September 1, 2007

What we're really interested in

Science is in the business of making predictions, but the better it gets at predicting anything, the more boring those predictions are for us. For example, I predict that the sun will set at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago today at 7:26 pm CDT. When you think of all the effort that has gone into astronomical observation and prediction over the millennia (for example, Stonehenge), that's an incredible feat the human race has achieved to be able to accurately predict that.

It's also phenomenally boring.

Now, here's a different prediction: Republican nominee Mike Huckabee will outpoll Democratic nominee Bill Richardson 51%-47% in the November 2008 Presidential election. "What an idiot!" you say, "Don't you know that the Clintons will stop at nothing to get back to the White House? Richardson and Huckabee? You don't know anything about the election!" And you're right. I don't. I'm not even sure where Huckabee is from. I think it's that state, you know, the one you drive through to get to that other state.

Now, here are some more predictions. USC will not finish #1 in college football this season. Instead, Rutgers will bring the national title home to Delaware. (Or maybe to Connecticut, depending on where, precisely, Rutgers is located. Assuming it's located somewhere. Maybe it's like the DeVry Institute and is located everywhere. But I digress.) On the other hand, USC will win the NCAA basketball championship next spring behind frosh sensation OJ Mayo.

"What a jerk!" you exclaim, "Everybody knows that USC's linebacking corps is the most devastating in college football since Penn State's back in 1987." Well, I don't know that. In fact, I know barely anything about college football these days.

But the point is that, unlike the sunset forecast, these predictions are interesting, as brainless as they are. The reason that making up nonsense off the top of my head about elections and sports is interesting is because nobody can predict accurately sports and far-off elections with a lot of candidates. Sports, especially, are designed to be hard to predict just so that they will keep our interest. The same with gambling. Randomness isn't natural in the world, at least above the subatomic level. It takes a lot of work to develop gambling devices that are close to random, but a roulette wheel is more interesting than betting when the sun will go down because it's hard to predict.

You often hear that the social sciences aren't real sciences like astronomy because they can't predict anything. But that's not true. Indeed, I'll make a social science prediction for 25 years into the future. I predict that in the year 2032, the students at the schools in Beverly Hills will enjoy higher average scores on statewide and nationwide standardized tests than the students at schools in Compton. Anybody want to bet against me?

I've got a million more predictions like that. For example, in 2032, the children of today's unskilled immigrants will be more of a burden on society than the children of today's skilled immigrants. (That seems like an important use of social science -- to make predictions extremely important for choosing the optimal immigration legislation, right?)

"Well, sure," you say, "Of course. But those predictions are boring. And depressing. In fact, it's in bad taste to mention things that we all sort of know are true but that we really don't want to think about. Who wants to hear predictions like that? Tell us something interesting."

Okay, on December 31, 2032, the Dow Jones Average will stand at 107,391. But just one year later it will have crashed, in the wake of Black Wednesday, all the way to 33,828. But by 2042, during the bubble following a major breakthrough in cold fusion, the Dow will have reached the 201,537 barrier.

"Now that's better! That's the kind of prediction we like: specific and exciting. Of course, you're probably just randomly punching numbers on your keypad, but we forgive you because you're not boring and depressing us anymore."


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

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's one: the stock market will reach the numbers you say it will, but when adjusted for inflation, it won't be any higher than it is today.

Anonymous said...

No, no — the 2008 election will go to the house. Republican ticket of Ron Paul and Walter Williams, and the Independent ticket of Sam Nunn and James Webb will tie at 193 votes each. The Democrats, with Clinton and Obama, will get 152 votes. After some back-and forth, the House will elect Nunn and the Senate will elect Webb.

How's that for interesting?

David Davenport said...

Randomness isn't natural in the world, at least above the subatomic level.

How do you know that, Steve?

Au contraire, I'd say you are one car wreck or other mishap not your fault away from realizing that life is full of apparent randomness.

Anonymous said...

"For example, in 2032, the children of today's unskilled immigrants will be more of a burden on society than the children of today's skilled immigrants. (That seems like an important use of social science -- to make predictions extremely important for choosing the optimal immigration legislation, right?)"

Ah, Steve's uberimmigrant policy rears its ugly head again.

As soon as I shake one more native American great grandparent out of my family tree (to make my 3/16, 1/4) I'm founding North American Indians for Immigrant Removal (NAIIR). We'll see whose immigration policy prevails, Steve!

BTW, I hear slow boats to China are leaving California daily. Why don't you hop aboard one and go live in the land of "everyone's above average"?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

That was the nuttiest post I have ever seen from you. Some examples of hard science predictions you might care about:

A building constructed using these techniques is structurally sound and will not collapse from its own weight.

