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SciFactSeeker

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  1. I think Table 6 on Page 467 (or 7/14 for the pdf file) is where the claims are coming from; if you look at the very bottom of the chart, it appears to suggest that the SO group, or Sokoto Nigerians, are the least genetically dissimilar from CH (Chimpanzees) out of the groups. Of course the rest of the chart also demonstrates how generally similar all human ethnic groups are to each other; still, what are the implications of this data from a genetic perspective?
  2. Recently I've come across some claims based off of an old 1995 study that Sokoto Nigerians are "the closest genetically" to chimpanzees out of all the ethnic groups that the study sampled. Being woefully unversed in the field of genetics, I find myself relatively unable to analyze the study appropriately, as well as the possibility that it has been misapplied. I see a lot of white supremacist websites using this study as proof that west africans are somehow more animalistic or less human than other ethnic groups, some even using Sokoto Nigerians as a proxy for all blacks, which given the genetic diversity found within the african continent is obviously incorrect. So my questions for the resident experts are: How reliable are the methods used in this study? If its findings are true, then what implications can we really extract, and what are the limits of those implications? How is genetic proximity within and between species calculated, does it match the methods used in the studies, and how is it defined? Thank you. Here is the study itself: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1801145/pdf/ajhg00028-0108.pdf And here you can see how many different places it appears in: https://www.google.com/search?q=Deka+et+al.+Am.+J.+Human+Genetics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#safe=strict&q=sokoto+nigerians+chimpanzees+&* Not sure what to make of all this, but I suspect it is being severely misinterpreted; plus I question the motives of someone who is measuring the distance between chimpanzees and different human populations. I don't think research like this should but stifled, but instead carefully picked apart; something I doubt this obscure study has been subjected to. Perhaps someone here who is more experienced with this kind of thing can shed some light.
  3. Recently I've reviewed a comprehensive reanalysis of the IHDP (Infant Health and Development Program) which concluded that failure to raise the g (general intelligence factor) does not account for the fade-out effect so commonly seen with the majority of these intervention programs. This conclusion was reached based on the finding that during the intervention, g was in fact raised. The degree to which g is malleable (if only in childhood) I cannot be sure. What didn't add up for me was the idea that g would be malleable for children only, and then would decrease by mechanism of "settling" into true genetic potential; especially since g represents essentially the same construct across ages, races, and genders. What we do know is that unused neural synapses are eventually lost, a sort of "use it or lose it" phenomenon; this as I'm sure you know is synaptic pruning. I suggest that it is not the genetic nature of g and IQ that is increasing, but rather synaptic pruning is occurring to different magnitudes between individuals and groups. That it would occur differently between individuals is obvious of course; however agreeing upon a theory for groups is a bit more complex. One explanation for the fade-out effect seen in IHDP is that once returned to their original environments, participants simply did not select into environments of higher stimulation. I propose on the contrary, they simply were unable to select; and perhaps even prevented. We know that the vast majority (though not all) of the children who participated were of a low socio-economic background; and for this reason it is entirely plausible that cognitively demanding environments simply were not readily available to them. By the time black participants entered school, neurally stimulating activities were probably even discouraged (if you know anything about the anti-educational peer culture, then you understand what I mean) by not only teachers with low expectations, but peer groups as well. These are factors which would prevent selection into improved environments, especially as a child ages. Poverty itself provides few opportunities for such selection to occur in the first place. One could argue that participants had lower amounts of genetic potential to begin with, and that they simply regressed towards this potential. It is true that the abecedarian approach used in IHDP did not fully address the medical needs of LBW (low birth-weight) infants, but if we assume also that low IQ leads to poverty, we would expect most participants to regress. MOST, but not all. Because all of the participants regressed, regardless of socio-economic status, it suggests that the mechanism for the regression may not actually be genetic. We would expect higher SES participants to maintain some, if not all gains, due to higher inherent potential. No such finding has been reported. I concede that I do not know the exact ratio of poor to high ses participants, however. Perhaps it is possible for one to, in effect, lose genetic potential outside of the right environmental conditions. To clarify, I do not argue that the entire gap between blacks and whites is explained by this mechanism; (at most five points, the usual size of gains found by these projects, ranging from 4.4-5) or that with the right environment, everyone can become a