All Brains Are the Same Color - New York Times: "All Brains Are the Same Color * By RICHARD E. NISBETT Published: December 9, 2007 Ann Arbor, Mich."
"In fact, the evidence heavily favors the view that race differences in I.Q. are environmental in origin, not genetic.
The hereditarians begin with the assertion that 60 percent to 80 percent of variation in I.Q. is genetically determined. However, most estimates of heritability have been based almost exclusively on studies of middle-class groups. For the poor, a group that includes a substantial proportion of minorities, heritability of I.Q. is very low, in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, according to recent research by Eric Turkheimer at the University of Virginia. This means that for the poor, improvements in environment have great potential to bring about increases in I.Q."
I highly recommend this very well written OP-ED. It provides the first truly thoughtful rebuttal of the controversy about race and intelligence. I strongly recommend this.
I do, however, want t express a caveat. It seems to me that in effect Dr. Nesbitt may be ADDING fuel to the fire raised by Murray and Hernnstein's book, "The Bell Shaped Curve." The assertion made by Murray was that there is a real difference in IQ. Whether that difference is truly genetic or not, Murray argues, it can not be ignored.The core of Nesbitt's argument is contained in the last clause of the previous paragraph ... I wrote, "it can not be ignore." But, what is "it?" The reference, according to my auto didactic grammarian, is to "that difference." Nisbett gives several excellent arguments that the lesser IQ scores of "Black" kids .. as opposed to Asians or Euroes, is a result of socio-economic factors. It is difficult to see how the lower scores could be genetic. Genetically, African Americans can be very "White." The reverse is true as well, JD Watson himself my a be 17% African in origin, according to a recent genetic analysis of the Nobelist's gene sequence. Numerous studies cited by Nesbittt have failed to show any evidence that the percent "white" genes determine intelligence. Moreover, Caribbean Americans do rather well in the US, yet they are also a mix of Euro, Amerind, and African ancestry.
BUT, Nisbett's thesis brings a blow to affirmative action. If, as he shows, the measured difference in IQ us manly related to family means and structure, that means that the huge deficiency in IQ or other standardized tests, must be cultural. In other words most AA kids really are less smart than most of the rest of society. That is a toxic thought but it gets worse. given the larger proportions of Black kids living in poverty, affirmative action becomes a very bad idea.
The math is very simple. If 80% of the black student body is from the underprivileged in the US, then this group will have a fairly homogeneous low IQ score. BUT, the 20% who are not poor, will do much better than their innate abilities would allow when measured vs. the other blacks. In effect, this means a race normed test will OVER estimate the abilities of the brighter students.
Why? Well if 80% of the white kids are middle class, the only discriminator will be their innate intelligence. Indeed Nisbett makes this point since he finds that genetic influences are low in poor kids and uses this as evidence of the ability of environment to raise IQs. In other words, predictably, Black kids chosen for programs based on race norming will be less "talented" then white kids normed vs. white kids!
This means affirmative action selects for the less able Black kids!
Worse, the implication is that the great majority of innately gifted Black kids are lost because we do not know how to test for them.
Is there an answer? I suggest YES. A number of sources suggest that once a Black kid (or any kid) has gained certain skill, she or he will do well. The obvious implication is that kids with a commitment (or more likely kids with parents' commitment) MUST be put in classes that allow them to move ahead from K on.
NOTE: This is one more reason to be upset with the superficiality of the analysis of Seattle's APP program!.