The lift provided by this jet engine is sufficient to get it off the ground.

This nuclear device will produce 1 megaton of energy when detonated.

This logic chip will process information reliably as desgned.

etc. etc.

Now on to social science. Of course you can make correct predictions. The point of a scientific theory, however, isn't just making some predictions, it is developing an underlying predictive model of how the world works. Sure, psychometrics is pretty good at making statistical predictions about overall group performance. No one (except some pc loonies) denies that there's really something there and that it's a real science. But can you develop a predictive model, for example, that describes how environmental and genetic influences interact to produce real world outcomes? That's much harder and yet to be achieved.

Analysis of "expert" predictions in fields like poli sci, economics, etc. have shown that the "experts" in those fields cannot predict outcomes any better than well-informed lay people. That is one reason for doubt as to whether social science is an oxymoron. (Google "tetlock prediction" for more.)

Very few lay people can out-predict real scientists in their specialties. (See the list at the beginning of this comment and imagine how experts would do vs. an average person.)

chrysoperil said...

Any care to predict how accurate claims among whites of 'native American' ancestry are?

'Heaven or Hell' is much more interesting than 'Die then rot'.

Steve Sailer said...

Anonymous claims:

"Now on to social science. Of course you can make correct predictions. The point of a scientific theory, however, isn't just making some predictions, it is developing an underlying predictive model of how the world works. Sure, psychometrics is pretty good at making statistical predictions about overall group performance. No one (except some pc loonies) denies that there's really something there and that it's a real science. But can you develop a predictive model, for example, that describes how environmental and genetic influences interact to produce real world outcomes? That's much harder and yet to be achieved."

But the PC loonies are running the national asylum!

Here's another prediction. The No Child Left Behind act, put together by President Bush and Senator Kennedy in 2001, which requires that every student in America be "proficient" (i.e., above average) in reading and writing by 2014 will fail to achieve that goal, despite (a second prediction) the law causing massive cheating by the states on their tests.

Now, that seems like a fairly important prediction, but how often have you seen it come up in the press? Bill Gates gave a lot of money to get a lot of experts together in Aspen under the leadership of two former governors and issue a report on how to improve NCLB, and they endorsed that part of the legislation!

The point is that anybody who isn't willfully oblivious to the obvious can make reasonably accurate social science predictions of vast relevance to legislation before Congress. But nobody wants to hear those predictions. They're boring and depressing and in bad taste.

Steve Sailer said...

It's also not true that science needs a fully accurate underlying model of how the world works to be useful. Newton's Law of Gravity got the underlying stuff wrong, but it was gigantically useful for centuries.

For example, we have a huge amount of data on school test scores by ethnic group going back to the mid-1960s (e.g., the 1965 Coleman repot), and there has been little change in the relative standing of the different groups over those 42 years. We could argue at length over why that is, but the point is that the evidence is very strong that relative standing won't change over the next generation either. So, if we want to evaluate the effects of different immigration policies on the education levels of the population a generation or two from now, we can apply the current test score levels to alternative models of the ethnic balance under different immigration policies. Sure, there's room for error, but it's the simplest, most plausible way to make predictions.

And ... nobody wants to hear it.

Proofreader said...

Who knows? Beverly Hills might go the same way as Compton in 25 years: Hispanic.
Or just think of the posh Detroit neighbourhoods and what happened to them in so little time.

agentn said...

As far as prediction goes, political science is like the climate.

Not 100% predictable but there's more potential for prediction than the subject is usually given credit for. Certainly not random.

It is possible to predict human behaviour but to do so you first must accept The Actions of Man do not lie at The Center of All That Happens.

When Man is the lynchpin of thought understanding evaporates, like has happened with government funded climate science.

You can tell who has put Man at the center of their political models because they write articles that urge Man to do This or That.

They believe The Actions of Man change reality.

If Man could change This or That through persuasion then the model which led to the article can not explain anything.

It requires explanation along with the writer who made it up and the actors who were involved in the events.

A skeptical political scientist (aka the skeptical environmentalist) never places Man at the center of political behaviour and thus does not make policy suggestions.

Will Iran be subject to military action for its nuclear programme within ten years? 99% likely.

Will Iran be subject to military action for its nuclear programme within six months? While one cannot expect a Yes or No one should expect a knowledgeable scholar to come up with a % chance. I've not researched the current state of Iran's programme, US/Israel preparedness and stage of diplomacy but 50/50 feels about right.

It is counter-intuitive to say humans are not responsible for human behaviour but it is a necessary approach if the study of politics is ever to be a consistent science.

