Saturday, November 18, 2017

How Leftists should Debate with Race Realists

In light of this interview here of Stefan Molyneux by Dave Rubin:

Why is it that the Left is so pathetic and useless that there is virtually nobody who could argue seriously with Stefan Molyneux on this issue?

First of all, if you are a Leftist and you seriously wanted to debate a race realist, you will never get anywhere by denying these propositions, which are certainly supported by overwhelming evidence from modern science:
(1) human beings have lived in different environments and been subject to different Darwinian evolution and selective pressures over at least the past 40,000 years;

(2) because of (1), evolution has produced human beings who have a common descent in different regions with distinctive gene allele frequencies which in turn cause distinctive phenotypic traits like skin colour, bodily traits, facial features, immune systems, frequency of common blood types, etc.

(3) there is very good evidence that human general intelligence (as measured in proper, culturally-neutral IQ tests) is largely genetic. The best estimate of the heritability of adult IQ is somewhere between 70–85%. Very good evidence for this comes from twin studies (especially genetic twins adopted and separated at birth) and adoption studies (Plomin and Petrill 1997; Bouchard 2009 and 1998), and increasingly genetic science. The particularly strong evidence is that siblings (either fraternal or genetic) adopted at birth or infancy will have IQs strongly correlated with their biological parents, while a correlation with their adopted parents is either very low or almost zero (Petrill and Deater-Deckard 2004; Hunt 2011: 230–231; Haier 2017: 47).

And even the liberal American Psychological Association (APA) admitted years ago that the heritability of adult IQ is about 0.75 (see Neisser et al. 1996: 96), and the democratic socialist James R. Flynn (after whom the “Flynn Effect” is named) – the leading environmentalist on gaps in IQ between population groups – himself accepts that current evidence shows that the heritability of IQ in adults is probably about 0.75 (Dickens and Flynn 2001: 346; and for a recent review of the overwhelming evidence, see Haier 2017).

(4) the average IQs of different human population groups as defined in (1) and (2) above appear to be different as measured by modern psychometrics. You can see the data as organised by region and by nation here.
As I said above, accepting the truth of these propositions is the starting point and foundation of any serious debate about race realism.

The fundamental question in professional academic debates about race realism is this: what causes the differences in average IQs between population groups? In order to seriously debate this topic, you need to acknowledge that the differences in average IQ do actually exist, but most Leftists/Liberals will vehemently refuse to acknowledge even this.

We know the differences exist. In academic debates about average IQ differences, there are two explanations of the evidence:
(1) The environmentalist explanation
The environmentalist explanation holds that the differences in average IQs between population groups is entirely or largely environmental. The most well-known and respected environmentalist is James R. Flynn, who is a democratic socialist.

(2) The genetic/hereditarian explanation
The genetic/hereditarian explanation holds that the gaps in average IQs between population groups are largely or (less probably) entirely genetic and caused by differing evolutionary histories. However, most hereditarians today probably accept that it is both genetic and environmental, but with the genetic factor being the major cause.
So if any Leftist/Liberal really wanted to engage with the Alt Right or libertarians like Stefan Molyneux on race realism, they would – at the very least – have to be extremely familiar with the work of James R. Flynn, and, in particular, the following works:
Flynn, James R. 2008. Where Have All the Liberals Gone?: Race, Class, and Ideals in America. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.

Flynn, James R. 2009. What Is Intelligence: Beyond the Flynn Effect (expanded edn.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Flynn, J. 2008. “A Tough Call,” New Scientist 199.2672: 48–50.

Flynn J. R. 2009. “Requiem for Nutrition as the Cause of IQ Gains: Raven’s Gains in Britain 1838–2008,” Economics and Human Biology 7: 18–27.

Flynn, J. R. 2010. “The Spectacles through which I see the Race and IQ Debate,” Intelligence 38: 363–366.

Flynn, James R. 2012. Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.

Flynn, James Robert. 2012. How to Improve your Mind: Twenty Keys to Unlock the Modern World. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA.

Flynn, James R. 2013. Intelligence and Human Progress: The Story of What was Hidden in our Genes. Elsevier Inc. Oxford, UK and Waltham, MA.

