Opinion: Yes, let’s talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade – POLITICO.com

Opinion: Yes, let's talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade – POLITICO.com.

Earlier this month, in these pages, researcher Jason Richwine wagged his finger at the progressive media for ignoring supposedly simple facts about the relationship between genetics, race and IQ. Suggesting that a left-leaning media finds these facts offensive, he accused us of scientific illiteracy, immaturity and “emotionalism.” We’re in denial, he says.

Well, I would love to talk about IQ. I’m a sociologist with a particular interest in the body and an interdisciplinary background, so I’ve made understanding the relationship between society and biology part of my research agenda. The truth is that reality is far more complicated, fascinating, and infuriating than most of us ever imagined.

Go click the link and read the rest of Lisa’s article.


1 thought on “Opinion: Yes, let’s talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade – POLITICO.com

  1. A few comments:

    1. The idea that races don’t exist suggests that humans are unique amongst other species. Population genetics however reveals that individuals do indeed fall into identifiable clusters that correspond to traditional notions of race. Two groups that form distinct clusters are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to potential group differences.


    2. Wade cites Australian Aborigines vs Australian europeans in terms of visual and verbal memory. She omits that there are in fact their brains are also different and this could reflect selection for different environments/cultures.

    “What is the aborigines’ secret? To some evolutionary psychologists, the answer is relatively straightforward. The aborigines were, for about 4,000 generations, or 80,000 years, hunter-gatherers in the deserts of Australia.

    That is enough time for natural selection to have worked on increasing the accuracy of aborigines’ memory, because if you could not find your way through the desert, or to the waterhole, you would starve, and so would your children. In the competition to stay alive, an accurate memory would – to put it mildly – have been an advantage.

    Are today’s aborigine children the inheritors of that process? It has certainly been speculated that their extraordinary visual memories are the result of genes selected over thousands of years by evolution.

    By Clive Harper, a professor of pathology in Sydney, may have discovered evidence that it is more than just a theoretical possibility. He found that the visual cortex – the part of the brain used in processing and interpreting visual information – was about 25 per cent larger in aborigines than in Caucasians.”


    3. Plus there are specific examples of selection leading to higher population average. For instance, cognitively demanding roles and Ashkenazi jewish groups.



    Also, there is already some evidence suggesting evolutionary factors contribute to country differences.


    4. The idea that group differences disapear when you control for socio-economic background isn’t supported. Note that the SAT itself is relatively g-loaded.

    4. Finally, aside from IQ behavioural traits generally are partly heritable. Different cultures and environments may favor different traits to some extent. As Jon Haidt notes, there is evidence the rate of genetic change accelerated over the past 40,000 years so the evidence as genomics costs fall will be interesting.


    5. As Hsu suggests above, “it is important to note that group differences are statistical in nature and do not imply anything definitive about a particular individual. Rather than rely on the scientifically unsupported claim that we are all equal, it would be better to emphasize that we all have inalienable human rights regardless of our abilities or genetic makeup.”

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