August 27, 2007

Law School Affirmative Action

Gail Herriot writes in the Wall Street Journal:


Affirmative Action Backfires
Have racial preferences reduced the number of black lawyers?

BY GAIL HERIOT
Sunday, August 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Three years ago, UCLA law professor Richard Sander published an explosive, fact-based study of the consequences of affirmative action in American law schools in the Stanford Law Review. Most of his findings were grim, and they caused dismay among many of the champions of affirmative action--and indeed, among those who were not.

Easily the most startling conclusion of his research: Mr. Sander calculated that there are fewer black attorneys today than there would have been if law schools had practiced color-blind admissions--about 7.9% fewer by his reckoning. He identified the culprit as the practice of admitting minority students to schools for which they are inadequately prepared. In essence, they have been "matched" to the wrong school.

No one claims the findings in Mr. Sander's study, "A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," are the last word on the subject. Although so far his work has held up to scrutiny at least as well as that of his critics, all fair-minded scholars agree that more research is necessary before the "mismatch thesis" can be definitively accepted or rejected.

Unfortunately, fair-minded scholars are hard to come by when the issue is affirmative action. Some of the same people who argue Mr. Sander's data are inconclusive are now actively trying to prevent him from conducting follow-up research that might yield definitive answers. If racial preferences really are causing more harm than good, they apparently don't want you--or anyone else--to know.

Take William Kidder, a
University of California staff advisor and co-author of a frequently cited attack of Sander's study. When Mr. Sander and his co-investigators sought bar passage data from the State Bar of California that would allow analysis by race, Mr. Kidder passionately argued that access should be denied, because disclosure "risks stigmatizing African American attorneys." At the same time, the Society of American Law Teachers, which leans so heavily to the left it risks falling over sideways, gleefully warned that the state bar would be sued if it cooperated with Mr. Sander.

Sadly, the State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners caved under the pressure. The committee members didn't formally explain their decision to deny Mr. Sander's request for these data (in which no names would be disclosed), but the root cause is clear: Over the last 40 years, many distinguished citizens--university presidents, judges, philanthropists and other leaders--have built their reputations on their support for race-based admissions. Ordinary citizens have found secure jobs as part of the resulting diversity bureaucracy.

If the policy is not working, they, too, don't want anyone to know. ...

As a result, there is now a serious gap in academic credentials between minority and non-minority law students across the pecking order, with the average black student's academic index more than two standard deviations below that of his average white classmate.

Not surprisingly, such a gap leads to problems. Students who attend schools where their academic credentials are substantially below those of their fellow students tend to perform poorly.

The reason is simple: While some students will outperform their entering academic credentials, just as some students will underperform theirs, most students will perform in the range that their academic credentials predict. As a result, in elite law schools, 51.6% of black students had first-year grade point averages in the bottom 10% of their class as opposed to only 5.6% of white students. Nearly identical performance gaps existed at law schools at all levels. This much is uncontroversial.

Supporters of race-based admissions argue that, despite the likelihood of poor grades, minority students are still better off accepting the benefit of a preference and graduating from a more prestigious school. But Mr. Sander's research suggests that just the opposite may be true--that law students, no matter what their race, may learn less, not more, when they enroll in schools for which they are not academically prepared. Students who could have performed well at less competitive schools may end up lost and demoralized. As a result, they may fail the bar.

Specifically, Mr. Sander found that when black and white students with similar academic credentials compete against each other at the same school, they earn about the same grades. Similarly, when black and white students with similar grades from the same tier law school take the bar examination, they pass at about the same rate.

Yet, paradoxically, black students as a whole have dramatically lower bar passage rates than white students with similar credentials. Something is wrong.

The Sander study argued that the most plausible explanation is that, as a result of affirmative action, black and white students with similar credentials are not attending the same schools. The white students are more likely to be attending a school that takes things a little more slowly and spends more time on matters that are covered on the bar exam. They are learning, while their minority peers are struggling at more elite schools.

Mr. Sander calculated that if law schools were to use color-blind admissions policies, fewer black law students would be admitted to law schools (3,182 students instead of 3,706), but since those who were admitted would be attending schools where they have a substantial likelihood of doing well, fewer would fail or drop out (403 vs. 670). In the end, more would pass the bar on their first try (1,859 vs. 1,567) and more would eventually pass the bar (2,150 vs. 1,981) than under the current system of race preferences. Obviously, these figures are just approximations, but they are troubling nonetheless.

Mr. Sander has his critics--some thoughtful, some just strident--but so far none has offered a plausible alternative explanation for the data. Of course, Mr. Sander doesn't need to be proven 100% correct for his research to be devastating news for affirmative-action supporters.

