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New blog post: Facts do not cease to be facts because they are unpleasant.
Heads up, gentle reader. I'm about to give you an intelligence test. To begin the test, read “The Talk: Nonblack version“. The single most important kind of intelligence is the ability to see past...
Eric Raymond's profile photoLaurent Gauthier's profile photoScott Doty's profile photoRicky Moore-Daniels's profile photo
+Tim Rice You cannot fail the test merely by being skeptical of fact claims. You can fail it by being skeptical for reasons which are logically fallacious. Reread my questions!
+Tim Rice, you're right in another way too: Besides perhaps not being as all-encompassingly important as our transatlantic brethren see it, that four-way split is a totally weird US-only division.

"White, asian, or black", I could understand, but to us Europeans, "hispanic" IS white. (Clue: Look at a map of Europe, where white people come from. Hispania is part of it!)
+Christian Conrad Many Americans actually get that "Hispanic" is a silly category essentially manufactured by our racial-grievance and "diversity" industries. But you don't see much talk of this because the personal costs for challenging that industry can be high - as Derbyshire just found out by being fired for it.
Yes, I do think the author is racist based on this document. He was doing ok through the first 5 points (though I think singling out blacks rather than talking about races in general seems suspect), then progressively gets worse.

Aside from the questionable and perhaps cherry-picked sources some of his points are based on, it is hard to imagine a way 13-15 could be taken that would not be racist -- the idea that you should befriend someone as a token black as a defense against prejudice claims seems absurd.
You can always use Google's cache - in the search box, type cache:<url>
You've got to be kidding me.

Please tell me this is high satire?
i counter by saying that calling something a fact does not make it so. i read the article, replaced "black" with "white", translated it to chinese, and the rest followed quite nicely. all i need is a set of IQ tests...
Thank you, +John Tamplin. I got it, though it would be 'polite' if +Eric Raymond happened to email John Derbyshire with a notice along the lines of, "I referenced your link, it looks like my audience took notice. Sorry if this melted your server but I hope the larger audience for your work is a net benefit to you." Or something like that.
"(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally." If that is not racist advice, what is?
Ozan: But the point is, why would someone be proud of any of this?

Even stipulating the Bell Curve claims -- which I am not prepared to admit, or even waste time validating -- I would be surprised if +Eric Raymond 's "Blacks are dumber" claim wasn't proportional to malnutrition.

That's the thing about groups -- they are always divisible by factions and subgroups. To put a finer point on my intuition, inner city children probably have access to less nutrition growing up than (say) Harvard-educated Barack Obama.

In fact, I would say that the use of statistics in this manner is a special case of equivocation -- and hey, that's right there on my handy list of logical fallacies.

Can you find any more in this mess, gentle reader?
+Tim Rice, +John Tamplin and +Will Hill -- I suggest you look up the definition of "racist" and/or "racism" before trying to accuse someone of being one.

While I find one or two of Mr. Derbyshire's assertions disturbing (and therefore flunked ESR's IQ test), his article cannot be reasonably construed as a claim that one race is superior, or inferior, to another. He is only pointing out some differences (some well-known) that, thanks to fifty-plus years of relentless cultural conditioning, most of us find uncomfortable to think about.
+Eric Raymond I may have failed the test according to you, mostly for #4, but I'm right. statistical common sense with respect to race, is racism, I think the word prejudice would be more appropriate for this exercise.

the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

Founded in real life statistics or not, The Talk: Non-Black Version is racist, simply by definition of the word racism, at least according to the Oxford dictionary.

+Ken Barber just beat me to this!
+Ken Barber Really, are you going to say that #11 and #12 are not construing blacks as inferior to whites?
Honestly, I don't think these kids can steer.

Here is the reply I posted on +Eric Raymond 's blog -- we'll see if he approves it.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I coded a shuffle-deal dealy to select from the logical fallacies in your argument, and it decided on:

However, I do think that such a discussion cannot be undertaken seriously without actually stipulating, for the nonce, that your claims are correct.

If it is correct -- as you seem convinced -- how much do you think factors like poor nutrition skew the results? And do you plan to do anything about it?
+Michael Bennett The moment you assert "statistical common sense with respect to race, is racism" you have willfully destroyed the moral and consequential grounds on which you can criticize or reject "racism". I think this was the actual hidden point of Derbyshire's essay.
10c - 10h are all just anecdotal. In 10c - 10e, there's no evidence in his sources to suggest that a high concentration of black people caused the tragedies or that high concentrations of black people at public events or public places is correlated with a higher likelihood of violence. For 10f, Detroit is having financial trouble because of auto factories getting closed down. As for 10g, what the hell is that supposed to mean? I don't agree with most of Obama's policies, but I don't see how he is any less trustworthy than his white predecessors. If Derbyshire is going to base his point on "statistical common sense" he should at least give statistics and not just a bunch of anecdotes and innuendo.
Eric, you may not be considering that a number of people might assert that it is possible to be both correct (statistically) and racist. That having a negative opinion of a race, or to negatively pre-judge members of a race based on statistics could be deemed racist even if the statistical analysis is correct.

Consider the USA post-civil-war. At this time the statistical differences between the racial populations were much larger than they are today. But those who made presumptions based on this, and treated an unknown black person with fear or contempt because of this are pretty much universally viewed as racist by our modern standards.