Flynn, James R. 2016. Does your Family make you Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
But, unfortunately, you will struggle to find anybody who demonstrates even basic familiarity with these works, or Flynn’s arguments, or even the basic issues (and waving the phrase “Flynn effect” in people’s faces does not per se refute the race realists either, because it is entirely possible that the Flynn effect is real and that race realism could be real as well).

Why is this? The reason is straightforward: in order to even seriously debate this issue, you have to acknowledge the truth of the four propositions I listed above, but the modern Left has become so insanely politically correct, so intellectually bankrupt, and so extreme in its science denial and fanaticism that it cannot even acknowledge the truth of those propositions. Anybody who does will immediately be smeared and slandered and, if they are well known enough (say, like academics without tenure), probably subject to persecution, and professional ruin. I imagine that these days even the democratic socialist James R. Flynn would probably be hounded and defamed for even defending the traditional environmentalist explanation of racial IQ differences, because that explanation explicitly admits that the average IQ differences do exist and that IQ is real.

So how does James R. Flynn explain average IQ differences? In the context of America, Flynn has studied the difference between the average adult IQ of African Americans (which stands at about 85) and the average adult IQ of white Americans (which stands at 100). In brief, a lifetime of research by Flynn suggests to him that the environment in which African American children and teenagers are raised in is, generally, less cognitively-demanding than other groups, more prone to families with single mothers, and also affected by the influence of anti-intellectual and anti-social black teenage subculture and behaviour (Flynn 2008; you can read Flynn’s article here). A combination of these factors, Flynn argues, causes the lower average adult IQ of African Americans (Flynn 2008).

You can listen here to Flynn himself discuss some of these issues in an interview with Molyneux:

To stress my point above: if a Liberal/Leftist really wanted to seriously argue with Molyneux, then he would use the arguments of Flynn as I have sketched them.

But note carefully: Flynn’s environmentalist explanation here is itself likely to be condemned as “racist” by the modern politically correct Left, and probably most Leftists are so ignorant and stupid about the subject and the necessary background knowledge they wouldn’t be capable of properly explaining it as a counterargument against race realism anyway.

Like so many other issues, the modern Left is intellectually and morally bankrupt on this issue.

Moreover, the modern Left has no solution if real realism were true, and is so incompetent and stupid they leave all serious political discussion of the consequences of race realism to the Alt Right or crackpot libertarians like Stefan Molyneux.

In reality, however, if race realism were true, the Left can easily provide a humane and compassionate response to this truth, as follows.

What is the Humane Democratic Socialist/Progressive Liberal Response to Race Realism, if it were True?
If race realism were true, the policy consequences proposed by the Alt Right or libertarians do not necessarily follow, and certainly the economic policies proposed by crackpot libertarians do not follow.

The answer to serious genetic differences in turn causing deleterious phenotypic differences between races is advanced reproductive technology and genetic engineering of the type described here.

In short, the humane and compassionate Democratic Socialist answer is providing the kind of safe, regulated reproductive technologies described in the link above to all people free of charge as a social service (perhaps even with subsidies to encourage people to use it), and, above all, to people at risk of having children disadvantaged by the accident of genetics, so that average IQ gaps – and other deleterious traits like high propensity to aggression or low impulse control – between groups can be eliminated over time.

This does not mean that our societies will be engaged in some kind of endless, mad genetic engineering to create “superhumans” or any such thing. Rather, it would be a Social Democratic society that allows parents to have children who are not disadvantaged by genetic diseases, serious predisposition to diseases or mental disorders, handicaps, or lower than average IQ, in a system where all such reproductive technologies are intensely regulated and subject to severe ethical and social scrutiny.

In the long run, any such serious group differences in IQ, in either developed nations or the Third World, can be fixed by universal health care systems that include free access to severely regulated reproductive technologies to fix this problem. In time, it is likely that the average IQ of the whole species would also rise.

However, none of this means that the West should continue to support open borders, unending Third World mass immigration, or multiculturalism because these policies are extremely harmful on economic, social and cultural grounds, even if race realism were false.

Instead, the advanced and rich First World should provide technologies to the Third World and encourage their use there, to solve the problems caused by divergent Darwinian evolution.

