man with a very healthy IQ, yet he had very little by way of education and none by social advantage. In fact many of the engineers of the Industrial Revolution were men of rudimentary education and poor backgrounds, men such as John Harrison the watch and clock maker and George Stephenson of railway fame.
The great variation of IQ amongst any population is in itself a powerful argument against IQ being wholly or largely culturally/environmentally determined. IQ is distributed within racial groups in a good approximation to the bell curve. Why should this be if the cultural/environmental element is dominant in determining IQ? Surely if it was dominant, the distribution of IQ would vary erratically according to the various circumstances of individuals, not merely differences in wealth but also the propensity of parents to drive children intellectually. Of course, there is a correlation between class and IQ but the average difference between the classes is not massive. The fact that such variability does exist and that the distribution of IQ (although not IQ scores) has remained broadly constant over the century in which it has been measured strongly suggests that IQ is overwhelmingly determined by the genes.
That IQ distribution varies not only between the broad racial groups but within each racial population can be fitted into both the genetic and nuturist arguments. Sub-populations of the same race which are reasonably discrete would be expected to vary because natural selection would operate differentially on each sub-population, not least because societies will differ in the mental demands they place on their members. For instance, a genetic explanation for urban dwellers scoring better than rural dwellers could simply be that those who migrate to towns are both selecting themselves by making the decision to move (with the implication that they may be those with a higher IQ will self select themselves disproportionately) and then when they get to the town they will be further selected by their differentially successful breeding in their new circumstances.
More generally, if IQ is wholly or predominantly culturally determined, the sophistication of a society would be the cause of varying IQ distributions within and between races and any advance in social complexity would be not the result of increasing IQ but simply an emergent property of the organic structural development of a society, a Lamarkian rather than Darwinian process, that is, people would be able to do more intellectually demanding things because society demanded them and IQ would be improved. because they were forced to do them. (The Lamarkian anaology breaks down at the point of inheritance).
Although halfway plausible nuturist explanations can be produced for IQ differences generally, they cannot be found for racial differences. If IQ is predominantly the consequence of nurture it is very difficult to see how a nurturist explanation could be given for why racial IQ difference is, broadly speaking, stable regardless of the nature of the society in which a race lives. For example, why should South Koreans, who were living in a pre-industrial society until very recently, have a similar IQ profile to those of Korean parentage born and raised in the USA? There really is not any plausible non-genetic explanation for such uniformity. Indeed, it would be difficult to construct any nurturist argument, plausible or otherwise, to explain it because the differences of the two societies are so great. The best the nurturist could do is construct a wildly improbable scenario whereby different social pressures produced the same result.
If IQ was really radically changeable by improving social circumstances and by direct attempts to improve IQ test scores, the gains should be large not a few points, nor should they be seemingly temporary. Yet that is precisely what is found in the considerable number of attempts to bolster children’s IQ by placing those from poor families in materially and culturally superior circumstances. Even the gains claimed by the enthusiastic supporters of programmes such as Head Start in the USA (mostly in the range of 4-10 IQ points) are significant but not startling. Nor do the gains normally last but are subject to “fade out” after the initial uplift, until a few years down the line nothing is left of the improvement. Those who are interested in the detail of both attempts to raise IQ and sustain the improvement will find a review of the academic literature at chapter 17 of The Bell Curve.
It is also true that apparent gains in IQ from enhancement programmes occur at the lower end of the IQ distribution. Why is that those who start with an IQ of 150 do not make similar gains to those with IQs of 90? The same applies to the “Flynn Effect” which charts apparent rises in IQ generally throughout the century in which IQ tests have been used. The overall IQ increases but most of the increase is found at the lower end of the IQ scale. The most probable explanations for the Flynn Effect is that whatever cultural bias that existed in earlier tests has been gradually squeezed out, secondary school education has become the norm at least in the West and the diet and health of the poor has radically improved.
It will be interesting to see whether the Flynn Effect continues in advanced countries now that the material circumstances of the vast majority of the population are sufficient to remove the possibility of inadequate diet or healthcare being one of the reasons for depressed IQ and the vast majority of people in such societies live in urban circumstances. (There are already some suggestions from Scandinavia – “A long term rise and recent decline in intelligence tests performance: the Flynn Effect in reverse” Teasdale and Owen - that the rise in IQ scores is diminishing or may even have already ended.)
Tellingly, the proportionate IQ differences between races have also remained broadly similar despite the “Flynn Effect”, The black psychologist Thomas Sowell has attempted to explain away the black/white difference by pointing out that ostensibly the black IQ scores of today are equivalent to the white scores of 50 years ago and by referring to the similar gap between whites from poor rural backgrounds and urban whites when IQs were measured fifty years ago. Sowell’s attempt fails because the black/white gap has proportionately remained as great. As black scores have risen, so have white scores. Consequently, it is difficult to see how the rise of black scores can be attributed to changes in culture or the environment. I emailed Prof Sowell and had this exchange with him:
“Dear Professor Sowell
I have come across your thesis that the black/white gap of one standard deviation is not abnormal there being other examples within a race, for example, between white rural communities and white urban communities. You also point out that black scores have risen over the past 50 years or so to that of whites of 50 years ago. “I see a problem with this argument: the black/white gap has remained the same over the period, i.e., white scores have improved proportionately. If the lower black IQ is only a cultural/environmental phenomenon, why should that be?”
Prof Sowell replied:
“As to changing IQs over time, James R. Flynn has written a number of things on that. As to how the black-white gap could remain the same if the difference is cultural, that seems less difficult to explain than substantial changes in IQ over time if IQs are hereditary. Incidentally, Professor Flynn has a book coming out on all this in the summer. The title doesn’t come to mind immediately but it will be published by Cambridge University Press.”
Frankly, his response to the problem is no answer at all. What the rise in black and white scores does suggest is that the “Flynn Effect” either does not exist but rather is, as mentioned above, simply a product of the changing nature of IQ tests etc. – the modern concentration on culture-free tests could be responsible for almost all of the Flynn Effect IQ gain is on the visiospatial tests – or else all races are being subject to the same selective pressures which raise their IQs by a similar proportion, a proposition which is on the outer edges of improbability.
Finally, here is a commonsense reason to disbelieve the nurturist argument. If it was possible to radically improve IQ by changing the environment or through training, as sure as eggs are eggs the rich would have long ago availed them of such knowledge to ensure that their children had high IQs. The mass media and internet would be as full of adverts for IQ enhancement as for diets and cures for baldness. That this has not happened means there is no such magic IQ bullet or that at least no magic bullet which is known.
The primary evidence for some environmental influence is the fact that hose from the same racial group tend to score less well on IQ tests if they come from a rural environment than those from urban environments, although that may be simply the consequence of inferior diet, healthcare and generally harsher physical conditions of life.
Personally I would be delighted if it could be shown that IQ is entirely or predominantly the result of nurture and could be enhanced through improving a person’s circumstances. Genetic engineering, surgery the use of cybernetics or drugs to enhance IQ is a another matter, because they would almost certainly produce populations with radically different IQ distributions. This could be dangerous.
A population with IQs genetically or surgically enhanced to a high level – say, everyone had an IQ of 150 or better and the breadth of the IQ distribution was between 150 and 200 – could carry the seeds of its own destruction. After all who would do all the menial jobs? in a society in which everyone had a healthy IQ? Would most people with such high IQs even are able to tolerate fewer menials but still relatively intellectually undemanding jobs such as technicians and junior white collar posts? A wide distribution of IQ is probably necessary for any human society to function.
Cybernetic enhancement is less clear cut. It is possible to imagine a world in which people simply plugged into cybernetic intelligence boosters only where the person needed to perform higher. However, it is unlikely that cybernetic use would be restricted to such modest and utilitarian purposes. More probably, cybernetics would be used to permanently assist mental performance, not least because an individual would have to lead a schizophrenic existence otherwise: bright in one part of their lives, not so bright in another. A similar scenario would exist with drug enhancement.
4. What is measured by IQ Tests?
The general mental skills which IQ tests cover are the skills involved in problem solving which rely on as little learned knowledge/behaviour as possible, the so-called culture free tests. These skills are those needed to deal with the unfamiliar, unfamiliar in both the sense of being pedantically novel and in the sense of being absolutely novel.
Pedantic novelty is where a problem is truly novel, that is, it has never been encountered before in this exact form but similar problems have been encountered. An example would be using a key you have never seen before to undo a lock you have never seen.
Absolute novelty is where the problem is something completely beyond the experience of the person. The individual has not encountered the exact problem in the pedantic sense of it being an identical problem and they have no similar experience from which they can extrapolate a rational solution to the problem they are encountering. An example would be a Briton going on safari in Africa who has no experience of Africa and suddenly meeting a lion six feet away.
Modern IQ tests are designed as far as is possible to be absolutely novel. It is true that a person will encounter similar general types of problems if they take more than one supervised test or rehearse IQ questions. But a general type of IQ problem does not provide a similarity sufficient to allow extrapolation to solve a particular problem of the type. For example, in tackling IQ problems which involve spotting the odd shape or pattern in a sequence the solver knows what they have to do in terms of what result is required, namely, identify the odd man out, but that knowledge gives no hint as how they are to find the odd man out.
An IQ test is different from any other test, because every other type of test either permits subjective judgments or is deliberately knowledge dependent to a greater or lesser degree. Even other psychometric tests seek the person’s opinion of their feelings or perception of some physical event, there being no right or wrong answers. Exams dealing with specific subjects allow candidates to score reasonably well without necessarily engaging in any high level intellectual activity – even someone taking a maths course can get a fair way simply by mastering functions which can be applied mechanically (the more advanced the exam the less this tactic can be employed). An IQ test is different because ideally there is no knowledge of inert facts, such as historical dates, speculation, matters of opinions or mechanical functions such as the rules of arithmetic which can be applied blindly.
Another way of looking at the demands of IQ tests is to consider the long term effects of knowing both what a particular set of test questions were and the correct answers to those questions. Suppose a group is first given an IQ test and afterwards provided with the correct answers, ostensibly to mark their own tests. They are allowed ample time to study the answers but are not able to retain them in any written form. Afterwards they are told that they will be called back for further tests in one year’s time. When they are re-tested the subjects are asked to re-sit the IQ questions they first tackled a year before but without any indication that it was the same test. Even if the subjects realised that they were taking the same test again, which not all would do, it is improbable that many would be able to recall the answers from twelve months previously. The only way to answer correctly with certainty would be re-solve the problems.
Those who claim that IQ tests only test how good people are at taking IQ tests are saying nothing useful, for any test of whatever nature on any subject by definition only tests how good people are at taking the test. The important question to answer is whether what is tested is of value. IQ tests would appear to have value because there is a strong correlation between IQ scores and life outcomes. This persistent correlation can be explained in two ways: either it is merely the most colossal and continuing set of coincidences or IQ tests are measuring abilities which are either applicable to life in general or are abilities which correlate strongly with other abilities which are generally applicable to human life .
5. Does an IQ test measure general intelligence?
Although IQ tests undoubtedly measure a wide range of mental ability and are valuable tools in predicting whether someone is likely to be fitted for a particular job or academic course and are predictors of social outcomes. But identifying useful mental qualities is one thing, assuming that the qualities constitute the totality of intelligence quite another. From early in the history intelligence testing psychologists have attempted to establish that the tests measure a quality of general intelligence which they call “g” – the British psychologist Charles Spearman was the originator of the idea in the early years of the twentieth century. The problem is that there is no absolute proof that “g” exists or that IQ tests measure it. However, what IQ tests do plausibly measure is a general ability which applies to a wide range of mental tasks for there is a strong tendency for individuals to perform similarly across the spectrum of tests which make up an IQ score, for example, a high IQ individual will score strongly on all IQ problems, although not with an exact evenness of performance.
But there is an alternative explanation for why individuals score similarly across the range of IQ tests. This is that what is measured by such tests is a catalogue of different abilities, each dependent on some structural quality of the brain, and that the normal development of the brain is such that each structure from which an ability derives develops in concert with all the other structures and, consequently, the various abilities are kept roughly in step. Put another way, a person with a high IQ scores highly across the range of tests because the brain can only develop in a way which produces structures which are roughly equal in ability.
This is not quite as improbable an idea as it might seem at first glance because normal organic development displays just such behaviour, for example, the growth of parts of an organism are normally proportionate to the individual organism’s size. If this alternative explanation is correct, the practical effect of such a brain would be the same as a brain governed by some general principle of intelligence. An analogy would be with computers which have programs designed to tackle the same tasks but which have qualitative differences in power and scope. The case of idiots savants with high level specific abilities, which in any other circumstances but those of the idiot savant would be considered high IQ activities, could be accommodated within the hypothesis that intelligence is a conglomeration of separate abilities rather than being a single entity, for it could be that normal development is arrested in most areas and enhanced in one or two. Indeed, high performing idiots savants provide a serious problem for those who wish to claim that “g” exists and the type of explanation offered by those in the field – that the abilities of such idiots savants are talents rather than intelligence – is scarcely convincing.
Against the idea of discrete abilities forming a suite of intellectual tools which give the impression of a single quality of intelligence is the fact that those with innate deformities and deficiencies of the brain or damage to the brain utilise other parts of the brain to perform functions normally associated with the deficient or damaged parts.
There is the further problem for the idea of ‘g’, namely, that there are clearly some forms of what would be considered high level intellectual activity which do not seem to fall into the obvious realm of IQ tested abilities, for example, literary talent, historical and sociological insight. It is true that those who excel in such fields will probably have a healthy IQ, but it is not obvious how the abilities tested by IQ relate to the abilities displayed in such work. It might be thought that this is evidence for “g” and that performance in subjects such as history and sociology is simply an expression of “g”, that is, “g” is being tested by other means than an IQ test. The problem with that argument is that people with similar IQs, both in overall score and in the shape of the IQ, do not display equal facility at intellectual tasks across the board and the difference in particular abilities cannot be put down to simply differences in upbringing or of temperament.
6. The intelligence of erudition
There is phenomenon which anyone who has gained a substantial knowledge of a subject may recognise: it is the point at which a qualitative change in understanding appears to occur, where connections are effortlessly made between disparate pieces of data and a general understanding of the whole emerges. This is not a conscious process but an emergent property of the accumulation of information. Is that IQ ability driven? It is clearly different from the type of ability quantified from the exercises which comprise IQ tests, but equally it is not the simple application of learned information to solve a problem. Moreover, the phenomenon arises with all types of data. Einstein could not have developed his theories without his learned knowledge of the way the physical world worked both at the level of his personal experience and through absorbing the scientific discoveries, thoughts and mathematics made and developed by others. Similarly, the mechanic develops an “instinct” for what is wrong with an engine through the experience of tinkering with many engines.
Of course the nature of the intelligence of erudition varies from individual to individual, from the person who ends up with a mass of data and no clear overall understanding of the data (we all know people who display “a ghastly erudition”) to the individual who clearly sees not only the wood from the trees but identifies the important trees within the wood. Nonetheless, even the person who has no clear overall understanding of the data will generally have a better grasp of a subject than someone with a slight understanding, no matter how intelligent that person should be.
There are interesting differences in the way this phenomenon develops and is sustained. Mathematicians, philosophers and physical scientists frequently produce their best work when young, after which they spend the rest of their lives trying to recapture their youthful intellectual zest. Other intellectuals such as historians and sociologists are notorious for producing their best work when in middle age, by which time they have ingested vast amounts of information about both their subject and the way human beings behave generally, and have allowed whatever unconscious process occurs considerable time to organise, connect and elucidate what they have learned. This suggests that erudition is more useful in some areas than others, although it does not necessarily follow that IQ related ability is more important in subjects such as maths and physics than in history or sociology – this would be so even if it could shown that as a matter of contingent fact mathematicians and physicist have higher average IQs than historians and sociologists (they probably do. It could be that once a certain level of intellectual adequacy is reached people are drawn to subjects by their personality rather than IQ related abilities.
To what degree is high ability in subjects such as history, sociology and literary criticism IQ ability dependent? As mentioned above they do not obviously call on the qualities measured by IQ tests. However, looked at more closely it is plain that these disciplines rely on IQ dependent abilities such as the recognition of contradiction or the construction of methods of quantifying social phenomena and, of course, they can involve the mastery of the indisputably high IQ subjects such as maths, physics or philosophy where that is the subject matter to be studied within the context of another subject, for example, the history of science or philosophy. But what do we make of the ability of the historian to concisely interpret a vast amount of data or the literary critic to see within a text echoes of other writers and ideas? Are those abilities IQ dependent in the same way as understanding a complicated equation is IQ dependent? There is a good case for saying that they are, because what the historian and the literary critic are doing is sifting material and assigning values to it. That is a form of pattern matching, although a very complex and diffuse one.
Let me take the cases of the chess players Garry Kasparov and the Polgar sisters to illustrate two aspects of the intelligence of erudition. Kasparov has an IQ of 135, good but not outstanding, yet he was able to become world champion at an activity considered exceptionally intellectually taxing. It was not solely or arguably predominantly IQ which made him world champion for there will almost certainly be many topclass chess players with substantially higher IQs. So how did he become world champion? To become a very high performing chess player requires not merely natural talent but the building up of a vast catalogue of games in one’s memory. From that comes the emergent property of the intelligence of erudition to go with the IQ based abilities. Bearing in mind Kasparov’s relatively modest IQ and the many higher IQ players he was competing with, plausibly it was the intelligence of erudition which was probably the prime determinant of his success. Of course, other qualities not obviously IQ dependent come into play with high level chess such as courage and sheer physical stamina (I am assuming that the support staff and technology available to any grandmaster will be much of a muchness) but understanding born of great familiarity with played chess games must have been by far the prime determinant.
The two Polgar sisters demonstrate another aspect of the intelligence of erudition. Their father set out from the early days to deliberately produce two chess prodigies. He did this to substantiate his belief that particular abilities, including intellectual abilities could be instilled by training (shades of J B Watson). He succeeded. The sisters both became grandmasters. That they did not become world chess champions – an objection often made by those opposed to his ideas – is neither here nor there. The fact that he was able to take two babies and turn them into very high performing chess players – a very select band – is persuasive evidence for the power of inducing intelligence in specific areas of expertise. Of course, one cannot draw firm conclusions from a single instance such as the Polgars, but it is food for thought when the question of intelligence is considered.
What happened with the Polgars is really no more than the age old trait of children following their parents into the same work or being put to an apprenticeship at an early age. Many societies have operated on the basis of children following their parents’ occupations by law. Many of those occupations can plausibly be linked to IQ related abilities, especially visio-spatial ones, for example, those required of any craftsman. One could argue that genetic inheritance plays its part, but this is not plausible where many generations are involved, both because the genetic inheritance of someone with an innate ability is diluted rapidly through the generations and also because presumably genetically related abilities generally suffer from reversion to the norm.
What would be interesting is a study of how easy or difficult it is to induce the ability to undertake activities which would be considered IQ dependent. I have a sneaking feeling that if those engaged in programmes designed to enhance IQ concentrated instead on programmes designed to enhance the intelligence of erudition they would find it a more fruitful activity.
How valuable is the intelligence of erudition when compared with IQ related ability? Obviously, learned ability is fundamental to all human societies, from the hunter-gatherer upwards. Most of what we consciously do is guided by our own experience or the experience of others, although of course knowledge is only valuable when it can be applied, whereas IQ related problem solving ability in principle can get you through a very large number of possible situations, both novel and familiar. There is also a clear distinction between knowledge which can be applied without the need for any external assistance and that which requires external assistance. For instance, knowing how to use a calculator is useless without a calculator: knowing how to do mental arithmetic is a skill always available. But what of really high level intellectual ability? In its outcomes can erudition compete with innate IQ related ability? Can someone without a startlingly high IQ make as profound a contribution to intellectual history as those with such an IQ simply through intellectual application? Step forward Charles Darwin.