genius. I acknowledge accordingly that individuals have varying amounts of genetic potential, and perhaps even groups (some studies have reported differing levels of white and grey matter between racial groups, as well as differences in brain size and neural allele frequencies, though to the degree that this contributes to the IQ gap I am unsure). At best we can conclude from these differences that different ethnic groups think and view problems differently, though to deem one way of thinking as inferior is a stretch at best, closed-minded at worst. Many intervention studies have been successful in reducing behavioral complications, improving life outcomes and academic performance, all independent of IQ gains which faded over time. The original abecedarian saw a permanent gain of 5 points, a significant difference which was accompanied by some behavioral improvements. This suggests to me that culture and parental values are better predictors for such than IQ scores. At least 10 points of the gap can be concretely explained by low SES (eliminating poverty depressors raises the black mean by 5 points, or 1/3), and parental values/education (directly related to culture, accounts for another 5 points, we know this because this is the size of the gains found by intervention studies, which introduces activities and learning methods unlikely to be found in the households of less educated parents, and dare I say; black parents in general, regardless of education). The final 5 points is left up to non-home environment (school, peer groups and teachers), neighborhood quality and genes. Some sources report that the gap has decreased by 1/3, the validity of this claim I am not certain. If this is true, it is difficult to determine the direct source of this gain; perhaps integration and higher overall SES for blacks is the cause. In conclusion, it seems that g isn't as immutable as previously thought, a finding that is in direct contrast with the theory of increased genetic influence. My argument is that increasing IQ scores are not relevant to the reduction of social ills, and that the imperfect correlation between IQ and academic performance suggests not that those with lower scores will always exhibit worse performance, but rather that those with higher scores should always exhibit better performance. In other words; higher scores may predict better academic performance, but lower scores do not always predict poor academic performance. The genetic potential of black americans, though it may in fact be lower than 100, is not certainly not 85 as I have demonstrated above. I argue also, that the fade-out effect is synaptic pruning resulting from the temporary nature of the interventions, rather than a failure to cause true gains in the first place. Some Head Start gains have been kept for white participants, and perhaps this represents more readily available opportunities for cognitive stimulation in white communities and culture. I argue also that anti-educational culture is a mechanism by which synaptic pruning acts against valuable neural connections, because they have become neglected. East Asian culture by reverse provides abnormally high neural stimulation. Gains seen in interventions may not be as hollow as previously thought, because behavioral improvements are usually maintained. Both the Flynn Effect and IHDP show that abstract reasoning can increase or decrease by non-genetic means. Lastly, I think abstract reasoning, or g should be viewed the same way we view singing, or dancing. Some individuals possess natural aptitude, while others gain their skill through training and practice. Many people would say that Michael Jackson had "natural rhythm". That doesn't mean that others can't be good with choreography, or that their increases in skill are hollow and not real. I hope that my analogy will provoke some thought. The human brain is an amazing and vastly misunderstood organ, and I believe it deserves much less of the oversimplification it tends to receive in many HBD circles. To close: If only the genetically gifted had hope of ever obtaining success, no one else would bother to practice.Results are what matters, and if interventions are showing us that academic achievement and social ills can be improved upon without improving IQ and/or g, then we must question the relevance of continuing to study the IQ gap. Notes: Differences between the control group and the recipients of the abecedarian intervention were found as early as six months, however this is still significantly after the initial intervention began (six weeks) which leaves the possibility that the differences were the direct result of the program. Designers of the intervention claim to have controlled for small sample sizes and mother's IQ, finding no diminished impact. -If anyone could provide me with some extra data citing more behavioral improvements that would be great, I've read over a lot of studies that showed improvements across different measures and to different degrees, but to form a coherent picture I'd need more information. Thank you so much! Sources: http://www.johnprotzko.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Protkzo-2016.-raising-IQ-raising-g-and-fadeout.pdf https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314151645.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaptic_pruning http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=132 -SFS