Suppose the consequences of race-based admissions turn out to be a wash--neither increasing nor decreasing the number of minority attorneys. In that case, few people would think it worth the costs, not least among them the human costs that result from the failure of the supposed beneficiaries to graduate and pass the bar.

Under current practices, only 45% of blacks who enter law school pass the bar on their first attempt as opposed to over 78% of whites. Even after multiple tries, only 57% of blacks succeed. The rest are often saddled with student debt, routinely running as high as $160,000, not counting undergraduate debt. How great an increase in the number of black attorneys is needed to justify these costs?

A friend of mine wasted a decade of his life going to law school and working as a hospital orderly while flunking the bar exam nine or ten times before giving up. If he'd become a salesman out of college, he might have been making six figures by then.

For blacks, the 43% of black law students who never pass the bar exam represent a well-above average group who could have used their 20s to do something more productive.

Speaking of academic affirmative action, a reader writes regarding Barack Obama's fluctuating personality:



I would be willing to bet a small amount of money that Obama's book was an outgrowth of his college and grad school admissions essays rather than a reflection of reality and hence of cognitive issues. However, I also agree that if you do not take into consideration the fascinating warping of reality that the college admissions process engenders, he might seem like a basket case.


That makes a lot of sense. That reminds me of an earlier reader's comment on Obama's book:


Everyone who gets into Harvard Law School has to have The Rap.

They have to have the story of teen angst, commitment to healing the world, good deeds, and preferably a healthy dose of some sort of conflict in the real world that gave them some special insight into human nature that makes them unique and diverse. Not TOO conflicted, however, since a felony conviction will prevent you from becoming a lawyer.

In my class, a year after Obama arrived, there was The Photojournalist from
Nicaragua, who saw human suffering and experienced Life and Death first hand. There was also The Fly Fisherman, a guy who graduated from college and fly fished across the USA for a couple years, hitchhiking, living in the wilds, experiencing Water and the Land closehand and coming to a more true and full appreciation of Man and Nature.

Obama's autobiography is a book-length
Harvard Law School Rap. It has the manufactured conflict, the manufactured struggling, the manufactured multiculturalism with a smidgen of Tragic Mulatto and Man Torn Between Two Cultures, etc. Of course no one in the admissions office ever challenges any individual's Rap since no one has the time, energy or enthusiasm. Think of it the same way you think of a fifty word High Concept movie pitch, like those studio scenes at the beginning of The Player.

Having expanded his Rap with more local color to make his book, all he has done is dig himself a deeper hole of deceit. Harvard won't fact-check student admission essays, but reporters will.


Let's try to re-engineer the getting into the Ivy League process from Obama's point of view. He wants to get into all these fancy colleges with affirmative action programs, such as Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard Law School. But is he really authentically African-American enough to get a boost from the Admissions Committee?

Although everybody talks about diversity in general all the time, the only kind of diversity that really interests white people are blacks. Look at the faltering Presidential campaign of Bill Richardson. He's a governor, he has a resume a lot like the first George W. Bush's, and he's 3/4ths Mexican (the other 1/4th is upper crust WASP) and grew up in Mexico City for the first 13 years of his life. And nobody in the media cares because he's not black like Obama.

If Obama was growing up today, he'd figure out that although the elite colleges talk about diversity as if they mean they're lifting up out of the ghettoes the great-great-grandchildren of the slaves, the truth is that they've pretty much given up on urban African-American males who aren't athletes, as -- as Harvard's Jamaican and Jewish Lani Guinier (who herself looks like the late Gilda Radner's half-sister) has documented. Ivy Leagues blacks are increasingly West Indian or African or European or mixed race or all of the above. For example, when
Princeton decided to boost their African-American studies reputation, they expensively raided Harvard for philosopher Anthony Appiah, who is the grandson of the famous 1940s British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps. But, hey, he's sorta black (via his Ghanian prince father), so that's good enough!

But back then, Obama might well have worried that he wasn't really "black" enough to impress the admissions committees. First, his Mom was white. Second, his Dad wasn't the descendent of slaves, he was the son of a prosperous Kenyan landowner. Third, his Dad abandoned him as an infant and he was brought up by white relatives and a little bit by an Indonesian guy. (Now, you might think that
Indonesia is really diverse, but, trust me, nobody in America cares about Indonesia at all.) Fourth, he was a preppie from paradise. Hawaii is one place where the one-drop rule of determining race doesn't apply, so -- horrors! -- Honolulu Obama might actually think of himself more as being mixed than as being black!

So, you could imagine the thoughts going through his head when sat down to write his
Columbia and Harvard Law application essays.