However, the modern Left will probably be incapable of any serious or effective response to race realists, except for more defamation, ignorance, hysteria, and just active persecution of anybody pointing out the truths I listed above from (1) to (4). As in so many other areas, the modern Left is intellectually bankrupt and will be humiliated and defeated, because it now is – in its own way – almost as anti-science as any fanatical religious fundamentalism.

Bouchard, T. J. 1998. “Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adult Intelligence and Special Mental Abilities,” Human Biology 70: 257–279.

Bouchard, T. J. 2009. “Genetic Influence on Human Intelligence (Spearman’s g): How Much?,” Annals of Human Biology 36: 527–544.

Dickens, William T. and James R. Flynn. 2001. “Heritability Estimates Versus Large Environmental Effects: The IQ Paradox Resolved,” Psychological Review 108.2: 346–369.

Flynn, J. 2008. “A Tough Call,” New Scientist 199.2672: 48–50.

Haier, Richard J. 2017. The Neuroscience of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.

Hunt, E. B. 2011. Human Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Neisser, Ulric, Boodoo, Gwyneth, Bouchard Jr., Thomas J., Boykin, A. Wade, Brody, Nathan, Ceci, Stephen J., Halpern, Diane F., Loehlin, John C., Perloff, Robert, Sternberg, Robert J., and Susana Urbina. 1996. “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” American Psychologist 51.2: 77–101.

Petrill, S. A. and K. Deater-Deckard. 2004. “The Heritability of General Cognitive Ability: A Within-Family Adoption Design,” Intelligence 32: 403–409.

Plomin, R. and S. A. Petrill. 1997. “Genetics and Intelligence: What’s New?,” Intelligence 24: 53–77.


  1. "the average IQs of different human population groups as defined in (1) and (2) above appear to be different as measured by modern psychometrics. You can see the data as organised by region and by nation here."

    I agree there are differences, but the numbers quoted on that site are based on the deeply flawed work of Richard Lynn and are most probably wrong.

    Interestingly the site lists the following as a source despite completely ignoring what it says:

    "In 2009 Jelte M. Wicherts, Conor V. Dolana, and Han L.J. van der Maas conducted a new analysis of IQ in sub-Saharan Africa, which was critical of many of Lynn and Vanhanen's methods.[9] Wicherts et al. concluded that Lynn and Vanhanen had relied on unsystematic methodology by failing to publish their criteria for including or excluding studies. They found that Lynn and Vanhanen's exclusion of studies had depressed their IQ estimate for sub-Saharan Africa, and that including studies excluded in "IQ and Global Inequality" resulted in average IQ of 82 for sub-Saharan Africa, lower than the average in Western countries, but higher than Lynn and Vanhanen's estimate of 67. Wicherts at al. conclude that this difference is likely due to sub-Saharan Africa having limited access to modern advances in education, nutrition and health care.[10]"

  2. I don't know why you think this stuff is so important. Do you think that you live in a race blind, class blind, family blind society of perfect meritocracy where everyone is rewarded based on their contributions and everyone has the same opportunity for success? That society is maybe one where a difference in IQ really matters a lot. Until we get there this crap is just convenient excuses for an unjust society.

    A real social democrat or leftist or whatever you call yourself would be focusing on the problems we can solve-not making excuses for the way things are.

    1. reality is hierarchical, so therefore its rather silly to equate a 'just' society with an equal one.

    2. It is rather silly to say things like "reality is hierarchical" and expect people to understand what you mean by that. Anyway- no where in my comment did I say a 'just' society is an equal one. I was talking about a meritocracy where people receive according to their output and have an equal opportunity to provide that output. That has a chance of being a 'just' society.

  3. I'll post my response from an Alt-Right viewpoint.

    1. Flynn assumes that IQ differences between races are those positively correlated to G related question types and research seems to rather show a negative correlation with Flynn Effect effected question types (

    2. Black and Whites with the same IQ differ a lot so closing the gap is ignores the core of race realist argument which that homogeneity not IQ provides the basis to the social alienation that occurs with “Bowling Alone Effect” of multiracial societies.

    3. Asian and Jews have higher average IQ than Whites but White people don't move into those nations or even neighborhoods.

    4. Why are “phenotypic differences between races” i.e. ones that cause the races to behave differently assumed and thus naturally separate asuumed to be “deleterious”?

