July 29, 2009

Why is the Fundamental Constant of Sociology so fundamental?

La Griffe du Lion's great term for the one standard deviation gap between whites and blacks in just about any measurement that's related in some way to cognition -- the Fundamental Constant of Sociology -- is actually rather mysterious.

Sure, it's easy to understand why we see it in nationally representative samples, but why do we also see it also in highly selected samples, such as folks who showed up to take the New York firefighter's hiring test? (1999 gap: 1.04 s.d. 2002 gap: 0.96 s.d.)

In contrast, consider average height. Chinese people on average are less tall than black and white Americans. Yet, the average height of Chinese NBA players (such as Yao Ming) has usually been well above the NBA average. Short Chinese guys just don't play in the NBA.

So, why don't we see this kind of non-representativeness of the sample among FDNY test-takers? Just as 6'3" Chinese forwards generally decide to continue playing in China rather than try to make the Lakers, would-be minority test-takers could have estimated their scores from practice exams and then decided not to bother to show up and waste their time taking the test if they were likely to only end up way down the hiring list. This kind of self-selecting behavior would reduce the racial gap.

And yet, we saw the usual one-standard deviation gap. Why?

Well, one reason is that affirmative action promotes the more competent sort of minorities into higher realms, the equivalent of Yao Ming skipping playing center in the NBA to play keeper in the Intergalactic Quidditch League, leaving only short Chinese guys to try to make the NBA.

Another reason, however, is that, for a black or Hispanic, taking an FDNY test is like buying a very, very long-lived lottery ticket.

If the damages in Vulcan Society are set at, say, $20 million, the contingency fee lawyers will presumably grab about $7 million, and several hundred or more black and Hispanic test-takers who came close enough on the test so that they would have been hired if there had been no disparate impact will get checks in the mail adding up to $13 million.

Wouldn't it be totally awesome to get a five-figure check in the mail for something you wasted time on and failed at a decade ago? So, you can see why so many minorities who didn't have a chance of getting a good score took the firefighters test -- because there was always a sizable chance under Disparate Impact theory that a judge would change the rules years after the game was played and send them money.

In contrast, dumb white guys wouldn't be as likely to bother showing up because they know nobody is going to change the rules in their favor.

Thus, the Fundamental Constant of Sociology endures.

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

36 comments:

robert61 said...

Your lottery ticket argument seems tendentious. It's more likely that underqualified NAMs take the test because they know they have a good chance of getting hired if they have a good day.

Anonymous said...

Steve -- you have to take into account future time orientation.

There might be other ethnic groups who could play the long ball this way. Not NAMs, though.

Anonymous said...

If you ever observe that Asians (even 3rd generation ones brought up in the U.S. on American diets) are shorter than blacks or whites, the SWPL types are very enthusiastic about pointing out Yao Ming and how his example supposedly debunks your racist theory.

RWF said...

Anyone who is smart enought to think that far ahead is surely smart enough to pass the FDNY exam.

Jack said...

It should be called "the fundamental Constant of Socio-biology", since it is evident that biological factors are significant in causing this disparity. But you cant say socio-biology anymore as it has been thought policed out of existence.

So it would be more accurate to call it "the fundamental Constant of Anthropology", which is the subject matter of socio-biology. Sadly anthropology too has been ruined by post-Mead-ian political correctors.

Can anyone detect a pattern here?

hcl said...

That's confusing an unselected group (test-takers who have proven nothing) with a post-selected group (making the NBA).

The selection occurs before the NBA player walks on the court, not after. Scouts select, the summer-league selects, the pre-season games select, etc.

Only players who have proven themselves (at least to some extent) against NBA players thus even make the season opener 15-man roster.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is smart enought to think that far ahead is surely smart enough to pass the FDNY exam.

Unless the wisdom becomes enshrined in tribal lore. In my experience, blacks are pretty good at adhering to tribal lore.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

Can anyone detect a pattern here?

Pattern recognition is racist.

~Svigor

Anonymous said...

There is the study showing blacks have the highest self-esteem and asians the lowest with regard to academics and intellectual abilities - even in fields such as mathematics.