On the other hand, he really did walk the black activist walk, moving to
Chicago for a few years to try to organize inner city blacks to get more goodies out of the government. And he has spent 20 years sitting in a pew at a leftist Afrocentrist church listening to the Rev. Wright stick it to whitey in his sermons. I've never seen much evidence that Obama, who spent his early 20s reading Nietzsche, believes in all that "I am the redeemer and the life" business. He's pretty upfront about his having to join a church because blacks don't trust ambitious atheists. And, he genuinely seems to get a major charge out of the racial exclusiveness and solidarity that he finds at his racialist church.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

35 comments:

Alex said...

"And, he genuinely seems to get a major charge out of the racial exclusiveness and solidarity that he finds at his racialist church."

Where do you get that from? His books?

I've missed anything he's had to say about his church since its afrocentrism became news. The only thing I've heard is that he says he's against gay marriage on religious grounds--but his leftist church is actually for it!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve: To go along with Obama's lovely black power church, this guy is into eugenics like a regular Jodie Foster!

I think it was last weekend on CSPAN that Obama - while addressing a crowd in smalltown Iowa - described his brilliant wife and the resulting children as "improving my gene pool".

That is a verbatim quote. And - unbelievably - this appears to be part of the Obama stump speech boilerplate. Here is a webpage with the same sort of material but this time in New Hampshire.

"Both Gov. Lynch and I married up," he said. "We chose talented wives we knew would improve the gene pool of our children ..."

Just you try to get away with that line, Mr GOP white-boy nazi!!!

Peter said...

There's an interesting thread on this topic at Half Sigma.

Anonymous said...

Steve, it's interesting what they are trying to do with affirmative action and elite law schools. It's like the Yale or Jail meme you've mentioned before. We need to get minorities into elite Law schools so that our body politic is more egalitarian. No though given to the having someone who wasn't an Ivy League grad getting into the White House, or the higher elites generally. I imagine this does warp things considerably. As a previous commenter pointed out about Obama's rap, that's what he got into college with, and he's going to stick with it for the rest of his political life.

Anonymous said...

"Although everybody talks about diversity in general all the time, the only kind of diversity that really interests white people are blacks..."

It is conspiratorial that a University of CA centric article on minority enrollment omits Asians entirely. This is 2007 wherein Asians are enrolled in huge numbers at UCLA, UC Berkeley and in large numbers at other UC schools.

Yet this article considers only blacks and whites. Are Asians not going to law school in CA? I think Asians are a significant slice of the enrollment pie there. Just as they are in the Ivy League. But the media prefers to make the Affirmative Action situation look like a black-white fairness issue in order to manufacture white guilt.

Why is no one asking author Heriot or prof Kidder or advisor Sander what the results are for Asian bar exams? Why not compare black bar exam success rates to Asian bar exam success rates? And how about comparing white bar exam success rates to Asian rates? Because these questions let whites off the guilt trip gravy train?

The omission of Asians in discussions of minority participation in American society at this late date is getting very awkward.

Anonymous said...

this is another elite-centered essay. Actually about half of the blacks who go to law school go to historically black law schools. There, whites are subject to massive discrimination. And the black professors there (who comprise the vast majority of the professors there) gave blacks preference in grading, just as blacks are given a huge preference in admissions.

So, this article fails to mention them. Why? Because this article is focused on the elite schools.

Anonymous said...

It seems inverted that Law has an objective standard to filter the dreck out while Medicine just buffs and turfs incompetence up the chain.

A close friend was on a major university’s medical school admissions board. Although not particularly conservative, they were too smart to not notice the clear patterns. The standards for the affirmative action students were a farce (much bigger gap than typically cited for elite undergrad admissions) and every single black med student in their class was on academic probation. This even though they usually took half-loads and graduated in 5-6yrs with the admin bending over backwards with private tutors and every other support imaginable short of sitting the exams.

The capper was some doofuses organized a protest against the unfair treatment of black students based upon the clearly unequal results.

Regarding Law, I’d expect that even many of those that pass the bar end up dropping out of law practice at greater rates than non-blacks or end up on public workfare (e.g. putting that Howard Law Degree to “work” at some government agency).

Otterbine said...

I never ever vote for candidates that are ivy League. I'd vote for a lesbian Hmong Marxist first.

SN said...

The contrast with the UK is striking - I teach Law at a second-tier University. We don't have official affirmitive action in admissions, although there is 'outreach'. I amazed my American academic father in Law when I told him that my black female students (mix of African and Caribbean) probably do *better* than average! They seem just as smart, and they often work harder. If they'd been affirmitive-actioned to Oxford they'd struggle, as it is they get to do well and hopefully go on to decent jobs. Now, we don't have many male students in general, and very few black males, so this may be just a female thing, but I do thank God I'm not in an affirmitive-action system seeing students fail, no matter how hard they try, because they were admitted on false pretenses. - SN

Anonymous said...