Generally, thinking on this issue states that because the poorer conditions among black people have as their origin in large part the prejudicial actions of white people, that it is the only moral choice, in order to repair that, to not take or give the advice named in the article. That to do so is racist and immoral, regardless of the veracity of the statistics.
+Eric Raymond Hispanic actually isn't a silly category, though it shouldn't be considered an ethnic group. It's a descriptor for a population group coming from areas where Spanish is the principal spoken language. Aside from language, there are other cultural differences that can be significant. I live in NYC, which has a large and growing Hispanic population. Some are recent emigrants from Spanish speaking areas who may not speak English. Some are descendants of such emigrants and are largely bi-lingual. Some are pretty thoroughly assimilated and may not speak Spanish, but probably have relatives or friends who do. All are aware of their ancestry and will self-identify as Hispanics and consider themselves to have some degree of common interests.
+Will Hill -- I could quibble over whether the particular dictionary you cherry-picked is legit, but let's just deal with the cited reference as-is.

There is nothing in 10a that even hints at hatred or intolerance. Perhaps you should look up the meaning of those words before trying to use them in a sentence.
+Brad Templeton I am aware that "people [...] assert that it is possible to be both correct (statistically) and racist. I consider this attitude to be - and I'm choosing my terms carefully - dangerously insane.
+Dennis McCunney I agree that "Hispanic" makes sense as a cultural category; I was agreeing with someone from Europe upthread that it's silly as a "racial" one.
Then perhaps you are using a definition of racism that differs from that used by many. While one can find many definitions of racism in various dictionaries, and examine the common uses in society, my judgement is that common threads in these definitions involve viewing one race as inferior to another, treating members of a race negatively strictly because of their membership in that race. None of the definitions I encountered in a quick survey require the view or actions to be false or groundless. So I am not sure where you get insanity, let alone dangerous insanity from. Which definition are you citing that requires the racist views and acts to be false or groundless?

The judgement of racism as good or bad is a moral issue. The common modern moral is that racism (grounded or groundless) is pernicious. We can debate that moral question certainly, and without need for questioning the ability of any to grasp reality, no?
I failed the test. Growing up, my dad, my step-mom and other family told me I was stupid. The white kids I grew up with told me I was stupid. If black kids in our mixed neighborhood told me I was a 'stupid white boy,' I'm not sure I would have noticed beyond the 'stupid' part, and I failed to grasp that the color of my skin ever was or ever should have been an issue.

I'm not in a position to give my nieces or nephew, "The Talk." I can guess as to what I may or may not do or how I would teach them. I can state emphatically I would teach them to recognize unsafe situations and what to do. I would also teach them that their skin is lighter than some people, darker than other people, and 'people acting like people' will always find or make up some excuse to treat others in a miserable way to feel better about themselves. I would teach my nephew and nieces, "Don't be one who beats up someone else just to feel a bit better about yourself. It doesn't help in any way that counts and just makes you ugly inside."

I don't know John Derbyshire is making valid claims or not. Speaking as a 'white guy', I have encountered some really, really ugly behaving white people. At times in my life, I was also more comfortable being around non-whites because I had more in common with those other people than the caucasians around. I'm not sure, "The Talk" as outlined is particularly helpful for me to teach my nieces or nephew.

More to the point for me, since my nieces and nephew are of mixed race, what in hell would I TELL them that isn't, "you have statistical reasons to dislike the heritage from your father, and the rest of the family on my side has statistical reason to be afraid of you." Statistics be damned, I'm not going to tell those kids that. I WILL teach them, or would if they were not half the US away from where I live, to recognize ugly in groups and to challenge people on the content of their character. I would also teach them if "women are not as good statistically as guys in science and engineering, be a better statistic and don't make excuses." Along the same lines and as a part of how that "be a better statistic" can apply to SO MANY THINGS, "If blacks in general don't perform well, here's a huge list of blacks who did and do, and no end to the list of white people that SUCK. Be a better statistic."

So I failed the test, I suppose. But it isn't the first time I've been told I'm stupid, and it won't be the last. I simply do not care that people should label me as 'stupid' or not. The infuriating part of that blog by John Derbyshire to me: How do I teach white kids, black kids, mixed kids, purple with green polka-dot kids, "Be a better statistic" while avoiding dangerous individuals and dangerous mob situations, regardless of their skin composition? Of course, I'm just stupid, so I don't know the 'right' things to tell them. But I'll be God-Damned if I'm going to teach those kids to hate their skin color or distrust people on the basis of their skin color. Just as I see getting violently angry with someone who would mistreat those kids on the basis of their skin.

How does this whole discussion make the world a better, safer place? I've no idea. I'm just stupid.
+Ken Barber If all you did was find some of Derbyshire's assertions "disturbing", you don't flunk. You only flunk if your ability to rationally evaluate them is overwhelmed by your fear or disgust that they might be true.
+Brad Templeton If you accept the notion that there are differences between ethnic groups that will affect relations between those groups, where do you draw the line between enumerating the differences and recommending how to behave because they exist, and being racist?
+Eric Raymond -- first, nice to be corresponding with you after all these years (yes, if you remember my fifteen minutes of fame in 2003 -- not that I really expect you to -- I'm that Ken Barber).

Re-reading your blog post, I see that I missed something important. Apparently I didn't finish reading #2 all the way through: I did recoil from one or two claims in the article, but not for the reason you mentioned. So maybe I passed.
+Brad Templeton I maintain that any definition of "racism" that makes it racist to act rationally on observed facts is dangeriously insane because: (a) Any belief at all that inhibits people from acting rationally on observed facts is dangerously insane, and (b) conflating rational evaluation with irrational prejudice only gives power to actual haters and bigots.
+Eric Raymond I agree Hispanic is silly as a racial descriptor, but the cultural differences it connotes can be as important as purely racial ones. Indeed, the cultural differences tend to be the important ones.
As I said there are many definitions of racism, but the ones I read do not include evaluation about whether the attitudes and actions are justified or grounded. So there is no place to draw the line. Saying, "Kids, stay away from large groups of black people you don't know" is racist -- that's a factual judgement not a subjective one, because it advocates prejudicial treatment of people based on skin colour. Saying, "Statistics indicate that violence is more prevalent in the black community" is not racist, because it does not prescribe an action, does not encourage a judgement. The article cites statistics which is not, in itself, racist and then says "teach your children to fear black people because of those statistics" which is racist.

