Are there any proven hereditary psychological differences (intelligence or other) between "races"?

I ran a thread on this once, but that was back in 2004. Lately Chen019, in particular, has been raising again in GD the issue of race and intelligence, in connection with debates about immigration and “white nationalism” or the causes of post-colonial Africa’s problems. But, so far as I can see, all Chen019 offers are theories as to how selection pressure might have produced psychological differences in different human populations, not any proof that such actually exist. So, once again:

  1. Is there, at this date, any hard, scientific evidence of any hereditary psychological differences between different human “races,” however defined? (As in the 2004 thread, I’m asking not just for differences in intelligence, but psychological differences of any kind.)

  2. Corrollary issue: Apart from the above, is there any defensible value in the concepts of “racial consciousness” or “racial identity” or “racial loyalty”? That is, in defining “us” vs. “them” in racial terms (as opposed to, say, cultural terms, or ideological terms). I’m trying here to flesh out the thinking implied by this post of LonesomePolecat in the white-nationalism-and-immigration thread:

See also this thread on the Dalai Lama’s stated concern with preserving the ethnic purity of Tibet from Han colonization.

The problem with studying whether intelligence is hereditary is that it is very difficult to scientifically define intelligence in the first place. To add, this thread got into your question.

Chen019 and Chief Pendant are the ones usually showing up to prove why their race is the best. Be prepared to 1. get a wall of text that has nothing to do with the topic from Chen and 2. explain why there are no white players in the NBA to Chief.

Any studies or research supporting either position will be criticized as flawed. Talking and debating about doesn’t seem to settle the issue.

This is how I anticipate it will be solved once and for all: a future biological enhancement that can improve IQ by 10 points – for example… genetic recombination.

Indulge me for a minute…

Let’s say that scientists find a way to splice in DNA into egg or sperm cells that will result in the child having higher cognitive ability and this “enhancement” costs $10,000. At first, a some percentage of parents would be skeptical that this works, but many parents believe the research and wouldn’t want their child at a disadvantage. The marketplace of IQ-engineered babies would eventually reveal that the biological factor wins. If a majority of tomorrows parents choose this enhancement (or demand the government to provide the benefit to all as an entitlement), they’re basically saying the past generations who believed nurture was a higher factor than nature had been wrong.

Until some type of breakthrough proactive biological technology comes to light, it doesn’t seem like any rhetoric will convince either side. It’s like asking people of 3000 years ago to determine if the Sun rotates around the Earth or vice versa but nobody has any telescopes.

If the bio technology breakthrough happens, things could very ugly if certain DNA codings from certain “races” (whatever way you want to define it) prove to be more helpful for advanced cognitive ability. That future middle-class couple (maybe even a black) couple has a buying choice: do they buy the DNA codings with traces of German or would they rather have the Nigerian one? Yes, this is a totally sci-fi concocted scenario but the point is that people can and will make buying decisions totally incongruent with what is politically correct.

Or the future could be much more complicated. Maybe the optimal “super-race” of intelligence is a unique combination of Nigerian + German codings together. If that happens, all races could claim credit for contributing to the ideal engineered brain.

If this debate ever actually gets off the ground (which I think unlikely), let’s just make sure that we talk about how much variation there is in any given parameter rather than just the mean or median.

That’s what I’ve been trying to say in the other thread. Most people define it as “being like us.”

“Well, skyscrapers and autos and W-9 forms and Blu-Ray and Viagra and aggressive agriculture and all of the other stuff WE do are signs of intelligence! Living in huts and playing “primitive” games and hunting/gathering aren’t things we do, and therefore are dumb.”

Also, I like anthropology, I do-- considered majoring in it-- but it’s not an exact science. Anthopologists, in particular among scientists, have a bad habit of trying to move from “is” to “ought,” and of saying things like "nature MUST have done THIS, BECAUSE . . . " No. That’s religion. That’s God. Nature doesn’t always have to have a reason or a motive.

Like psychology, things you read in the field of anthropology that over about 20 years old tend to be rofloutdated, which casts a bit of a :dubious: on the cutting edge stuff.

It isn’t that difficult. For typical research about this topic (including The Bell Curve), “intelligence” has a specific meaning relating to IQ tests about analytical math+spatial skills.

The other type of “intelligence” buzzwords: “creative intelligence”, “emotional intelligence”, “motor skill intelligence”, etc, are valid and important but they are not skills that colleges (SAT, GMAT, etc) and employers (Microsoft & google job interviews) are concerned about.

It may be unfortunate that the other “intelligences” take a back seat to math+spatial but it’s a fact that the world happens to place higher value on that type of cognitive ability. You have to at least acknowledge this to have an honest discussion about the research.

So, there’s probably a “big picture intelligence” that we’re all missing out on because we’re too overly focused on the math+spatial. Ok then, create a meaningful quantitative test to measure “emotional, creative, intelligence” that other institutions and organizations (colleges, corporations) will buy into and this alternative view will get plenty of air time.