The capper was some doofuses organized a protest against the unfair treatment of black students based upon the clearly unequal results.

Gosh, I hate to beat a dead horse, but Charles Murray has data which indicate that only about 7% of blacks in this country are born to mothers whose IQs are at or above 100.

And if you perform a Wonderlic to IQ conversion, then you see that an IQ of 100 is the bare minimum that you would want in a truck driver [IQ 100 - IQ 108].

On the other hand, I'd guess that success in Med School probably requires an IQ out around 120, or thereabouts.

So with only about 7% of American blacks having an IQ of 100, the probability of significant numbers of them [heck - even any of them at all] having an IQ out around 120 is just vanishingly small.

I.e. what you're doing is taking a bunch of kids who are, at best, intellectually qualified to perform maybe skilled manual labor, and asking them instead to perform at an intellectual level that is just way, way, way beyond their abilities.

Ergo "every single black med student in their class was on academic probation".

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, but tests of young adults show more like 15% over 100 IQ, so it's not quite that low.

Keep in mind that, according to Murray's article in Commentary, the military's 1980 AFQT used in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth referenced throughout The Bell Curve came up with an anomalously large 18.6 point IQ gap between whites and blacks. Apparently, the test was so long (105 pages) that blacks tended to get discouraged and give up trying. In contrast, the 1997 AFQT normalization using a computer to do the testing found only a 14.7 point race gap.

Steve Sailer said...

The absolute number of blacks in America who have higher IQs than the average white is quite sizable, maybe around 6 million or so.

So, there are a lot of blacks with three digit IQs. On the other hand, there aren't enough high IQ blacks for every profession wanting "diversity" to get what it feels is its fair share.

Anonymous said...

So, there are a lot of blacks with three digit IQs. On the other hand, there aren't enough high IQ blacks for every profession wanting "diversity" to get what it feels is its fair share.

Who wants a doctor with an IQ hovering around 100?

Anonymous said...

Anon:

I told you once before the 7% figure is wrong. For one thing the mother’s don’t determine IQ alone. For another there is reversion to the mean. Murray himself finds that about 15% of blacks are over 100 IQ, when measured directly.

Assuming a normal with 85 mean and 15 Variance you should have about 400.000 blacks with above 120 IQ (of course many of them are going to be mixed race, like Obama) and 50.000 with an IQ above 130.

Here are some cool data on black bar exam rates from the article. Note how they drop in the end of the distribution:

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/Lawecon/workshop-papers/yoon.pdf

http://www.abf-sociolegal.org/yoonfigures.pdf

I would guess another reason behind upward test-bias and putting people in schools for which they are under qualified is that blacks with above 120 IQ:s are not motivated enough to take the bar. They have so many more outsides options than comparable whites, and feel less pressure to work hard and pass the bar.

I tried to find Obamas test scores, but no luck. Let’s try to estimate them.

The median LSAT score for Harvard students is around 169, probably a little higher for whites/Asians.

Going by this 0,8% of Harvard students should be black, whereas in reality they tend to be about 10%. Obamas year there were 58 blacks in Harvard. (Harvard either “manages to attract” or discriminates more heavily than most other top law-schools in favor of blacks, University of Chicago for example has around 4%).

A reasonable estimate of the average LSAT score at Harvard-law should be around 159-160. Berkley’s Boalt School of law has a 9,2 point LSAT gap between black and white.

I don’t know if Obama is above or below the black LSAT average in 1988. He graduated magna, but not summa cum laude. On the other hand he was 28 when he entered, and probably had a lot of non-academic credentials.

If we accept 160 that puts him in the 80-85th percentile of LSAT, an equivalent IQ of 130 or so.

I would guess Sailor might already have done so, but check out the Journal of Blacks in higher education. They of course hate standardized testing, and provide a lot of fun data:

“In the 1997-98…only 20 black students scored 170 or above” in the LSAT, 0,2%...In contrast, 1,541 white students -and 2,532 students overall if we include Asians, Hispanics, and other minorities -scored 170 or above on the LSAT. Blacks made up only 0.8 percent of the students who 170 On the LSAT”


2000 article:

"In 1988 Obama was accepted
and enrolled at Harvard Law School. He was elected to the law review in his second year and, during his third year, was elected
president of the Haward Law Review, the first and only
African American to hold that post.