7. Did Darwin have a high IQ?
Charles Darwin is widely recognised as one of the most important intellectuals in history. A strong case can be made for his theory of natural selection being the single most influential idea ever, because not only did it profoundly change the intellectual relationship between man and his perception of his place in existence, its influence has stretched far beyond biology. It might even be said to be of universal application because all natural repeatable events, circumstances and ongoing processes are subject to selection. Just as organisms compete to survive so do inanimate objects and processes, whether natural or man-made. A pebble on the seashore made of granite will outlast one made of sandstone; war machines will compete in an arms race; ideas will clash and be selected or not according to their intellectual and emotional power in a particular situation. Today his idea is applied increasingly to design generally using computer programmes which mimic evolution on projects as diverse as discovering the most efficient phone network and the design of new anti-bacterial drugs.
But Darwin’s importance goes far beyond a single idea. He contributed greatly to other parts of evolutionary theory including the descent of Man and the development of emotions in Man and animals. He was also a good guesser. Frequently his hypotheses were untestable in his own lifetime because the knowledge needed to test them were not available but have been given Further credence by later discoveries, for example, his belief that modern Man originated in Africa, an hypothesis which is widely accepted today because of DNA analysis. It is difficult to think of a man who has had a more profound intellectual effect on the world.
Darwin was obviously exceptionally intellectually capable in the sense that he produced very important work, but is there anything in his life and work which is suggestive of a genius level IQ? He did not show any noticeable aptitude for the traditionally high IQ subjects such as maths and philosophy, nor is his life before his voyage on the Beagle suggestive of any great intellectual power. It is true that the young Darwin showed a strong interest in the natural world, both in biology and geology, but this interest was more that of a gentleman dilettante rather than of a serious scientist.
Even after returning from his voyage on the Beagle Darwin retained something of the gentleman dilettante, although he was very hardworking and persistent in his interests. He spent more than twenty years toying with the idea of evolution through natural selection and engaging in other work which was largely a matter of observation. When he came to publish his work on evolution he only did so because he is afraid that his ideas would be trumped by the publication of Wallace’s very similar theory. (That he suddenly rushed to publish gives the lie to the commonly retailed idea that he had withheld publication for fear of a hostile public reception, especially from the devout.) The most plausible explanation for the delay is that Darwin simply did not have the motivation to make the intellectual effort to finish his great work until he was threatened with being trumped Wallace. It is only from that point onwards that Darwin begins to produce the work for which he is chiefly remembered today. He was no feverishly intelligent, intellectual personality bursting to put his ideas before the public as soon as possible.
But although Darwin took a long time to get to the point of publication, he undoubtedly spent an immense amount of time and effort assimilating information about the Natural world from his teenage years onwards. By the time he finished the Origin of Species he had developed the intelligence of erudition to a very high degree.
Darwin’s working method was to create a mound of evidence on which he built sustained argument. (Ironically, the critics of The Origin of Species frequently complained that he lacked powers of reasoning when in fact the book is one sustained immense argument). The data he worked upon was not inherently difficult to master being primarily a question of observation by Darwin or others. Anyone of normal intelligence could master it with sufficient application. Where Darwin differs from the vast majority is in the tenacity with which he assimilated facts and the use he put the data to after he had assimilated it. What Darwin had was an abnormally sustained concentration of thought .
So what are we to make of all this in the context of Darwin’s IQ? Obviously he had to have the mental wherewithal to allow him to handle large amounts of data and construct coherent arguments from the data. He needed to be able to see not only the wood for the trees but to see the important trees in the wood. The question is how he managed to accomplish such tasks. Was it primarily IQ related ability or is it a consequence of learning? The material he dealt with suggests the latter, that he had the intelligence of erudition in spades.
Based on the content of Darwin’s work and his failure to display any aptitude for indubitably high IQ subjects such as maths, there is no reason to believe he had a very high IQ. He needed an IQ high enough to allow him to undertake the tasks of assimilating essentially simple information and engaging in a sophisticated analysis of it. Perhaps an IQ in the 110-120 range would have fitted the bill for those tasks.
8. Reason is not the primary driver of Man
Man, at least in his modern secular First World form, has the illusion of free will. That is unsurprising because he is a highly intelligent and self-conscious entity with a discrete personality and an ego and it is natural for such a being to think that the choices they make are free choices insofar as they act without overt constraints from other people, their biology or brute circumstances. In fact, free will is an illusion not as a consequence of the constraints of human biology or the nature of the universe Man inhabits but s a consequence of the fact that the concept is a logical nonsense.
Imagine the most powerful entity which can exist: the omnipotent, omniscient god. Such a being can not have free will because it must have a discrete intelligence which is conscious of its existence, in short a conscious mind. Any such mind will require motivation otherwise it would never act, it must have desires, it must have what we would call a personality. Consequently, the omnipotent, omniscient god would be in the same general existential position as a man, that is, bound by its own mentality.
Of course Man is in vastly more constrained circumstances than the omnipotent, omniscient god. Human beings live within the general constraints that applies to every other organism. We copulate, eat, drink, and sleep, fight, respond to weariness perform our bodily functions in the same way that an animal does, without any great thought. We feel desire or necessity and act on impulse.
Within our bodies a great system of checks and balances – repair mechanisms and the automatic systems needed for an organism to function – continue without our conscious control or even our awareness of the functions being accomplished. Hormones and enzymes control not only essential functions but our emotions and desires. Physical illness or wellness determines how we behave.
What we experience in our minds is a very different thing from what actually comes through our senses. All we can perceive is what our biology and experiential “programming” allows us to perceive. We can only see or hear within certain wavelengths of light and sound. Our senses change in their efficacy throughout life. All external stimuli are filtered through our brains and are the brain’s best guess at what has been perceived, hence the ease with which we mistake things either through insufficient data (for example, something seen in shadow) or through the brain matching sense data with something we already know, for example, when we see a man’s face in a cloud.
Our mental world is subject to congenital differences which affect behaviour. These range from differences in mental capacity and special talents to brain defects and injuries. Someone born with Downs Syndrome, severe epilepsy or autism perceives the world very differently to someone born without such conditions. Their capacity for rational behaviour is much reduced because their level of understanding is reduced. The most severe example of innate disablement of the rational are those people born without the development of the frontal lobes, the acephaletic. These unfortunate individuals occasionally survive and behave in a manner which seems to be entirely without conscious reason.
We also know from much experience that injuries to the brain or the effects of disease or ageing can have the same effect as innate abnormalities. Those who suffer brain injuries sometimes develop behavioural traits which are completely different from what they had before. They may become more violent or more subdued, lose their initiative or develop new talents or inclinations such as artistic impulses. Frontal lobotomies subdue behaviour. Age leads to declines in rationality ranging from loss of short term memory to full blown senile dementia.
In our brains we store a myriad of memories which act as both primers for action and the means to take action. We see someone we do not like and respond with open hostility or caution. We meet a situation which appears to be dangerous because we have previously met it or a situation which resembles a danger we have imagined and feel fear and act accordingly. We see someone we love and act favourably towards them. Of course, our memories do much more than provide immediate or particular behavioural responses for they also shape our general character within the confines of the basic, genetically determined personality.
What constitutes a learned response? Not a simple thing to define. Keeping your hand away from fire after you have been burnt is obviously such. Going from A to B along a familiar route is another. Putting a cake in an oven at a particular heat for a particular time a third. But suppose I master the philosophy of Kant. If I explain his philosophy without commentary to someone that might reasonably be described as a learned response in the sense that I am merely regurgitating what I have learnt. Yet it is also true that the act of comprehending Kant goes beyond mere memory and the effort of remembering what Kant’s philosophy is after it has first been learnt is a very different thing from recalling a piece of “inert data” such as the date of the Battle of Hastings.
Mental calculation is, of course, more than prolonged self-conscious intellectual consideration. It is what happens when someone calculates the distance to throw a ball or how to place pieces in a jigsaw or spontaneously comes up with a clever pun, as well as the sustained mental thought which led Newton and Einstein to develop their physics or Aristotle his logic.
Somewhere in between lies the great mass of considered utilitarian mental calculation such as computer programming and applied mathematical computation and the everyday ability to see contradictions and connections and to generally engage in logical reasoning.
We function as organisms at various levels. We do some things without conscious thought: we breathe, produce hormones and enzymes, and circulate the blood, digest food and so on. Our biology produces basic states of mind such as hunger, fear and sexual desire over which we have little control although we are conscious of the states of mind. Then come conscious choices which are designed to give us pleasure or at least satisfaction; we decide on an activity which we know will produce pleasant sensations or avoid unpleasant ones. Finally, we have rational thought designed to solve particular problems.
Man, or at least Man in advanced modern societies, flatters himself that he is a rational being whose behaviour is the consequence of consideration. (Even without free will, a self-conscious being could still operate rationally within the confines of its existential circumstances). In fact, most human behaviour is not rational in the sense of being self-consciously decided after having weighed the pros and cons of what to do or of trusting what we perceive to be the rational decisions of others, whether by engaging in self-decided emulation or through the suggestion or order of another.
Most of what we do falls into three classes of behaviour: the repetition of rational behaviour which has previously proven successful, or at least not harmful, what our biology tells us to do, for example to drink, or as an unconsidered response which is a consequence of whatever constitutes an individual’s basic personality, for example, traits such as timidity, aggression, affection. Even when we self-consciously decide on future action, our decisions are mediated by our knowledge of what has happened before, our biology and our personality traits, both innate and developed.
Men are frequently faced with conscious decisions which they are unable to decide rationally because they lack the knowledge or intellect to do so. Sometimes they fail to make a decision because of fear. In all these circumstances the individual does one of three things: (1) he makes a decision simply to make a decision, (2) he follows the herd or (3) he allows himself to be manipulated by another individual.
Most of this (to various degrees) automated behaviour is at worst harmless and at best positively desirable – it would be an impossible world if we had to seriously consider every deliberate action before acting, not least because it would be utterly exhausting. But it can be damaging. Even when acting self consciously, humans are quite frequently in the grip of ideas which are in themselves objectively wrong or at least has no certain truth. Moreover, those afflicted with such ideas often know at some level their beliefs are suspect – the reason that believers in religions or secular ideologies are generally very keen on suppressing any questioning of their beliefs is because they know in their heart of hearts that they will not stand up to questioning. Yet men adhere to such ideas and act upon them even though their reason tells them that they are questionable or even plain wrong because they are emotionally satisfying in themselves or they are group values from which the individual gets emotional satisfaction from sharing in the group experience.
Alternatively, group pressure may produce a state of mind whereby the individual does not actually believe something but is conditioned not to question it because at some level the mind has marked such questioning as dangerous or inappropriate. In our own time political correctness produces such feelings in many.
Where a set of ideas form an ideology the effect is particularly pernicious, both because of the multiplication of error and because the tendency to adopt a religious attitude towards the ideas is heightened, for to deny one part of the ideology is to question its general veracity. (By an ideology I mean a mental construct which consists of a menu of tenets which the adherent applies without regard to their utility or truth). The observance of the ideology becomes an end in itself. All ideologies are inadequate to a lesser or greater extent, because they are menus of ideas which are (1) incompatible and/or (2) based on premises which are objectively false or at least debatable.
An example of (1) is the attitude of libertarians to immigration. On the one hand they complain of the illiberal consequences of mass immigration – political correctness, laws which discriminate against the majority, restrictions on free speech and so on – on the other they advocate an open border immigration policy. The two policies are self-evidently incompatible.
An example of (2) is Marxism, whose claims of objective truth were routinely and consistently demolished by reality, the consequences of which were ever more fanciful revisions of Marxist theory to fit the evolving non-Marxist world.
9. Sociological Constraints
Man is constrained by sociological laws of which he is only dimly aware. When a general election is held in Britain Members of Parliament are elected for one of 646 constituencies on the very simple basis of who gets the most votes in the constituency. There is no multiple preference voting, just a single vote for one candidate. As a platform for the study of human behaviour it is splendidly uncluttered.
Because people are voting for an individual it might be thought that the voting pattern throughout the country would vary tremendously because people would be voting on the record of the government and opposition in the previous four or five years, the parties’ stated policies if they form the next government, local interests, how the sitting MP has performed and the perceived quality of the other candidates in the constituency. In fact the voting pattern is always remarkably uniform throughout the country. If the swing from the Government is on average 5% throughout the country, there will be few if any constituencies which show a swing of less than 4% or more than 6%. This uniformity does not vary greatly with the size of turnout.
It is impossible to supply any plausible explanation for this behaviour based on the idea that Man is rational. One could see how a small population might be influenced by peer pressure and word of mouth but not a country of sixty million. Nor is it the consequence of modern mass media because the phenomenon predated television and the Internet. If I had to hazard an explanation it would be this: different personality types are distributed throughout populations in certain proportions as the consequence of natural selection working to ensure that human society functions. Each personality type will tend to behave in the same way. Hence, the aggregate societal effect in response to a particular stimulus will be relatively stable. When people vote in a General Election they produce similar voting effects because the personality types are distributed similarly throughout Britain and consequently people throughout the country respond to circumstances in a similar fashion. In other words, personality traits trump reason.
A less obvious example is the trade cycle. There is no certain explanation for why such a cycle should exist, but it is possible to provide plausible explanations for the ebb and flow of economic activity, for example, that there comes a point in the trade cycle whereby most individuals have purchased everything they want within the constraints of what they can afford and consumption lessens which in turn reduces economic activity which creates a further impetus to reduced consumption as people worry about the future. Equally, it is plausible that when the down side of the cycle has gone on for a while demand increases because goods need replacing and as consumption slowly grows confidence increases triggering further growth.
What is not so easy to provide is a plausible explanation of why the population acts uniformly enough to regularly create such a cycle. How could it be that the large majority of a population routinely respond in the same way? The answer again probably lies in a stable distribution of personality within a population.
What evidence is there for personality being so distributed throughout a population? Well, from our own everyday experience we all know that there is a range of personality types who are met in any reasonable large group, but quantifying such knowledge in an objective manner is to say the least problematical. Whether we have any “objective” statistical evidence at present largely depends how much credence is placed on psychometric tests which supposedly determine personality. Having seen them used to select people for employment I am sceptical of their predictive power, because all too often their assessment of personality fails to match the person‘s performance. More trustworthy although less focused is the information from psychological experiments. Many psychological experiments show personality differences obliquely, for example, the famous experiments of Abrahams in the 1950s on peer pressure and The Stamford prison experiment of the early 1970s. They showed recurrent patterns of obedience and disobedience and of a willingness to abuse and to accept or resist abuse.
10. How primitive is primitive?
If the current estimates of hominid evolution are correct, the variety classified as modern Man has a surprisingly short geological history, the upper estimates being a paltry 200,000 years. Nor is that history a simple progression. The remains of the older examples of modern Man normally have more ancient features than the younger examples, but occasionally younger remains displaying ancient features are found. This is a more significant fact than it might seem because fossils of Man are very rare and hence it is telling that even a few should show ancient features at the “wrong date” for it suggests that the more archaic forms of Man might not only have lasted a long time but in substantial numbers.
How little is still known about human evolution is illustrated by the recent discovery of remains by the Koobi Fora Research Project in the Ileret region, east of Lake Turkana. in Northern Kenya which appeared in Nature magazine. (nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7154/abs/nature05986.html) These suggest that Homo habilis and Homo erectus co-existed for half a million years. The significance of this is that it makes the generally accepted descent of Man from Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens improbable, vis:
‘”Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis”, explained Meave Leakey….”
The fact that they stayed separate as individual species for a long time suggests that they had their own ecological niche, thus avoiding direct competition,” she added. ’Fossils put new branch on human family tree Daily Telegraph 09/08/2007.
There is truly no point in the past at which it can be said here is the origin of modern Man. Darwin put the case nicely before there was any significant hominid fossil record: “Whether primeval man, when he possessed but few arts, and those of the rudest kind, and when his power of language was extremely imperfect, would have deserved to be called man, must depend on the definition we employ. In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some ape-like creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any definite point when the term ‘man’ ought to be used. But this is a matter of very little importance. So again, it is almost a matter of indifference whether the so-called races of man are thus designated, or are ranked as species or sub species; but the latter term appears the more appropriate.” (Descent of Man – chapter The Races of Man).
At what point can Man be said to be acting in a qualitatively different way from other animals? Here is Darwin once more: “I have seen, as I dare say have others, that when a small object is thrown beyond the reach of one of the elephants in the Zoological Gardens, he blows through his trunk on the ground beyond the object so that the current reflected on all sides may drive the object within his reach. Again a well known ethnologist, Mr Estoppels, informs me that he observed a bear in Vienna making with his paw a current in some water as to draw a piece of floating bread within reach. These actions of the elephant and bear can hardly be attributed to instinct or inherited habit, as they would be of little use to an animal of nature. Now, what is the difference between such actions? when performed by an uncultivated man, and by one of the higher animals?” (Darwin: The Descent of Man – chapter Mental Powers.)
Darwin concluded that there was little difference in the general approach of the higher animal and man in his primitive state, although he allowed that “There would no doubt be this difference between him [the savage] and one of the higher animals, that he would take more notice of much slighter circumstances and conditions, and would observe any connections between them after much less experience, and this would be of paramount importance. I kept a daily record of the actions of one of my infants, and when he was about eleven months old, and before he could speak a single word, I was continually struck with the greater quickness, with which all sorts of objects and sounds were associated together in his mind, compared with the most intelligent dogs I knew. But the higher animals differ in exactly the same way in this power of association from those low in the scale, such as the pike, as well as drawing inferences and of observation.” (ibid)
If Darwin is right – and there is as so often with him, plausibility in his reasoning – it might seem reasonable to classify human beings by behaviour, they only being accepted as full members of homo sapiens when they have reached the point where their behaviour is clearly qualitatively different from that of animals. Obviously such a judgement would be extraordinarily contentious because of its social and political ramifications, but stripped of that difficulty could criteria be formulated which would be definitive? It would not be simple. For example, a reasonable criterion might seem to be to pose the question does this or that population of Homo Sapiens go beyond the fundamental behavioural imperatives of other animals which are to obtain food, breed and raise young? The difficulty with that approach is that it is possible to explain all human behaviour in such terms, that is, all human behaviour ultimately serves such ends: a man does something which displays exceptional ability: he is enhancing his biological fitness by advertising his desirability as a mate: a woman shows an abnormal facility for handling children: she demonstrates her desirability as a mate and so on.
The old favourite for defining humanity, tool use, will not get us far. Animals use tools. It is not even possible at the most primitive observed human level to point to a large library of tools or artefacts let alone tools and artefacts of any great sophistication – the Tasmanians (indubitably part of the modern model of humanity at the physical level) at the time they encountered Europeans were reckoned to have a minute number of tools, viz: “So far as we can ascertain, their entire tool-kit at the end of their history consisted of a mere eighteen items – digging sticks, some very basic stone implements, spears, grass rope, baskets, hides (from which to ambush prey) and traps (for birds). In short, a list that is not so different in size or content from the accredited list of tools for modern chimpanzees. If we make allowances for qualitative differences in the toolkits of chimpanzees and those produced by modern humans, there are really only two things in the Tasmanians’ toolkit that the chimpanzees do not have – containers for carrying things (such as baskets and gourds) and structures (things like hides and traps).” Robin Dunbar The Human Story p150.
It might seem obvious that all tools and artefacts are the consequence of human imagination, yet how far they are independently imagined and how far the simple consequence of the observation of accidental behaviour and its translation into something more permanent and sophisticated is a moot point, not merely in the world of the hunter-gatherer but in pre-industrial societies generally. Some troops of chimpanzees will use sticks to get termites out of a termite hill. This behaviour presumably originated because an animal in the band was poking a termite hill with a stick – a perfectly natural activity for chimps which are very curious animals – and noticed that termites ran up the stick and the animal continued to use the trick which in turn was copied by other members of the band. (That this behaviour is not innate is shown by the fact that different chimpanzee populations vary in their behaviour in this and other instances of tool using or exceptional behaviour, that is, some do it, some do not and different chimp populations will use variants of the same tactic). It is not unreasonable to suppose that most early human advances were made in much this way, the observation of the accidental consequences of behaviour followed by their imitation. Is the creation of tools and artefacts in such a manner really imaginative or is it simply a function of memory. The organism does something and remembers the consequences of doing it and associates cause and effect.