  4. For the past few months, I've been thoroughly studying the Race-IQ debate; being black myself, I wanted to be armed and ready to confront any racialist I might happen to debate with, using cold, hard facts. But along the way, I found myself on a rather contradictory roller-coaster. At several points, I was forced to question the things I'd learned about race and equality for my entire life; of course this was uncomfortable, even devastating for me; psychology, a topic once so engaging and fascinating to me, became tinged with the darkness of what I'd read. The search for objective sources was endless, and mostly unsuccessful. At times, I believed the hereditarians; then it seemed I would come across one more piece of evidence which would invalidate or weaken their position. Having been raised myself in a middle class environment, home schooled and surrounded by education, environmental explanations seemed even more likely to me from personal experience. I score on average, 105-106 on IQ tests, which I've learned is apparently the east asian average. It made sense to me because the traditionally asian "tiger-mom" stereotype has always strongly resonated with me, as I relate to the obsessive prioritizing of education. My mother was highly engaged in japanese culture to be specific, and studied it extensively in college. It wouldn't surprise me if her parenting was influenced by that. Alas, I realize that my case is an extremely specific anecdote. It is to my understanding that controlling for SES eliminates 5 points of the gap between 'Blacks' and 'Whites' (using the US definition of these groups). I have also read that some early educational interventions have successfully raised the black IQ by 4-5 points; gains which lasted into adulthood. I think this is another way of correcting for culture, so accounting for SES and culture would wipe out 10 points; that's roughly 2/3's of the gap that exists. Having calculated this, it didn't make sense to me how anyone could possibly think it was genetic. The last 5 points could be anything; the african-american diet, racial stress, lack of motivation, negative external influences (anti-educational peer culture, low expectations, and stereotypes). It's quite possible that no amount of correcting will ever completely eliminate environmental differences between blacks and whites. However, despite this evidence, I did find some studies which made me yet again, doubtful. Twin studies have found IQ to be highly heritable, even when raised apart. Adoption studies have shown adoptive siblings to be no more similar in IQ than strangers. I've even seen a blog attempting to show that IQ is equally heritable in both blacks and whites, though the data they pulled had small samples and was highly selective. Even so, it recently came to my attention that the term "heritable" has been severely misused, seeing as it measures what percentage of variance in a specific population is due to genetics, and not how much of the trait itself is genetic. This was a big blow to most hereditarian arguments for me, and because adoptive families tend to be primarily upper middle class, twin studies didn't convince me as much as they used to. It also stands to reason that the IQ differences between adoptive siblings would be more jarring due to their regulated, high SES environment, which leaves little room for environmental differences; therefore heritability naturally increases; or a higher percent of differences is due to their genetic makeup. Raising both the adopted child and the biological child in a low SES environment could quite possible make their IQ's more similar, as the environmental factor grows. All this taken into account, it seemed to me that IQ differences between blacks and whites were entirely environmental; or at the very least, genetics played a very small role. Even the gap between whites and east asians could be explained easily by cultural differences in the approach to academics, and ashkenazi jews score no differently than high SES whites; ashkenazi jews are already a largely high SES group. I've seen those who argue that IQ linearly predicts SES; but to say this is to argue that the only reason one might become poor is due to stupidity (for lack of a better word), and the only reason one might become rich is due to academia. In reality, there are a multitude of complex factors which lead to one's social economic standing; not all of which are based purely on the career you were cognitively prepared for. This pretty much settled it for me; until I decided to investigate a claim written on a blog which stated that there were differences in intelligence-related allele frequencies between races. Seeing as how the Flynn Effect proved that environmental sophistication by the decade could raise the mean IQ (both fluid and crystallized), this finding was immediately suspect to me. I am unsure of their methodology, the legitimacy of the researchers involved, and the implications of the results. What I am wanting to know is on average, how much of an effect does each allele, individually have on IQ? How much would 14 of them collectively have? Are there any problems with this study as far as you can see? See for yourself: https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/factor-analysis-of-population-allele-frequencies-as-a-simple-novel-method-of-detecting-signals-of-recent-polygenic-selection-copy.pdf If you run the google search 'race differences intelligence allele frequencies', it yields a few meager results, though many seem to be from questionable sources. I would appreciate it so much if someone would evaluate the paper itself as well as the source claims and let me know what this means for the debate. Oh, and; for the sake of this discussion, we are operating under the notion that IQ is the best means of measuring intelligence that we currently have, and the idea that racial constructs are in some cases, biologically useful. Thanks!
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