The confusion here is between the factual description of racism as a system of beliefs and actions, and the moral judgement of that creed. The moral judgement is far more subtle. The problem stems because much of the responsibility for the plight of the black person in the USA is the result of truly abominable actions by the United States and its residents. One can validly argue the immorality of teaching your children to fear groups of unknown black people at the same time as being aware of the statistics.
+Brad Templeton -- advising white people to "stay away from large groups of black people that you don't know" does not advocate killing anyone, does not advocate harming anyone and does not advocate denying anyone his human rights -- and is therefore not, under any legitimate definition of the word -- racist.
Why this scorched-earth rhetoric, with the dramatically-chosen words "dangerously insane"?

If anything, it's a mixed message: don't react emotionally to the article? But then chose words to elicite emotional reactions?

I mean, really: i'm not in the habit of needing to suspend disbelief when discussing facts. Is anyone?
First of all, the question (at least from the definitions I have read) is not whether it is racist to act rationally (ie. to fear unknown groups of black people more than whites, as the article puts forward.) It is racist. The question is, is it wrong? You seem to be afraid that because the common moral attitude is that racism is evil, that you will redefine racism to mean "only when done without evidence" but that is not in the definitions I have seen. It is racist whether it is done with or without basis or evidence.

Thus the argument is over whether the fact that, if we stipulate that it is rational, it is ipso facto right or moral.

This is a debate we can have. On an individual basis, some argue the only source of morality is your own rational self-interest, such as the safety of your children. However, others argue that a more enlightened interest is the creation of a society with more equality and less fear as might be engendered by not teaching fear, even fear backed up with stats. Others might argue, as I said above, that a debt is owed, not just by those who committed the atrocities and their descendants, but by all participants in the society who benefit from them. These are complex arguments and we won't resolve them here -- but you seem to be denying their very existence.

By all the definitions of racism I have seen, except those that require actual hate, the admonition to teach your children to fear and distrust black people absent specific knowledge of the individuals in question is, as far as I can tell, very clearly racist. The question you may wish to advance is whether it is good or justified racism, rather than evil or unjustified racism. In your quiz, all you asked was whether the article was racist, not whether it was appropriate racism.
+Brad Templeton I reject the position that rationality can be racist for reasons I have already described. I do equate racism with irrational prejudice and consider it morally wrong

I don't think we can create a better society on lies told to make ourselves feel virtuous. That is why I refuse the claim that speaking the truth can ever be racist.
Sorry, +Ken Barber but remember that what's advocated is to fear the groups of blacks, and the black politicians, but not the whites. I am afraid if you were to survey a large number of English speakers about whether such actions would fit what is meant by the word racism, I believe you would find an overwhelming majority saying so, and this appears borne out by the dictionaries as well. Most give multiple definitions, and it does not fit all of them, but it tends to fit at least one. So I'm afraid I will need to see some evidence from you on what you mean by "any legitimate definition of the word."

The definitions I have seen do not include the words "and is evil." They just describe a system of thought or actions, with a central element being discriminatory or prejudiced actions based on race. Avoiding crowds of blacks and not avoiding clouds of whites is certainly discriminatory and prejudicial, is it not? While I have seen some definitions that include hate, I have not seen ones that require the things you cite (killing and harming people, denying them their rights) though those actions certainly qualify. They are sufficient, but not necessary to meet the definitions.
Eric, can you cite some common definitions of racism that require it be irrational? I understand now that you have a definition of racism that requires irrationality. You may find it useful in your blog post to indicate that when you ask the question of whether the article is racist, you mean what others will view as the irrational subset of racism. In the interests of clarity, as a number of readers do appear to share my misapprehension, and presume you were only asking if the article was advocating prejudicial and discriminatory negative actions based on race -- which, I would presume you agree it was, and you assert simply that they were rational.

And actually, I think you can improve a society with lies. Or rather, with the omission of facts. We keep secrets all the time in all aspects and levels of our lives, and most people think it's for the better in some way. You may prefer Brin's Transparent Society in its pure form, but that's another debate.
+Scott Doty Many who passed the test had emotional reactions. Anyone who has their moral compass pointing in a worthwhile direction shouldn't feel nothing while reading that article. The point is not who can process information without emotion, it's who can process information in spite of having an emotional reaction to it. Though I don't think that ability is as simple as pass/fail, it's an area of human cognition that's always buggy and has to be watched.
+Brad Templeton, nobody is advocating fear. Or hatred.

And the meanings of words are not subject to surveys of uninformed people.
s/"uninformed"/"Does not agree with my views"/
+Jesse Glidewell "Anyone who has their moral compass pointing in a worthwhile direction shouldn't feel nothing while reading that article"

Indeed. I would be repulsed by anyone who didn't find it disturbing. But that only makes reasoning calmly and rationally about the content more important, not less.
Yes, yes -- when evaluating whether or not something is racism, we should ignore our consciences, and ignore English usage.