The trouble is that the more narrowly we define something we call “intelligence” as a testable quality, the easier it is to measure it, but the less it reflects the whole spectrum of abilities that we commonly associate with intelligence.

For instance, verbal abilities are certainly associated with intelligence and are certainly of interest to schools and employers, but they aren’t captured in tests focusing on math and spatial skills.

I agree with you that verbal skill is real intelligence (and can be quantified). I didn’t emphasize it because there’s always criticism of cultural bias (word selection in analogy multiple choice questions, etc).

The math+spatial is a little more universal and doesn’t seem to invite the same nitpicking about cultural biases (that I’m aware of).

IMO, it’s certainly possible that there may turn out to be some measurable hereditary psychological and/or cognitive differences between the broad social/ethnic categories that we describe as “races”, although AFAIK nothing’s been proven in that regard so far.

Progress in studying the question is hampered primarily, AFAICT, by two obstacles in our models:

  1. There isn’t any recognized specific genetic mechanism for inheriting intelligence. They’ve identified particular genes or genetic conditions related to certain specialized perceptual or cognitive abilities and disabilities, but there’s no general “IQ gene”.

  2. There isn’t any recognized specific genetic criterion for classifying “races”. A lot of people who are morphologically and culturally associated with one racial category are actually more closely related genetically to people in a different racial category. This makes the connection between race and genetic kinship very problematic.

Yes. Race does not exist as a biological concept. It’s a social construct. And so, it would be odd to look for genetic differences in groups that are not defined genetically. This is particularly troublesome in the US, where 2 of the major racial groups are largely mixed, ethnically. Your average African-American has about 20% European ancestry-- with many as high as 50% and some even higher. Hispanics are even more mixed, ethnically.

I think if a genie snapped his fingers and somehow graphed an objective chart of human intelligence by race, there would be a TON of overlap, and some race would dip very very slightly lower than the others (probably invisible without a magnifying glass), and some race would rise very very slightly above the others (ditto.) It would not be statistically significant, in the mathematical sense. This is just due to natural randomness and billions of variables, and it might on the surface make the conclusions of people who claim this now seem correct. But their methods are all wrong, and the only thing their conclusions contribute is making racists feel justified in their hate and attitudes of superiority.

You mean mestizos. Hispanics can be all white, or all black for that matter.

I mean “all” in the colloquial sense, not the genetic sense.

The group that we call “Hispanics” is a mixture of many ethnic groups. Some may be “pure” European, some “pure” Native American, some mostly African and some a mixture of any or all of those, with a little Asian thrown in for good measure.

Hispanic is a cultural-distinction, mostly demarked on the Spanish language. The “racial” group that most people are thinking of when they say hispanic is mestizo, which if I’m not mistaken just means “mixed.”

Americans commonly think of Hispanics as a “race”. That’s all I’m getting at. You’ll read all the time about differences between Blacks, Whites, Asians, and Hispanics.
The use of “Hispanic” as a race is just an extreme example of how all races are social constructs.

I think running or certain football positions might be better for this. Ever since the '92 Dream Team basketball has gone international in a big way. There are oodles of good white players from all over the world playing in the NBA. The US basketball team lost to Argentina in '02 (blindingly white), got bronze in '04, and had a very close win over Spain (tanned white) for the gold in '08.

For example, Spain’s best player (Gasol) is LA’s 2nd best player. Argentina’s best (Manu) has been the Spur’s best guard and clutch option for several years. Dallas is third in the West right now and their two best players are white (Dirk/Kidd). David Lee is the first American white player to go for 20/10 since Bird. And I’m sure Love will get there someday.

Then again, I would not accuse the white players of being good artists or having grace. Maybe the smoothest is Manu and he’s known for his herky jerky moves. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like black players have better body control in general. White players look like they have a steel rod for a spine and a cinder block for a pelvis.

We’re talking about psychological differences between races here. Any racial differential in sports talent would be based on physical differences, which are more obvious, and beside the point.

And, of course, top athletes are never a fair representative sample of their racial group’s physical attributes anyway; they’re outliers on that bell curve by definition.

My bad.

Is it at all controversial to state that Southeast Asians and Ashkenazi Jews are tops when it comes to IQ tests? I’ve heard that a lot but I’ve never really looked into it.

I think most of what we define as intelligence is more affected by cultural differences than anything else. The High School I attended had a population that was approximately 70% Hispanic according to the school’s website. But everyone on the Chess Team that I captained was white. When we played other schools, all of our opponents were white. Chess being a contest of intellects, does that indicate that whites are generally more intelligent than Hispanics? Of course not. But it’s an illustration of how cultural rifts might interfere with any sort of research that could be done about something like this.

I’d like to know where the test was given and how participants were selected.