    5. Why should whites people have take on a “White Man's” Burden of genetically engineering “genetic equality” from people who aren't our people? The idea oesn't even makes sense from a Darwinian view point. Why should white people have use our genetic engineering ability to literally cuck ourselves out of any unique qualities which we may possess?

    6. Why is full use of genetic engineering to improve a nation's genetic stock to the fullest extent is assumed to be a “some kind of endless, mad genetic engineering to create “superhumans” or any such thing.” The Chinese aren't going to be held back by any of these silly and baseless moral “ethics” and will simply follow the science so why should be willing to handicap ourselves in the unavoidable genetic arms race because all of evolutionary history is an arms races between different genetic populations.

    1. The last point is the most important. We Europeans have become too soft, too "moral" and unable even to face basic biological truths. China is a well-run, rapidly developing, high-IQ ethnostate which will utilise eugenic tech to massively improve the biological quality of their population. This is while the West is becoming a third world cesspool, economically stagnant and morally castrated. The price of this kind of insanity is extinction.

    2. Septeus7,

      I'll reply to the latter five points:

      2. Sufficiently advanced genetic engineering could also eliminate aggregate differences in behavioral traits between European and African Americans. This capability will take time to develop, but even the mere boosting of IQ would dramatically reduce violent crime and wasteful public expenditure.

      3. Whites don't move to Israel or Japan en masse because the Israeli and Japanese governments don't allow it. Residential segregation can be minimized in the long run by a sane immigration policy and the advanced eugenics tech I mentioned above.

      4. People vote with their feet, and non-white immigrants have spoken: their countries of origin suck. They wouldn't feel that way if they valued the innate qualities of their co-ethnics as much as you seem to think they do.

      5. A more universalist and rational non-white world would improve global stability and productivity, which benefits whites whether those whites are ethnocentric or not. There is no such thing as group selection; Darwinian evolution doesn't work that way.

      6. We don't know what the consequences of throwing all bioethics to the wind might be, and neither do the Chinese. Regardless, these concerns will never vanish unless you genetically engineer Northwest European universalism out of existence. Again, group selection doesn't exist because the Darwinian arms race takes place at the level of genes, not populations.

    3. smoothcritical1,

      According to Greg Cochran, nothing of note is going on at Beijing Genomics Institute, as unbelievable as that sounds. Perhaps someone could ask Steve Hsu.

      Han Chinese are not the monolith that the CCP says they are, although increased migration and cross-regional marriage may level things out over time.

  4. In short, the contemporary Left has no ideas, no arguments, no honesty, no decency, no rigor, no understanding, and you're a proud part of it? Why not admit you aren’t part of it, it has lost its moorings and drifted into insanity?

  5. All you say is true. But I’m not ready to identify with any kind of right wing position. Still too much economic claptrap about the free market, libertarian fairy-tales about The Invisible Hand (my favourite non-existent super hero), and Cold War triumphalism (beatin’ muh Commies cause we have FREEDOM yeah. And muh constitution).
    The Alt-Right goes some way to addressing some of these things but is still hampered by it’s unfortunate right wing baggage. This site provides the kind of economic articles that no AltRight group could manage. Counter Currents occasionally has some good stuff from Kerry Bolton, but for its size and reach it still punches below it’s weight on economics.

  6. More of the left on display.

    It’s not just that she says such stuff. She clearly did so in the expectation of approval and approbation. It's reflective of the mindset she expects to find.

  7. Very interesting post. While IQ is important, I agree with Ivan M. that 'Northwest European universalism' is just as key here (if not more). People like HBD Chick and myself have been banging the drum for years about how not just high intelligence, but high out-group trust (what I call 'commonweal orientation') also makes our societies the envy of the world. Not quite sure how to genetically engineer that though...

    As a hard-wired leftist myself, I applaud your efforts to bring the thorny topic of race realism to the mainstream. Genetic science is going to end up shoving this unpleasant reality into our face in the same way Darwin did with evolution, and progressives will need a more sensible reaction than fingers in the ears, Scopes-trial-level denial.

    I've added your blog to my blogroll in hopes that the worlds of race realism and leftism come a little closer together. Cheers!