Predictions are often avoided though because when they fail you look stupid and all the work put in to it is tainted with wrongness.

Whereas if you write sugary prose about how Man can shape his destiny doing This or That and That never happens it gets retired to stud for another life as an "ideal."

hyperinsulemia said...

Any care to predict how accurate claims among whites of 'native American' ancestry are?

'Heaven or Hell' is much more interesting than 'Die then rot'.
By chrysoperil, at 9/01/2007 12:12 PM

Do you think all the Indians either died off or stayed on reservations?

Maybe I should take wagers. Would the result of a DNA test be: 1/16th like I thought originally, 1/8th to 3/16th from new understanding of family history, 1/4th because 3 of 4 of my grandparents were Indian mixes passing for white who only fooled other Indian mixes passing for white...

None of the above. I'm actually part black, gypsy or just a mutant.

"So, if we want to evaluate the effects of different immigration policies on the education levels of the population a generation or two from now, we can apply the current test score levels to alternative models of the ethnic balance under different immigration policies."

Unlike Steve, I don't see the greatest good as = education level/IQ of the population. I think a doctor who is a member of the population he treats is a better doctor because of knowing the culture and presumably caring more about patients from that culture. That doctor having an IQ of 130 vs a doctor of foreign extraction with an IQ of 150 makes little difference in value as a doctor. It's the added touch, caring about and understanding the patients that adds the most value. This is what we have lost as we have allowed our med schools to be filled with high IQ foreigners.

Before my father died he had a clever Asian doctor who prescribed medication that was actually for another condition. It did nothing to improve my father's mental functioning. Even worse, it gave him insomnia so he had to be watched 24 hrs in case he decided to take off on an imaginary business trip at 2am. And we had to trust in the "superior" ability of the clever but none too insightful Asian specialist. In reality, doing nothing at all would have been better for my father and our family.

I get the feeling Steve doesn't know much more than that doctor about the greatest good for society. He's still obsessed with raising average IQ, probably still reacting to the decades old fear of genius communists trumping our space program and producing more and better weapons. Welcome to the 21st century, Steve. Though we may well be a society made mostly of parts approaching obsolesence, the law of unintended consequences (like Chinese greed and ambition being directly proportional to their stupidity in reaching their aims) gives me all hope that you don't have to replace us all at once in order to survive.

David Davenport said...

As soon as I shake one more native American great grandparent out of my family tree (to make my 3/16, 1/4) I'm founding North American Indians for Immigrant Removal (NAIIR). We'll see whose immigration policy prevails, Steve!

Replies:

(1) It certainly is in the Native American tradition to favor immigrant removal -- that is, white immigrant removal.

(2) Are you aware that some of your lovely Native Americans of the Cherokee tribes became black slaveowners and Confederates?

OK, you weren't descended from any of those bad Indians. All your ancestors were good, good, good peepul.

Fred said...

Rutgers is the state university of New Jersey, Steve. And the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 1-0 so far this season.

David Davenport said...

Newton's Law of Gravity got the underlying stuff wrong, but it was gigantically useful for centuries.


No Steve, Newton's law of gravity remains valid to a useful degree of precision on the mesocale of velocity, time, and distance.

In 1687, English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton published Principia, which hypothesizes the inverse-square law of universal gravitation. In his own words, “I deduced that the forces which keep the planets in their orbs must be reciprocally [ inversely proportional -- DD ] as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve ( and directly proportional to the masses of the attracting bodies ) ...

... Ironically, it was another discrepancy in a planet's orbit that helped to point out flaws in Newton's theory. By the end of the 19th century, it was known that the orbit of Mercury could not be accounted for entirely under Newton's theory, but all searches for another perturbing body (such as a planet orbiting the Sun even closer than Mercury) had been fruitless. The issue was resolved in 1915 by Albert Einstein's new General Theory of Relativity, which accounted for the discrepancy in Mercury's orbit.

Although Newton's theory has been superseded, most modern non-relativistic gravitational calculations are based on Newton's work because it is a much easier theory to work with and gives fairly accurate results for most applications. ...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation

David Davenport said...

Randomness isn't natural in the world, at least above the subatomic level.

Another example of how randomness may be entirely natural in the natural world:

The age of the dinosaurs may have ended because an asteroid collided with Earth. The atmospheric debris from this event may have caused Earth's climate to cool.

Wou;dn't you characterize this event as rather random? Earth's pretty small compared to the vastness of the solar system. Then or now, there's a low probability that a big asteroid will hit our planet.

Unless one takes a theistic view, an asteroid was not required to hit Earth.