If not tools what about the production of artefacts (defining artefact as a physical object deliberately produced by an organism by radically altering its components’ natural state)? Failed again I’m afraid – think birds’ nests and otters’ dams.
What about behaviour which seems to go beyond mere immediate utility?, For example, do not all modern humans perform rituals to appease or conjure gods or spirits or at least engage in behaviour we define as magic to alter the world? Probably, although the sophistication of such ideas vary greatly from society to society. But where is the dividing line between behaviour which is repeated and self-conscious ritual? After all many animals display behaviour which might well be described as rituals if they were seen in Man. Nor is such behaviour limited to the obvious realm of courtship, for example, chimpanzees ‘perform “rain dances” to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning during tropical storms, and one of their most outlandish performances is the “carnival,” when as many as thirty individuals come together for a period of fantastic noisemaking which may last several hours.’ (The emergence of Man John E Pfeiffer p 276).
It might seem that the system of complicated signalling we call language is qualitatively different from anything an animal does, but even here the distinction is not absolute because animals use sound to communicate specific messages, for example, threat calls, warning calls, courting calls. Human language obviously goes far beyond that in terms of its scope, but is there a qualitative difference in the basic function performed by the use of animal vocalisation? It is difficult to see human language as fundamentally different in terms of basic function, although the range of information transmitted is massively greater and more varied.
Nor is all human language equal in its functionality. Consider the case of the Piraha, an Amazonian tribe with several hundred members. They have been in contact with Brazilian culture for two centuries or more, yet they display some very odd traits one of which is to have no sense of number? An American linguistic anthropologist Daniel Everett has studied them from 27 years. Apart from their innumeracy, Everett reports that “the Piraha is the only people known to have no distinct words for colours. They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don’t sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day. Even when food is available, they frequently starve themselves and their children… They communicate almost as much by singing, whistling and humming as by normal speech. They frequently change their names, because they believe spirits regularly take them over and intrinsically change who they are. They do not believe that outsiders understand their language even after they have just carried on conversations with them. They have no creation myths tell no fictional stories and have no art. All of their pronouns appear to be borrowed from a neighbouring language.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LA C/200408 20 NUMBERS20/TPScience/ – Friday, August 20, 2004)
The Piraha’s innumeracy is particularly interesting. ‘Their lack of numbering terms and skills is highlighted in a report by Columbia University cognitive psychologist Peter Gordon that appears today in Science. Intrigued by anecdotal reports that Prof. Everett and his wife Karen had presented about the matchlessness of Piraha life, Prof. Gordon conducted a number of experiments over a three-year period. He found that a group of male tribe members — women and children were not involved because of certain cultural taboos — could not perform the most elementary mathematical operations. When faced with a line of batteries and asked to duplicate the number they saw, the men could not get beyond two or three before starting to make mistakes. They had difficulty drawing straight lines to copy a number of lines they were presented with. They couldn’t remember which of two boxes had more or less fish symbols on it, even when they were about to be rewarded for their knowledge. A significant part of the difficulty related to their number-impoverished vocabulary. Although they would say one word to indicate a single thing and another for two things, those words didn’t necessarily mean one or two in any usual sense. “It is more like ones and twos,” ‘ according to Gordon.
‘Prof. Gordon said the findings are perhaps the strongest evidence for a once largely discredited linguistic theory. More than 60 years ago, amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that learning a specific language determined the nature and content of how you think. That theory fell into intellectual disrepute after linguist Noam Chomsky’s notions of a universal human grammar and Harvard University professor Steven Pincer’s idea of a universal language instinct became widely accepted. “The question is, is there any case where not having words for something doesn’t allow you to think about it?” Prof. Gordon asked about the Piraha and the Whorfian thesis. “I think this is a case for just that.” Prof. Everett argues that what the Piraha casedemonstrates is a fundamental cultural principle working itself out in language and behaviour.’ (Ibid)
If the Whorfian theory is correct, or at least describes a quality which profoundly affects the way the world is perceived, other behavioural divisions between the various populations of Man must exist. (The ideas of a universal grammar and a universal language instinct are not necessarily incompatible with the idea that a particular language determines thought for there could be a basic language template that is then altered by experience. Moreover, it is conceivable that natural selection creates subtle brain differences between populations to accommodate differences in language). To any Whorfian differences in populations may be added the vast differences in cultural expression, some of which could be laid at the door of linguistic determinism of thought.
That leaves us with culture. Here Man does indeed seem to stand alone. He undoubtedly creates culture in a way that no other organism does, both in terms of the depth and the variety of the cultures created. A case can be made for some animals, for example, chimpanzees, having a capacity for culture, but at best their cultural activities such as termite fishing are very rudimentary and few in number. Most importantly, Man uses culture to distinguish between different populations of humans, even if the populations are biologically similar.
11. Speciation by culture
If the argument for Man’s special place in Nature is moved to the ground of culture, Man’s position as an organism with unique qualities which differentiate him from all other organisms undoubtedly becomes stronger, but at the cost of threatening his position as a species as traditionally defined.
Objections have been raised to the conclusions of Everett and Gordon, primarily in terms of their interpretation of their observations, but assuming there is a fair degree of objective truth about their data, it is reasonable to ask are the Pirana teetering on the edge of what counts as fully human if behaviour is the defining criterion? It is the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is can homo sapiens be meaningfully designated a species as a species is defined for every other organism?
Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition of a species – a population of freely interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool - is unsatisfactory, for clearly Man is more than an animal responding to simple biological triggers. When behavioural differences are perceived as belonging to a particular group by that group as differentiating members of the group from other men, they perform the same role as organic differences for they divide Man into cultural species.
It is worth adding that the traditional concept of a species is far from secure. It is a man-made classification which is often found wanting. For example, the North American Ruddy Duck and the European White-Headed Duck are classified as separate species. The introduction of the Ruddy Duck to Europe has resulted in widespread interbreeding between the supposedly separate species to the extent that conservationists now fear for the survival of the White Headed Duck. It is also true that a growing amount of traditional taxonomic classification is being overturned by DNA analysis.
Another interesting trait is that members of a species will have different breeding propensities across its distribution, that is, members of the supposedly single species will breed differentially with different parts of the total species population. For example, take an animal which is common to Europe and bring individuals from different geographical parts of the continent together and it may be that those found in the East of the distribution will be less likely or refuse altogether to mate with the those in the West. These barriers to breeding are clearly not purely due to major differences in physical biology. Probably there is an element of behavioural difference which reduces the propensity to breed.
Animals use various triggers to breed: aural, chemical, condition of feathers and so on. These are seemingly automatic processes whereby one individual responds to another without conscious thought. Even behavioural triggers such as mating rituals can be viewed in the same light. Man, although not divorced entirely from such triggers, adds conscious thought to the process of mate selection. Does that not put Man in an entirely separate category to all other organisms, namely, the one organism who can potentially breed freely across the entire species population? Potentially yes, but in practice no for Man’s capacity for conscious thought and decision making does not mean his breeding is not constrained by the triggers which control other organisms, especially behavioural. For example, most people choose mates who are of the same race as themselves even when they have ample opportunity to do otherwise.
Even at the level of biology I wonder if Man is quite as discrete as he imagines. To the best of my knowledge no one has tried to create a cross between a human and a chimpanzee or a bonobo - I sincerely hope no one ever does. But putting aside any natural revulsion, would it be so surprising if such a cross was possible? Would it be any more of a intra-species leap than say the production of a mule or a liger (lion/tiger) through the mating of different species? I would not wish to bet against it.
As for the future, genetic engineering may break down distinctions between species, for example, by genes from one species being implanted into another. Lastly, genetics and/or cybernetics may lead to modifications of human beings so substantial to create what are to all intents and purposes unambiguously separate species of Man with vastly differing abilities. There may come a point where the concept of a species becomes redundant.
12. Race and Man
The most potent of human behavioural triggers are racial differences for they exercise the strongest control over the group in a territory where different racial groups exist. Race trumps ethnicity where the ethnic clash is one of people of the same race but different ethnicities. Place a significant population of a different race into a territory where ethnicity rather than race is the cause of unrest and the ethnic factions of the same race will tend to unite against those of a different race.
Nothing demonstrates the natural tendency of human beings to remain racially distinct than the remarkably low rate of inter-racial breeding even in circumstances where there is every opportunity for it, most particularly in the great cities of Western Europe and North America, where the populations are increasingly varied and the prevailing elite ideology positively encouraging of such liaisons.
Even societies which have had very racially mixed populations for a long time display a remarkable ability to maintain retain racial distinctions over very long periods of time – Brazil is an excellent example of this, with social class being very much graded by skin colour. To argue that racial difference is not important to the choice of a mate is as absurd as arguing that the attractiveness of a person is irrelevant to the choice of a mate.
In Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cite a study made of a US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84). The site is one of the largest in the US and the data examined covered 30,000 people equally divided between San Diego and Boston. Most were white but there was a substantial minority of non-white subjects.
The questionnaire the would-be daters had to fill in included a question choice on race as “same as mine” and “doesn’t matter”. The study compared the responses by white would-be daters (those from non-white were not analysed) to these questions with the race of the emails actually sent soliciting a date. The result in Levitt and Dubner’s words was:
“Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80 percent of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90 percent of their e-mail queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men.
“Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a non-white date that interested them?”
Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across especially to potential mates of their own race as open-minded?” In short, around 99% of all the women and 94% of all men in the sample were not willing to seek a date of a different race. How much stronger will be the tendency to refuse to breed with a mate of a different race?
Another way of testing the desire to remain racially separate is to look at social class and inter-racial breeding. The higher up the social scale a person is the less likely they are to have a partner of a different race – if you doubt this try to find examples of the rich and powerful who have a partner of a different race. Those who have the most choice overwhelmingly choose members of their own racial type, despite the fact that they have the protection of their wealth and position to shield their spouses and children from the effects of racial discrimination.
The experience of imperial Rome nicely demonstrates racial exclusiveness as a historical phenomenon. Despite the racially mixed population, all the evidence we have suggests that Romans of higher social status (the only Romans we have any substantial knowledge of as individuals) rarely took non-white mates (the same applies today: in white-majority countries the higher the status of whites, the less likely they are to have a non-white partner.) Even the Bible has the story of Moses choosing a black wife and meeting with resistance on the part of his people. (Numbers chapter 12)
If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.
The fact that humans have external racial differences which are sufficiently distinct to allow people throughout the world to broadly categorise an individual into categories such as white and black is in itself indicative of the innate human tendency to breed with those who are racially similar, even though for several thousands of years large human populations of different racial types have existed in close proximity. If human beings did not have an innate preference for those who racially resemble themselves, humanity would have bred itself into something approaching a uniform racial type, at least in those parts of the world which were not very isolated – different races have had regular and numerous contact with each other for at least three thousand years. The alternative explanation to an innate tendency is the truly fantastic one that Man everywhere spontaneously developed cultural barriers to breeding which had nothing to do with any innate tendency. If anything is a social construct it is not race but the liberal idea that Man is a single species.
Race is much stronger as a mediator of who to mate with than ethnic (cultural) difference – think of the very high proportion of those in Britain who have Irish/Welsh?/Scottish/English mixed ancestry. Nonetheless, ethnic differences are culturally potent amongst racially similar populations. For example, on either side of the England/Scotland border, the inhabitants born and raised close to the border retain Scots and English accents even though they may have lived their entire lives only a few miles apart.
Because the tendency to mate with those of a similar race is so strong and universal, both in place and time, it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour is innate and that cultures necessarily include the requirement for a member of the society to be of a certain racial type. The consequence of this is that someone of a different racial type is effectively precluded from full integration because one of the criteria for belonging has not been met. That is not to say, of course, that many of the habits of mind of an alien culture may not be adopted by someone of a different race. What is withheld is the instinctive acceptance of the alien and his or her descendants as members of the society. Just as no human being can decide for themselves that they are a member of this or that group, no individual can decide that they belong to this or that nation because it is a two-way process: the other members of the group they wish to join have to accept them as a true member of the group. (Stephen Frears the English film director once wryly remarked that he had known the actor Daniel Day-Lewis “before he was Irish”).
There are also other plausible reasons why inter-racial breeding is rare. There is a widespread biological behaviour known as assortative mating. Members of sexually reproducing animals select mates by certain criteria. In that much loved laboratory animal, the fruit fly drosophila, this may be the number of sternopleural bristles; in Man it includes many criteria including racial type. Other human prime assortative criteria are size, intelligence, education and class. Some of these criteria such as education and class are more clearly linked to nurture than Nature, but even they can be direct or indirect expressions of qualities which are at least largely innate such as intelligence. I say direct or indirect because the beneficial qualities may not be in the individual, for those with superior education and high social class may lack the innate qualities of their parents or earlier ancestors and their privileged position may simply be a residue of the superior innate abilities of their parents or other ancestors.
For the purposes of inter-racial mating, size, intelligence, education and class all come into play. There are clear average differences of size between the three major races: blacks largest, whites in the middle and Asians smallest. This would mean that on average members of one racial group would be less likely to choose another member of another racial group. The differences in IQ would have the same effect, with blacks being far less likely to mate with the other two races because their IQ is further removed from them than they are from each other. Differences in IQ will also be reflected, directly or indirectly in educational achievement and social class and hence in mating, for example, if a minority population of blacks amidst a majority white population have proportionately more people of low education and low social class than the white majority, something which should happen other things being equal because of their inferior IQ distribution, they are less likely to mate with members of the white majority simply on the grounds of education and class.
What about genetic diversity the reader may be asking themselves, should not the great benefits of that drive people of different races to mate whenever they can? This widespread view is unsurprising because as far as the layman is concerned one of the great “truths” of modern biology is that diversity is good because genetic diversity within a species reputably protects the species from the effects of harmful recessive genes by reducing the chance of both partners in a successful mating having a particular recessive gene, while general organic diversity in an environment is supposed to ensure the stability and endurance of the environment.
One does not need to have any deep grasp of genetics to see there is a logical problem with the idea that genetic diversity within a species is a sine qua non of evolutionary success. The genetic relatedness of breeding pairs in many species must of necessity be close because the opportunities to breed are limited. In the case of Homo Sapiens this has been true of most human beings throughout history. Man in his primitive state lived in small nomadic bands which were sparsely spread across the landscape Tribal peoples commonly exchange members (normally women) between tribes, but again that is a local exchange. Even in more advanced societies most people have lived in small settled communities and have mated with people who come from the same locality. Very closely related human beings are substantially more prone to genetic disaster if they mate, but the level of genetic diversity required to reduce the number of genetic disasters to a level in which they are not seriously harmful to the group is clearly not vast.
A small gene pool may even have advantages. Ashkenazi Jews come from what was originally a small population group (some estimates put it as low as 500) which married almost entirely within the group and continued to do so down the generations. They have an abnormally high average IQ - six times as many Ashkenazim as Europeans have IQs of 140+. In June 2005 the Journal of Biosocial Science carried a paper by a team at the University of Utah which put forward the theory that their exceptionally high average IQ exists because of natural selection. They argued that Ashkenazi Jews had had been selected them for high IQ because historically Jews in Europe were denied many opportunities for employment and they were driven into high IQ occupations such as banking. Rushton Revisted
That racial type should be a requirement for inclusion within a “tribe” is unsurprising. All social animals have to have boundaries to know where the group begins and ends. This is because a social animal must operate within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where there are boundaries. No boundaries, no hierarchy, because no individual could ever know what the dominance/submission situation was within their species or at least within those members of the species with whom they interact.
Where does “must operate within a hierarchy” come from? First the observed facts: all social animals do produce hierarchies - although these vary considerably in form – and human beings always produce hierarchies, whether they are hunter-gatherers or people populating a great modern city.
Why do social animals always form hierarchies? For animals other than Man the answer is I think simple enough: only by forming hierarchies can social groups cohere. This is most probably because animals vary considerably in their physical and mental qualities. Observe any animal, even the simplest single cell organism, and differences between individuals within the species will become apparent. Some are more vigorous than others, some larger, some, more adventurous and so on. Individuals will also vary by age and, in sexually reproducing species, sex.
In a solitary animal the practical consequences of differences between individuals will be decided by direct competition, most commonly by the formation of territories and the attempted monopoly of mates and food within the territory, with the best endowed animals on average being more successful.
When an animal is social, differences in individual quality have to be resolved by something other than the methods used by solitary animals such as scent marking of territory boundaries and serious fighting because the animals have to live in close proximity. Competition for desirable goods still occurs, most notably competition for mates, but normally within behaviours which are not fatal to other members of the group or behaviours which are so disruptive as to threaten the survival of the group. The upshot of this social accommodation is the formation of different social niches into which individuals fit.
Group behaviour is a compromise between the immediate advantage of the individual and the diffuse advantages derived from group activity. The compromise is given structure by hierarchies, whether that be a fixed biological distinction by sex or caste (for example, social bees) or a transient one due to the age of an animal. Hierarchies are built on the differences between individuals and the more rigid the hierarchical structure the greater will be the selective pressures to produce individuals in the right proportions to fill the various social niches within the group.
Consider what would happen if hierarchies did not exist. There would be constant conflict within the group because no individual would have cause to defer to another except from fear of physical harm and such fear is a blunt and very limited instrument of social control, whether it be of humans or animals. It is a strategy more suited to the solitary animal than the social one.
Hierarchies also make sense in terms of the development of social animals. Social animals are ultimately descended from asocial animals. The movement from asocial to social animal is presumably akin to the evolutionary process whereby a parasite is converted to a symbiotic partner. It is a process of gradual behavioural accommodation.
Social animals on the bottom rung of the social animal ladder may do little more than associate together at certain times. The next rung up and the animal frequently associates with others of its kind. One more step and the animal forms more or less permanent groupings. And so on until we reach the ultimate social animal: Man.
The gradual evolution of social behaviour of itself points to the need for hierarchy, because at each stage of the evolution the natural overtly selfish behaviour of the original solitary animal has to be modified. That modification will only come through natural selection working on behavioural traits which favour more complete socialisation.
What about human beings? Are they not capable of breaking the biological bounds which capture animals? Does not their immense intelligence and possession of language place them in another category of being? Could Man not simply decide not to behave in a non-hierarchical manner? The fact that human beings have never done so is of itself sufficient evidence for all but the most ideologically committed nurturist to decide that human beings cannot do it and to conclude that the forming of hierarchies is part of the human template. However, to that fact can be added another, the dominance/submission behaviour which every person witnesses daily not merely in positions of formal dominance and subordination such as the workplace, but in every aspect of social life.
13 An analogy with computers
In assessing what Man is, an analogy with computers can be made. As hardware, a particular model of computer is practically identical to every other computer which is classified as the same model. But the software available to every computer of the same model is not identical. They may run different operating systems, either completely different or different versions of the same program. The software which runs under the operating system is different with different versions of the same program being used. The data which is input to the computer varies and this in turn affects the capabilities of the computer.
It clearly makes no sense to say every computer of the same model is the same even if the computer is loaded with the same software. But of course not all computers are of the same model. They vary tremendously in their power. The same software will run at very different rates because of this. Storage and memory size also vary tremendously. Some computers cannot run programmes because the programmes are too large. We may call all computers computers , but that is to say little more than that all animals are animals, for computers range from the immensely powerful super computers – the homo sapiens of the computer world as it were – to the amoeba of the simple chip which controls lights being put on or off in a room depending on whether someone is in it.
Are the circumstances of computers not akin to those of Man? Do not the racially based differences in IQ correspond to the differences in power of older and newer computers? Do not different languages represent different operating systems? For example, think how different must be the mentality of a native Chinese speaker (using a language which is entirely monosyllabic) to that of a native English speaker (using a polysyllabic language) simply because of the profound difference in the structure of the language. A language will not merely impose limits on what may be expressed it will effect the entire mentality of the individual, from aesthetic appreciation to social expression. Is not the experiential input analogous to the holding of different data?