"When evaluating whether or not something is racism, we should ignore people who have never bothered to find out what the word actually means. "

There, fixed that for you.
I don't think, in general,. that popularity metrics are a good way to argue about definitions of terms like "racism". I prefer to look at the consequences of definitions for our ability to make useful distinctions.
Yeah, he's a racist dipshit? Why? Because he doesn't understand that IQ tests are just a number based on how similar the testee is to the normative population. In other words, culturally biased as all fuck. The claim that blacks are less intelligent than whites immediately discounts every other claim he makes.

And your tone is of supercilious asshattery.
+Ben Ford as much as it might make ESR and others recoil, statistically speaking, the fact that ESR's tone is one of supercilious asshattery makes it quite likely that he is, in fact, a supercilious asshat.
Congratulations. It took 50 comments before the thread descended into name-calling and totally ignoring the subject at hand.

I guess this is progress. Most threads take fewer than ten.
I'll go out on a limb and say that advising you stay out of certain neighborhoods because "they're black and blacks have higher crime rates" is irrational and a Bad Idea, because it's using the wrong metric.

Good reasons to avoid neighborhoods include high poverty levels, lots of abandoned buildings, crack houses, and signs of a strong gang presence. All of those correlate to your actual danger level much more than the color of the inhabitants. I see 5-6 dudes in the same color bandanas in front of a vacant house, I'm outta there and I don't care what color they are.
+valdis kletnieks But that's changing the subject. I agree that all the indicia you mention are more important than the race of the inhabitants - but what Derbyshire is saying is that race is a strong predictor after those indicia are normalized out. Unless you can refute that, you don't address his argument by talking about crime and poverty.
Where would you feel safer - in a pew at an all black church on Sunday, or on a stool at an all white biker bar on Saturday night? The problem is exactly as +valdis kletnieks said - race is a poor choice as the primary indicator of personal safety. So choosing to focus primarily on race doesn't show a desire for personal safety, but rather an attempt to rationalize one's racism.
+Eric Raymond OK, since I obviously was too subtle for the high-IQ crowd, I'll say it again: The concept that color is a good predictor after factoring out the obvious stuff like crack houses and gang sign is a total crock. Even if there is a race component (which I doubt), it's buried so far under the "poverty", "gang crime", and "crack house" signals that it's going to take some heavy-duty statistics to extract it - and at that point, it obviously isn't a signal strong enough to use as a guideline for personal safety decisions. Once you get out of the poor neighborhoods with crack houses and gangs, the color of the neighborhood really doesn't matter - you're now into territory where stuff like getting hit by a DWI driver is a significant part of your risk.
+valdis kletnieks No, I got your point, I just don't think it applies here. If, for example, Debyshire's claims aboiut distribution of intelligence and the hiring practices of bureaucracies are true, then the race of the back-office bureaucrat you deal with will be a powerful predictor of his or her competence. You have to refute him about specific fact patterns, not just wave your hands and exclaim that it would be awful if his case were true.
And his point (12) about hiring in bureaucracies is just as meaningless - because you don't have enough control over which person you end up dealing with. I go to the Virginia DMV, and it's one queue serviced by a number of workers, and when it's your turn you go to the next available one - you don't get a choice. (I'll point out that there is a range of competencies among the workers - but it evens out. The competent workers will process more people, increasing your chances of getting a competent worker).

In addition, the average bureaucracy is sufficiently rule-bound that it tends to mitigate incompetence - it's the rare worker indeed who can't figure out how to do it "by the book" (and those are usually gotten rid of once there's too many escalations to the manager) - and any intelligence above and beyond that is usually a liability.

So we're 2 for 2 now. Personal safety and bureaucracies. Derbyshire is making big points about talking up race - in contexts that it doesn't matter. I do believe he doth protest too much...
Going back a bit, you say to be prejudicial is not rational. Yet this article is telling people to teach their children to be prejudicial. To, absent knowledge of anything but their skin colour, make judgments about whether people are safe, or competent or corrupt. Since you say to be prejudicial is not rational, it seems you are saying the advice in the article is not rational -- so why don't you think it's racist? Or do you assert prejudicial means something else?
I assert that prejudicial means something else that interferes with rational evaluation. Prejudice = "pre-judgement", that is ending thought before the (individual) facts are in.
So when we are to deal with black people, we can choose abstractions that are a) statistical b) stereotypical. What particular difference does it make when there are two false premises? 1. That it is morally proper to deal with people through abstractions. 2. That behavior is actually racial.
And how is saying, "Avoid black government officials, they are more likely to be incompetent" not a pre-judgement? You're at the DMV. You see two agents with equal lines in front of them, white and black. Following the advice in the article, you pick the white one. You are not offered time to interview them both to see which real human being is best. How is this not prejudicial?
+Michael DC Bowen When we don't have information about what to expect from an individual, do you purpose that we should never estimate most likely outcomes from statistical information about what groups that person happens to belong to? And if not, what are we to do instead?
Well, certainly we must estimate likely outcomes, but I dispute that "race" (a term I find of limited value at best, but will hold my nose and use here for lack of a better one) is the right group membership to use. I personally use a quick-and-dirty estimate of the apparent education (as I prefer to deal with people with above-average intelligence) and demeanor (as I'd rather deal with a nice, but stupid person, than a very smart but assholic person) of the person in question, but I'm open to considering other metrics that prove more accurate in a real-world setting.
(I'm well aware of the distinction between education and intelligence, but they often cohabit in individuals, so I get a fair amount of real-world use out of treating them as at least loosely coupled)
+Eric Raymond this entire thread was started by an "intelligence test". When I replied that I failed, I also pointed out that you are using a colloquial definition of "racism". Your rebuttal proves it:

The moment you assert "statistical common sense with respect to race, is racism" you have willfully destroyed the moral and consequential grounds on which you can criticize or reject "racism". I think this was the actual hidden point of Derbyshire's essay.