Obama told JBHE why he was successful in securing a
place on the Haward Law Review: "I had established a presence
in the classroom and in other activities during my first
year of law school -serving as an editor on the Haivard
Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review, assisting
several professors on their scholarly work, and campaigning actively on issues of diversity in faculty hiring. As a result, I think my peers and professors
knew that I took my work at the law
school seriously and were less likely to question my qualifications for a spot on
the Review. Moreover, by the time I was elected to the presidency of the Review, the peers who voted for me had worked with me in close quarters for over a year
and were pretty familiar with my accomplishments..."

"Many of the nation's top-ranked law reviews have initiated affiiative action policies...

"I have no way of knowing whether I was a beneficiary of -
affiiative action either in my admission to Harvard or my
initial election to the Review," Obama told JBHE.

"If I was,
then I certainly am not ashamed of the fact, for I would argue
that affiiative action is important precisely because those
who benefit typically rise to the challenge when given an opportunity.

Persons outside Harvard may have perceived my election to the presidency of the Review as a consequence of affiiative action, since they did not know me personally. At least one white friend of mine mentioned that a federal appellate court judge asked him during his clerkship whether I had been elected on the merits. And the issue did come up
among those who were making the hinng decisions at the
Wniversity of Chicago] law school -something that might
not have even been raised with respect to a white former
president of the Review."

Next headline in article:

Obama Launches a Political Career




“In 1951 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)for his admission to the Ph.D, program at Boston University. His verbal aptitude score was in the second lowest quartile. His quantitative score was in the lowest 10 percent of all students who took the test. Dr. King also scored in the lowest quartde of all test takers in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, social studies, and the fine arts.”



“The median African- American LSAT score was lower than the median score for enrolled students at all but two of the r h g 176 law schools in the United States. The only law schools that had median LSAT scores below the nationwide median for blacks were two schools in Puerto Rco. Therefore, it is near certain that without aggressive preferential admissions, very few blacks
would be admitted to even the lower-ranked law schools.”

ogunsiron said...

anonymous said :
"So with only about 7% of American blacks having an IQ of 100, the probability of significant numbers of them [heck - even any of them at all] having an IQ out around 120 is just vanishingly small.
"
There are people who realize that the consensus about IQ is baseless but comments like this make them extremely wary about voicing their doubts about the orthodox opinion . As far as you're concerned, there's basically no such a thing as a high IQ black person . Given what you just wrote, you probably think that black people who do score very highly on standardized test scores cheated, because you just *know* that they can't hack it ?

Anonymous said...

Steve said:

A friend of mine wasted a decade of his life going to law school and working as a hospital orderly while flunking the bar exam nine or ten times before giving up. If he'd become a salesman out of college, he might have been making six figures by then.

I must have wasted my entire life. I'm only making five figures.

Anonymous said...

The absolute number of blacks in America who have higher IQs than the average white is quite sizable...

I also used to think this was the critical factor in group relations, but I have changed my mind. Mostly I have spent my life in the Church of Tolerance. I didn't judge the group but focused instead on the individuals. I mistakenly thought that this was real wisdom. But it actually was my own "competitive moralism" at work. I walked around feeling quite superior, until I was rudely awoken one day by inconvenient reality. I finally understood that there was no real wisdom in my thinking. Instead there was shallow, mindless tolerance dogma. Which was supported by my own inability to recognize the true costs of alien groups to the majority group.

And it is not only the true cost of each alien group allowed into our house that is vastly underestimated. There is also a super-cost that is running up the bill on top of everything else. That is the modern leftist PC regime (as described in the above article) which leverages the difference in group outcomes against the majority group.

I encourage the readers to take a look around and assess the real costs of diversity.

sourcreamus said...

He's pretty upfront about his having to join a church because blacks don't trust ambitious atheists.
I would be interested to read more about this. Is it in his book,or has he done interviews about this?

Anonymous said...

I wish journalists, academics, polticians and everyone else would stop saying "minority" when they mean black.

Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Japanese, Indians, Pakistanis, Persians and others are all "minorities" who tend to do slightly better than whites academically and financially.

Of course, they do this to soothe PC sensitivities. But they are not so sensitive when trying to blame white "racism" for the ills of blacks .. oh, .. I mean, minorities.

Dog of Justice said...

I encourage the readers to take a look around and assess the real costs of diversity.

Well, at least the experiment we're running is sort of controlled. Neither China nor Japan have really embraced diversity.

I've adopted a detached philosophical perspective: somebody's got to really try it, to convincingly demonstrate that it doesn't work. (I wish it didn't have to be us, but that isn't entirely under my control...)

Svigor said...