14. The more primitive the society the less it relies on high IQ related skills
The evidence of palaeontology (the scarcity of hominid remains), of archaeology (the absence of evidence of large scale human settlement anywhere before about 7,000 BC), of anthropology (studies of extant hunter gatherers), extrapolations from non-human primate behaviour and the practical implications of being a very large animal, (within the top 5 per cent of land animals by size.) make it certain that Man’s roots lie in small groups of hunter gatherers. Man’s natural group “in the wild” is that of the small band of perhaps 25-100 people.
Hunter gatherer societies are based primarily on knowledge not reasoning. To survive the individual members have to know a great deal about the world about them but they are not often called upon to solve absolutely novel problems. They live in a world which remains broadly stable. Once something is learned it will normally remain useful throughout an individual’s life, for example, the behaviour of an animal species will remain the same in its general aspects. That is not to say life in such societies is undemanding – as Stephen Pinker puts it in his “How the mind works”, being a hunter gatherer is akin to enduring a lifelong camping trip without mod cons or rescue services – but the demands made are different from those arising from other forms of human society.
Survival in such circumstances requires a detailed knowledge of the animals and plants in the habitat - their appearance, behaviour, locale and uses, including the medicinal and the usefully toxic such as curare. Close familiarity with the terrain within the group’s range is a must, as is a knowledge of the weather and the seasons. To be an efficient member of the group the male hunter-gatherer will need to learn to stalk game and have the courage and ferocity to deal with dangerous animals and other hostile groups of humans. To aid direction finding, some knowledge of the stars will probably be acquired.
That is just the start. The hunter-gatherer will also need a number of manual skills ranging from those needed for hunting - spear throwing, arrow shooting, trap setting, the making of fire and so on – and for the manufacture of all artefacts which cannot be found in nature – clothes, bows and arrows, spears, fish-hooks, baskets and suchlike.
The female members of the tribe, in addition to needing many of the skills required of the men, will have to deal with the problems arising from childbirth and maternal care.
To be fully integrated into his group the hunter-gatherer will need a deep knowledge of the accumulated customs, ceremonies and beliefs of his tribe or band and also a knowledge of other neighbouring groups to be able to participate in the resolution of inter-tribe disputes within the confines of the belief system of the tribe.
This might seem a tremendously demanding catalogue of learning, but it is not onerous in reality because the information and expertise is acquired over a long time and under the most propitious circumstances. The child learns in the easiest way by directly observing how others do it and by tuition which is either one-to-one or given in a small group.
Nor is the required knowledge very intellectually demanding. It is almost all concrete information. Even knowledge of the group’s myths can be no more than the acquiring of concrete data because the myths can be treated as a set of narrative stories which are simply passed down from generation to generation without causing intellectual enquiry. Indeed, questioning of the myths will almost certainly be seen as mortally dangerous and be discouraged by severe punishment because it will be deemed to risk angering either a god or gods or cause some other form of cosmic disturbance such as creating bad karma.
Of course, building up such a suite of skills and knowledge means that an individual has, or a group of people have, at some point originated the acquisition of the various skills and elements of knowledge, but the large majority of those skills and knowledge can plausibly be ascribed to the normal process of finding solutions to immediate problems raised by the environment rather than to individuals looking beyond the obvious. It is the difference between devising a simple trap to catch an animal based on observation of the animal’s behaviour – which gives the basic information needed to devise the trap, for example, dig a pit here - and working out that fibre can be gathered from an animal and converted into cloth, a process which requires an act of imagination beyond the information supplied by observation.
Regardless of the origin of the skills and knowledge of the hunter-gatherer, the individual hunter-gatherer will be able to acquire them simply as learned skills. There will be no necessity to change things. Indeed, as mentioned above, it will probably be dangerous for the individual member to try to innovate because the tribe as a whole will view any deviation from tried and tested ways as dangerous. Such a brake on innovation is almost certainly a valuable attribute at the level of the hunter-gatherer tribe which is necessarily very reliant on social cohesion.
The nearest the hunter-gatherer gets to an intellectual life is in the creation of tribal myth, especially the explanation of the tribe and the world’s origin and the assignment of animate qualities to the inanimate, spirits in volcanoes, the sky, rivers and so on. That Man should create myths is natural for a self-conscious being will necessarily wonder about such things as mortality and existence. Of course, the creation of myths is an exercise of the imagination, but it is difficult to see that it makes any heavy intellectual demands. There is a world of difference between a creation myth which simply asserts that this or that happened (for example, Genesis) and the theological/philosophical consideration of what existence entails (for example, Aquinas’ attempts at a proof of God). The former is simply storytelling to provide an answer, the latter an attempt to use reason to provide an answer from the observed and necessary facts of existence.
Change generally will be tend to be seen as dangerous. What is known to work through long usage is safe; that which is novel is potentially dangerous. To that may be added the fact that it is simply psychologically easier to do what you already know. Learning new things is mentally demanding.
The fact that Man spent hundreds of thousands of years (including most of his “modern Man” period of the past 200,000 years or so) with precious little cultural change is powerful circumstantial evidence of the very strong innate reluctance of human beings to depart from customary ways. Even in historical times we know that change has often been extraordinarily slow in societies which were the most advanced at the time, for example, the stereotypical artefacts of ancient Egypt which change very little over several millennia or the dress of the Chinese which was much the same in 1,800 AD as it was in 1,000 AD. Even those living lives in advanced societies today show a strong reluctance to alter their ways, although their ability to resist change is increasingly limited (see appendix B).
The concentration on concrete thinking probably underpins a reluctance to change because the understanding and acceptance of radical change requires abstract thought. The individual has to think through the consequences, construct a mental model of what will happen. Someone may stumble by accident on a simple new behaviour which advances Man’s ability to control his environment, for example, that a prey animal is attracted by a particular bait or that a plant has medicinal effects. But no complex advance, for example, the invention of the wheel, is going to occur by simple observation and copying because it requires someone to go beyond copying and visualise something which does not exist.
The physical senses of people living as hunter gatherers are much heightened compared with those living in modern industrialised urban societies. This is scarcely surprising because the hunter-gatherer has to concern themselves with the natural world in the same way that an animal in the wild does: both must be on constant guard against predators or other forms of danger and be alive to the opportunities for obtaining food and other materials. The heightened senses and the need to concentrate on the present may effect how people think by either training the mind in that direction or by selecting individuals with such innate traits. Perhaps it is impossible for a mind to efficiently perform radically different functions such as a concentration on the immediate and concrete and deal with abstractions. If so, this could either be a consequence of innate difference or a difference in experience which programs the mind.
The fact that the life of a hunter-gatherer is very physically demanding, both in terms of simply surviving and in the manual skills which must be routinely exercised, may have an effect on intellectual development. Perhaps a concentration on physical activity may dull the intellectual processes even if the brain is equipped to potentially do far more intellectually, or to put it another way, the brain is programmed to do manual work by the demands of the society in which the hunter-gatherer lives and has less inclination for intellectual activity because of that programming. The hunter-gatherer will also have his concentration on potential dangers from predators and other bands of men, just as a prey animal will be constantly looking out for danger.
In summary, the hunter-gatherer has a large suite of skills and knowledge which allow him to deal with circumstances as they arise, but there is little or nothing which requires high level reasoning or invention. The knowledge of the group is passed from generation to generation with little change.
What is required in such a society is a very strong memory, especially as such societies are pre-literate (it has long been noted that people in pre-literate societies frequently have extraordinarily powerful memories and good powers of recall), and the ability to readily access and apply the knowledge.
The implication of all this is that a hunter-gatherer society will require a substantially smaller aggregate intelligence than more complex societies. Alternatively it could be argued that a lesser aggregate intelligence is what is actually required in less complex societies, that is, it is optimum state for the ecological niche into which they naturally fit. Increase the average IQ of the group and the society will have the potential to develop different behaviours, for example, it may become less socially cohesive because there are more individuals who require less social support to cope or whose greater intelligence leads them to innovate. That could reduce the fitness of the hunter-gatherer group because higher IQ behaviours are inappropriate.
None of this means a simple society is biologically unfit per se. They fill their niche in the Natural world successfully, indeed, have filled it for most of the vast stretch of hominid existence. In parts of the world they fill it to this day. Their evolutionary fitness is only called into question when they meet more complex societies with which they cannot compete. When they do this can have the most traumatic effects. Take the case of the Australian Aboriginals who have a large experience of living in state-sponsored reservations. The amount of aboriginal self-determination has varied over the years, with the general trend being towards ever more self-governance. This trend is now being reconsidered because of its ill-consequences, viz:
‘Releasing a new report into the nation’s health, Mr Abbott [Tony Abbott, the Australian health minister] said the system of self-governing Aboriginal communities created “appalling living conditions” where problems such as petrol-sniffing, domestic violence and child sexual abuse were rife…
‘The report said Aboriginal health was declining at a time when that of the rest of community was markedly improving. Death rates for indigenous infants are three times higher than for the general population.
‘Mr Abbot’s audacious plan proposes giving administrators wide-ranging powers to organise basic services such as water, transport and sewerage - and reverse what he calls the pervading “culture of directionlessness” in remote Aboriginal settlements.’ (Daily Telegraph 22/06/2006).
A plausible explanation for this state of affairs is that the Aborigines are being asked to live a life for which they are not equipped. and that at least part of that unfitness is down to Nature. The nurturist will of course argue that the present state of Aborigines is simply a consequence of the destruction of their traditional way of life, which in one sense is true. What the nurturist does not and cannot explain is why populations adapt to meeting more sophisticated cultures with differing degrees of ease. It is never an easy or pleasant thing to put aside old ways which are comfortable, but the experience of white and Asian societies in adapting to new , more intellectually demanding circumstances is utterly at odds with that of peoples such as the Aborigines. Europe and its colonial offshoots such as the USA industrialised quite rapidly when shown the way by Britain; Japan took up the industrial banner in the 19th century and China almost certainly would have done if it had not been emasculated by foreign powers. Korea and China itself have shown since the second world war how readily they can create an industrial society. Most tellingly whites and Asians adapt to more intellectually demanding circumstances regardless of where they are. This is almost certainly because of their superior IQ distribution.
15. Life in more complex societies
The more complex a society the greater the need for high IQ. As the number of humans living in social proximity increases more sophisticated social structures are required. A settled way of life amplifies this need further. The variety of occupations increases and, most importantly, the amount of stored knowledge becomes both larger and, once writing is available, more stable. Social organisation becomes looser and informal social support lessens. In place of a single world view competing ideologies vie for supremacy. Change and innovation become much more probable. There is so much more to potentially think about and learn, although any individual may actually have to know less than the hunter-gatherer to survive because of division of labour.
The individual in such a society is required to both learn more complex and less immediately obviously practical skills and knowledge and to deal with a greater range of human personalities and ideas. A man’s life contains less physical activity. As he works with his brain rather than his hands, his focus of attention changes. Knowledge becomes obsolete through innovation and consequently the need to learn throughout life increases. There is less certainty and fewer simple cultural mooring posts. The individual has to make more intellectually demanding decisions.
To live in a more complex society requires a qualitative change in mental abilities. There is an ever increasing shift from learning that which is concrete to that which is abstract, both in terms of understanding the whys and hows of the natural world at a level beyond mere surface observation, for example, the extraction of metal from ores, and in contemplating the organisational problems posed by larger associations of human beings. Much of what is to be learnt has no connection with the natural world and consequently no innate interest for Man who has to persuade himself intellectually that such things should be learnt because they lead to useful outcomes.
The existence of writing enhances such behaviours but it does more than that. The storing of information in a stable form means that information can be disseminated more widely and more certainly. Oral traditions inevitably result in variation. So of course do written records but they are far less prone to change, especially where moveable type printing exists. Moreover, a written record is a permanent statement of what was thought or claimed at one time. It can be compared with later written or oral accounts of the same subject in a way that a society with a purely oral tradition can never compare past and present accounts. In addition, written documentation allows not only a vast increase in what can be handed down from generation to generation but also much more complex information. It also greatly extends the time over which information may be transmitted. According to Plato, Socrates lamented the use of written records because he believed they stifled the intellect, but what would we know of Socrates today if no written records had been made of his thought? The answer is nothing.
As societies become more complex the way in which people learn changes. Instead of invariably learning by personal instruction and example, human beings often have to learn without direct human assistance, for example by reading, or by listening to the spoken words of others without any practical demonstration. This is because in modern industrialised societies the number of people who really understand the technology which is in general use is seriously inadequate. This means that people are routinely expected to use technology without a proper understanding of it because there is no one to instruct them in its use.
16. The increasing IQ demands of modern society
Take a simple everyday example of how everyday life has rapidly become more complex in our own society. Fifty years ago if you looked in the pockets of the ordinary working man you would find a wallet which probably contained money and the odd photo or a scrap of paper on which notes had been made: the pockets of a middle class man would contain what the working man’s contained plus probably a cheque book and possibly a driving licence. Today the pockets of most people will contain cash, a wallet a wide variety of credit, bank and store cards, a driving licence and a mobile phone.
All the person, whether working class or middle class, had to worry about fifty years ago was not losing any of the things they carried. If they did lose them, the most that they were likely to have to do was cancel their cheque book and get a new licence. Now most people have to not only worry about what the person fifty years ago had to worry about, they also have to deal with a great deal more. They must remember passwords to use their cards and, should they lose any of them, they not only have to cancel the cards and get new ones but have the added worry of identity theft.
That is just a one example of what the modern industrial society demands of its members. It does much more. Vast numbers of laws are passed which no person however conscientious can be expected to master (that includes lawyers) and the state imposes hideously bureaucratic procedures for everything from applying for a passport to gaining welfare benefits. The modern state even in in its most benign forms also increasing interferes actively through attempts to micro-manage the lives of those who come under its sway, whether that be congestion charging, the sorting of rubbish for environmental or the imposition of highly intrusive surveillance practices such as high-tech ID cards. More generally, it imposes ideologies such as political correctness on its population through the use of political propagandising and the passing of laws to make dissent difficult or simply illegal. That is what the benign form of the modern state does: its more malign incarnations do the same things but in a more extreme manner. All of this is mentally demanding and exhausting for any person to take on board and of course most people do not even try let alone succeed in knowing and observing every new law or de facto official custom.
But it is not only the state which makes increasing demands on the emotional and mental resources of its people. Partly because of technology and partly because of the demands of ever widening competition as national trade barriers are lowered, large private companies have joined the complexity party. Customers are expected to increasingly serve themselves, whether that is through the use of websites, automated telephone systems, onsite computer such as ATMs and checkout machines in supermarkets. It is increasingly difficult in many of the ordinary spheres of life to engage directly with another human being. (I examine the implications of computers in more detail in Appendix B)
A nasty question arises from this increasing complexity: are the demands made on humanity by the advanced modern state such as to distract them from learning things which previous generations learned. Do people today know much more about processes but have far less general knowledge than they once had? My feeling is that this is precisely what has happened. Does this make people on average less intelligent because the intelligence of erudition is reduced? If so, does this imply that populations as a whole are becoming less intellectually competent or merely intellectually competent in a different way? I suspect it is the former because the intelligence of erudition is the main source of human competence.
There is also the worrying prospect that technological advance may be proceeding so rapidly that the demands it makes on people in general may eventually outstrip the society’s general IQ capacity. At the least the additional demands are leaving millions of people in an increasing precarious position – an IQ of 80 is the point at which most psychologists would say that a person begins to struggle to live an independent life in a modern advanced society such as Britain. Approximately ten per cent of the population of Britain have IQs of 80 or below. That is six million people.
17. Low IQ behaviour
Low IQ individuals are not monsters, they are simply people with a more limited range of behaviour than the common run of homo sapiens, just as children display a more limited range of behaviour than a normal adult. In particular low IQ individuals have difficulty with abstractions. This has implications both for problem solving and the empathic understanding of other people.
A low IQ means that its possessor will find it difficult to deal with the demands of an advanced society because such a society will require a good deal of abstract thought, knowledge acquisition which is not related to the natural world, constant learning as information becomes outdated or additional information has to be learnt.
Of course the problems associated with a low IQ are not restricted only to the racial groups which possess an inferior IQ distribution In a country with an average IQ of 100 approximately a quarter of the population will have an IQ of 89 or less. Approximately ten per cent of such a population will have an IQ of 80 or less. But there are two important differences between such a society and a low IQ community. First, in a high IQ society the number with IQs which make them unfitted to live independent lives is comparatively small. Second, those with low IQs can rely on the help of the much larger group who form the higher IQ majority, the exact reverse of a low IQ society.
Because of the way human beings generally behave, favouring those most like themselves, it is probable that that the more ethnically/racially homogenous a society is the more likely it is for the low IQ individual to receive help from higher IQ individuals because of the enhanced sense of group solidarity. (Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism edited by Frank Salter provides substantial statistical evidence that as the diversity of a society increases support from the majority population for social provision falls).
18. High IQ behaviour
High IQ behaviour is more complex than low IQ behaviour for the beautifully simple reason that the high IQ individual has a wider range of intellectual competence than the low IQ individual.
A high IQ will, other things being equal, give its possessor an advantage in any occupation which relies significantly on IQ related skills. This does not have to be a high status occupation. For example, someone with an IQ of 160 will tend to be a more expert machinist than someone with a low IQ.
The higher the IQ the more people will tend to earn and the higher status job they will tend to occupy. However, when it comes to making a fortune (as opposed to inheriting it or gaining it through good fortune such as a win on the lottery), IQ is probably not the prime determinant. At best it might be a necessary but not sufficient condition but even that is dubious. Think of all the highly intelligent academics whose material circumstances are modest and the many people of little education and no obvious unusual intelligence who end up as multi-millionaires. The making a fortune would seem to be more a question of personality - having a risk-taking personality – persistence and circumstances. It is noteworthy that most successful entrepreneurs have quite a few attempts before succeeding. This suggests that a large part of their success is simply the willingness to keep trying and a disregard for the social harm they cause while failing. It may also be that because a high IQ is more likely to lead to higher intellectual activity, those with a high IQ are simply more interested in that activity rather than making money or building a company (entrepreneurship is not only about money).
19. Majority and minority
Ethnic minorities have a built-in insoluble problem – the majority population will invariably resent their presence if the ethnic population is of a size which allows them to effectively colonise a territory – and that territory may be as small as a few streets – and to be visible as a distinct group.
Where this happens the majority population will normally not feel any ethnic solidarity with the minority, while the ethnic minority will keep itself to itself. This will severely limit any assistance at the purely social level the majority gives to the ethnic minority populations. Where the minority is of a lower average IQ than the majority population they will not benefit from the help of the higher IQ majority in the same way that the lower IQ members of the high IQ majority are helped by higher IQ members of their own group.
The larger the minority group the more extreme its position will become because the larger it is the easier it is for a member of the minority to live without having social inter-action with the majority population. This will make the majority population even less inclined to offer aid to members of the minority. As mentioned previously (Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism), there is also solid evidence that the more racial and ethnically divided a society is, the less willing are its members, and particularly those of the majority group, to provide for social goods such as welfare or healthcare.
Because the low IQ minority has inadequate access to aid from those with higher IQs, as a group they will display a disproportionately high level of antisocial behaviour because they are less able to cope with the practical and psychological demands of a high IQ society . Being a low performing minority in a high IQ society also feeds the paranoia and victimhood of the minority, who tend to attribute their failure to succeed in the society to oppression and discrimination by the majority. They will make this attribution even when other higher IQ minorities in the society do succeed.
A higher IQ minority amidst a lower IQ majority is a much rarer phenomenon. The examples involving black majority populations are mostly restricted to colonial situations, whether past or extant, the most notable example being South Africa which is kept afloat as the most advanced state in black Africa by the white created infrastructure and continuing large-scale white involvement in the country.
Minorities of Ashkenazi Jews and Asians in Western countries have higher average IQs than the societies in which they live, but there are two important differences between their position and the position of whites in SA and their majority black population. The first is the fact that the difference between Ashkenazi Jews and Asians and that of the US majority population is nothing like as great as that between US blacks and whites . The second difference is that the white average IQ of 100 is adequate to create and sustain an advanced modern society.
