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Genetics and race
Posted: 03 November 2010 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 07:28 AM

No, I meant low intelligence. The average IQ of Uganda is 73. That’s four points away from mental retardation.

Turn your skeptical capabilities on, George. Do not believe everything sold as scientific and/or has figures. How was the IQ measured? Is IQ something that exists and can be measured anyway?

What to think of bias?

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Posted: 03 November 2010 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 03 November 2010 09:43 AM

Language also plays a big part. If you are going to do the test in your second or third language, or translated into your first language, the results will be lower. In the US you have tests written in English, being answered by people with English as their home language. Uganda has something like forty two indigenous languages.

Only a personal anecdote, but I actually scored higher on an IQ test in English, my second (third) language. No, it has nothing to do with language. Nor a culturally specific information. In fact, blacks score slightly higher on standard IQ tests when compared with “culturally-specific-information-free” tests.

I am getting tired now. If you want to believe that religion is responsible for witchcraft in Uganda, or for the Saudis flying into the buildings on 9/11, go ahead. Jump on the Sam Harris bandwagon, and enjoy the ride.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 09:33 AM
Bruce Gorton - 03 November 2010 09:23 AM
George - 03 November 2010 07:28 AM
Gnostikosis - 03 November 2010 07:19 AM

He probably should have said or meant, lack of education.

No, I meant low intelligence. The average IQ of Uganda is 73. That’s four points away from mental retardation.

IQ is heavily influenced by education and access to information. A lot of Africa doesn’t even have access to electricity. To take low IQ as indicative of low intelligence in such a setting indicates a profound racism. This is the same bullshit that was pulled during the heyday of eugenics.

The heritability of IQ is about 80%. You can see that very well in the trans-racial adoption studies, where all the children were adopted by middle-class white parents. At the age of 17, the white adopted children had an average IQ of 106, mixed-race (black and white) kids an IQ of about 99, black kids an IQ of 89.

Heritability doesn’t mean that genes contribute to, in this case, 80% of a trait it means it contributes to 80% in the variance of a trait.

Say for example genetically a group of people all had black colored hair. No one ever dyed their hair it was illegal to dye or unavailable. So heritability would be 100%. However lets say half the people did dye their hair. Now heritability is 50%, environment is 50%.

Environment can greatly affect the heritability percentage you are referring to. Environment can contribute more or less to the variation which is going to affect the heritability percentage.

[ Edited: 03 November 2010 10:47 AM by Gnostikosis ]
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Posted: 03 November 2010 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 09:19 AM

Like what? Something like The Head Start Program or perhaps Baby Einstein DVDs?

It means that how one’s early environment can affect intelligence deserves further scientific study. If we could provide guidance to the parents of developing countries on how to provide healthy mental stimulation to their young children we could make the world a more intelligent place.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 10:32 AM

I am getting tired now. If you want to believe that religion is responsible for witchcraft in Uganda, or for the Saudis flying into the buildings on 9/11, go ahead. Jump on the Sam Harris bandwagon, and enjoy the ride.

Religion is an environmental factor. However one among many environmental factors. Blaming it solely on religion IMO is as wrong as trying to blame it on genetics.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I am not “blaming genetics” (whatever that means) for why the Saudis flew into the buildings. Actually, there is a new book by Scott Atran called Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, where he explains not only what had happened, but also how to deal with this problem.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Gnostikosis - 03 November 2010 11:05 AM
George - 03 November 2010 10:32 AM

I am getting tired now. If you want to believe that religion is responsible for witchcraft in Uganda, or for the Saudis flying into the buildings on 9/11, go ahead. Jump on the Sam Harris bandwagon, and enjoy the ride.

Religion is an environmental factor. However one among many environmental factors. Blaming it solely on religion IMO is as wrong as trying to blame it on genetics.

Oh for crying out loud.

Something general like intelligence, its complex and very difficult to measure. I am not even sure we have a good definition of what intelligence is.

Specific beliefs such as a belief in witches? Not so hard. Note I am not saying without Christianity, none of this is specific to any one faith - I am saying without religion you wouldn’t have witch hunts, because people just wouldn’t believe in witches. I am not talking metaphorical witch hunts, you would likely still get those, I am talking about people who actually believe in witches.

And as difficult as it is to swallow, they believe in this not because they’re stupid, but because they were raised believing in it as part of their faith. It is why in the West, where it is no longer a part of the faith, people who try to kill others for being witches are almost unheard of. There are plenty of stupid people in the West, but that element of religion is mostly dead. 

I am not saying you would do away with terrorism, or irrationality here, I am not saying that it would cure world hunger and solve every problem Africa has got - I am simply saying that without religion, people wouldn’t believe in witches, because of the very nature of a belief in witches.

I mean, saying religion is an environmental factor in a belief in witches, is like saying religion is an environmental factor in a belief in prayer. Would removing religion stop people praying for their kids to get better rather than taking them to a doctor? Well, yeah.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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brightfut - 03 November 2010 12:33 PM

Avoiding social situations, feeling unmotivated and worthless will make a person MORE vulnerable at the same time to the very threats the depression was supposed to be a protection from.