David Davenport said...

Friends, a more optimistic view regarding demographic trends is that history remains unpreditable.

... Fukiyama (sp ? ) in the 1990's -- The End of History and the Last Man. He was wrong. events since then have stronly demonstrated that we're not at the end of history.

White folk today may be under stress the way Europeans were once stressed by the Ottomans and Moors, but we're not at the end of history yet.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: Well, sure," you say, "Of course. But those predictions are boring... Now that's better! That's the kind of prediction we like: specific and exciting..."

Richard Feynman used to enjoy telling this story:

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

After the dinner we went off into another room, where there were different conversations going on. There was a Princess Somebody of Denmark sitting at a table with a number of people around her, and I saw an empty chair at their table and sat down.

She turned to me and said, "Oh! You're one of the Nobel-Prize-winners. In what field did you do your work?"

"In physics," I said.

"Oh. Well, nobody knows anything about that, so I guess we can't talk about it."

"On the contrary," I answered. "It's because somebody knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows anything about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance -- gold transfers we can't talk about, because those are understood -- so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about!"

I don't know how they do it. There's a way of forming ice on the surface of the face, and she did it! She turned to talk to somebody else.

After a while I could tell I was completely cut out of the conversation, so I got up and started away. The Japanese ambassador, who was also sitting at that table, jumped up and walked after me. "Professor Feynman," he said, "there is something I should like to tell you about diplomacy."

He went into a long story about how a young man in Japan goes to the university and studies international relations because he thinks he can make a contribution to his country. As a sophomore he begins to have slight twinges of doubt about what he is learning. After college he takes his first post in an embassy and has still more doubts about his understanding of diplomacy, until he finally realizes that nobody knows anything about international relations. At that point, he can become an ambassador! "So Professor Feynman," he said, "next time you give examples of things that everybody talks about that nobody knows about, please include international relations!"


It was a pretty darned obnoxious thing for him to say to the poor woman, and he deserved to get a cold shoulder from her, but, sadly, what he said was true.

You know, in hunting for that quote, I came across a bunch of other quotes of his which don't paint a very flattering picture of the guy [either personally, or intellectually]:

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

Of course, in fairness to him, it would be fairly trivial to pull a bunch of quotes out of context and paint him to be an entirely different person than he actually was in real life, so who knows?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: This logic chip will process information reliably as desgned...

Very few lay people can out-predict real scientists in their specialties. (See the list at the beginning of this comment and imagine how experts would do vs. an average person.)


I can't tell if you're being facetious or not - have you ever heard of this thing called errata?

Anonymous said...

"Friends, a more optimistic view regarding demographic trends is that history remains unpreditable.

... Fukiyama (sp ? ) in the 1990's -- The End of History and the Last Man. He was wrong. events since then have stronly demonstrated that we're not at the end of history.

White folk today may be under stress the way Europeans were once stressed by the Ottomans and Moors, but we're not at the end of history yet.

By David Davenport, at 9/01/2007 2:39 PM"

Speaking of Demographics, the preliminary live birth numbers for the US are out and show that the number of birts increased YOY by 126,000 (But no Demographic breakdown yet though.)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_20.pdf

I hope that not all of this increase in births is attributable to Hispanics illegals, but I'm not optomistic.

Old Right

Cedric Morrison said...

I looked at the linked quotes, and I didn't see anything that I thought reflected badly on Feynman. The things that I've read about him that were written by the people who knew him all seem to reflect an underlying affection for the man. Here is an example:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0504.html?printable=1

agentn said...

By David Davenport, at 9/01/2007 2:39 PM said,

//... Fukiyama (sp ? ) in the 1990's -- The End of History and the Last Man. He was wrong. events since then have stronly demonstrated that we're not at the end of history.//

Bad reading, but a very popular one. Think of it this way: humanity has reached the very right edge of a bell curve of ideological evolution /w respect to human beings. Fukuyama said rejoice!, for we now know the best form of society for human beings - liberal democracy. At the right edge of the bell curve there is nowhere else to go - only backwards. Fukuyama recognised there could be retreat but "End of History" was humanity's reaching of the finishing line, the victory of the idea not the implementation. The discovery of liberal democracy could not be unwound. The thesis is logically sound and brilliant.

The only flaw is whether liberal democracy is a human sisyphean challenge ... we can get the boulder close to the top of the hill (mixing metaphors with earlier) after a lot of effort but then our freedoms start to slip away again... Races may differ in their ability with this challenge.