20. A low IQ individual in a high IQ society
What does an individual do when faced with a situation which is beyond their experience or capabilities? Generally they panic at some level; at the least the person becomes very uncomfortable. The low IQ person placed in a society which is best suited to those with substantially higher IQs is potentially at risk of suffering such stress far more often than the higher IQ individual. Most dramatically, low IQ is associated with mental illness, viz:
“Many people with psychiatric disorders appear to have a lower than average level of intelligence prior to developing mental illness, study findings suggest. Dr Erik Lykke Mortensen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues therefore suggest that poor performance on cognitive tests among psychiatric patients could reflect low intelligence rather than the effects of the mental health disorder. For their study, the researchers identified 350 men in their late 20s who had a range of psychiatric disorders, all of whom had completed an IQ test when 18 years old. In all, nine different groups of psychiatric diagnoses were represented: schizophrenia and schizotypal disorders, other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, neuroses and related disorders, adjustment disorders, personality disorders, alcohol-related disorders, other substance use disorders and other diagnoses. All the psychiatric disorders, with the exception of mood disorders and neuroses and related disorders, were associated with a low IQ score, with scores for patients with the average scores for patients in the other psychotic disorders group 8 points below average, while they were 13 points below average for those in the substance use disorders group. Neither the social status of the parents nor the presence of psychiatric illness in the parents could explain the low IQ scores seen in the men.“ Low intelligence linked to a range of psychiatric disorders.
It is conceivable that the stress low IQ people experience in a high IQ society may be in part the cause of this greater incidence of mental illness. That could explain why blacks in Britain are massively over-represented in the mental health system while in countries such as Jamaica the incidence is not abnormally high. I say could because the difference between the incidence in Britain and Jamaica could be simply a reflection of the vastly different mental health resources in the two countries. There may also be an issue of racial discrimination: the Black Londoner’s Forum claims African Caribbean’s are 44% more likely to be sectioned, 29%more likely to be forcibly restrained, 50% more likely to be placed in seclusion and make up 30% of in patients on medium secure psychiatric wards, despite having similar rates of mental illness as British white people.
The behaviour of a low IQ individual in a high IQ society will largely depend on two things: the opportunity to live a life within the limits of their intellect and the extent to which their lives are controlled by the group in which they live.
A low IQ individual with a secure job asking little by way of skill or intellect but paying enough to allow the individual to marry and raise a family, can live a life which is neither socially disruptive nor unfulfilling for the person or those associated with him. The stability of such a person’s life will be increased by support mechanisms such as a closely integrated community, civil society institutions such as unions and friendly societies and the universal state provision of such necessities as education, healthcare and welfare. If the low IQ individual lives in a community with those who are of generally higher IQ, their behaviour can assist the low IQ individual to exist by offering assistance through direct help, example and the fact that the higher IQ individuals create a more secure and efficient society through their general behaviour and abilities. In addition, such a community can directly shape the behaviour of the low IQ individual by setting socially beneficial standards and norms which would be less likely to exist in a community of low IQ individuals.
Where a high IQ society removes or diminishes the opportunities for those with low IQs to live comfortably their behaviour will become more anti-social. For example, policies such as mass immigration and “free trade” diminish the quantity of work and the level of wages available to the lower IQ individual through increased job competition within the domestic market and the export of jobs. In addition, immigrants increase competition for community provided social goods such as healthcare and this bears most heavily on those with low IQs because they are disproportionately found amongst the poor. In such circumstances those with low IQs will be more prone to crime, unemployment, welfare dependency, poverty and social alienation.
The propensity for anti-social behaviour is enhanced where the elite inflates the sense of victimhood of a minority group which has a weak IQ profile. The trait has four strands: first, there is the overt promotion of the group’s victimhood by the elite; second, there is the removal from public debate of criticism of the group, third, the operation of double standards when dealing with the “victim” group and the rest of the population and fourth, the creation of formal privileges (affirmative action) and covert privileges (equality laws).
American blacks are a prime example of what happens when a low IQ ethnic group exists within an advanced society and the reins of the high IQ majority are slackened. They have a much higher rate of anti-social behaviour now, especially in areas such as illegitimacy and single parenthood, than they did before Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” legislation, a time of overt segregation in the South and widespread racial discrimination everywhere. The anti-social behaviour of blacks on average was higher than that of the majority white population even before the legislation in the 1960s, but their natural tendency to produce antisocial behaviour was restricted by the white majority behaviour which neither fed a sense of victimhood nor diminished the number of jobs most blacks could do by allowing vast immigration, increased imports and outsourcing. Nor was there the vast panoply of publicly funded support, both at the federal and state level, to make not working a viable proposition.
Regardless of race, the lower the IQ the more dependent a person is on the support of the group. Modern advanced societies, especially those in countries such as Britain and the USA, provide an ever weaker system of social support as the natural support groups from the family to a person’s social class are actively undermined by the trend towards greater general affluence and the increasing withdrawal of the state from the control of economic activity through their elites’ commitment to “globalism”, which is a curious hybrid of the laissez faire version of internationalism which extols the free movement of goods and services and people and the Left Internationalist ideal of humanity as a single social entity. This elite commitment, seen in its most extreme form in Britain over the past quarter century, undermines the opportunities for those at the lower end of the IQ distribution to gain and hold a job which is within their capabilities which will provide them with an income which will allow them to live an independent life.
The opening of national markets to imports from lower cost countries such as China destroys home based manufacturing, which however efficient cannot compete with producers who pay a tiny fraction of what a Western employer must pay both in terms of wages and in meeting the other bureaucratically imposed costs such as those relating to social security and health and safety.
Added to cheap imports are the mass immigration of cheap labour and the export of jobs such as call centre posts to low cost countries such as India. (Generally, employers who have to compete globally are ruthless in cutting staff). Finally, in the name of removing protectionist behaviour, governments are prevented by the treaties they have themselves signed from subsidising employers in their own countries.
The other side of the disadvantage coin is the movement towards the dismantling of the Welfare State on the ostensible grounds that it is “too costly”. In reality, this mentality is the consequence of globalism, which has greatly reduced democratic control in the First World by weakening the position of labour through the lowering of protectionist barriers and the cheap labour produced by mass immigration and by the committing of nation-states to international treaties which restrict national action and impinge upon the sense of ethnic solidarity.
Mass immigration provides not only immediate increased competition for scarce social goods, but causes a weakening of the will of the majority to support social provision because there is a reluctance to fund social goods for those who are seen as ethnically different.
The upshot of the weakening of social provision and individual ethnic help is, of course, an increased inability of the those with weak IQs to live comfortably or fulfilling in an advanced society. At best they risk being reduced to permanent pensioners of the more intellectually able members of their society.
21. The High IQ individual in a low IQ society
Insofar as the person’s life makes calls upon IQ related abilities the higher IQ individual will enjoy an advantage. However, such an individual could be at a considerable disadvantage simply because he will be abnormal. The society will value particular knowledge and skills and discount the value of intelligence. Indeed, intelligence may lead to behaviour which is viewed as dangerous because it is innovative.
Even if his high IQ does not result in behaviour judged to be “dangerous”, the high IQ individual will find his intelligence to be of far less use and advantage than it would be in a high IQ society because the range of problems to which the person’s intelligence can be harnessed are much more limited than they would be in a high IQ society.
The exception to this rule is where the high IQ minority is the controlling elite, either because they hold formal power (various Latin American countries) or because the country is de facto dependent upon them to maintain the society (South Africa).
22. High status/high IQ jobs
Some jobs by their nature require a strong IQ, for example, you will not find people with low IQs working as physicists or mathematicians. Anyone who has to master a complex technical job such as flying an airliner will have a healthy IQ.
But not all high status jobs require the mastery of a particular skill or ability that can be objectively measured and there is good circumstantial evidence that in many high status jobs an individual can get by with only a mediocre IQ. It is also true that job status is strongly class-dependent. Some jobs which are considered to have relatively low status in the context of a society as a whole because they are mostly done by those drawn from the lower social levels may require a strong IQ, for example, the skilled mechanic, the rank-and-file police detective.
Jobs also have status within their social stratum. The skilled mechanic will enjoy high status within the working class; a brain surgeon will trump a bank manager in middle class circles. A few occupations are beyond class, for example, those who exercise serious political power or, in our celebrity obsessed world, the likes of film stars.
The status of a job and of a person’s position within a work hierarchy can play an important part in disguising incompetence, as can political ideology. The Bell Curve identified an interesting trait in US society: blacks and Latinos are over represented in reputedly high status jobs such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, the over-representation plausibly being the consequence of an ideologically driven policy, namely, “positive” discrimination: –
“We have obtained SAT data on classes entering twenty-six of the nation’s top colleges and universities. In 1975, most of the nation’s elite private colleges and universities formed the Consortium on financing Higher Education (COHFHE, which amongst other things, compiles and shares information on thestudents at member institutions, including SAT scores. We have obtained these data for the classes entering in 1991 and 1992… In addition, the figure includes data on the University of Virginia and the University of California at Berkeley in 1988.” (The Bell Curve p451).
“The difference between black and white scores was less than 100 points at only one school, Harvard. It exceeded 200 points at nine schools, reaching its highest at Berkeley (288 points). Overall, the media difference between the black and white mean was 180 SAT points, or conservatively estimated, about 1.3 standard deviations.” Ibid p451
For US graduate schools Murray and Herrstein found that in Law school only 7 per cent of blacks had scores above the white mean. The figures for medical schools were similar to those of the Law schools, while the arts and sciences were slightly stronger. The Bell Curve pp455-8.
As for teachers, affirmative action in the workplace Teacher competency exams showed whites passing at twice the rate of blacks in three of the four states cited – California, New York and Georgia – with Pennsylvania the odd man out with a white/black pass rate of 93/68. The Bell Curve P494
It is difficult to conclude anything other than that the intellectual quality of blacks working in medicine, law and education is on average substantially less than those of whites and Asians and that this inferiority will manifest itself in a reduced ability of blacks to do the job However, many blacks manifestly do survive in such jobs. How do they do it? The answer is a mixture of the subjective nature of the subjects (even the law allows many interpretations), status and political correctness.
Take the case of medicine. It is far from being an exact science. Consequently, many mistakes remain hidden because an error can be explained away as being a reasonable opinion which just happened to be wrong, misdiagnosis would be the classic example of this behaviour.
To this “get out of jail free card” can be added the natural respect that a doctor carries for most people, including other medical staff, the ignorance of the general public on medical matters and a very strong reluctance on the part of medical staff to make a complaint about other medical staff. All this makes people generally reluctant to question a doctor’s behaviour. Where the doctor is from a group which is protected by political correctness these natural barriers become amplified.
The power of all these traits can be seen from the frequent cases of unqualified people successfully impersonating doctors for long periods of time. There have even been a few cases of people successfully impersonating surgeons for years.
But there is another reason why those with low to mediocre IQs get away with being doctors: medicine is not the most intellectually demanding profession (it used to be known as the stupid profession). To be medically competent a doctor needs a powerful memory – to master the very large amount of information presented to him during training and ongoing post-training experience – and personality traits which allow him to both judge patients and be able to inspire trust and confidence in them. What it does not require most of the time is very high level problem solving.
Despite the limited intellectual demands of medicine it is accounted a high IQ profession nowadays, at least by implication, and the academic entry requirements for medical school grow ever more stringent. Why? There is great competition to enter the profession because it has high status and pays well. This means that higher IQ candidates for medical school will, other things being equal, be preferred to those with lower IQs. In short, medicine today is probably burdened with higher IQ personnel than it requires.
But over-qualification applies only to those who are not beneficiaries of “positive” discrimination and lower IQ candidates come from the groups who do benefit from such favouritism. Because of the reasons given above, they can survive because the job does not make intellectual demands which unambiguously reveals their inadequacy. In addition, those who benefit from “positive” discrimination will tend to generally benefit from political correctness, for this will drive those outside the protection of political correctness – in the developed world white doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators- to cover up the inadequacies of the low IQ politically correct protected doctor. Ironically, the higher than necessary IQ of those doctors outside the politically correct fold will assist in the process of covering up because they will tend to be more competent at doing so because of their higher IQ and greater competence.
What is true of medicine applies to many other high status jobs. People with low to mediocre IQs can and survive for long periods in positions which are patently beyond their competence (this of course applies to all races not merely blacks). There is far more to competence than just IQ, but often the incompetence is ascribable to a lack of IQ-related problem solving ability – the Dilbert cartoon strip deals brilliantly with both the question of incompetents in high places and the different qualities required by people in different jobs.
Even more fundamental to understanding how low IQ individuals survive in high status jobs is the fact that having an incompetent in a high status job does not automatically mean that the operation of the organisation or unit they work within is dysfunctional. If the incompetent person is a senior manager the people under him will compensate for the person’s incompetence by quietly ignoring what the manager says should be done, by using their intelligence and experience and by following standard rules and practices. Organisations of any size but the very smallest have an in-built functionality which transcends the individual.
The larger and more complex the organisation is the less important the position of a senior manager becomes, because the larger the organisation the greater the in-built functionality and the less the effect an individual can have on the organisation, try as they may. Anyone who doubts this should examine the careers of those who have risen to be chief executives of large public companies which they have not founded (entrepreneurs who create their own businesses are a different kettle of fish). Their careers are almost invariably patchy: they have success at one company then fail at another. But once they are on the corporate CEO gravy train it is the devil’s own job to get them off. Like high profile Premiership football managers, no matter how often they fail there is seemingly always another big job waiting for them.
What applies to private business applies in spades to public servants, both because there is no bottom line (the taxpayer pays regardless of outcome) and because those ultimately responsible are the politicians who misuse their power to cover up mistakes where possible, and where it is not, to pretend that a monumental piece of incompetence is nothing of the sort. They get away with it in the main because most so-called democratic systems (in reality elective oligarchies) are tightly controlled by an elite which manages to bar by one means or another (sociological inertia, control of the media and so on) any new political force from gaining power or even influence. Even where a new party does gain power, it is almost always comprised of the same class of people who held power before. The electorate is left with no meaningful choice and the politicians as a class are literally irresponsible in such circumstances.
Positions of authority generally offer the low or mediocre IQ individual a great deal of latitude, because such people are protected from an objective examination of their performance by their status and because they can call upon the ability of others to do the high IQ work. They can also take the ideas of their subordinates for their own and place the blame for failure on their subordinates. The higher the status of the job, the greater the ability of the low IQ individual to hide their inadequacies, both moral and intellectual.
Much of what those in positions of authority do is little more than the exercise of personality plus the acting out of learned positions. This is particularly obvious in the case of politicians who commonly operate simply on the recitation of learned statements rather than responding intelligently to questioning or the demands of situation. Often when politicians are forced by circumstances to make a serious attempt at explaining something they make a frightful hash of it because they do not have any proper understanding of the subject.
The case of George W Bush is an extreme example of this behaviour. When presented with a prepared speech which he has rehearsed extensively and with the use of a teleprompt, he can speak fluently, although even in these circumstances he will get some of the phrasing of his delivery comically wrong by placing stresses where there should be none. But put Bush into a situation where he has to answer questions without any prior knowledge of what is to be asked and his speech takes on a chaotic form with stretches of hesitancy followed by passages where he suddenly becomes fluent for a sentence or two, although the fluent passages often have no direct relevance to the question he is answering – this, of course, is a common politician’s ploy, but Bush does not use the tactic as a means of avoiding the question but to fill the space with words, any words. This behaviour is easily explained: Bush cannot deal with questions on the hoof. This leads him to stutter and hesitate until he remembers something he has learned parrot fashion which he then trots out. Once this is delivered he is back to not knowing what to say and the stumbling hesitancy re-surfaces.
What applies to politicians has application to not only people in authority but in some degree to any person. For much of any person’s life, both social and working, the individual can get by without needing to exercise higher intellectual functions. For a large part of the population their lives can be lived without ever having to exercise high level intellectual functions because, contrary to popular opinion, most jobs in a modern advanced state are as they have always been: mundane.
The high status people who cannot easily hide their incompetence are those who undertake jobs which can be judged objectively, most commonly those involving a technical ability such as an engineer or scientist. Bluff there will not carry you through, well, not unless you are a cosmologist.
Tellingly, although the black middleclass has increased massively in the USA over the past 50 years, the distribution of blacks across the full gamut of middleclass occupations is uneven. For example, black academics have become much more common in the USA in the past fifty years, but there are few in the indubitably high IQ subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry. I was tempted to include philosophy but that is a subject which is difficult to define. It is indubitably a high IQ subject when done well, but it can also be done badly and still get an academic hearing in a way that work by an incompetent physicist could not. Hence, quite a few blacks have entered philosophy departments but what they produce is more social commentary and political polemic than analytical philosophy in the Western tradition. Certainly, no major black philosopher in that tradition exists. Where blacks do appear in great numbers in academia is in “black” studies, an area in which they can rule the roost with virtually no academic challenge because of political correctness.
23. How the IQ level of a society rises
How natural selection works on the mind is still uncertain, but if the attributes of mind are substantially genetically determined then they must be subject to natural selection. If this is the case then natural selection would favour differences in mentality which are suited to particular environments.
The mechanics of a rising average IQ would seem to be simple. If IQ is genetically determined, in part or whole, it will be subjected to natural selection. If a higher IQ is advantageous in an environment it will be preferentially selected. That will result in an increase in the average IQ within the group. From that increase will arise the possibility, but not the necessity, of more complex social arrangements. If such arrangements occur, natural selection will favour ever more strongly the high IQ which in turn will provide the opportunity for a yet more complex society. And so on ad infinitum or at least to the limits of what can be achieved within homo sapiens. (Of course, it may become possible for Man to go beyond what natural selection can achieve by means such as cybernetics or genetic engineering.)
The ability of a racial group to naturally evolve into more sophisticated societies is not a certain or rapid thing. The vast periods of time in which, from the palaeontological and archaeological evidence we have, little social change appears to have occurred are testimony to that. More certainly we know that throughout historical times different human populations have lived in very different stages of social evolution. Even today we see people living around the world in every social state from hunter-gatherer to the most sophisticated form of the modern industrialised society.
What we are talking about is the potential to evolve socially. This potential may lay untapped for tens of thousands of years, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, because the point is not reached where an increase in average group IQ coincides with an environment favourable to utilise the potential of the increased average group IQ.
Social evolution could also be delayed if the move from a simpler to a more complex society requires a certain average group IQ to be reached, a critical mass if you will. For example, imagine that a group of hunter-gatherers starts with an average IQ of 50 and this gradually rises. Imagine further that to become a settled community indulging in farming requires and average IQ of 70. Of course, such radical cultural change is unlikely to ever have been so brutally direct or mechanical for any hunter-gather group will have moved by degrees from hunter-gathering to farming, but the general principle holds good.
It is noticeable that the major racial groups have reached different degrees of social evolution. It is not that any single racial group has reached a uniform level of social evolution, rather that the different racial groups seem to have an upper limit to the level of general social and cultural evolution each can achieve. For example, no black society created a system of writing as far as is known and nowhere outside of Europe did forms of government which went beyond monarchical autocracy evolve naturally – countries outside Europe have of course mimicked, at least in form if often not in content, non-autocratic systems after contact with Europeans.
Another way of judging whether racial type places limits to social evolution is to look at how the various major racial groups have responded to the example of more sophisticated societies. Whites in Europe and their descendents abroad have shown a general ability to imitate the leaders in social evolution, whether that be Rome and Greece in the ancient world, Italy in the Renaissance or Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Asians have shown themselves capable of rapidly copying the white example in some respects at least, most notably by industrialising. Blacks are the odd man out. Nowhere is there a black majority society which has managed to modernise by its own efforts. Indeed, it is not possible to find a black majority society of any size which has been capable of modernising successfully even with a great deal of outside support from the First World.
24. Why have Asians not dominated?
Why have Asians not dominated human cultural evolution? How can it be that the racial group which has the highest average IQ is not that which has reached, to date, the greatest cultural achievement, wealth and power?
