HBD: Do IQ Tests Have a Cultural Bias? If So, How Do They Need to Be Reformed?

Answered on Quora.

We must talk about two types of scientific thinking.

The first type are the intelligence researchers, the top names in the field, and people who actually study the issue. They write in journals like Intelligence. Charles Murray, Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, and James Flynn are some of the top names in this field. I keep up with the field, and Flynn, discoverer of the Flynn Effect, is actually an acquaintance, so I know what I am talking about.

These and a few others are actually the most respected names in the field. However, outside the field, Murray, Rushton, Lynn and even Jensen are often pilloried as racists, and the popular line is that their work is pseudoscience or scientific racism. However, in the intelligence community, they are regarded as the top names of all, their work is regarded as excellent science, and their views are regarded as valid hypotheses about race and intelligence that are worth investigating.

Although the genes versus environment matter for IQ has not been sorted out (the above names are some of those fighting it out), the argument in the journals about whether the tests are culturally biased or not was settled long ago. The leaders of the Pure Environment group such as Nesbitt ran up the white flag a while back on the cultural bias issue. Nesbitt never talks about cultural bias anymore and accepts that the tests are valid. Instead, he argues about different things. He simply argues that the scores are correct, but the differences are due to environment, not genes.

The problem here is that just about nobody is monitoring the actual debate in the intelligence community and the journals, so a huge disconnect has emerged between popular scientists and journalists who write on this subject and the experts in the field.
The former continue to insist that the tests are biased despite the fact that the matter was settled in the journals for some time now. The people writing in the popular press are either not following the debate in the journals or they are and they are lying (I cynically suspect the latter). To be honest, there are a few radicals in the community who continue to insist that the tests are biased, but they were defeated as a group a while back. There are only a few holdouts left.

Almost everyone who knows about the issue follows the debate in the press, but almost none of them bother to dig into the actual debate in the books and journals, so you get this huge disconnect between how the state of the debate is portrayed in the popular press and the actual state of the debate in the field.

Long story short, the debate has been settled for quite some time now in the field (15–20 years), and the cultural bias folks mostly admitted they were defeated, acknowledged that the tests were not biased, and moved on to other arguments. But popular opinion has not caught up with the science, so flat-out lies such as that the consensus among intelligence researchers is that IQ tests are biased continue to be peddled as fact, and most readers are not educated enough to figure out that they are being lied to.

The tests are correct. There are indeed differences in average intelligence between the races. The debate’s over on that too for quite some time now. Instead the debate has shifted to whether these differences are due to genes, environment, or both.
Popular opinion is lost back 15 years ago, anyone who says there are documented intelligence differences among the races is shouted down as an evil racist, and massive attempts are made to destroy their lives and careers for stating a simple fact of science. James Watson was a recent casualty. It’s pretty depressing when people are getting fired for telling the truth, but it happens all the time in our PC Culture where the truth is often Outlawed Speech, and patent lies masquerade as fact.

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, Intelligence, Journalism, Psychology, Race Realism, Science

2 responses to “HBD: Do IQ Tests Have a Cultural Bias? If So, How Do They Need to Be Reformed?

  1. Jason Y

    More people wanting to “have their cake and eat it too”. Ask these people if they truly want to give up on being “naughty”, – but these same people want to judge other’s morality. For instance, the upper classes always want to boss the lower classes blaming them for their own shortcomings – as though, they are either genetically inferior or they made bad choices (ep-gah’s reference to “disrespecting their betters)

    However, though, what about middle and upper-class people? How good are they – truly? You bet they are horribly wicked – and self-righteousness is just the start. They’re truly are their own god – as you’d expect from what they believe.

    Case in point, something said in a previous post about the Latin American elite saying “If only they’d stop drinking, they’d live in mansions.”.

  2. Jason Y

    Popular opinion is lost back 15 years ago, anyone who says there are documented intelligence differences among the races is shouted down as an evil racist, and massive attempts are made to destroy their lives and careers for stating a simple fact of science. James Watson was a recent casualty. It’s pretty depressing when people are getting fired for telling the truth, but it happens all the time in our PC Culture where the truth is often Outlawed Speech, and patent lies masquerade as fact.

    PC culture? Well, that’s not really the problem. Sure the IQ tests are saying the truth (sort of). However, the US culture ignores the spiritual dimension seeing things as affected by society, genetics, or choices. I mean, if West Africans are doing Voodoo, then so what, right? What if Hindus are making offerings to Kali?

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