I have no need to criticize or reject racism since racism by definition is nothing more than statistical normalization. I'm fine with that, and clearly so are you. I'm more than happy to criticize and reject prejudice, which implies unfounded bias.

This may make me dangerously insane. Either way, I love this thread.
+Eric Raymond When we have no information about an individual we treat them according to established ways that we treat people. The entire point of intelligence is to model behavior of people and situations you don't know based upon what you do know. Presuming you know yourself seems to be somewhere in the logic of the golden rule and, it seems to me, every other system of ethics humanity has generated in its civilizations. So I'm standing against the fetish for statistics usurping the moral ground of ethics. So whether or not one can construe Derbyshire's rant as racist, I wonder why more people don't stop to recognize the awful fail in any reference to the humanities. Where is music, literature, art and religion in all this modeling of human behavior? He's reduced 41 million people to the rules of a very small shell script, and further he presumes that he can program 260 million others on that basis.

You're merely asking if his script compiles. It does. Now what?
Seems like one issue is that racism has heavy negative emotional baggage and an overly broad definition. To avert the problem of dangerous insanity, you either have to compartmentalize the baggage as +Michael Bennett suggested, or narrow the definition to exclude rational approaches as +Eric Raymond does.

While both accomplish the same goal, I can't help thinking the former is a non-starter for most people. Compare the arguments: "not all racism is evil" vs "racism is evil and irrational". It's much easier to change how a word is used than to change how we feel about it.

And even if you can convince people of the first, you end up with a problem similar to the dilution of the term human rights. If the term is applied in ways that make no sense, the emotional importance becomes lost and it no longer serves as a call to action. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
Sorry Will, can't fire me -- I already quit.

But as a meta-observation, I think it a weird sort of medieval scholasticism that coldly concludes that speaking out against racism is "dangerously insane". Anyone with half a brain and a functioning conscience would consider the possibility that such a conclusion just might be -- whisper it -- wrong.
Just one note on "hispanic." In the U.S. context, it doesn't mean Spaniards, it means people from Latin America. Regarding that as a racial classification isn't crazy, since that's a population most of whose members are descended in part from Europeans, in part from the Amerinds who were there when the Europeans showed up. So not much more crazy than thinking of mulattoes as a racial classification--a little worse since it includes some people who are of almost entirely European or almost entirely Amerind ancestry.
"There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential..."

Not racism? Come on esr! The first part of the quote may be a fact, but the second is surely opinion only. I get the pragmatic safety messages being passed on in "the talk" but a sentence such as the latter is simply too loaded to construe in any other way.

As for IQ tests, as I understand it IQ tests have long been shown to favor particular cultures and backgrounds. To cite the results of IQ tests as proof that one race is more intelligent than another is really travelling backwards in time. No true skeptic would ever accept the results of such tests (or any other "empirical" data) to be "fact" leave alone the definitive proof of anything.
The author's advice is that you should do nothing against your self-interest, and yet questions of justice and (for example) providing aid to others are moral questions, which need not wholly align with self-interest calculations.

Avoiding large groups he could probably just about get away with (freedom of association), just as long as he did not consciously withhold aid.

The social being is social partly by occasionally acting against their immediate perceived self-interest. For this, they are in turn rewarded. The author's 'canny' behaviour in friending 'IWSBs' is subverting the social behaviour test, and for this he is in turn punished, for he was cheating.

No mention of the Flynn effect. The author knows enough about IQ to know of this effect, yet his article says nothing.
I passed your test, but almost in a strange way. I didn't finished the article because I found the argumentations poor.
When I read the fact that "median" black people are criminals and with a lower QI, I obviouslly agree. it's a fact. Not an opinion.
But I don't agree on the "avoiding" strategy, and the feeling that a fact stand like a stone. Unavoidable. A fact like that is a temporary state.
Is a fact the average QI of black people raised from the past.
It can continue raising (and after all, qi is only predictive on school success, is not intelligence tout court).
So, I found the entire discussion misleading from the real question.

Can we grow from our actual pre-civilized level or will we stand on the edge?

Best regards and thank for ringing the bells of rationalism.
+Kinley Dorji: Race-baiters love to argue that IQ tests are biased against their favorite minority, and have done so for years. The problem is that they have been doing so based on the disparate results of those tests, and a basic assumption that the tests are reporting inaccurately because of the reported disparities.

There are two things wrong with this: 1) Even those tests that are designed to avoid any cultural influences show the same disparities, and 2) if they're measuring those things that are required to get along in the everyday world, does it matter why the score is lower if the results are reflected in the real-world performance of those who took it?

Facts are stubborn things. We may not be very good at defining intelligence, let alone measuring it, but when everyone who tries comes up with the same disparities in the measurements, the problem is not likely to be in the test.
Brad, the difference is that the racist will treat blacks differently even on non-statistical reasons. If "racist" means someone who uses verifiable facts about groups to color their treatment of undifferentiated members of those groups, then we need a different word to describe those scumbags who treat people worse even when they cannot rely on group statistics for their evaluation of that individual.
+Raffael Cavallaro please pay attention -- you are currently scoring very low on Eric's inteligence test. The advice to avoid concentrations of blacks is based strictly on those circumstances where you know nothing else about them. Statistics is a motherfucking bitch, and expect to lose when you fuck with her. And you are fucking with her.
+Russell Nelson It is you who are not paying attention: "Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally" "Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks." "If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible." These are exact quotes.