Before I answer that question, let me debunk some of the Western myths about China so that we start from the proper historical and cultural place when assessing Asian achievement and development. (The Asian population is of course more than China, but China by population represents most Asians and Asians at their most culturally advanced throughout history until perhaps the last century, since when Japan has arguably taken the lead).
Insofar as people in the West think about China’s place in history – and most do not think about it at all – they normally believe that China has long been a unified state sharing a single culture and a single language with a continuous history stretching back thousands of years (thus making it unique) and that it was always culturally and technologically in advance of the West until relatively recently, the “relatively recently” being anything from 1500 to as late as 1800 AD depending on which authority you choose to follow. Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilisation in China is the prime example of someone propagating this myth.
The reality is that the history of China has been as politically messy and fractured as that of Europe, arguably more so because their territory is larger and their population throughout history has been substantially greater than that of Europe. The country was not even nominally unified until the third century BC - under the short lived Chhin dynasty (221-207 BC) and has spent more than half of the time since being split between competing dynasties, for example, the Northern and Southern Sung 960-1126, times of general warlordism (5/6th centuries AD) or subject to foreign invaders such as the Mongols (1279-1368) and the Manchu (1644-1912). Moreover, even at times of supposed unification the actual amount of control exercised by Emperors was necessarily small compared with that achieved by the modern industrialised state because the means to govern vast territories and large populations was minute in the past compared with our own day. China is also so far from being a single racial/ethnic entity that today it contains within its borders approximately 100 million people who are in modern Western terms ethnic minorities.
As for the supposed cultural unity, the spoken language is very far from being a single tongue understood throughout China. The division between Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese is reasonably well known in the West, but the fracturing of Chinese goes far beyond that. For example, the erstwhile Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping spoke with such a heavy accent and dialect that his daughter had to translate for him when he spoke in public. Nor is the written language a single language similarly understood by all literate Chinese - different characters are used in different parts of the country and the same character may have different nuances depending on the origins of the reader.
In short, it makes no more sense to speak of China as a continuous state or single civilisation than it does to speak of Europe as a continuous state or single civilisation.
Nor is it true that there is a special antiquity to Chinese civilisation. In matters such as writing and the use of metals, the Chinese were at best no earlier than the civilisations of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and arguably behind them, especially in writing.
The claim that the Chinese were throughout history more culturally advanced than Europe until fairly recently is especially weak. It is only necessary to reflect on the archaeological and historical evidence of the cultural achievements of the Egyptians, those in the fertile crescent (Assyria, Babylon), the Cretans, Mycenaeans and the immense achievements of ancient Greece and Rome to realise that the China of antiquity was not superior in terms of their physical control of the world. To take one striking example, few Chinese buildings pre-dating the Ming era (1368-1644) are extant; most buildings, including those of the great, before that date being of timber. Compare that with the great stone buildings of the European and Mediterranean ancient world, the magnificent castles, abbeys, cathedrals and churches of the European mediaeval world and the amazing architectural diversity of the European modern period.
Of course, it is very easy to cherry pick particular material accomplishments at particular times and places, but fail to place them in their general historical context by posing questions such was an invention followed through and did it become generally used? Such a failure gives a wholly unbalanced picture of the relative merits of cultures. It is true that before the modern period (say 1500 AD) the Chinese can be shown to have had certain inventions before Europe but the opposite also applies, for example, the Chinese had the compass before Europe, but Europe boast priority with the Archimedean screw.
Even where China produced an invention before Europe and then Europe introduced it at a later date, it does not follow that Europe copied that invention from China or the experience of using the invention was the same in Europe as in China. The classic example of this is printing with moveable type. China and Korea had moveable type many centuries before Gutenberg printed his great Bible in the 15th century, but there is no evidence that Gutenberg was influenced in any way by the far Eastern example. Discrete invention of the same thing or process in different cultures is common. Not only that, whereas moveable type printing never gained widespread use in China it very rapidly became the norm in Europe, most probably because written European languages are based on an alphabetical system with a few characters while written Chinese is an ideographic language with thousands of ideograms, each of which requires a single block of type. Since 1700 at the latest, European technology has utterly dwarfed the achievements of the Chinese.
There is of course far more to civilisation than its material consequences. The intellectual and social science, philosophy, art, political structure and so on. Here China also falls well short of Europe.
China never managed to develop anything worthy of the name of science. Throughout their history the Chinese have been very inventive when it comes to producing artefacts and practical solutions to particular problems but have displayed a remarkable lack of interest in developing theory from those practical solutions to provide general explanations of the world.
It is also noteworthy that although the Chinese produced many important inventions such as gunpowder, they commonly failed to exploit them either at all or to develop them substantially. When Europeans began to make regular contact with China in the seventeenth century the guns of the Europeans were much superior to those of the Chinese despite the latter having invented gunpowder. Looking at the frequent failures to develop inventions the suspicion arises that often an invention was produced to amuse or serve the interests of a powerful person rather than with the idea of making it a commercial proposition or from a simple interest in the challenge of making it and subsequently understanding how it could be improved. Lord McCartney, who headed the first official British diplomatic mission to China in 1793/4 noted “Most of the things the Chinese know they seem to have invented themselves, to have applied them solely to the purpose wanted, and to never have thought of improving or extending them further” (A Journal of the embassy to China), while Adam Smith commented in the latter half of the 18th century that “China has been long one of the richest, that is, one of the most fertile, best cultivated, most industrious and most populous countries in the world. It seems, however, to have long been stationary. Marco Polo, who visited it more than five hundred years ago, describes its cultivation, industry and populousness , almost in the same terms in which they are described by travellers in the present times”. (The Wealth of Nations Penguin edition p 174.)
Philosophy as we would understand it in the West, that is, analytical thought examining the nature of reality with in theory at least an absence of ideological baggage clouding the issue, is virtually missing from Chinese history. Traditional Chinese philosophy never divorced itself entirely from religion and was predominantly concerned with how society should be ordered. Its primary purpose was social control. It is more a series of maxims than an exercise in philosophical enquiry. The let-everything-be-challenged method found intermittently in Western philosophy from at least the sixth century BC onwards appears foreign to the Chinese mind. Interestingly, they were great compilers of what we would call encyclopaedias. They delighted in recording what was already known or thought, rather than investigating what was not known or might be thought.
A similar resistance to change can be seen in Chinese art and fashion. Look at contemporary depictions of Chinese and the dress of a Chinese in 1000 AD is much the same as the dress of a Chinese in 1800. Chinese art shows a similar stability over the same period, being for the most part heavily constrained by artistic conventions. Where there is a deviation from such academic artistic discipline it is mainly found in periods where foreign invaders gained power, most noticeably under the Mongol emperors who imported craftsmen and artists from here, there and everywhere. Looking at Chinese fashions and art over time is similar to viewing Egyptian artefacts which show a remarkable stability over several thousand years. This is the direct antithesis of the general European cultural experience which consistently shows change in fashion and art.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Chinese is their political and social development. Politically, the Chinese never really moved beyond the rather primitive state of believing in an absolute ruler who was a god or a man directly in touch with gods and warlordism. There were attempts to introduce more rational and less absolute forms of government, but these were invariably short lived. Ideologies such as Confuscianism attempted to lay down moral rules for rulers, but that was about the limit of any sustained attempt to restrain emperors with anything short of violence. Ideas of constitutions restricting what government may do, representative government or direct democracy were simply alien to Chinese society.
State administration is often lauded as an area of great Chinese superiority, with the Mandarin system put forward as evidence of this, appointment by examination having begun as early as the 7th century AD. But was it really superior to that of the Roman Empire, which pre-dated it by centuries, or more impressive than that of the Catholic church at the height of its power? Arguably, the Mandarin system was primarily an expression of the general trait of Chinese society to control and categorise rather than a system designed to meet a particular need, as opposed to the administrations of Europe which developed to serve needs such as the management of money.
Below formal government it is difficult to discern in Chinese history anything which could be described as civil society, those organisations and relationships which perform a civic social function but which are not part of the formal political structure, for example, charities, clubs, the co-operative movement and trade unions. Chinese life has traditionally revolved around the family – including a strong dose of ancestor worship – with any social organisation beyond that being the province of those in authority. There is nothing which resembles the corporate charitable concern for the poor found within the Catholic Church let alone a formal legal obligation such as the English Poor Law of 1601.
A society which leaves the vast majority of a society in abject penury and a small elite with immense wealth is a primitive form of social organisation. It is a form known since the beginning of history unlike the settled societies which have spread wealth more evenly, which are all of more recent growth. Left to its own devices Chinese society never went beyond the great disparity of wealth state. When Europeans began to gain first hand experience of China from the seventeenth century onwards a common observation was the tremendous disparity of wealth. Here is Adam Smith again: “The poverty of the lower ranks of people in China far surpasses that of the most beggarly nations in Europe” (The Wealth of Nations p174), but “the rich, having a superabundance of food to dispose of beyond what they can themselves consume, have the means of purchasing the labour of other people. The retinue of a grandee in China or Indostan accordingly is, by all accounts, much more numerous and splendid than the richest subjects in Europe” (The Wealth of Nations p310).
This brief de-bunking of the myth of Chinese cultural superiority carries within it suggestions of why Asians have not achieved cultural supremacy despite their superior IQ distribution. IQ is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for cultural advance. What is missing from the Asian mentality to have hindered their advance? Could it simply be that a combination of sufficiently propitious circumstances have never arisen to drive them beyond a certain point, that Europe surged ahead simply by luck rather than any innate difference? This would seem to be most unlikely because of the length of time during which China has been a sophisticated society with substantial technological and organisational achievements.
Why did China never make the jump from by-guess-and-by-God technology to true science? Why did China show so little interest in analytical philosophy? Why did China never develop a political system more sophisticated than that of the god-Emperor when Europeans ran through just about every form of political organisations there is in the past 2,500 years, most of them before the birth of Christ? Why was the idea of political participation, so widespread in Europe in both the ancient and the late mediaeval world, absent in China? Why was there an absence of civil society in China? These differences would seem to be more than culturally determined, to be the cultural expressions of innate tendencies in behaviour.
IQ is far from being the only measurable innate difference between races (insofar as IQ is innate). J Philippe Ruston in Race, Evolution and Behaviour lists several dozen race-dependent variables under the headings of Brain size, Intelligence, Maturation rate, Personality, Social organisation and Reproductive effort. Under Personality are listed the following: activity level, aggressiveness, cautiousness, dominance, impulsivity, self-concept, sociability. On all of these except cautiousness blacks score higher than whites who in turn score higher than Asians. With cautiousness the position is reversed with blacks scoring lower than whites who score lower than Asians. It is not unreasonable to interpret these differences as the Asian personality being less enquiring or adventurous than that of whites, less sociable and more submissive.
The ascending ranking of black-white-Asian is steady throughout almost all the variables described by Ruston – the odd men out are administrative efficiency and cultural achievement which Rushton ranks as simply “higher” for both whites and Asians than for blacks. Arguably, those are the two variables most open to subjectivity and, judged by the entire sweep of human history, it would seem to be stretching a point to put whites and Asians on the same level in these two areas. As previously mentioned, whites managed an industrial revolution from scratch, created modern science, developed analytical philosophy and very early on evolved many varied forms of political life, including direct democracy. Before European examples were put before those, Asians never advanced much beyond by-guess-and-by-God technology, had nothing moderns would describe as science, possessed no analytical philosophy and did not develop a political system more sophisticated than that of the absolute monarch.)
When they are a minority in high IQ societies Asians tend to fill technical posts – which favour higher IQs – or engage in business, much of which is conducted within their own racial group. They make surprisingly little headway in areas which require the highest level “people skills”, such as formal politics or interest groups. Whether they as a minority live in high or low IQ societies Asians display an extremely strong tendency to keep within their own communities, but unlike many other minority groups they generally do not engage in much overt antisocial behaviour – their crime tends to be directed at other members of the racial group – and display little overt ethnic aggression such as portraying themselves as victims of racism or by demanding racially based privileges for their group. This behaviour also fits the Asian personality template described above.
There is a further consideration. IQ is not of a piece. Although Asian IQ is higher than white IQ overall, it is not higher in all respects. Asians score substantially higher than whites on non-verbal tests but are significantly inferior to whites on verbal tests. They score particularly strongly on spatial tests. These differences in the quality of racial IQs fit neatly into the differences listed by Ruston and to work such as Freedman’s. The inferior verbal ability of Asians fits with the idea of reduced sociability. The greater aptitude on non-verbal tests could be plausibly be interpreted as meaning that the Asian mind is adapted to solving what I would call bounded problems, that is, problems which have objective boundaries such as how do we build this canal? rather than problems without such boundaries such as what is the good? and what is art?
The limitations of the Chinese intellect can be seen in their adherence to an ideographic form of writing. If one set a genius and a dullard the task of developing a system of writing, the genius would come up with an alphabetical system and the dullard some form of pictorial representation. The genius would produce the alphabetical system because he would see beyond the obvious and immediate and eschew the literal representation of a thing or idea, while the dullard would see only the obvious and immediate way of representing a thing or idea. The genius would go for the less obvious because he would see that it was both more economical and powerful a means of representation because it required only a small number of signs to express infinity of things and ideas. The dullard would merely see a need to keep on adding to the number of signs.
Of course the Chinese went far beyond crude pictograms which each literally depicted something, but by retaining a pictorial system in which each thing or idea had to be represented by a particular sign or group of signs they retained the problems associated with a non-alphabetical system, namely its lack of economy and flexibility, there being several thousand characters associated with written Chinese. The sheer number of characters makes the learning of written Chinese a monumental task, especially for those learning the written language as an adult. Many, probably the large majority, of foreigners who speak Chinese cannot read and/or write it. Nor is this purely a non-Asian trait. When the Chinese communists attempted to create a literate China in the 1950s they found that many pupils simply were not up to the task – there was a spate of suicides at the time amongst those being forced to learn to read and write Chinese. The Chinese met this difficulty by introducing a system of 1,000 simplified characters and a 25 letter Roman alphabet was introduced into Chinese primary schools in 1957 to help with pronunciation.
Why did the major representatives of the group with the highest IQ not only start down the dullard’s path with a written language but continues on that path today despite its very obvious disadvantages? Perhaps the answer lies in their IQ and other psychometrically measurable traits. If Asians have minds which are orientated toward the visual, perhaps it is natural to prefer a pictorial system of writing. Nonetheless it is strange that such an obviously cumbersome system should have been retained for so long by the Chinese – the racially similar Koreans adopted an alphabetical system of writing in the 15th Century. Of course, literacy in China was very restricted and it may have been retained simply because it was the system known to the elite (who were its prime users) and cultural inertia became the controlling force. It also had the advantage for the elite of naturally restricting literacy, because of the considerable mental demands the written language makes on the individual when they are learning it. However, such an advantage in the past is a positive disadvantage today and has been since the Chinese first had to compete with modern advanced societies.
We have the experience of more than a century of industrialisation and Westernisation in Japan and several generations of such behaviour in South Korea and Taiwan. China has gone down the industrialising road intermittently for over a century and full-bloodedly for the past quarter century. These societies have had the example of the white experience of industrialisation, science and general cultural heritage before them. Despite this and whatever their economic success, and that is patchy vide Japan‘s post-1980s stagnation and the oceanic gulf between coastal city China and the vast Chinese interior, compared with white societies there has been in Asian societies since their opening up to the West remarkably little evidence of fundamental scientific discovery or technological innovation which goes beyond the adaptation of what has been invented or discovered elsewhere. Nor, despite the very large numbers of Asians living in advanced white majority societies, can one find front-rank scientists or technologists in proportion to their proportion to the population, a surprising fact when Asian academic achievement and business involvement is on average higher than that of whites (anyone who doubts Asian under-representation in this area should try identifying Asians living in white majority societies who fit the description of front-rank scientists and technologists).
The willingness to imitate white societies extends to culture. The Japanese in particular are famous for aping both high and low white culture, from Beethoven to the Beatles. Asian Harry Potter fans are amongst the most frenzied in the world. The architecture of whites is copied enthusiastically and extensively and is accompanied by a widespread willingness to destroy indigenous architecture, the white concern for giving a special value to the old and preserving being weak in Asian majority societies. An equivalent mass response to Asian culture simply does not exist in white societies – the most that can be found are periodic outbreaks of the use of oriental art and motifs by white designers. This willingness to imitate might seem odd in view of the traditionally static cultural nature of Asian societies. It might be ascribed to the feelings of inferiority which Asian societies felt when faced with the power of industrialised societies and at least in China’s case, a sense of humiliation because of past white quasi-colonial involvement in China. If this explanation is believed Asians copy white behaviour because they are proving to themselves that they are not inferior to white society by emulating what white societies have achieved. However, that shows a strange lack of ambition. Why not aspire to do something beyond what whites have done? (Many Chinese would say they are industrialising and modernising generally now simply because they were held back in the past by white control and manipulation of their societies, however difficult that is to fit with the facts that foreign influence over China effectively ended in 1949 and their general failure to advance before Western meddling began in the 19th century).
An alternative explanation is that Asians imitate so readily because it is natural for them to do so because their general personality traits lead them to do it. Or rather, it is natural for them to imitate in certain aspects of life but not others. Where Asians do not show such an appetite for imitation is in social structures . The Japanese and South Koreans may have formally adopted systems of elective government from white examples, but within these the traditional social relations remain – practices are accepted which in the West would be considered straight forward bribery of voters or undue influence over them, for example “clan” loyalties. Or take the rule of law. In Japan, supposedly the most Westernised of Asian societies, hardly anyone who is brought to trial for a criminal offence is acquitted, a nonsense for any meaningful system of justice As for China, uniquely amongst Communist countries, the Communist elite have managed to retain control whilst allowing capitalism but eschewing democratisation or the idea of the law being above manipulation by the state.
Why do Asians imitate in some ways but not others? I suspect that the answer rests on what is the elite view of society. Traditionally, the Chinese elite were always contemptuous of other peoples, routinely treating them as subordinate peoples who owed tribute to the Emperor (Lord Macartney‘s. gifts to the Emperor in 1794 were described as tribute). Macartney, who visited China before white interference in the country , constantly referred to the fact that the Chinese had what we would now describe as a monstrous superiority complex and that when presented with products of the early Industrial Revolution, the equivalent of which were unknown in China, they frequently refused to show any overt interest in them. Macartney left China having failed to gain what he had been charged with obtaining, namely, the right of British merchants to trade in China.
A similar refusal to engage with white societies can be found in Japan, which after some experience of white merchants and priests, took the dramatic step of sealing off Japan from all but the most limited European contact for three centuries until the American Commodore Perry forced trade with the white world upon them in 1853.
Once Japan had engagement with the West forced upon them a new elite ideology emerged which saw imitation of certain aspects of white society as the way to compete with those societies. This new elite ideology was accepted by the mass of their population with astonishing readiness bearing in mind the previous refusal to engage with outsiders (there was even a proposal in the 1870s for English to replace Japanese as the language of Japan.) Why did this happen? Most probably because the general personality profile of Asians makes them unusually susceptible to authority. Imitation of white social relationships did not occur so readily because such relationships are themselves the product of innate personality traits . (It is worth bearing in mind that Japan decided to modernise without being quasi-colonised in the fashion of China.)
In summary, despite their higher average IQ, Asians have probably failed to become the culturally dominant race because their innate personality traits work against them. They are too passive, too unquestioning, too lacking in initiative. The shape of their IQ with higher non-verbal scores and lower verbal scores may be wholly or partially the cause of these personality traits or, conversely, the shape of the IQ is simply an expression of the personality traits. Other biological traits such as low testosterone levels may also promote such behaviour.
25. Why have whites dominated?
Plausibly, whites have been the culturally dominant race – in the sense of creating the most sophisticated societies to date - because they marry a high average IQ with a superior verbal ability to that of Asians. This means they can both handle the IQ demands of an advanced sophisticated society and have sufficient sociability to create structures which extend the group loyalty and sense of oneness beyond the family or tribe without resorting to unashamed authoritarian control, for example civil society and representative government. They display strong traits of initiative, imagination and intellectual curiosity, traits which may be linked to their relatively high sociability, a behaviour which encourages emulation and competition between and within the sexes. Other biological traits such as testosterone levels somewhere between blacks and Asians may also promote such behaviour.