But they are not so sensitive when trying to blame white "racism" for the ills of blacks .. oh, .. I mean, minorities.

I understand that people normally write in shorthand, but I'm still always taken aback when someone refers to the "ills" of blacks, or "black failure," etc.

Blacks are not "ill," and they are not "failing," unless one starts from a position of white (or yellow, or whatever) supremacy. If one applies white standards to blacks, they will of course always fail. Same goes for any value of x and y.

Blacks are not "broken." They're just fine. They're no more "broken" than dogs are for lacking opposable thumbs.

They're incompatible with whites. That is not "broken." Funny how I (a WN) can see this so clearly.

Btw, I use the shorthand in question from time to time, but only because it's common parlance.

By Anonymous, at 8/28/2007 10:43 AM

The big one is regression to the mean. It rips the "but what about the good ones" argument all to bits. It's the grain of truth to the old saw, "they're all the same."

SFG said...

You're all one-hundred percent correct, and you can find med-school admission data backing you up too, but what about the 'affirmative action' guys like Bush receive?

Anonymous said...

Svigor, my hat is off. This distinction simply fails to register in popular discourse.

Here's a bit of humble speculation.

Steve quoted a significant technical detail about gene pools in an article a couple of weeks ago: Q- if the northerly (?) regions are more conducive environmentally for the evolution of higher mental gifts, then why are Eskimos not world-class geniuses? A- Population size.

(Actually, that also means "degree of cold" as well -- since there's a lower limit that the majority of humans can stand --, but in any case, the thing to recognize is two "amplitudes." If only people could remember the transformation of quantity into quality, that the latter cannot possibly be anything other than a magnified expression of the former. Ah, but that's evil "reductionism." There's also the issue of "emergent characteristics," but I'm trying to keep this simple.)

Well, then, why is it that two human groups as blacks (i.e. Africans) and whites (north Europeans) are so "diverse" that, on a Cavalli-Sforza gradation of populational DNA distances in which say if Brits are 0, Danes are 1, French are 2-3, Italians 7, etc., Africans are 250?

Although our definition of a biological "group" naturally has to do with breeding, there's a bit of a fuzzy set there. Popular discourse keeps labelling "inbreeding" (which it labels indiscriminately as "incest") as the ultimate of evil, but a species is defined to be just that: a bunch of inbreeding creatures. (Magnitude again.)

And yet, we know that we have lions and tigers which nobody pretends to think are two "races" of cat. (Shouldn't they be?) But they *can* interbreed.

So then at which point do species become species? Is it like the last drop in a brimming glass?

If we use the above technical hint about Eskimos, we may speculate that speciation also has to do with population size. But we also need one more variable: DNA spectrum. A species as simple as a worm probably doesn't need very large population sizes for mutations significant enough to render it impossible for different worm-descended groups to fail to interbreed. In contrast, a family as complicated as say "primates" may need large population sizes for not only certain characteristic and fate-changing features to evolve (although at times fate might be changed by a single resistence to a fatal type of virus), but also for any new species to develop out of them.

Population size is a vertical (synchoronous) name for the stochastic pool. We may perhaps speculate of a horizontal (asynchronous) size as well. If a certain environment does not change drastically for very long periods of time, but constantly modulates the DNA spectra of its native species, this too may make it possible new specie-bifurcations to emerge from complex species.

The latter implies that before a complex species with a relatively narrow vertical gene pool to bifurcate into two or more new species, certain subgroups of them have to emerge which although for very long periods of time can inter-breed, have to become significantly different as sub-species through not physically inter-breeding. Hence lions and tigers. (Another to me intriguing example would be giraffes and okapis which, so far as I know, can't interbreed; obviously they've gone over the threshold. Sorry, no biologist here; only a speculating "symbol manipulator.")

Now the last paragraphs hints at the last thing that liberals would want to hear. That the fact that north Europeans and Africans are still "human" in terms of general DNA structure and overall morphology, it is quite possible (given their Cavalli-Sforza distances) that if any two sub-species were to develop into different (non-inter-breeding) species -- say in another 50,000 years -- , the primary candidates would be these two groups.

For some reason, this is considered the most racistically evil thought. The trouble is, as Svigor beautifully puts, the dog hasn't failed anything for not having an opposable thumb.

OK, now you can sue me!


JD

Jeff Burton said...

I've never seen much evidence that Obama, who spent his early 20s reading Nietzsche, believes in all that "I am the redeemer and the life" business.

Based on what evidence? I could make the same assumption about you, give the way you mangled the Biblical reference. It may be true in both cases (yours and Obama's), but you (and I) are just speculating.

Svigor said...

what about the 'affirmative action' guys like Bush receive?

