Race and IQ – RukaGateBy SoundOfScilence on comment
Now that most of the dust has settled over the recent YouTube drama surround HeyRuka, I thought it was time I carefully picked over the wreckage and try to give a more balanced view on things. Failing that, I’d like to stir up trouble again.
It was disappointing as someone who was very keen to have Ruka on the show to see that she’s not the skeptic that we had her down to be. It was doubly disappointing given that we’d planned to have her on our show about morality, as Ruka has found herself at the centre of a racism charge.
For those who haven’t seen her videos, Ruka has made several videos (now deleted) concerning the differences that separate the different human races. Some of this content is her attempts to defend her initial arguments, and doing nothing to make her side seem more acceptable. She has stated that the difference between races is “not skin-deep”, and I agree; any geneticist can tell you that a person’s DNA can shed light upon their ethnicity. But that’s about as good as it gets. Of course, the races aren’t as genetically distinct as to be different species. At the end of the day there’s no denying that we’re all human beings. But what I really want to address here is Ruka’s claim that the black races are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than the other races.
Before I continue, I’d just like to say a few things that really don’t need to be said. Firstly, I’ll be talking in averages here – nobody is suggesting that all black people are less intelligent than all white people (or whoever). Secondly, I’ll be using the comparison of white and black to make easy comparisons without using mouthfuls of more politically correct terms. No offence is intended to any of the minorities described (or not described) herein.
It’s not just Ruka that takes this point of view. In 2007 James Watson (the very same man who discovered the structure of DNA) caused outrage with his proclamation that Westerners have higher IQs than Africans, and that this is genetically determined. What this adds to Ruka’s case is that we might expect Watson to have more experience of interpreting the scientific literature and picking apart the factual from the bogus. It’s also becoming very apparent that different races and cultures have different cognitive patterns – we all know how good at Maths the Chinese are – something which is partially genetically determined.
So do some races have higher IQs than others? The answer from me is that I don’t know. I’m currently investigating the evidence and I’ll get back to you with my findings. Unfortunately HeyRuka refuses to cite her sources, so I’m tackling this one from scratch and I don’t want to present conclusions before I’ve drawn them. What I do want to discuss here is what we should make of it if it should turn out to be true. A lot of those who oppose this statement by Ruka are doing so without having looked at a shred of evidence. They feel duty-bound to deny it because they see agreeing with it as racist. It is not. If the evidence shows a significant difference in IQs between races, then that’s a fact and being coy about discussing it or denying it altogether is not a constructive attitude.
So for the remainder of this article, let’s suppose that IQ does correlate with race, and let’s also suppose that the black races that have the lower IQs. Before we can act on such a finding (if we are to act at all), we need to establish the root cause. First of all, if a study shows a significant IQ deficit between black and white, we have to see how the data was collected. It doesn’t take a statistician to see a flaw in comparing IQ results of a developed Western country which provides free education for all its citizens against an African nation in which schooling is too expensive for most children to afford. Westerners are constantly learning in a style which is geared towards good IQs, can the same be said for less developed countries? Or could it even be that IQ tests are designed with Western standards of intelligence in mind? Many of the greatest minds of recent times have manifested their intellect in ways that no test could measure.
Even within the same country, such as the UK, it’s very obvious that students of black origin are more often found living in poorer areas and attending less well-funded schools, while the private education sector is occupied mainly by the white middle classes, a problem which goes beyond their intellectual start in life. Any studies examining IQ by race must be stratified with the utmost care, and if necessary compensated for by context.
It could be, as Ruka seems to advocate, that the cause really is a genetic difference. Proponents of eugenics might therefore suggest that this needs to be eradicated .To this I would say that a global population devoid of stupidity is both impossible (there will always be people below the average) and impractical. The flipside as I see it is that if black races are genetically less intelligent, the burden is on the more intelligent races to help improve the education standards for those affected, be it in their own country or in the less developed world. It should certainly never be a barrier to multiculturalism or ethnic mixing. This is where my philosophy seems to separate entirely from Ruka’s.
It’s a shame that Ruka has refused to share her research, and that she seems to be bristling at any criticism. I hope that when I return with my findings on whether race and IQ are linked, that she takes a moment of objective open-mindedness to evaluate the evidence. Until then, if anyone reading this wishes to do their own research, standard scepticism has to be the order of the day. Studies that deal with this topic may have questionable motivations, but be prepared to go with whatever the best evidence shows and, most importantly, act on those findings with the greatest care.
Hi there. Just found your site while browsing for responses to HeyRuka. Thanks for your write up!
Ruka posted a new video recently with “evidence” in the form of links and sources (“ZOMGits…a SOCIAL CONSTRUCT” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_CgstmkuOE ). Many of the sources she cites actually state the exact opposite of what she claims they do, or they say nothing like what she claims.
I attempted to post a correction to her claim that 75% of European anthropologists acknowledge the biological nature of race (the study actually showed that 75/100 Polish anthropologists at a conference in 2001 believed in the biological nature of race). She did not let the comment go through on YouTube. When I went back about 6 hours later to ask why, I found I was banned from commenting on her site, despite the fact that I said NOTHING about her as a person, I only corrected her misuse of the study.