There is evidence that enhanced traits of individuality and imagination go back to the beginnings of modern European man. The vast majority of extant cave paintings in the world are found in Europe, especially in the west of the continent. (The cave art of the Palaeolithic and the finely honed flint tools of the later Stone Age, whose workmanship goes far beyond the demands of the demands of simple utility, arguably represent a higher state of development than the 19th Century Tasmanians).
The great ancient white civilisations which arose around the Mediterranean, those of Greece and Rome, show an immense fertility of mind. It is here that we first find evidence of analytical thought as a conscious pursuit. Their art is both extensive and varied and subject to fashion, that is, it changes regularly over time. That art, both visual and literary, is concerned with either homo sapiens or gods who share human qualities, evidence of a similar mentality to that which drove the Renaissance. In terms of advanced social organisation, the Greeks created the idea of direct democracy and the Romans incorporated democratic aspects into the first great European political entity.
These traits continued throughout the mediaeval European world, even though they were gradually placed ever more firmly in the constraining context of Christianity. Illuminated European manuscripts often reveal a lively irreverence and interest in the profane world in their illustrations, monarchs, great nobles and religious orders vied with one another to produce ever more magnificently egotistical material statements in the form of gorgeous illuminated manuscripts, great castles and religious buildings, parliaments were created in many kingdoms. Intellectuals such as Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Peter Abelard and William of Occam wrestled with the implications of existence. Then came the Renaissance which saw the qualities of individuality and imagination given full rein, aided by the advance of the vernacular throughout Europe and, most importantly, printing. From that point onwards the general cultural advance of Europe has never faltered and has produced science, high technology, representative government and an ever changing kaleidoscope of artistic endeavour. These were the building blocks of modernity.
The acceptance of Christianity within Europe is interesting in itself for the religion embodies the notion of individualism, both in the personification of God and the individual’s relationship with God. Moreover, the placing of God in human form in the person of Christ echoes the humanising of the Greek and Roman gods. Old wine in new bottles.
26. Blacks: the odd man out
Blacks occupy a special place in the relationship between IQ and social organisation for two reasons: they have the lowest average IQ and the difference in IQ distribution between them and the other two broad racial groups (whites and Asians) is much greater than it is between whites and Asians, assuming the latter gap exists.
Many have difficulty accepting the average black African IQ of 70. Professor J Phillipe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario addressed this disbelief in an intriguing article for VDARE.COM ‘Solving The African IQ Conundrum : “Winning Personality” Masks Low Scores’(http://www.vdare.com/asp/printPage.asp?url=):”I know that the figure is not a fluke…. because for the last six years I have collected African IQ data on hundreds of students at the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. The average IQ for these African students turns out to be 84. Assuming they score 15 points above the general average, as university students of any group typically do, then an average African IQ of 70 is implied exactly what the direct measurements show.”
Rushton goes on to use the out-of-academic-fashion concept of mental age: “An IQ of 70 in adults…is equivalent to a mental age of about 11 years. This would make the normal range of mental ages found in Africa to be from less than 9 years to almost 14 years.” (The average IQ of whites is 100 which means their normal range of mental ages is 14 to 18 years.)
But not all low IQs are equal according to Prof Rushton, viz: “An IQ of 70 suggests mental retardation: at least it would in the White populations of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. There it would frequently be associated with dysfunctional social behaviour and visible deficiencies.
“This is because, as Arthur Jensen pointed out in his 1998 book, The g Factor, retardation in Whites is often the result of a single gene or chromosomal anomaly, which also causes physical abnormalities and mechanical deficiencies effecting motor or speech skills. But, clearly, these abnormalities and deficiencies are not seen in the bulk of the black population of Sub-Saharan Africa.”
As for measured personality traits Rushton says “They are outgoing, talkative, sociable, warm, and friendly. Psychometrically speaking, they score high on the Extraversion personality dimension. They are also much less anxious, shy, and fearful than Whites they are low in the Neuroticism dimension. This combination of high Extraversion and low Neuroticism results in a socially dominant personality profile. “ This contrasts with the more introverted behaviour of whites and the even more introverted behaviour of Asians.
Rushton also cites studies which show that blacks
- rated themselves as more attractive than did whites.
rated themselves higher in reading, science and social studies than whites , although they knew their academic performance was lower than whites.
Put together the mental age of 9 to 14 and the psychometric traits listed above and much is explained. In any society/, whether they are in the minority or majority, black adult behaviour , and especially black adult male behaviour, commonly mimics what one would expect from children varying from the pre-pubescent to the early adolescent: high self-esteem regardless of the objective facts of their lives, a lack of self-consciousness, considerable vocalisation, a propensity to noisy display generally, a love of the gaudy, a poor ability to handle abstract reasoning, a failure to understand the consequences of actions, a weak sense of personal responsibility and a general sense of living in the moment.
White bias ? Well, apart from the objective evidence of traits such as a disproportionate tendency to desert the mothers of their children, a lack of sexual continence resulting in the fathering of children with multiple mothers and disproportionate criminality (The Bell Curve documents these traits in great detail) it is possible to point to such things as the content of rap music (the child’s wish to shock) and the widespread addiction to “bling” (the child‘s wish for display). Nor is such behaviour the preserve of low status blacks but is common amongst high status blacks – see appendix C.
Take one trait, the propensity for violence. Blacks display this to a high degree whether they are in the majority or the minority. Sub-Saharan Africa since decolonisation is littered with massacres, ranging from the one million Hutus killed in Rwanda to less organised slaughter in places such as the Congo and Sierra Leone. In advanced states such as the USA the black involvement in homicide, as both killer and victim, is remarkable, viz:
“Around 8,000 of nearly 16,500 murder victims in 2005, or 49 percent, wereblack Americans, according to the report released by the statistics bureauof the Department of Justice.”. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070809202217.9us2orhu&show_article=1
Most of the killings of blacks were by blacks. The fact that blacks are so willing to kill other blacks whether or not they are in the majority or minority points to a general propensity for violence rather than one enhanced by white racism towards blacks or black racism towards whites.
The British experience is similar to the that of the US. In Britain it is impossible to get comprehensive statistics on crimes by race – I have made strenuous efforts to do so using the British Freedom of Information Act but without success. The next best thing is personal research using the mainstream media. I did this for two years as a by product of a column entitled The Joy of Diversity which I wrote for the magazine Right Now! The column catalogued the immense ethnic mayhem which has become part of British life. To compile it I kept cuttings of ethnic misbehaviour and compared it with another file of white crimes of the same type. The proportion of murders, serious assaults and rapes, especially gang rapes, which were committed by blacks was comically high. In the case of gang rapes of a victim of a different race to the rapists, the rapists were almost always black - I was unable to find a single instance of white gang rape of a black victim. Shootings were overwhelmingly a black crime.
Behavioural differences between blacks, whites and Asians have been objectively measured. Prof Rushton writes: “Temperamental differences, measured objectively by activity recorders attached to arms and legs, show up in babies. African babies are more active sooner and develop earlier than White babies who, in turn, are more active than East Asian babies. Motor behaviour is a highly stable individual difference variable. Even among Whites, activity level measured during free play shows highly significant negative correlations with IQ: more restrained children average higher intellects.”
There is nothing new about such ideas. Francis Galton mused about racial behavioural differences in the nineteenth century, while over a quarter of a century ago Edward Wilson reported on studies by D G Freedman (1974, 1979) on new born infants which “demonstrated marked racial differences in locomotion, posture, muscular tone and emotional response of newborn infants that cannot reasonably be explained as the result of training or even conditioning within the womb. Chinese-American newborns, for example, tend to be less changeable, less easily perturbed by noise and movement, better able to adjust to new stimuli and discomfort, and quicker to calm themselves than Caucasian-American infants.” P274 Sociobiology; Abridged version.
The fact that black babies develop more rapidly than whites and whites more rapidly than Asians probably explains why black children often appear advanced when they are young and then seem to regress in relationship to whites and Asians as they get older. They are probably not regressing but rather whites and Asians are attaining their full development at a later stage. An analogy can be made with the development of Man’s nearest relative, the chimpanzee. A chimpanzee infant is advanced compared with a human infant in the early stages of their lives but soon falls back. The difference in racial development may be the consequence of the differing average brain sizes in blacks, whites and Asians (the larger the brain, the longer it takes to develop after birth), although there could be more subtle structural differences which play a part.
Fluency of speech is particularly important for Prof Rushton because he believes it misleads non-whites to overestimate black intelligence. He emphatically concludes “…the greater talkativeness of Blacks does not indicate brightness, it often masks a low ability to reason abstractly.” I would agree with this. Fluency is no guide to intelligence in itself because people can be fluent while saying little of significance. More sophisticated speech can be produced by those of no great intellect simply by creating a catalogue of learned phrases and speeches in much the same way that a comedian will build up a library of jokes in their memory - politicians are the prime example of this. It is also true that someone who takes the verbal lead, especially in circumstances where people are often inhibited, will tend to influence others simply because they speak confidently when others do not. (It is possible to get some idea of a person’s IQ if their speech is analysed properly. The indicators of a decent IQ will be those verbal behaviours which replicate the type of mental exercises found in IQ tests, for example, the ability to follow or develop a logical train of thought, the ability to spot contradictions, the ability to understand analogies and their strength or weakness, the competent use of metaphor, the use of clever puns arising spontaneously, the ability to understand and explain complex matters and the ability to take new data and manipulate it intelligently and rapidly. In a social situation the presence or absence of such qualities will normally be missed, hence the over-estimate of black mental capacity).
In summary, blacks find it difficult to live in high IQ societies where they are a minority because (1) having a low IQ in itself makes living in such a society difficult, (2) their inferior IQ distribution means that there are few members of their own racial group with respectable IQs to assist those with lower IQs and (3) their racial difference sets them apart from the majority high IQ population and consequently they cannot gain the support they require to live in a high IQ society from the majority high IQ population.
Where they are in the majority their natural inclinations and limitations drive them towards behaviour which is incompatible with a sophisticated society.
Their weaker IQ distribution and the “shape” of their IQ – relatively strong on verbal questions, relatively weak on non verbal questions – is such as to promote childlike behaviour, behaviour which is amplified by adult physicality and experience. Other biological differences such as high testosterone levels may also amplify their naturally immature behaviour .
When blacks live in advanced societies their innate tendency to behave in a manner which is, in the terms of an advanced society, anti-social, is amplified by their inability to compete with the higher IQ race(s) in the society.
27. A dysgenic future?
Since Hitler, unapologetic eugenics has been beyond the Pale in mainstream political and academic discourse, although it chunters along unnamed in abortions for the genetically unfit and raises its head occasionally in books such as The Bell Curve which explores the effects of differential breeding, mainly in the USA, and concludes that there is a risk of a serious dysgenic effect on national IQs.
The dysgenic effects feared by the Eugenics movement in white societies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were that much higher breeding rates of the less able (in practice defined as the poor) would bring about the degradation of the human stock of nations. This was a false fear in the context of the racial make up of white societies of the time because there is a phenomenon known as reversion to the norm. This means that higher IQ parents will tend to have children with lower IQs than their own, while lower IQ parents, i.e., those below the mean, will tend to have children with IQs higher than those of the parents. The effect of this would be to roughly maintain the distribution of IQ in a population. Thus, if the poor, less able, call them what you will, in a population breed more freely than the more able, the long-term loss of intellectual resources in a population should be slight going on non-existent. However, there is a nasty fly in the ointment: each racial group maintains its own IQ distribution regardless of where a particular population lives – the Japanese in America have the same IQ distribution as Japanese in Japan, blacks in Jamaica a similar distribution to those of sub-Saharan blacks. Hence, a low IQ racial group will remain trapped in its inferior IQ distribution Moreover, even with inter-racial breeding the average IQ will still be depressed to a degree when people from lower IQ racial groups breed with a higher IQ group.
If a low IQ minority increases through immigration or breeding at a faster rate than the high IQ majority three effects will be felt: (1) the intellectual resources of the country will decline, (2) an ever more substantial part of the resources of the high IQ majority will have to be devoted to containing the effects of the low IQ minority and (3) there will be a tendency for members of the high IQ majority to emigrate to countries where there is either a smaller low IQ minority or the natural resources (especially land) of the country are greater, the consequence being to further reduce the intellectual resources of the country they are leaving. Increasing white flight from Britain in the first decade of the 21st century is a good example of this trait.
If the aggregate level of intelligence is what matters to the maintenance of a sophisticated society, there must be a point at which the society cannot be sustained if the aggregate IQ is reduced below whatever is the minimum level. This is the danger which faces advanced countries which have experienced and are experiencing large-scale immigration of low IQ races.
The different personality traits of blacks, whites and Asians may mean that the efficiency of a society composed of two or more of the races would be less than that of one composed of only one the race. One race may perform better in a racially homogenous society than another, for example, perhaps it is more important for blacks to be in a homogenous society than whites or Asians because the IQ difference is simply too great for blacks to operate efficiently in a high IQ society. Perhaps Asians with their reduced sociability have a greater need for formal order and find it difficult to integrate into the comparatively free wheeling societies of whites, although their superior IQ allows them to find strategies to live within such societies without integration. It may be that the marrying of relatively high sociability and high average IQ amongst whites means that they are best able of the three major racial groups to function with large minorities of the other racial groups within their society because the social forms they naturally create are more flexible than the societies created by blacks and Asians. However, even if true, that would not mean that a mixed society is beneficial to whites, merely those whites are better able to accommodate minorities and mitigate their ill effects. (It is worth noting that the economic, political and cultural dominance of whites over the past 500 years has been accomplished by societies which enjoyed a very large degree of racial homogeneity).
Where one of the groups in a population is much smaller than the other the larger will naturally dominate, especially in public matters such as politics. But where neither can naturally dominate how will things such as the political system be determined? Because of innate personality biases one racial group may naturally favour representative government, the other some form of authoritarian government. There is no obvious way of deciding the matter short of violence.
What is certain is that racially mixed societies will be less cohesive than racially homogenous ones. The reason is obvious: the natural sense of “tribal” solidarity is fractured. People feel at best less natural sympathy with other racial groups and at worst a suspicion and antipathy to them. Of course, it is not only racial difference which creates such a situation for ethnic differences, whether historical or cultural, can have a strong divisive quality. But there is a fundamental difference between cultural and biological difference: the former is susceptible to change on a human time scale:, the latter is not. An immigrant of the same racial type as the majority population of the receiving country but of a different ethnicity can have children who can be assimilated within a generation to the point where they are indistinguishable from the native majority. An immigrant of a different racial type can remain set apart from the receiving country’s majority population indefinitely if they and their descendents retain their racial type by breeding with others of the same race.
Ethnic solidarity is essential to the coherence and survival of a population. In his “On Genetic Interests”, Frank Salter concludes “Territory is a collective fundamental good for harmonising familial and ethnic genetic interests and securing long-term genetic continuity”. This goes to the heart of ethnic solidarity and survival. This dictum applies to a large degree even where a population does not have formal control of the territory because numerical dominance on the ground is nine parts of the biological law. Britain provides a first rate example with the Welsh and Scots maintaining de facto territorial control of their territory.
The societies most at risk at present are white societies because it is they which have experienced and are continuing to experience mass immigration of racial groups which differ from their own majority populations. Whites are also displaying low fertility rates, most below replacement level, while immigrant groups are generally breeding above replacement level, often well above replacement level.
Why are whites showing such a disinclination to breed? In part it is selfishness. In pre-modern societies (including many still extant) Man has frequently acted to restrict population at the level of the individual, particularly by infanticide, a very widespread behaviour throughout history. It is not that great a leap in human behaviour for individuals to move from “I must kill this baby because I do not have the resources to raise it” or “to try to raise the child will lessen the chances of my other children” to “I will not have a child because to do so will lessen my own chances of satisfying my own desires”.
This mentality is bolstered by any political ideology which exalts the individual and diminishes the coherence and importance of the ethnic group, whether that is a band, tribe or a nation. Liberal Internationalism is such a creed, which adds to overt individualist propaganda the effects of mass immigration and so-called free trade and free markets, all of which attack the economic and territorial security of nations. This increases the insecurity of whites who breed less freely as a consequence.
But the position is more complex than simple ideology. Even in the more prosperous developing countries – where attitudes to breeding are still traditional – demographics are shifting towards the advanced country distribution. Clearly, increased prosperity and security is an important driver of reproductive change. Longer life spans also probably have an effect, although exactly what is difficult to assess – if I had to venture a guess the effect would be that the longer the life the less feeling of urgency in the individual to breed.
There is also the question of what constitutes genetic inheritance from a human standpoint – note I say from the human standpoint not what genetics may tell us. Because sexually reproducing organisms halve their genetic transfer every generation (more or less), the genetic inheritance of any individual is soon diffused to the point of practical non-existence within the context of the ethnic group, although a significant genetic similarity between members of an ethnic group and more broadly within a racial group continues. Human beings unlike animals can be aware of this. Such people breed regardless of this fact and tend to favour to others genetically related to them tenuously if at all by blood, such as in-laws and great grandchildren or grand nieces and, of course, if the individual is not aware of the rapid genetic dilution he or she still shows such favour to those who are not genetically close. What matters to the individual is the continuing of the genealogical line regardless of the genetic content of the line. It is the cultural transfer which counts. No other animal has such an imperative.
Whatever the reason for white demographic decline it does raise the question of what would be the objective consequences if whites became greatly diminished in numbers and power in the world or even vanished as a distinct race. Judged by the history of the world to date it would in all probability remove from the world the race most capable of imaginative thought and invention. That could mean the future development of Man took a much narrower and more limited course.
It is also true that whites majority societies have been the only ones which have meaningfully honoured the liberal with a small “l” values which have ameliorated the cruelty which is a normal part of most societies. If white dominated societies ceased to exist through whites becoming the minority in them or because they have been so fragmented by immigration that the values are extinguished by ethnic strife, there can be no confidence that the values would survive at all.
The general differences between societies plausibly express the societal differences in IQ: the more complex the society the greater the need for IQ related problem solving; the less complex, the greater the reliance on knowledge based behaviour. That is not to say that complex societies do not rely greatly on knowledge or that the simplest society allows no room for reasoning. Rather, it is that the balance between IQ related problem solving and knowledge is differs according to the nature of the society.
If IQ is largely innate this raises some immensely difficult moral questions for any society. Take away sentiment and the hard truth is that on rational grounds no white or Asian society would want to host a large black population because that will substantially lower the average IQ of the society, with all the problems that brings in terms of anti-social behaviour and the loss of national intellectual capacity.
To say that the IQ distribution of a race implies nothing at the individual level may be pedantically true but it does not alter the fact that if a low IQ race is present in substantial numbers most will have low IQs. In a high IQ society that is a problem for such individuals because there is less opportunity to lead a normal life for the low IQ individual. There is not self-evidently “a place for everyone”.
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen provide a clear message: some societies, and most particularly those with a predominately black population, simply do not have sufficient people with IQs high enough to sustain a modern society. There are two rational conclusions to draw from their work. The first is that it is pointless for advanced states to keep on trying to modernise countries with low IQ populations which cannot sustain the sophisticated societies needed to maintain an advanced modern state and those populations should be left to find their own level.
The second is that the only active intervention which might conceivably improve conditions in low IQ states is their formal re-colonisation and permanent administration by the advanced states, for that at least would bring order and societies which had infrastructure which worked.
The first course of action has the difficulty of seeming cruel at worst and heartless at best. The second is a political non-starter because of the sacrifices those in the advanced states would have to make in terms of money and personnel and the almost certain guerrilla resistance of at least part of any population which was subject to an attempt at re-colonisation.