All of them are true of my attendance at all black churches in the past. The article does not say where you know nothing else about them and this is the whole point - the other things we know about people, whether we know them personally or not, are far, far better predictors of our personal safety than are other people's complexions.
BTW wrt the intelligence test- 'is a racist' on question 4 is murky. If anyone that does math 'is a mathemetician' then Derbyshire 'is a racist', because there can be no question that his aim in the article is to draw attention to the logic of racial identification and forecasting as reliable.

Rifkin's video underlies how one would properly assess a theory as Derbyshire's whose aim (or at least whose effect) is to lend credibility to a theory of race that undermines empathy.
+Michael DC Bowen You should think carefully about the consequences of your implicit definition of 'racism'. If you erase the distinction between Derbyshire's rational calculation from evidence and irrational bigotry, only bigots will benefit - you will, in effect, give them cover and talking points. Please do not give Stormfront and the neo-Nazis that gift.
+Raffael Cavallaro Do you understand that you've just failed and double-failed the intelligence test? Best you remain quiet lest you fail it again.
I don't see a difference between this supposed "rational calculation" and the reasoning of more explicit and violent racists. There is no calculation involved with avoiding cities, groups and civil servants based on skin color. There is even less involved in leaving people stranded on the side of the road based on the same. Even in this ignorant and wrong headed thread, people have offered alternate explanations for IQ scores - from their racist origins to current social realities which have most people of color living in toxic squalor - and said that it would be irrational and absurd to project the slight differences even if true. The "rational calculations" offered are simple prejudice and the result of this ostracism and negligence is devastating at the individual and cultural level. This is not a matter of "feeling", it is a historically demonstrable fact:
+Eric Raymond I think of racism as sin. So it doesn't bother me to consider that there is logic behind it. If you sin you're a sinner. There are greater and lesser sins, there is greater and lesser racism. Derbyshire crosses the line when he suggests that his logic should be considered as a social convention. The logic of racial standing is in itself neutral. I have an old document that might be helpful, but I'll abstract it here.

If you believe that certain human traits are heritable and generally mutually exclusive then you have a racial theory. IE humanity can be divided into stable, distinct races. There might be 50 for all we know but they work like vitamins and minerals. You can't be both Vitamin A and Vitamin B12. This is called racialism.

If you suggest that society should recognize those traits and you should think of people differently because of them, then you are enabling racialism, you are giving the idea power in society - that is racist. You may not think it's controversial to note or say that "Balinese second toe is longer than their first toe", but you will note it as an incontrovertible fact of the Balinese.

There are intrinsic and extrinsic racisms, some of which are deadly sins others of which are venal sins.
+Jay Maynard "1) Even those tests that are designed to avoid any cultural influences show the same disparities"

You would have to show me a very extensive, peer reviewed study of IQ supporting such a claim before I'd give it credence, and in recent times I doubt there is one. Besides, I don't think it is humanly possible to design out all biases in surveys of this nature. There are just too many unknown variables and linkages that preclude any such definitive conclusions. At best we can say that there may be a correlation between race and IQ; at no time can we say this is true for certain.

"2) if they're measuring those things that are required to get along in the everyday world, does it matter why the score is lower if the results are reflected in the real-world performance of those who took it?"

This is a very doubtful statement. What you are saying is that the "real-world performance" of blacks is proof of their lower IQs. I think you really need to rethink this one. While again some studies have shown that there is a correlation between IQ and career success, this is not the same as saying that IQ is is the only determinant of success. Success studies also reflect that temperament, determination, supportive families and friends, luck and so on also play an important role. Besides, in the case of minorities and groups of people who have clearly been at the receiving end of society's discrimination over centuries, is it any surprise that they face difficulties in facing the challenges of economic competition in society. Black emancipation occurred barely a half-century ago - it will take a considerably bit longer than that to overcome the centuries of suppression.

Going back to the article, I believe what's primarily wrong with it is that there is really no reason to bring in the issue of IQ levels or of race itself in giving "the talk" to one's children. The same advice could just as effectively been given like so: "Son, stay away from places you don't know if it also happens to be on the seedier side of town or if it is filled with people who look rougher than yourself." Like a good design pattern, this kind of advice would apply far more usefully, regardless of the race of the person being advised, or of the group of people being avoided in the seedier or other part of town.
+Will Hill, you, too, are doing your best to fail the intelligence test. What Eric is saying is that what Derbyshire has to say may or may not be the truth, but if you try to feel that it can't be true, you are stupid or perhaps insane. Derbyshire's advice is based on sound numbers (or it isn't; in which case come up with better numbers), and while you can try to say that they ought to be wrong, you're a dumbass (Sheldon Cooper-class dumbass) to say that they are wrong because they ought to be wrong.
Many in this thread don't seem to recall the history of racism, which explains why racism is reviled even when it can be argued as the rational choice. Racists have always justified their views and actions with statistics, often with true statistics. As I said, look at the statistics post-civil-war, or even in the middle of the 20th century, and what they were used to justify. Tell me, Eric, is it rational or right to prejudge somebody who is unkempt and walks with a limp based on statistical means for such people?
Okay, thought about this while pressing pants this morning.

Another flaw in thesr assumptions is the idea that it is moral to avoid danger, despite what our consciences tell us.

I reject that as pretty damned oxymoronic, and even cowardly.

1) Morals are the ethics of conscience.
2) Conscience is that by which we discern right and wrong.
3) "Insanity" is the legal term for not being able to discern right and wrong.
4) Therefore, ignoring conscience is insane.

How do you like them peaches?
"Tell me, Eric, is it rational or right to prejudge somebody who is unkempt and walks with a limp based on statistical means for such people?"