Anyway, long story short, she’s cherry-picking comments to her videos to only let supportive or rude comments through, not actual civil criticism. Not a very good skeptic, and definitely not scientific.
My boyfriend and I are working on a video to point out all of the problems with her “evidence,” and I hope to post it in the next day or two on YouTube.
It is unfortunate that even within the skeptical and atheist community that we have to deal with such blatant racism and sexism from people who claim to have evidence-based worldviews. Thanks for your honest assessment of this situation.
Its the way of the world unfortunately, not every one that claims to be a rational and thinking person is both of those all the times. I know that I have times and subjects over which I’m neither, but I’m at least willing to admit that. When you’ve got your video up how about posting it here as well in a comment, it would be good to see what your take is on this.
Hello again! I have not had time to make a video yet (grad school is a bitch of a time consumer), but I did manage to finish going through sources and deconstructing her video. Here is a link to the post on a newly created blog of mine: http://www.strangerandfriend.com/?p=11
Still planning on making a video saying basically what I’ve said in that post. Perhaps tomorrow or Monday evening.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Average IQ of African Americans is 85; Latinos 89; Whites 103; Asians 106; and Jews 113.
Check “The Bell Curve” it’s peer reviewed science.
“Fifty-two professors, most of them psychologists including researchers in the study of intelligence and related fields, signed an opinion statement titled “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” endorsing the views presented in The Bell Curve.”
It’s been scientifically tested by professionals. Blacks have lower IQ’s than all other races. Race does exist science uses and understands the term well.
In your strive to be a politically correct tyrant of sorts you have launched an attack on a girl who is just stating facts. Blacks are less intelligent and more likely to commit crime because of genetic differences. That’s not to say that other things don’t play a role in this but the main point and main cause is the genetics. Keep not wanting to believe it but stop attacking innocent people.
I’m not entirely sure that you actually read my article. I did not attack Ruka, nor state that she is wrong on this issue. As I said above, I haven’t yet investigated things fully, and I draw no conclusions about whether or not race and IQ are linked – that will wait until I’ve read enough to reach a decision. What this article set out to explore is what may be the cause of any racial IQ differences. You may be right in the IQs you stated above, but can you be certain that these are solely due to genetics? It could be that social and economic oppression of black races (resulting in poorer education) fuel low IQs and high crime rates. It could also be that IQ tests are biased towards the type of brain possessed by those who set the tests, namely White Westerners and Asians.
The only problem I had with Ruka was her reluctance to enter into a civilised dialogue on the subject, namely by sharing her sources. I also object to her view that racial differences should be a barrier to multiculturalism. This is not an issue of political correctness.
That there’s a difference in IQ tests is totally OK, but it’s far from proved that’s largely due to genetic differences, and it’s just as bad if not worse regarding “behavioral differences”. Over the generations there were different behavioral stereotypes (and even within a single generation there are different, country-level stereotypes for the same race), and IQ tests are largely influenced by stereotype threat, the gap disappears if you give them as “puzzles” rather than IQ tests. Asian women will also perform better on math when they’re “primed” with being Asian and stereotypically good at math and perform worse than their average when primed on being a woman and thus not good at math. That’s not to say that IQ tests are 100% BS and useless, or that the gap does not mean anything regarding a cognitive deficit of people who live under certain social conditions, or even biological differences between individuals (when rigorously designed to measure it), but the IQ difference is not a “racial trait” such as skin color itself.
HeyRuka said she’d rather live under Hitler than Obama on some comment on youtube.
In one of her videos, perhaps the one that stirred all the polemic, she said something along the lines that, “it does not matter so much your individual IQ, but rather the IQ of your race”. WTF. If that’s not the core of the dumbness of racism I don’t know what that is.
It’s like saying, “it does not matter whether or not the person who is going to perform a surgery on you is a licensed doctor, but rather if in average his family has more doctors than the family of some other individual who may be really a surgeon whereas he’s not”.
One of the most nonsensical stuff I remember from one of her videos that I watched was she saying that “doesn’t matter so much one’s IQ as an individual, but the average of the race’s IQ”, or something like that. WTF? Why the hell such average would matter more. “Of course” it matters more if we’re making a fictional group vs group comparison, but this comparison is pure fantasy. Races aren’t competing against each other in a “lord of the rings”/American gladiators mash-up. If a individual from another racial group is more intelligent than you, that’s the fact, you don’t get to “win” by saying that your group is on average more intelligent.
But that doesn’t even mean that such individual is more qualified than you in anything he’d apply to, at the same time, further decreasing the importance of this difference. And for eugenic purposes, if that was the subtext, individual, not racial differences, are even more important. Interracial marriage is already comparatively rare, and commonly actively avoided by those who agree with eugenics, I guess, so the real “danger” would be from “inferior genes” rising in the lineage from within.
Oh, and the “everybody who disagrees with me is anti-white” whine. That’s really laughable. I wonder if they really believe that themselves. There was a time, perhaps even today, where you couldn’t see a video that stumbled in the subject of race, that wouldn’t have some racist loser commenting, almost randomly, “anti-racism is code word for anti-white”.