Lynn and Vanhanen’s remedy for the problem is the half-way house between decolonisation and doing nothing. They advocate transfers of wealth and expertise from advanced high IQ societies to the IQ deficient ones. Not only is this profoundly unlikely to be something the populations of advanced states will tolerate for ever, but the experience of 40 years or more of vast amounts of Aid being poured into low IQ countries shows that such assistance is worse than useless because it invariably produces corrupt regimes and large Aid dependent populations.
If Lynn and Vanhanen are right, the cold reality is that there is currently no way of radically changing the nature of low IQ societies. Indeed, by feeding them with Aid the donors are making matters worse because they help to increase the low IQ populations vastly beyond the level at which a viable society for the population could exist. However, low IQ populations may not be forever because even if IQ is now substantially innate it may not be so in the future. It is probable that within the next fifty years genetic engineering, chemical manipulation, surgical alteration and cybernetics may provide humans with the capacity to raise the IQ of those with low IQs. This would of course raise immense moral questions as well as practical difficulties such as who would provide the expertise and materials needed to change the IQ of hundreds of millions of people.
Other things being equal, the vast majority of adults would seek the highest IQ for their child, or if the alteration could done after birth at any age, to seek the highest IQ for themselves and their children. It is also true that in an society where there was any meaningful democratic expression it would be impossible for a government to deny such engineering to those who wanted it.
But it probably would not be left to the individual. If some states positively insist on altering the IQ of their entire populations, this would lead to fears that any country which did not follow suit would be left behind in the competitive struggle between societies. Alternatively, manipulation of IQ could be selfishly used by elites to create a permanent advantage for themselves. Not a pretty future to contemplate.
Appendix A White men can run
“Let’s start with the biological differences in sports, which is something almost everyone observes. Jon Entine’s recent book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It, addresses the old cliché that “White men can’t jump” (and the new one that Oriental men jump even less well). Entine shows that in sports, it is Black men and women who can sky! And yet, as the data also show, it is mainly Blacks of West African descent who excel at running over short distances, while Blacks of East African descent – from Kenya and Ethiopia – excel at marathon running over long distances. These differences between East and West Africans show that taking an average can sometimes gloss over important distinctions. Still, Blacks from both East and West Africa excel at one or another kind of running. In sports, Blacks as a group, have a genetic advantage. “ J Phillipe Rushton http://theoccidentalquarterly.com/images/jpr21-chart1.jpg
The idea that blacks are inherently more athletic than whites (and even more so than Asians) is widely accepted as true even in academic circles which deal with racial difference. People look at the finals of track events at the Olympics and see a disproportionate number of blacks, especially in the sprint events, and conclude that this correlation between race and athletics winners proves the case for black athletic supremacy. The problem with this conclusion is that it is merely a correlation and a correlation which has not been subjected to rigorous examination.
There are good reasons to suspect that black athletic advantage does not exist. In the late nineteen seventies and eighties the 800 and 1500 metres events were dominated by whites such as Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram. Their times look good today – Coe’s 800 metre record only went a few years ago. The current Olympic 400 metres champion is the white man Jeremy Warriner. The 200 metres at the Sydney Olympics was won by a white man the Greek Kostas Kenteris. When the black Michael Johnson (arguably the greatest track athlete of the past half century) won the 400 metres in the Atlanta Olympics he was followed home in second place by the white Roger Black.
If whites can compete successfully as the people mentioned above competed , clearly whites are not genetically incapable of beating even the best black athletes. Of course, there is still the question of whether one race is on average more naturally endowed with athletic ability than others, but if there are substantial numbers of whites who win at the highest level and set times which blacks do not beat either at all or by much, then it is reasonable to question whether whites are on average inherently inferior as athletes. The starting point for such questioning should be the numbers participating in athletics in the various disciplines and their racial and class distribution.
Fifty years ago most Olympic track winners were white. Then as decolonisation took place and multiculturalism gripped hold of places such as the USA and Britain, more and more black athletes entered track athletics. They began to dominate the sprints, then the longer distances. The question is did blacks begin to dominate because they were inherently superior to whites or because the number of whites taking up track athletics was far fewer than the number of blacks doing so? An analysis of overall numbers is required. I have been unable to identify such an analysis.
Then there is the question of class. Athletics has the reputation of being a largely middleclass pursuit for whites in the West, while black athletes are perceived as coming from poorer backgrounds. If these perceptions are correct, the white athletes are being drawn from a much smaller population. An analysis of the class of athletes is required. Again, no such analysis appears to exist.
During the time of the Soviet Union those countries which came within the European Communist bloc were concerned with winning as many medals as possible. This pushed them to concentrate on the events which were less competitive and more susceptible to coaching because of their highly technical nature. These were the field events such as the javelin and high-jump. This further reduced the number of white athletes potentially available to compete in track events.
Athletic scholarships may also have a role in promoting black athletes, especially in the USA. Political correctness may have caused these to be given to blacks disproportionately. An analysis of how scholarships are awarded, for example, are they formally or informally reserved for blacks? Similar exercises are needed for charities who make awards to athletes and for bodies which dispense taxpayer funded aid to athletes.
If a human activity becomes dominated by one race, ethnic group or class, there is a tendency for those outside whatever the group it is to cease trying to engage in the activity. If blacks have done disproportionately well in sprinting over the past forty years, whites will tend to drop the idea of even trying to enter competitive sprinting.
That blacks do not all excel in the same type of events is a pointer to a cultural rather than a genetic reason for their disproportionate success in recent decades. The idea that blacks from the West Coast of Africa have one advantage and blacks from the East Coast another is rather odd bearing in mind the size of Africa and the racial diversity found there. It would make sense to say this local population group had this advantage and another that advantage if the groups were isolated (this might be the explanation for the island of Jamaica‘s remarkable record of producing great sprinters), but it stretches credulity to believe the entire continent below the Sahara is divided by different types of genetic athletic advantage, especially as it is known that there have been in historic times large scale movements of people who originated in West and central Africa to Southern and Eastern Africa (the Bantu peoples).
The fact that East Africans shine in middle distance events is plausibly a consequence of the fact that Kenyan government put considerable resources into promoting middle distance running after the success of Kip Keino. It is noteworthy that the rest of East Africa has not produced an army of such athletes and that many of the outstanding runners of the past ten years have not be East Africans but north Africans who are racially very different.
Even the claim that most top black sprinters come from West Africa is debatable. Slaves were taken from deep into the heart of Africa. Most of the black top sprinters come from the USA or the Caribbean. Many have a white admixture. Very few West Coast Africans are top sprinters, despite large numbers of West Coast Africans who have emigrated to the West.
The fact that many top “black” athletes are of mixed white/black parentage is telling. Why should that be if blacks have an innate athletic advantage? Surely the less white blood the better?
Finally, there is the question of drugs. Many sprinters have tested positive for drugs in the past thirty years. Most of those have been black, an unsurprising fact because most top sprinters have been black during that period. Many others have provided tests which suggested drug use without being sufficiently high to fail a drug test.
The physiques of most black sprinters in the past twenty years in particular have looked suspiciously like those of bodybuilders, a group which is notorious for using drugs such as steroids. Unless the truth about drug use in the period of black sprinting ascendancy is known, and it probably never will be, it is difficult to assess exactly what is the natural athletic ability of a runner.
Appendix B Digital technology
Technological change has been making increasingly severe demands on human beings for around 300 years. There was change before then of course, but it was slow and most people could live their lives without having to adapt to radically new ways of living.
Things began to speed up as the Industrial Revolution began and an argument can be made that the century 1815 and 1914 saw more radical technological qualitative change than any generation before or since. But that change was the difference between living in a still largely pre-industrial society (in 1815) and an industrial society in its early middle age (in 1914). Moreover, the change did not actually require the vast majority of the population to master complicated machines at their work, let alone in their own homes.
In 1914 the most complicated machine most people had to operate was probably the telephone and vast swathes of the population would not even have had to go that far into the world of technology. Not only that, because machines then were either mechanical or part mechanical, i.e., not electronic, just looking at the way a machine was made often allowed the intelligent observer to have a fair guess at how it worked and to see what had gone wrong if it malfunctioned. Even work-related machines which required skilled operators, such as machine lathes, were not fundamentally difficult to understand, although the dexterity required to operate them often took time to acquire.
Things remained essentially the same until the advent of personal computers and the widespread use of digital technology. Machines became more and more predominant in advanced societies but they were not, in most instances, complicated to use. This was particularly true of those machines used in private life. Telephones just required the user to dial; washing machines had a start button and nothing else; televisions and radios simply needed switching on; cars were simply designed to travel. Then came digital technology.
Computers are like no other machine ever invented. They have a unique combination of an unparalleled public and private use and a central importance to economic activity and public administration. The potential penalties for the failure of these machines are vastly greater than for any other piece of technology. Not only can an immediate application of a computer be ended, as can happen with all machines, but computer users also risk losing networking capacity and, if they have not useable backed up copies of their computer data, the loss of their entire records and conceivably the loss of the means to continue their business. Computer users are also vulnerable to outside sabotage though hacking and viruses. No other machine has ever exposed a society to such risks through its ubiquity and vulnerability to outside influences.
These machines are also vastly more demanding of time than any other machine ever used by the general public. To master computers to the degree where a person does not lie helplessly in the hands of experts is a demanding and continuing task. It is unlikely that many could or would manage it without making computers their profession. In fact, even supposed computer professionals are only knowledgeable in their specialist areas: a hardware specialist has no deep knowledge of software and vice versa, while programmers long ago lost any detailed understanding of an entire program. It is also true that many self described IT experts are anything but. They get by with a small amount of IT knowledge because of the general level of ignorance amongst the general public and the fact that most problems can be overcome by re-booting or by reinstalling programs.
The computer age is a stunningly recent phenomenon. Most people even in the West would not have used a computer before 1985. Probably a majority had not done so by 1990. By the end of the 1980s the nearest most would have got to a computer would probably have been bank ATM machines. The internet was esoteric and laborious, the web barely more than a gleam in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye. Even in the world of employment computers were still used sparingly.
As with computers actually called computers, so with the other machines which cause much grief now. The mobile phone was a status symbol and the size of a brick, while landline phones were still phones boringly restricted to simply phoning rather than mini-computers with a tendency to bemuse. Microwaves had a simple choice of power. Refrigerators did not offer to remind you of what needed to be ordered. TVs tended to simply work when switched on.
In the past 15 years all this has dramatically changed. We are in a world in which computers are absolutely integral to business and public administration and they are now the norm rather than the exception in homes. For most people, it is literally impossible to escape them. Worse, they have become ever more complex to use and invade ever more of our lives as microprocessors are inserted into the most unlikely things such as clothes. Machines generally are more demanding. To use This has profound implications for people both in high IQ and low IQ societies.
Even to use computers at a low level of expertise, such as using a word processor to its full capacity and sending email efficiently , requires a degree of concentration and knowledge with which a substantial minority are uneasy. More demanding activities such as spreadsheet use or the construction of a database are inaccessible to the majority. Most people have only a minimal knowledge of the capacities of their operating system . This lack of expertise afflicts the young as well as the old, which suggests that this is going to be a permanent problem because the young have grown up with computers.
Of the commonly used programmes search engines are particularly interesting from the point of view of IQ. Everyone who uses a computer can use a search engine at some level, but the skill with which they use search engines varies massively. This is unsurprising because the search engine is the commonly used program which most calls upon IQ related abilities. It relies not simply on knowledge but also problem solving. To perform a function in a word processor requires the user to apply inert knowledge, go to this menu, use this function etc. To use a search engine efficiently for anything but a simple search for a certain website requires the ability to formulate questions in the most pertinent way. I never ceased to be amazed how at many people use search engines ineptly, often comically so. I should not be amazed of course because the ability to do so is IQ dependent.
The implications for those with a low IQ are these: the lower the IQ, the more the person will struggle in an advanced society because the use of computers is increasingly inescapable. In a high IQ society the low IQ individual will struggle but the society as a whole will manage. In a low IQ society there will simply not be the IQ firepower to sustain a society based on digital technology. In a high IQ society the low IQ part of the population will be left increasingly in a technological no man’s land, unable to competently use the technology but forced to use it simply to live.
The constant learning process
Personal computing began in the mid seventies. A person starting then would have had to learn the BASIC programming language. By the early eighties they would have been using DOS. By 1990s Windows expertise was necessary. Since 1990 successive editions of Windows have varied considerably from the previous version requiring further learning.
What goes for operating systems applies also to most other programs, which when they are upgraded often bear surprisingly little resemblance to the version prior to them. Certainly, if one moves from an old program to a version which has been uprated twice, the chances are that knowledge of the original program will be of little use in understanding the new one.
Apart from the effort needed to constantly learn new programs and to attend to such things as installations of software and hardware, the other great drawback of computers is the amount of time which can be spent on maintenance. It is all too easy to find a day or two slip by just sorting out a single relatively simple computer problem or learning how to use a new program.
The nature of what is to be learned
The burden of learning is especially heavy because of the nature of that which is to be learned. This is what might be termed dead information. There is no intrinsic interest in what is to be learned. It is merely a means to an end. To operate a program all that is needed is a knowledge of the menus and function keys. That is precisely the type of information which is least palatable to the normal human mind. Hence, it is the least easy to learn for most people. The computer is in effect forcing human beings to act like computers, something utterly alien to them.
Intelligence is of little use on its own. Computers are information driven machines. Put the most intelligent man in the world before a computer and he will be utterly helpless if he has no computer experience. Even if the man has some computer experience, he will be as incapable of using a completely unfamiliar type of program as the dullard.
The substitution of function for intellect
That computers are function rather than intelligence driven is objectively demonstrated by the fact that all of what might be called the administrative operations of a computer – file management, loading of programs etc - could be done by a computer program.
When I watch the young using computers, obvious or disguised in the shape of phones and the like, I get a feeling of deep unease. They so obediently pull down menus and select options that I wonder at the difference between them and a robot. The machine is driving the human being at least as much as the human being is driving the machine; brute machine functionality is replacing intellect.
There is only so much any human being can learn, both in terms of time and mental impetus. If increasing amounts of both are required by computers simply to operate them, where will that leave intellectual development? Worse, will the ability to operate machines become to be seem as the most important activity of human beings?
The myth of youthful expertise
It is true that those who have grown up with computers are more comfortable with the machines than those who came to them in adult life – the latter still comprise, more than 50 per cent of the population. It is worth noting. However, the idea that the young generally have any substantial understanding of computers is dubious going on simply wrong. A recent survey by the global market-research company Synovate, reported:
“We found that people tended to fit into one of three categories: 27 per cent are what we call ‘cybernauts’ – people who like to be ahead of the game in terms of technology. However, the majority, 53 per cent, are ‘average Joes’. They don’t love technology per se, but view it as a facilitator – it helps them to communicate or entertain themselves. They tend to use it in quite a functional way, such as emailing, banking or shopping online. Then there are 20 per cent who we describe as ‘digital dissidents’, meaning they actively dislike using technology and avoid it wherever possible.” Daily Telegraph 30 6 2007 The myth of the MySpace generation.
The young know how to use the internet and web, can work a word processor and use programs which really interest them. But let their computer develop a fault which renders Windows unstable or unusable or a piece of hardware fails, and they are, in most cases, as helpless the generations which did not grow up with computers.
What the young do have which older people do not have is group knowledge. A schoolchild of today can call on the computer knowledge of their peer group and the assistance of teachers. Those a little older who are in work still have their peer group to help them if they get stuck. In addition, if they work for a large employer they can call on the expertise of the employer’s IT department or service contractors.
Computers have only been in schools since the mid eighties. Anyone over the age of forty (arguably, over the age of 35) will not have a peer group on whom they can call for assistance with computers (and other machines) because almost all of those they know well will be of their approximate age – few people have close friendships with those who are much younger than themselves – and the people who are their age will have little computer experience or knowledge. The best they can hope for is assistance from their children if they have any, and then it is pot luck as to how computer competent those children are and how willing they are to help the parent. If an older person has no compliant computer literate children and does not work for a large employer, he or she will be utterly isolated from the knowledge needed to deal with even basic computer developments.
The science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke pointed out a good few years ago that there comes a point with technology when it became indistinguishable from magic for all but the initiates. The dangers of that are obvious: for that which is not generally understood gives the few who do understand a power over those who do not. That potentially gives private corporations and governments a great stick with which to beat their customers and citizens into submission, either for profit or political power.
Where the technology is as vital and central to a society as computers have become, there is the further and more fundamental risk of society reaching a state where the technology can no longer be either properly maintained or controlled.
Appendix C Two high status blacks
“You’re a child: that’s what makes you so f**king scary”. The character Dr Nicholas Geharty to Idi Amin in the film The last king of Scotland.
The interesting thing about the quote for our purposes is the “You’re a child”. That is precisely what Amin was, from his love of self-awarded titles (“His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshall Al Hadji, Dr Idid Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in particular” was his full honorific catalogue) to his often murderous outbreaks of personal violence.
Amin’s general behaviour cannot even be described as adolescent: it is pre-pubescent, for example, his roll of titles is the sort of list that a young boy might make when playing, his acts of murderous personal violence an extension of a child’s temper tantrum. Of course, having the body of an adult with its strength and adult sexual appetites and a greater experience of life generally than a child, Amin’s behaviour did not exactly replicate that of a child, but it was still childlike. His adult additions to the armoury of a child’s abilities did not make Amin more adult, but rather provided him with new means of expressing his childlike nature. That was what made him, in Geharty’s words “so f**king scary”. A child in a child’s body with a toy gun is one thing: a child in an adult’s body with a real gun quite another.
That Amin should have behaved in the fashion he did should surprise no one. Lynn and Vanhanen give the average IQ of Ugandans as 73. The behaviour Amin displayed is precisely that which one would expect from someone with an IQ around that number, namely, that of a child.
Of course Amin is just one example, but his behavioural traits are found throughout black Africa and everywhere else where blacks are found in large numbers. It does not matter whether one looks at blacks living in the poorest black African state or blacks living in an advanced First World state, the same things are found: a disproportionately high incidence of violence, general criminality, poor educational achievement, poor work record (either broken or in low grade jobs), high benefit dependency (where available), sexual incontinence, desertion of children by fathers and women with children by different fathers. These traits show through strongly even where the black is in a privileged position.
Take the life of the soul singer James Brown who died in 2007. Brown was born in the USA to a mother who abandoned him when he was four. His father handed him over to his aunt Minnie who in turn shifted him on to another aunt who ran a brothel in Augusta. Brown spent his formative years in the brothel and developed a penchant for petty crime. So persistent was this behaviour that at the age of 15 he received an 8-16 year sentence. Brown actually served three years and turned to crime again when he came out, although he was also trying to forge a musical career at the same time.
So far so explicable many readers will be thinking: a boy and man shaped by his dismal childhood. The first thing to say in response to that is that the mother’s desertion of her child, the father’s giving away of the child and the first aunt’s moving on of the child to a brothel are symptomatic of one particular black behaviour, child desertion. The second thing is that when Brown’s life took a great turn for the better, his delinquent behaviour did not vanish.
Brown’s musical career took off in 1956 when he was 23. From that time onwards he enjoyed great material success and celebrity for the rest of his life. One might have imagined that his troubles with the criminal law were behind him. Not a bit of it. Here is his Daily Telegraph obituary: “Throughout his career Brown had brushes with the law, culminating in a six-year jail sentence in 1988 for assault with intent to kill, drunken driving and other traffic offences. He had burst into a business conference at a hotel toting a shotgun and accusing someone of having used his private bathroom. There followed a 100mph police chase which ended with the police shooting out the tyres of his pick-up truck.” (DT 26 12 2006). Brown was 55 at the time yet still behaving like a child, his response to a trivial matter – the use of his private bathroom – being stupendously disproportionate. In short, neither age nor his change of circumstances from petty criminal to successful celebrity resulted in a change of mentality. Of course, it could be argued that his childhood conditioned his adult behaviour, but I cannot readily think of any white or Asian celebrity who has carried youthful violent criminality into their late middle age. It is worth adding that he was reputedly regularly violent to his various wives, of which he had four.