BTW - Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilisations predicted the future somewhat, no? There actually exists a lot in political science that can/does predict the future but it is not used nearly enough. Axelrod and Putnam to name two featured on Steve's blog. They're not the only two. However political scientists are obsessed with policy advice, and in Putnam's case that lead to him sitting on his findings until he could come up with a solution to fix the problem he found. That is where the money is also - policy advice, not prediction.

David said...

hyperinsulemia said:

I don't see the greatest good as = education level/IQ of the population.[...] [A] doctor having an IQ of 130 vs a doctor of foreign extraction with an IQ of 150 makes little difference in value as a doctor. It's the added touch, caring about and understanding the patients that adds the most value.

First of all, I'm sorry about your dad, hyperin.

It's possible that the missteps his physician may have made were caused by the physician's lack of (cognitive) understanding or simple lack of attention to detail. If so, please realize that knowledge, cognition, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail are not helped by subtracting IQ points. In other words, maybe the doc wasn't so smart.

The qualities you care about are generally less present in stupider people. Putting aside the case of that physician (though it would be interesting to know where he got his degree and did his residency, and under whom), low-IQ - or to use a slightly more accurate term, low g - is not good in any way. Brightness is on a sliding scale from "retardation" to "genius." Everything good for humans that we have significantly within our control is made possible by our intelligence (including attention to social nuances); everything bad and dysfunctional comes from sliding farther down that scale.

Drunks, retards, and other dim bulbs are, on aggregate, a menace and no help.

This can be stated as a principle: the more g, the better. Things run more smoothly, systems are more functional, amity is more possible, specialized, spiritual, and artistic pursuits are more common. The electricity works and the trains run on time; your neighbors are not screaming at each other at all hours of the night; you can step into the street with less risk of being shot.

Popular culture is rife with the canard of the "evil genius" - this is the notion that there's something intrinsically scary and bad about smart people. They aren't warm and "human." They aren't like us. They are enemies of the people. But what's missing from this analysis is that smart people invented (and run) the sewerage system on which the people depend. They created modern medicine. They brought us the computers on which you're reading this. If you want to be strict about it, smart people pushed language to its current level of precision and articulation - so that the very conversation we're having would not have been possible without them. We're smart people, too - because we can have and understand the conversation.

The truth is that almost every person has intelligence; almost everyone has at least a little "smart person" inside them. Intelligence is a measure of his strength.

When you say in your comment that IQ is less important to the health of a population than the emotions of "caring" and "understanding," you're saying it's good to be dumb - that somehow caring and understanding are exclusive of consciousness, or at least independent of consciousness.

Since some smart individuals are jerks and monsters (e.g. they're compartmentalized, the smart side being restricted to some small area of their lives), we should say intelligence is not sufficient for social good but is necessary.

Personally, I would take a physician who is a cold-hearted brilliant bastard utterly anal about prescribing precisely the correct treatment to me over a moron who "cares" but can't think his way out of a paper bag. But of course, this is another canard. Generally morons do not have rich emotional lives, they don't care; while someone - a physician, for example - who attains a high educational level and exercises considerable intelligence and cognition in his field generally cares a great deal, possibly more than the average person does.

Fred said...

"Here's one: the stock market will reach the numbers you say it will, but when adjusted for inflation, it won't be any higher than it is today."

Not according to Siegal's constant, which predicts long-term stock market returns will average about 6.5% over inflation.

Anonymous said...

"When you say in your comment that IQ is less important to the health of a population than the emotions of "caring" and "understanding," you're saying it's good to be dumb - that somehow caring and understanding are exclusive of consciousness, or at least independent of consciousness."

I think a 130 IQ is high enough for a person to become a doctor. I also think some losers who have slightly higher IQs and who go into medicine to make their fortunes or to have prestige are lousy doctors despite having a slight advantage intelligence wise. I fear too that we as a society see all Indians/Middle Easterners/Asians as smarter because of a stereotype and assume that a doctor from one of these ethnic backgrounds is somehow better qualified because of their ethnicity. It's the opposite of blacks and Hispanics being automatically devalued because they might be affirmative action picks.

"Since some smart individuals are jerks and monsters (e.g. they're compartmentalized, the smart side being restricted to some small area of their lives), we should say intelligence is not sufficient for social good but is necessary."

I don't share your belief that higher IQ leads to more evolved or more enlightened individuals. Nazis were supposedly much smarter than average. IQ certainly didn't make them better people. I've also known highly intelligent people who were immature and irresponsible but got away with it because they could live to excess and still make good grades. As far as being better problem solvers, if computational skills are what is needed - ok. But when it comes to medicine, I think only a surgeon can get away with being a human machine. Anyone else who has to fit a treatment to suit a person's stage of life needs to be high on empathy. Does higher IQ make people more empathetic? Not necessarily.