Hmm, maybe, hard to tell. Depression, though, does make one feel very sad. Natural selection clearly doesn’t care much about our happiness.

[ Edited: 03 November 2010 12:50 PM by George ]
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Posted: 03 November 2010 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 03 November 2010 11:54 AM

Oh for crying out loud.

Something general like intelligence, its complex and very difficult to measure. I am not even sure we have a good definition of what intelligence is.

Specific beliefs such as a belief in witches? Not so hard. Note I am not saying without Christianity, none of this is specific to any one faith - I am saying without religion you wouldn’t have witch hunts, because people just wouldn’t believe in witches. I am not talking metaphorical witch hunts, you would likely still get those, I am talking about people who actually believe in witches.

And as difficult as it is to swallow, they believe in this not because they’re stupid, but because they were raised believing in it as part of their faith. It is why in the West, where it is no longer a part of the faith, people who try to kill others for being witches are almost unheard of. There are plenty of stupid people in the West, but that element of religion is mostly dead.

Actually there are a lot of people in the west who believe in witches. However witchcraft is socially acceptable and protected by law.

I am not saying you would do away with terrorism, or irrationality here, I am not saying that it would cure world hunger and solve every problem Africa has got - I am simply saying that without religion, people wouldn’t believe in witches, because of the very nature of a belief in witches.

I mean, saying religion is an environmental factor in a belief in witches, is like saying religion is an environmental factor in a belief in prayer. Would removing religion stop people praying for their kids to get better rather than taking them to a doctor? Well, yeah.

In this case I was only referring to religion being an environmental factor of intelligence.

A tolerance for religion and people of different religious beliefs would also seem to help the problem. That’s why we don’t kill witches anymore in the west, not because a lack of belief in witchcraft.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 11:27 AM

I am not “blaming genetics” (whatever that means) for why the Saudis flew into the buildings. Actually, there is a new book by Scott Atran called Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, where he explains not only what had happened, but also how to deal with this problem.

Thanks for the book link. So far the preview available on amazon looks interesting.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Have you ever taken a look at some of the superstitious crap believed in both China and Japan? Those are really no different than believing in witchcraft. Yes, the end result of a witchcraft accusation is that it can get you murdered, but that doesn’t make it any more silly than other superstitions. I don’t see you ‘assigning’ a low IQ to those countries, nor have I seen a source of your ‘information’ listed.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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George - 03 November 2010 07:28 AM

Even if you were right—which you’re not—it still changes nothing about the fact that a large portion of Uganda’s population has a very low intelligence.

  While I agree with you that most (or all) of the person’s upper limit of intelligence is genetically determined, there are a great many factors which can degrade the person’s neural capabilities. Oxygen deprivation while in the womb or at birth can have a major destructive effect, low protein diet while the brain is developing, vitamin deficient diets, low calorie diets which mean the small amount of protein has to be used by more essential organs such as the liver and heart, lack of any mental stimulation as a small child so that logic and reasoning circuits are not developed, are just a few of the possible causes for low intelligence that have little to do with the genetic upper limitations.

I don’t know anything about the average intelligence of Uganda’s citizens, but I doubt that one could state without a great deal of long term testing to eliminate the other causes listed above, that if it’s low, it’s because of genetics.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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asanta - 03 November 2010 04:26 PM

Have you ever taken a look at some of the superstitious crap believed in both China and Japan? Those are really no different than believing in witchcraft. Yes, the end result of a witchcraft accusation is that it can get you murdered, but that doesn’t make it any more silly than other superstitions. I don’t see you ‘assigning’ a low IQ to those countries, nor have I seen a source of your ‘information’ listed.

Yeah, there is that religion, Shinto, in which their soul, after they are dead stays on Japan.  Japan is supposedly full of souls.  I wonder why Japan isn’t crowded with every soul bumping into… Oh wait.

LOL  I couldn’t resist that play on words, but yeah, even though, towards the end, the use of ‘soul’ could have been actual people, Shintoists believe the souls of the dead stay on that tiny island that is already crowded with people.  If it were true, then Japan would be a whole lot more crowded then it already is.

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Posted: 03 November 2010 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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asanta - 03 November 2010 04:26 PM

Have you ever taken a look at some of the superstitious crap believed in both China and Japan? Those are really no different than believing in witchcraft. Yes, the end result of a witchcraft accusation is that it can get you murdered, but that doesn’t make it any more silly than other superstitions. I don’t see you ‘assigning’ a low IQ to those countries, nor have I seen a source of your ‘information’ listed.

I don’t think believing in witchcraft is really the same as practicing it, is it? Indeed, the Koran and the Bible are both full of bronze age wisdom, but it is the Muslims who take that stuff seriously, not the Christians.

[ Edited: 03 November 2010 05:49 PM by George ]
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Posted: 03 November 2010 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Occam,

Even if it were true that malnutrition plays such a big role in determining intelligence (it doesn’t), it still doesn’t change the fact that people in Uganda behave the way they do largely due to their low intelligence.

I am not very happy about having to point to these very painful facts, but as long as people like Harris, and now even Dawkins, keep making stuff up to help them to promote their opinions, I feel the need to respond accordingly.

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