Re: Flynn Effect ...yes testosterone (James Howard)

Bryant (
11 Nov 1996 18:30:32 -0700

In article <55vd7c$>,
James Howard <> wrote:

>I can tell from these remarks that you responded to individual statements of
>my post, before you read my entire post.

Guilty as charged; I did do just that. However, I read through *this*
post before responding. :)

>James Howard said:
>>You mention that this effect is occurring most rapidly in the "lower end of
>the IQ score distribution." I know this is true, and it may be a bad sign, not
>>good one. You imply that "improvements..." are the source of the Flynn
>>Effect in Blacks. That may be true, but it may just make things worse. (I
>do not want to be misinterpreted here. I think the very best civilizations
>should do these things for the most vulnerable, and I am thankful I live in
>one.) However, these improvements will increase the numbers of people
>who are higher in testosterone.

OK. And you believe that this is tied, per se, to crime? (I need to
check some of my assumptions about your argument before going much further.)

>Bryant said:
>One of the problems with Eugenics is that what constitute "good genes" in
>the present environment can very quickly become "bad genes"... if the
>good of humanity is the concern you're addressing, maintaining as much
>genetic variability as possible should be your goal.
>James Howard responds:
>I never mentioned Eugenics, why are you? My work is about the ratio of
>people of high testosterone to the ratio of people of lower testosterone in a
>population. People of higher testosterone produce more children than those
>who are of lower testosterone. The percentages can change within a
>relatively few generations.

You said that such changes in that "ratio" (actually, high and low levels
of androgens are tips of a continuum, right?) were "bad." I may have
misunderstood your implication, but I thought you meant to communicate
that we should be opposed to this. Controlling who does and who does not
reproduce is the essence of Eugenics. Hence, my cautionary comment.

>Bryant said:
>Violence among disenfranchised young *males* is very high. There are a
>number of socioecological factors in ghetto neighborhoods which can
>account for the high representation of black men in violent and property
>James Howard responds:
>What you just said is the "status quo." I disagree.

Hm. I think the "status quo" is to deny that black males are
over-represented in violent crime stats, call anybody mentioning it
"racist," and blame the high incarceration rates for black men completely
on racist police officers and courts.

> The grandparents of
>"disenfranchised young males," had socioeconomic condidtions at least as
>bad, perhaps worse, as the kids today. The difference is that the
>testosterone levels are higher.

That may be. There are other differences worth looking at, such as ready
access to machine guns, a crack economy that didn't exist twenty years
ago, and the structure of the welfare system.

That's not to dismiss out of hand evidence you mention about impulsive
behaviors and testosterone levels. Indeed, these environmental cues may
be partially responsible for increasing androgen levels. How much
testosterone we produce is significantly influenced by our social
situation, I think you would agree. Hormone production levels are not a
simple, non-facultative, mendalian genetic trait.

>Bryant, I did not say 15 IQ points is small. Again, I did not say 15 IQ points
>is small! "Less than one point increase per year" is small.

Over a single generation, this amounts then, to what you seem to agree
are "large" changes.

>contend it causes the "secular trend" and the Flynn Effect. (Bryant, if you
>want to discuss the standard deviation difference in IQ between Whites and
>Blacks, you start a thread.)

Sure, maybe later. :)

>James Howard responds:
>My work is not about eugenics in any manner or form. Eugenics is the study
>of human improvement by genetic means.

If I did you an injustice by discussing Eugenics, I apologize. You're
quite right that I mentioned the word first, and I may very well have
misunderstood the implication of your post. Mia culpa.