I think you should accept that for all we know about intelligence, there's much that can't be measured. Or maybe we've focussed too much on paper and pencil tests and gotten away from the kind of assessment that would take factors such as maturity, empathy and good judgment into account. There's a cult of the superstar genius always being thwarted by an imperfect, oppressive bureaucracy that's particularly American. The Star Trek series exploited this to great effect.

When it comes to dealing with end of life health problems, you have to think in terms of quality of life versus whether or not the person will get better with the treatment. And there are limits to the knowledge of even the most brilliant doctor. As you said, we build a base of knowledge over time that we can use as a resource. Maybe the solution is to use doctors with high IQs who have been properly aged...

Also, I don't have anything against the highly intelligent but I think you ought to be able to evaluate what geniuses do and say even if they're smarter than you. Otherwise, what's the point of living in this country.

Anonymous said...

"(1) It certainly is in the Native American tradition to favor immigrant removal -- that is, white immigrant removal."

Well, seeing as how I'm mostly white. I could end up getting the boot myself - or worse be left at the bottom of the pecking order once the rest of you have been evacuated. Still, I'm not above holding this over your blond heads. Guess it's the Indian in me.

"(2) Are you aware that some of your lovely Native Americans of the Cherokee tribes became black slaveowners and Confederates?"

Sweet. I also think some of my ancestors are responsible for whatever happened to Virginia Dare. Maybe they ruthlessly killed her and her mother. Maybe they enslaved them. Just think Heather Locklear a known Lumbee could be the spitting image of little Virginia Dare.

With my mix it's also likely that some violence was done either to my Indian ancestors or my white. I'd like to think their mingling was all consensual but things being what they were during the pioneer days, I think we can rule this out.

"OK, you weren't descended from any of those bad Indians. All your ancestors were good, good, good peepul."

I feel no more guilt about what any of my ancestors did than you do. I promise there are no detailed records, no records at all. It's just so much unrecorded history down the tube of time. Interesting that you think I'd be concerned though.

fwood1 said...

We’ve all heard about the Census Bureau prediction that America will be majority non-white in 2050. That’s 43 years from now. But let’s go back 43 years, to 1964. Was the Census making predictions about future demographics back then, and, if so, how accurately did they forecast 2007?

beowulf said...

Hard for the 1964 Census Bureau to have predicted the passage of the 1965 immigration act (and everything that resulted from it).

tommy said...

We’ve all heard about the Census Bureau prediction that America will be majority non-white in 2050. That’s 43 years from now. But let’s go back 43 years, to 1964. Was the Census making predictions about future demographics back then, and, if so, how accurately did they forecast 2007?

Given that it wasn't until the 1965 immigration "reform" bill passed that massive Third World immigration became a problem, I would say it was unforeseeable to the number crunchers in the Census Bureau. The jerks who passed the bill, like Ted Kennedy, on the other hand, should have known better.

Kim said...

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from yours. Sometimes it is better to differ each other because it gives a
totally new perspective in our outlook. I honestly believe yours is one of
the best blogs on the web. Thanks for the nice work. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'd say you are one car wreck or other mishap not your fault away from realizing that life is full of apparent randomness.

I guess "apparent" is the key word here. After all, why is a car crash more random than any other event? Either everything is random - or nothing is.

Martin said...

"BTW, I hear slow boats to China are leaving California daily. Why don't you hop aboard one and go live in the land of "everyone's above average"?

By Anonymous, at 9/01/2007 11:12 AM"

Mr. Sailer's point has never been that everyone can be - or should be - above average. Quite the contrary, read what he's written about the "No Child Left Behind" Act. Mr. Sailers' point in what he's written about immigration, is that its stupid to import lots of dumb people who will lower the average intelligence of people in this country.

Anonymous said...

By Steve Sailer ...The No Child Left Behind act, put together by President Bush and Senator Kennedy in 2001, which requires that every student in America be "proficient" (i.e., above average) in reading and writing by 2014...

Do you know of a specific citation for this assertion in statutory law?

Surely even the educrats [and the interns on Capitol Hill who penned the statute] realize that there are retarded children who can't hope to be made "proficient" - i.e. surely there is some statistical cutoff point beyond which the very stupidest kids can't be expected to achieve like the very smartest.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: And ... nobody wants to hear it.

Well, to paraphrase Master Yoda, Oh, but they will want to hear it, they will want to.