If you have no individual information about the person? Of course it is. And yes, you'd be justified even if that person were me.
And you would teach your children that? "Kids, remember, if you see an unkempt man limping down the sidewalk he could be anybody, but odds are higher he's a smelly homeless dude, so avoid him." The statistics also say black people are at greatest risk of crime from other black people, and whatever you might argue about the alleged rationality, can you see a black father teaching the lessons in that essay? It's not rational because it leads to a society that is worse off, divided, untrusting, unproductive. Short term self-interest is sometimes also self-destructive in the long term, and this is an example of that.
"And you would teach your children that?" Of course I would. Why on Earth do you think I would want to saddle them with falsehoods that would impair their ability to cope with the world as it is?

Of course, I would also teach them that they have a moral duty to give other individuals the benefit of their doubts in a non-threat situation, so as not to be the first to defect from cooperation.
I will also add continued disturbance at the lack of consideration of history here. There have always been both kinds of racism -- the irrational form, which comes from mob mentality, cultural pressure and how you were brought up, and the justified kind, where the racist points to the reasons and statistics to justify their actions and views. In the past, both kinds were much more common than they are today. Generally, the justified sort has been a dangerous fuel for the irrational kind. The most evil racists have always relied on the support of what might be called the evidence-based racist to magnify their evil. There has also been considerable pressure to create false evidence that fits preconceptions and has the appearance of fitting the facts. The history of science is littered with this, and is the reason that the bar should be higher on such evidence. The believe that their is evidence makes the irrational racist more comfortable in their attitude, more tolerant of the evil done by others. Look at everything from the regularly refuted studies on IQ, head size etc. and of course the supposed Nazi evidence against the groups they murdered. (Hi, Mike!) If you look at history, the statistics tell us that treating evidence-based racism as rational and acceptable is dangerous, socially destructive and not the way to go. To go against those statistics is what I would call "dangerously insane" if one wants to use such a term.
+Russell Nelson Once again you show that you have failed to read the original Derbyshire piece referenced. It does not say "where you know nothing else about them." It does say "not all known to you personally."
+Brad Templeton I utterly and uncategorically reject your assumption that the truth can be toxic. That position leads not only to lying to others, but to even more corrosive self-deception.

When I look back at the history of racism, what I see is evil produced by people determined to believe evil things regardless of what the facts are. Racists cannot be moved by reason because their hatreds do not proceed from reason - they proceed from instinctive tribalism, resentment of successful competitors, blind fear of the Other, and other urges straight out of the limbic system.

Statistical justifications never actually matter to such people because they would believe what they believe even if the justification were absent. If they present "justifications", the aim is to manipulate others rather than because those justifications have any real role in their own thinking.

I know what these creatures are like because, rare though they are nowadays, one of them frequents the comment section of my blog. There are several principaled reasons I haven't banned him, but one is that he functions effectively as a horrible example.
+Eric Raymond I believe you are overlooking one of the main reasons racists use statistical justifications - it is to rationalize their own hatred, not merely to manipulate others.
Just goes to show the dehumanizing effects of statistics, coupled with ridiculous stereotypes.

+Eric Raymond did score a point by intimating he is using ethics based on solid (but counterintuitive) results from game theory: the strategy for maximum group benefit in iterated prisoner's dilemmas is cooperation.

But even further, this is only one part of the natural selection that allowed us to evolve our consciences, our senses of justice, and even our capacity for love. Knowing this can help us have a little more faith in human nature, no matter what "race" the human happens to be.

P.s. -- Odd coincidence that we're talking about this on Easter, since such humanism is completely opposed to the Christian worldview that the world is fallen, sinful, and completely unredeemable without this one guy that everybody invokes as being "God", even though this was decided by vote, and everybody regards him by another name than "God".

This is important to know, because it is the culture we are steeped where U.S. "news" would have you believe there are terrorists under every bush, and serial killers behind every tree, begging the question:

When will we be brave enough to shrug off this culture of fear?
What I found most frustrating about that article was the general attitude of "The situation is horrible, learn to live with it." instead of "The situation is horrible, try to fix it."
+Russell Nelson What makes no sense is Derbyshire's claim that there are numerous life situations where we know nothing about someone except his/her race. This is absurd. If I go to the DMV and an african american clerk serves me I already know much more about that clerk than merely her race. I know that she's literate; that she's competent enough to be hired by the DMV; that her job performance is good enough for her to continue to hold down that job, so she's reasonably punctual, responsible, and competent, etc.

IOW, Derbyshire's claim that one is often faced with situations where the only thing we know about a person is that person's race is simply false. The things about a given person relevant to our personal safety are, as +valdis kletnieks said, relevant regardless of that person's race - a gang member is dangerous whether he is white, black, hispanic or asian.
Wow, so anybody who doesn't agree with you on the definition of "racism" is not smart enough. That's clearly a mature way of debating issues.
I really didn't want to comment, but felt that I had to since this was so funny. I will go back to surfin the net in a few.

I think in every race and gender you have persons who are in the competent, mid-range and below average level.

Given equal access to education, social structures and capital, the abilities of the individual are relative to their motivation
for success.

There are examples of the normality of blacks when they do have access, without threat of violence to the same resources as whites.
Can you deduce the result?

If you take a white runner who has trained for a marathon and have him race a black person with no training then the outcome will most likely be that the black person would lose the race. Judging the black non-professional runner's ability based on the white professional runners ability is riduculous and delusional. A more acurate test would be to put two equally trained runners and pitting them against each other. What I mean is that the author is making statements - using 'statistics which are supposedly not biased' concerning the normalcy of blacks in an unstable environment against the normalcy of whites that have a more stable environment and finding the behavior of blacks to be lacking.