They pay their own way. Affirmative action's cost is transferred to its victims.

Anonymous said...

This question of the "Murray 7%" -vs- the "Sailer 15%" needs to be resolved.

Unless people are fudging on the definitions, the two numbers are incompatible [being separated by more than an order of magnitude - at least from the point of view of Base 2].

Now I've stumbled upon some new data, and I'm going to try to analyze it, but unfortunately it's essentially nonlinear in nature, so it'll take a while to figure out how to do it and then write the code.

But I'm working on it.

I will say, though, that so far it supports [to a rather shocking extent] my "vanishingly small" assertion.

ogunsiron: As far as you're concerned, there's basically no such a thing as a high IQ black person.

I don't have a dog in this fight. The data is the data. I don't care.

In my fantasies, American blacks would suddenly grow up, stop acting like delinquent children, gain 20 points in IQ overnight, start voting for limited government & the rule of law, stop murdering their babies in the wombs of their mothers, put an end to their growing dalliance with Mohammedism, etc etc etc, but hey - we can all dream. [Can't we?]

ogunsiron: Given what you just wrote, you probably think that black people who do score very highly on standardized test scores cheated, because you just *know* that they can't hack it?

I honestly DO NOT CARE.

But these new numbers I stumbled upon indicate that the scenario you just painted simply doesn't exist.

I.e. the folks from Princeton aren't about to pay a visit to the black Jaime Escalante and his merry little band of over-achievers because they can't pay a visit TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO DO NOT EXIST.

[Or at least I see no evidence that such a group exists.]

Anonymous: I wish journalists, academics, polticians and everyone else would stop saying "minority" when they mean black.

Here I have to disagree - and this is a point which La Griffe du Lion has been driving home.

Aboriginal ["Mestizo"] Hispanics [not to be confused with "Castilian" Hispanics, or even Aryan/Ashkenazic Hispanics] have bell curves which are remarkably similar to the bell curves of American blacks.

There are some very slight differences at the margins, but they're damned near undetectable: Aboriginal Hispanics are ever so slightly more intelligent than Blacks, and are ever so slightly less likely to commit violent crimes than are Blacks, but the differences are very, very slim.

Svigor: Blacks are not "broken." They're just fine.

Exactly.

Blacks are who they are.

Which, sadly, is a double-edged sword.

What's silly is for anyone to pretend [in either direction] that they are something other than what they are [or what they have chosen to be, to the extent that they have any choice in the matter].

Svigor: The big one is regression to the mean. It rips the "but what about the good ones" argument all to bits. It's the grain of truth to the old saw, "they're all the same."

Right. For the children of two American blacks, each with IQ's greater than or equal to 100, regression to the mean is an IQ much closer to the mid-80's [or even the 70's].

Steve Sailer said...

Here's what Charles Murray emailed me based on the 1997 renorming of the military's AFQT on the big NLSY sample:

AFQT IQ Black White Diff.
Male 88.4 102.7 14.3
Female 90.8 103.6 12.8
Diff (2.4) (0.8)


St. Dev.

Male 13.30 14.75
Female 13.58 13.30

James Kabala said...

I was actually under the impression that Obama used religious imagery quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

If someone had set out to keep blacks down academically, and they'd been really smart and evil, affirmative action is what they'd have invented. A 15 point IQ difference doesn't mean there aren't any blacks smart enough to be doctors, chemists, physicists, etc. It does, however, mean that guys who could have gotten through the chemistry or EE classes at the University of Maryland instead get admitted to Harvard or MIT, where they get slaughtered by people who are just a lot smarter.

One result of that is that the intellectual elite among blacks are overwhelmingly liberal arts types, not math or engineering or science types. This has dire consequences for the whole country.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21pm

Why does the fact that the black intellectual elite in America concentrate overwhelmingly in the liberal arts pose such dire consequences for the whole country? Personally, I’d rather live in a society where the best person does the job regardless of color, sex, orientation or whatever.

I don’t want Michael Jordan building my Segway nor watch Dean Kamen playing in the NBA Finals just because they could add an unnatural diversity element.

What does hold dire consequence is that blacks are not living up to whatever potential they have due to a self-imposed cultural rot.

Anonymous said...

For simplicity, assume a black average IQ of 85 and standard deviation of 15. We expect about 2.4% of blacks to have IQs above 115, which is strong college material--the kind of people who ought to be able to graduate with good grades in a serious major. From Steve's approximate table of average IQs for graduate applications, you can see that this is a reasonable IQ for getting into grad school in a lot of fields, if not quite in math or physics. We also expect about .13% of blacks to have IQs about 130, which qualifies them for doing just about anything. Talking like there are no blacks capable of being doctors or engineers is as silly, in light of the IQ numbers available, as expecting 12% of the PhDs in math to be black.