I suppose I'm a relative latecomer to the demographics wars - over the years, I had been aware of the question, and the people who were writing about it - Wattenberg, Bethell, [pseudonymous] Spengler - and certainly I was aware of Steve Sailer's famous correlation of caucasian fertility rates with caucasian voting patterns.

But there were two studies last year which really spurred my obsession with the matter - first, a British study which indicated that UK schoolchildren are now 3 grades stupider than they were a mere 30 years ago, and then, of course, the infamous Washington Post headline a few months later:

Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities

This question of demographics will be far, far, far and away the most important factor influencing the future of our nation, certainly for the remainder of our lifetimes, and into the foreseeable future for as far as the eye can see [or even imagine].

Well, barring some intervention on the part of [artificial] genetic engineering - but the effects of that are likely to be beyond our ability to imagine [and I'm not entirely certain that the effects will be altogether benign - I think that, at least initially, it may prove to be exceedingly difficult to enhance human intelligence artificially without also introducing greater propensities for things like severe depression, schizophrenia, suicidal ideations, and the like - but I suppose that it's possible that we'll learn the answer soon enough - maybe, or even probably, within our own lifetimes.]

Anyway, as things stand now, this question of demographics will dwarf all other possible probabilistic factors in determining the future of our nation [and even of our species, cf world-wide intelligence means versus fertility rates] - demographics will be vastly more important than any possible decline in world petroleum reserves [or any possible increase in world petroleum reserves], any possibility of global warming, any possibility of global cooling, the rise of Fascist China, the decline of Fascist China, certainly any threat the towelheads could manage to mount, heck, even the remote possibility of an asteroid veering off course and slamming into the Earth, or H5N1 mutating to become transmissible amongst humans [crosses fingers behind his back].

With - maybe! - the possible exception of the emergence of a Christian China.

But I think this phenomenon of smart people refusing to make babies, and dumb people continuing to make babies, is just about at a tipping point - we are very near the edge of a precipice, and if we're not careful, then the entire world could be plunged into a new dark ages, much as happened circa 450AD, and, just like the first time around, it could take a good millenium's worth of breeding to restore the situation [if it's even possible to restore the thing].

Proofreader: Or just think of the posh Detroit neighbourhoods and what happened to them in so little time.

There are few things more chilling than spending an afternoon reading [and pondering] all the stories gathered together at:

The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit

And if that isn't sufficiently depressing, then spend a little further time with Theodore Dalrymple:

Why Havana Had to Die
What We Have to Lose
etc

Between them, they do a pretty good job of documenting the dystopian version of human events, thereby painting a picture of the possible futures in which smart people breed too few progeny, and the dumb people are left to fend for themselves like wolves.

Speaking of wolves...

Anonymous said...

...we have a huge amount of data on school test scores by ethnic group going back to the mid-1960s ...and there has been little change in the relative standing of the different groups over those 42 years...if we want to evaluate the effects of different immigration policies on the education levels of the population a generation or two from now, we can apply the current test score levels...

And ... nobody wants to hear it.

Gee, Steve, it sounds like New America isn't working out so well for you. Sky-high Gini Coefficient getting you down? It is getting rather intense out there in SoCal. The California Gini Coefficient along (along with the New York number) is particularly disturbing.

Mid 20th century California, that mythical paradise of yore, had a Gini of around .30, and still only .357 in 1969. And that was without implementing your favored civic policy, Citizenism.

But by 1999, the Gini in California was .475. And I bet in your particular neck of the woods it's now up into the mid-.50s. So, we can't blame you for being concerned. The .60 level is basically "throat-slashing time".

Whatever should we do, Steve? More socialism?

Since returning to a stable 90% white American nation is "inconceivable", "offensive" and off the table, we are left with only a few options. Import millions more high IQ Asians? How about millions more high IQ Jews? But when I think about it, those ideas seem counterproductive. It sure does seem like the window of opportunity is closing for ideas like Citizenism.

Could the reason be that Citizenism contradicts human nature...and, not surprisingly, the historical record?

Martin said...

Anonymous said...

Gee, Steve, it sounds like New America isn't working out so well for you. Sky-high Gini Coefficient getting you down? It is getting rather intense out there in SoCal. The California Gini Coefficient along (along with the New York number) is particularly disturbing.

9/02/2007 12:47 PM"

Presumably, Mr. Anonymous, you have a point, but whatever it is, it is lost in a thick cloud of accompanying sarcasm. But that's okay - I'm reasonably certain that whatever it is you are saying is entirely without value. So I needn't dislocate my brain trying to figure out what it is.

Mark said...

The jerks who passed the bill, like Ted Kennedy, on the other hand, should have known better.

