D H
Oct 26 ยท Last update 11 days ago.

Is there a link between race and IQ?

IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is a test to measure human intelligence, and while these tests are widely recognised as an objective and reliable method to measure intelligence, the issue of heritability and racial differences in IQ remain controversial. Ethnic groups have on average scored differently on IQ tests but there remains no scientific consensus on the explanation of such differences. Furthermore the subject of heritability, the interaction of environmental factors, not to mention the validity and reliability of IQ testing, are all still the source of much debate also. Is there a link between race and IQ? Is IQ actually an accurate measurement of intelligence? Is race too contentious a classifier to be connected to genetic difference?
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Epigenetics
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No โ€“ a racist history of suggesting the link
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A correlation that needs to be discussed
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Epigenetics

While the history of the relation between intelligence and race is caught up in the pseudoscience of eugenics and scientific racism, modern study of genetics includes the field of epigenetics, the study of external or environmental factors that change gene expression but do not change the underlying DNA sequence of an organism. Epigenetics is thought to be have a major role in how genes are expressed, meaning the role of environment still looms large over an organisms inherited genetic code, indicating that even inherited traits can be repressed or activated by external factors. This is largely misunderstood during conversations surrounding genes and intelligence in the public discourse, and is overlooked just as much as the fact that race is not genetic either, but rather a social construct to describe complex ethnic genetic variations in overly simple terms.

The discourse on race and intelligence largely skips over these two important facts and therefore may be simplified to the point of losing any validity or relevancy. Science may need to provide a fuller understanding epigenetic effects on intelligence, and sociologists may need to generate less nebulous ideas than race for any meaningful conclusions to be drawn in this debate. In addition another ethical question needs to be considered, what is the intention behind an argument concerning a correlation between race and intelligence, as the history of this subject has been used by eugenicists to advance narratives of scientific racism and advocate for extremely unethical policies, including the repression of ethnic minorities, forced sterilisation, and even mass murder.

psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-imprinted-brain/201402/epigenesis-what-people-dont-understand-about-epigenetics slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/stop-talking-about-race-and-iq-take-it-from-someone-who-did.html psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-imprinted-brain/201402/epigenesis-what-people-dont-understand-about-epigenetics thegwpf.com/eugenics-when-scientific-consensus-leads-to-mass-murder

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D H
Apr 4
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DH edited this paragraph
The discourse on race and intelligence largely skips over these two important facts and therefore may be simplified to the point of losing any validity or relevancy. Science may need to provide a fuller understanding epigenetic effects on intelligence, and sociologists may need to generate less nebulous ideas than race for any meaningful conclusions to be drawn in this debate. In addition another ethical question needs to be considered, what is the intention behind an argument concerning a correlation between race and intelligence, as the history of this subject has been used by eugenicists to advance narratives of scientific racism and advocate for extremely unethical policies, including the repression of ethnic minorities, forced sterilisation, and even mass murder.

No โ€“ a racist history of suggesting the link

No, the link is tenuous, demonstrated by the mere fact that you can get better at IQ tests, does that make you more intelligent? Intelligence is much more complex than pure genetics, and IQ testing has a worrying history, quickly and sadly becoming connected to eugenics and therefore scientific racism. Focussing on a statistical justification for a claimed genetic variance is just thoughtless and doesn't add up, we should not take the work of statisticians, for example Richard J. Herrnstein & Charles Murray's 'The Bell Curve', as an adequate explanation of neurology or genetics. Ironically people that like to talk about race and IQ tests may themselves be lacking the knowledge or intelligence to understand the IQ test's place in history.

The IQ test was invented in 1905 by French Psychologist Alfred Binet to test a child's "mental age", his test was then picked up and translated for the US military by American eugenicists and became a mainstay of eugenics thought. American eugenicists went on to influence government policy, lobbying for forced sterilisation programs, and leading to the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the practice in Buck v. Bell (1927) and the subsequent forced sterilisation of over 64,000 Americans. This shameful piece of US policy went on to influence Nazi Germany to even more tragic ends. Scientific understanding of intelligence has since developed and discoveries such as the "Flynn effect" (the yearly average increase of global IQ scores), have allowed scientist to develop a more nuanced understanding of intelligence as a combination of genetics and environment.

Focussing just on race when there are so many factors that influence intelligence is too shortsighted to be passed off as scientific analysis. There are indeed so many extra societal hurdles that can fall down racial lines in terms of access to education and even nutrition in many cases, to not account for this in a statistical analysis is flawed. Furthermore most of these unfounded theories just fuel racist supremacist movements, and are used by right wing commentators to argue against affirmative action and other positive discrimination or equality policies. People that write about this issue would have a lot more of their questions answered if they studied history and racial inequality in their societies with an open mind, and not just seek to cherry pick scientific data to mis-convey complicated statistics as a white supremacist dog-whistle.

eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay8text.html hnn.us/article/1796 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Flynn_(academic) youtube.com/watch?v=WXRhxY54QVc

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D H
Nov 23
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A correlation that needs to be discussed

We need to talk about this topic because we cannot properly analyse the disparate outcomes of IQ averages of different races unless we do talk about this subject openly, implicit biases wont go away unless these topics are discussed. If mainstream publications do not broach this topic when people Google this issue they are going to find dense academic documents and more simple morally dubious sources seeking to radicalise the reader. If scientists do not discuss the biological basis of race, pseudoscientists could fill the void with dangerous consequences.

Average differences in IQ scores between races have existed for decades, they may have played a roll in generating the disparate educational and professional outcomes that we can observe and that influence the way we structure society. An oppression narrative permeates modern thinking and these difficult to assimilate facts could help puncture these damaging narratives. This is an unanswered question of science and may have real world helpful implications that aid our understanding, not only of intelligence, but race also, research and discussion should not be limited by what we have been taught to find socially uncomfortable. The clear correlation and possibility of genetic cause for racial differences in IQ need to be an open topic for debate not a closed topic that can generate extremism.

nationalreview.com/2017/07/race-iq-dont-suppress-public-discussion-issue kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/talking-and-thinking-about-race youtube.com/watch?v=APneKDezEWI&t=354s

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D H
Oct 30
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Average differences in IQ scores between races have existed for decades, they may have played a roll in generating the disparate educational and professional outcomes that we can observe and that influence the way we structure society. An oppression narrative permeates modern thinking and these difficult to assimilate facts could help puncture these damaging narratives. This is an unanswered question of science and may have real world helpful implications that aid our understanding, not only of intelligence, but race also, research and discussion should not be limited by what we have been taught to find socially uncomfortable. The clear correlation and possibility of genetic cause for racial differences in IQ need to be an open topic for debate not a closed topic that can generate extremism.
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