What happens to those people, at the top of the black distribution? Lots of them get AA'd into schools where they pretty much can't prosper. You can be a reasonably bright and conscientious person who gets through a EE program at a good state university and has a good career, but who would get killed in the EE program at MIT or Caltech. Indeed, the mostly white and Asian EE students at, say, the University of Missouri would wash out of the program at MIT. Nothing wrong with them, they're just not smart enough to be at MIT. If you sent those white EE students off to MIT, they'd mostly end up either flunking out or changing over to some undemanding degree. Maybe they'd get a sociology degree, or a "white and yellow studies" degree. This appears to be happening to a lot of blacks at the same intellectual level.

The nasty consequences are:

a. Way fewer blacks end up in science and math oriented fields. As a result, the intellectual elite among blacks is almost all liberal-arts based. That means they mostly have learned skills that don't get them paid very well, or that lead them only into government or teaching.

b. That also means that the intellectual core of the black community doesn't have much grasp of science, which contributes to goofy crap like the widespread idea that AIDS is a white-supremacist bioweapon or the Afrocentric made-up history.

c. A fair number of blacks end up in some ghetto like "black studies," which amounts to a degree that tells people not to hire you and teaches you a bunch of nonsense.

d. A lot of blacks end up at schools where they are at the bottom of their classes, where they don't learn most of the material, and where they're basically set up for failure. Many of them fail, and end up with the choice of blaming themselves for being dumb or blaming society for being racist. There's pretty much only one way for them to decide that is self-preserving.

All this happens, not to the guys on the far left of the bell curve who can't function, but to the guys on the far right, who could be enormously productive people. It creates a black intellectual elite who, instead of being productive and successful, gets set up for failure, or shunted off into preserved spots established by affirmative action.

I think you can see a lot of the result of this in current racial politics. You can't see the people who should have been successes in a small pond, who instead are failures or nobodies in a large pond.

Steve Sailer said...

Here's a black guy with a very high IQ: the new astronaut Bobby Satcher, who was previously a surgeon at prestigious Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and has both a medical degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT. He's the nephew of former Surgeon General David Satcher.

Satcher's career sounds like some 8-year-old boy's fantasy of what he wants to do when he grows up: "I want to be an astronaut, and a doctor who cuts sick people up, and one of those chemical guys." The only thing missing from his resume is "fireman."

Steve Sailer said...

When my son was that age he wanted to be a rock star and a baker.

Actually, the hours fits together pretty well: you can rock and roll all night, then bake the donuts at dawn.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: From Steve's approximate table of average IQs for graduate applications, you can see that this is a reasonable IQ for getting into grad school in a lot of fields, if not quite in math or physics. We also expect about .13% of blacks to have IQs about 130, which qualifies them for doing just about anything. Talking like there are no blacks capable of being doctors or engineers is as silly, in light of the IQ numbers available, as expecting 12% of the PhDs in math to be black.

Maybe the problem here is a question of semantics?

"0.13%" is 13 one hundredths of one percent, also known as 13 TEN THOUSANDTHS, or 0.0013.

From a statistician's point of view, 0.0013 is random noise indistinguishable from zero.

And again, maybe there's a problem with the definition of "doctor". A person with an IQ of 115 might make a perfectly good family practioner, who spends his days treating people for the clap, doping up neurotic housewives with valium, and chemically lobotomizing little boys with ritalin.

[Personally, I wouldn't send my wife or kids to him, but YMMV.]

I doubt, however, that a person with an IQ of 115 is going to be Department Chair of Neurosurgery in a major teaching hospital, or is going to be heading a laboratory and overseeing millions of dollars in grant money from the NIH every year.

Steve Sailer: Satcher's career sounds like some 8-year-old boy's fantasy of what he wants to do when he grows up: "I want to be an astronaut, and a doctor who cuts sick people up, and one of those chemical guys." The only thing missing from his resume is "fireman."

Again, I am not saying that people like Satcher [whoever he is] or Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams or Greg "Pappy" Boyington don't exist.

I am saying that STATISTICALLY SPEAKING they don't exist - their presence in the general population is indistinguishable from background noise.

Anonymous said...

Very smart people are rare, but not nonexistent. Blacks with 130 IQs are about as common as whites with 145 IQs (per capita). 13/10000 is a small fraction, but given that we're talking about a population of tens of millions, it isn't zero. A few thousand really smart people can have a big impact on the world. I promise you our world would be enormously different if nobody in that 145+ category had lived in the last 100 years.