Re: IQ AND RACE. The taboo subject.

Rod Hagen (
Tue, 14 Feb 1995 14:36:48 +1000

In article <>, (Stephen Lajoie) wrote:

> In my first response to this thread, long ago, I stated that there was
> serious reasons why one could not say that IQ was related to race.
> Later on, I stated that many professors are muzzled by political
> pressure to not state the obvious; that race and IQ are correlated. I
> knew very well that many professors will tell you they are not related in
> public, and but admit that there is a correlation in private when they
> felt it was safe. They fear for their jobs.
> Well, the is a case in the news now. Francis Lawrence, president of
> Rutgers university, said that SAT scores were unfair because black
> students lacked the genetic and hereditary background needed to score
> high on them.
> This is strong evidence to support my claim that the truth is indeed
> forbidden. Those who work in the field will not admit it because they
> will not get government funding, and will be fired from their positions.
> Clearly, most claims that race and IQ are not correlated are tainted by
> this political pressure, and are invalid.

You seem to be missing a critical aspect of the argument Steven.

To say that black students "lack the genetic and hereditary background
needed to score high on" SATs is to say far more than that there is a
correlation between scores and race. It involves making a claim about the
basis of this correlation, namely that it is due to hereditary
inferiority. Lawrence appears to have made just such a claim.

The fundamental response of most opponents of this line of thinking is that

a) that the observed correlation between "race" and various test scores is
due to factors other than group hereditary differences

b) that it is not possible to properly distinguish hereditary "between
group" differences in test results from cultural "between group"
differences in test results

c) that IQ tests don't measure "intelligence" per se, but rather simply
the ability to perform on a particular type of tests (and that this is
clearly affected by a host of cultural and environmental factors
including, but not limited to, family education levels, literacy,
educational opportunities, the testing context itself, cultural bias in
test content, motivation, health, diet, maternal health, linguistic
differences etc. etc. etc)

d) that use of the term "race" (in the biological sense) is inappropriate
in discussion of these matters because of the absence of any clear
separation of the human population into genetically isolated sub species.

e) that the use of the term "race" (in the sociological sense) is
inappropriate in discussion of these matters when authors are making
claims about genetic differences.

Arguments / statements which postulate a heirarchy of racial abilities
are, by definition, racist. Lawrence's statement, at least as reported, is
racist. Whether it is desirable to have public figures making racist
statements, or to have them being attacked as a result is perhaps a
different question. But at least have the guts to recognise that Lawrence,
as reported, was saying something far more repugnant to many people than
simply postulating a correlation betwen SAT scores and ethnic identity!

Rod Hagen