Are you implying that Ted Kennedy didn't know what he was doing? Because everything he's said and done since has indicated that he did.

He certainly doesn't seem to be sorry about his "mistake."

Any care to predict how accurate claims among whites of 'native American' ancestry are?

If the claims are from some nut using their alleged ancestry to get on their high horse (or collect casino revenues), then the answer would be "not very."

But if the claims are from someone - probably with a British or German surname - whose ancestry in the US goes way back, then I'd say "pretty good." I come from a family where ample genealogy has been done. Nearly all the names are British and all of the lines that don't disappear into the ether don't leave the country 'til 300 years ago (at the most recent). That's 12+ generations. 2^12 = 4,096 ancestors. What are the odds that at least one is Injun? I've got Geronimo's blood coursin' through my veins, man!

Anonymous said...

"I'm reasonably certain that whatever it is you are saying is entirely without value."

I find the gini co-efficient analysis rather straightforward. Did you even follow the link?

The anon 12:47 PM post zeroes in on the iSteve's main impetus for this blog and his fundamental conundrum: the gini co-efficient is spiking all around him [and us], and "citizenism" has little chance in this environment.

tommy said...

Are you implying that Ted Kennedy didn't know what he was doing? Because everything he's said and done since has indicated that he did.

I don't think he cared about the end consequences and don't think he gave them much consideration. Senator Chappaquiddick has always been a short-term thinker who has never bothered himself worrying about the nation's interests - especially not when they might conflict with self-interests.

David said...

Anonymous 9/01/2007 6:17 PM

For reading comprehension, you get an "F."

Does higher IQ make people more empathetic? Not necessarily.

Does lower IQ make people more people more empathetic? Not at all.

there are limits to the knowledge of even the most brilliant doctor.

There are limits to the knowledge of even the dullest doctor.

I think a 130 IQ is high enough for a person to become a doctor.

All others need not apply. They are too smart!

I don't share your belief that higher IQ leads to more evolved or more enlightened individuals.

But lower IQ is compatible with enlightenment? Evolution means getting dumber?

Nazis were supposedly much smarter than average. IQ certainly didn't make them better people.

If you're smart, you're a Nazi, eh?

Hey, Anon.? The problem with your Dad's doctor wasn't that he was smart.

If you think intelligence killed your father, try stupidity.

But you prefer to move in this direction. After all, they aren't Nazis.

Mark said...

I don't think he cared about the end consequences and don't think he gave them much consideration. Senator Chappaquiddick has always been a short-term thinker who has never bothered himself worrying about the nation's interests - especially not when they might conflict with self-interests. - tommy

You may well be correct. But either way the answer doesn't reflect well. You can be a normal citizen and not care and that's OK, I suppose. But if you're an elected politician then it's your job to care. To run for office and not care is evil - just as evil as doing deliberate harm. We don't elect these putzes so they can feed their ego and glory in their title.

Anonymous said...

"If you think intelligence killed your father, try stupidity.

But you prefer to move in this direction. After all, they aren't Nazis."

David!

I'm going to assume you are white with a high IQ. I don't have anything against intelligent white males (as long as they aren't too neurotic about being geniuses). What I'm advocating is stopping the practice of filling our US medical schools with foreign born who are supposedly smarter than the native born/white population of people who would've filled those slots in the past. I don't have anything against geniuses but I do believe that we should be more concerned with educating our best and brightest rather than the best and brightest in the world. I don't believe people are that interchangeable. It follows that I don't like outsourcing tech support to India, etc.

FYI, the Dr. didn't "kill" my father. Instead he made what turned out to be the end of my father's life a living hell. My father also would've been more trusting of a white male doctor which is what I considered the most important factor in his health care. Had I been in charge I would've found one for him. Not only would he have been more willing to take any medication prescribed, he wouldn't have felt humiliated at foreign men knowing the most intimate details about his health and mental state. In fact, he probably would've been more trusting of the Dr whom he would've considered his equal than the women taking care of him. My suggestion that we find a white male doctor for my octogenarion father was considered racist of course and dismissed without a second thought.

As for reading comprehension, yours isn't all that great either. My point is that we are told these foreigners fill our med schools because they are smarter than us. If that is the case, then maybe intelligence is not the most important qualification for medical school. Like in so many other fields, however, I believe it's another lie we've been told by elites to suit whatever the hell their purposes are in globalizing our universities and our country.

Do you believe white Americans are getting dumber by the decade, Dave? Were American doctors resorting to leeching, trepanning and sawing off limbs in the few decades before foreigners took over our med schools?

Geez, I'll just assume the beer is flowing free this Labor Day.