I don't think you can actually place yourself in the shoes of a young black boy in this country and understand the daily onslaught on his self worth. If you are not a strong or spiritual individual that can factor out your situation, you may rage against the machine and behave in said manner.

Raise a black child in a stable home with a mother and father, with the desire to attain a college level education, get's some insurance, a mortgage, a business loan - and I am sure he will eek out a living and not be a threat to the perceived societal norms.

The 'statistics' are incomplete. Each of the statements has a historical context of why it is what it is. The author does not mention them. The IQ test conveniently fails to take into account the family structure, access to good education, cycle of poverty, psycological trauma caused by subversive and stealth racism in jobs, life, etc...

As far as avoiding a group of unknown black men congregating somewhere, and this statement not being offensive to you. I ask you based on the global statistics, the same can be said if you are of any other race on this planet that sees a group of unknown white men congregating somewhere. Does that offend you?

Most of the commenters on this thread are white men. Kinda like that congressional hearing on women's rights without the women. I am sure that many blacks that see this thread, are probably too busy or do not care about your opinions on the state of blacks. The ones that read this are probably shaking their heads while passing over this and not even commenting. I am sure they have more important things to do than to help you reason out your perceptions of black human beings.

I would also like these statements to be applied in the context of women. This society is as sexist to women as it is racist to non-whites.

About 30 years ago men believed that women were less intelligent and less capable than men. Yet when women were given access to the same education and resources as men, women now account for a good portion, if not half of all graduates in maths and science and are doing quite well in business. Does anyone remember how women used to survive before they had these freedoms/resources?

Progress gentlemen - it is in that direction. I think ppl in a few decades will view these comments and shake their heads much in the
same manner that we shake our heads at some of the generally held misconceptions that were accepted as fact in the past.
Just my two cents.
That doesn't jibe with my knowledge of the history. I see many people who might tend towards racism who are tipped in that direction by apparent evidence that their feeling is backed up by truth. The justifications help the leading racists win arguments and get converts. I am afraid I would have to see better evidence that the truth can never be toxic. I would agree that the statistics tell us that most of the time it is not, and that's the way to bet. But situations vary and you must examine each situation on its own merits and not just go with the statistics. Society runs on secrets (ie. hiding the truth.) And lies for that matter. Everybody I know keeps lots of secrets, and tells lots of lies, and so do all companies and institutions. There are many who believe, based on lots of evidence, that the truth can be toxic.

But one of the particular elements of this situation is that the differences cited between the races in the article are as a result of culture and upbringing, not of genetics (which is what determines the skin colour.) Here, the racist uses skin colour as a proxy for factors that are the result of environment, and this creates the very cultural isolation that is in part responsible for the problems being articulated. It is necessary to break that cycle. One breaks that cycle, among other ways, by not teaching your children to fear as the original article suggests. It is the rational thing to do in one's long-term self-interest.
+Noto Wright "The statistics are incomplete" That is precisely the point. The truth may never be toxic, but how certain can we be that we've found it? That is the soft underbelly of most rational approaches.
ESR, the discussion of race in the US is about as interesting to me as a technical discussion about dial-up POTS. Na, less interesting.
+Russell Nelson, I flunked the test by demonstrating that the author was racist and advocating prejudiced behavior.

I can't provide you with better data because it's not my field of study, but I can say that I did not see anything of interest in the article. I no longer trust IQ test results since learning that women score lower on math tests than men because of gender stereotyping. If an expert in the field would like to point me to some reputable studies that take this effect into account, I might believe them.

I can also say that the author is an idiot for saying that the disproportionate numbers of black and latino foreclosures are because those people are stupid. Over the weekend, I checked his source and saw that the inference was entirely his own because his source simply says that more black and latino people have had their houses snatched away.
Just read on slashdot that the author was fired for racism...
That's because the author's a racist. Points 10 (10a, 10b, 10c, etc.) make that abundantly clear.
+Peter Thoenen it is your unsubstantiated assumption that my local DMV has to meet racial hiring quotas; it is your (again, unsubstantiated) assumption that my local DMV won't let incompetent workers go because of their race; these are unsubstantiated racially biased assumptions.
+Will Hill "I no longer trust IQ test results since learning that women score lower on math tests than men because of gender stereotyping" what the actual eff does that even mean? Are you saying that if a test asked me to compute the area of a kitchen, I would be unable to do so if it were implied that women were inherently better cooks than men?

I mean tonight I watched my first-grader struggle with math problems involving small change, and I can assure you that his homework would not be any easier if it were Andy rather than Mandy who was buying candy bars with coins.
+Eric Raymond Branding a list of questions as an "intelligence test" does not feel like a fair way to engage a conversation.

I am not clear on why you used the words "intelligence test" and "you failed the test" in your text.

If I was to disagree with you would you tell me that I am failing? If so what would I be failing exactly?

You do explicitely invite people to think rationally based on facts, yet you also use an emotional trick to nudge people answers and thinking when you label this test an "intelligence test".

Naming this test a 'do you agree with me on all these points' test would have been a more accurate description of what it is.

Again this is an honest comment, feel free to comment.
+Eric Raymond In your question #1, you point out for us what is according to you "the key paragraph" of this article. But this key paragraph is just not an idea, but merely a disclaimer.

When I read such a text I tend to ignore similar disclaimers, because I am an adult, i.e. I can read and think on my feet and forge my own opinion about the rest of the text.
+Juan Schwartz I think you have failed to understand Derbyshire's rather perverse sense of humor. In any case, you were supposed to make your deductions from the text of the article.
Small point of order: isn't the "intelligence test" also a special case of "Kafkatrapping"?

(Sometimes, irony can be pretty darned ironic.)
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