Personal experience reinforces this idea that blacks have the greatest positive self regard regardless of reality. It wouldn't be surprising to find out that many grossly unqualified blacks go into the test thinking they'll ace it and scream racism afterwards with sincerity.

This is only reinforced by an enabling MSM and SWPL elite that maintains the nobel lies around HBD. Unfortunately, the dimmest bulbs with the loudest mouths attached to the biggest egos buy this anti-HBD propaganda hook, line, rod, and fishing boat.

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong this time.

Many unqualified people try to get public servant jobs because those jobs are very desirable and because of how the tests are made. Since they have in most cases only multiple choice questions, those people (who usually aren't very clever to begin with) believe they can, with a bit of luck, guess most answers correctly and pass the test.

The fact that the likelihood of getting so many answers correctly by merely guessing them can be so small as to qualify as a sort of lottery (and thus still validating this comparison) is rarely understood by people who are clueless about statistics.

Jim O said...

I disagree with you on this one, Steve. They certainly don't think that far ahead.
You started with the better explanation. The black men who would be competitive on the fireman's test are too busy taking the LSAT. It's easier for schools to get away with their race-based preferences than it is for municipalities.

rob said...

I think a more parsimonious explanation is higher black self-esteem and self confidence at all levels of ability.

Because a black person will tend to rate himself highly, he would tend to go out for things that a more rational self-assesment would show are beyond him.

Also, in areas where there aren't very many non-blacks, a black guy will overrate his intelligence and whatever else compared to a reference group that is considerably less intelligent than the general population.

Being less dilligent on average, blacks are less likely to take practice tests and discover than they're in a low percentile.

Combine all those with the fact that blacks are encouraged to apply for X at a lower level of ability than whites and can often get into X under lower standards. There's not much reason to think black people applying to anything are as heavily selected as they would have to be to show similar performance to other people competing for that.

It may go the other way. The gap gets bigger at higher levels: blacks in the Ivy League have on average more than 1.1 +/- .2 SD gap with the white students.

For a nonracially charged example of rating oneself, it is possible to grow up in a small town be smarter than everyone you know. Hell, be smarter than everyone you have ever met, and still not be smart enough for MIT.

Aaron said...

Not to disparage firemen, but I've never thought of intelligence as being a particular requirement of the job. Some basic common sense and decision-making skills, sure, but nothing to compare to the primacy of height in basketball.

I would have put intelligence down the list behind physical strength, courage, risk-taking, and the desire to be a hero. Assuming whites and blacks are basically even on those traits, then by the time you select on those, it's not surprising that their IQ ranges match the general public, is it?

Anonymous said...

"It wouldn't be surprising to find out that many grossly unqualified blacks go into the test thinking they'll ace it and scream racism afterward with sincerity."

This is the correct answer.

Anonymous said...

There is the study showing blacks have the highest self-esteem and asians the lowest with regard to academics and intellectual abilities - even in fields such as mathematics.



I guess it’s a relative thing. For whites and Asians from good families academic proficiency is not a big deal, it’s almost a min. requirement for acceptance. If your dad had a PhD, the family is not going to go apeshit when you get one. Your mom will be proud that at least here son ain’t a dummy, but your dad will probably not be much impressed. For women it’s still a big deal, because it shows them they broke through the “glass ceiling” and all that. That’s why they, and NAM’s, have no problems with choosing more squishy (and easier) topics and other unseen steps and ladders. For many blacks getting any type of degree is a huge personal status boost. Mugabe, for instance, has several degrees which he obtained by correspondence whilst in a Rhodesian prison. He claims he's the most intelligent person in Zimbabwe. Maybe he thinks “in the world”, but even he realizes that people would consider this foolish. Most blacks there are in awe of his intellectual powers, even though he has f. up the country to the point that millions of them live shortened lives, many more are in hunger or have fled the place. You cannot even drink clean water there anymore. Under Ian Smith, whom I doubt had much education by modern standards, you could drink clean water and drive on smooth roads. And there was food and good medical care for everybody. Yet even nowadays, rags such as the NYT (TM: ST) brag about the education system which the revolutionary Mugabe instituted. Blacks and liberals have this thing with paper education. They get orgasms over degrees and other academic paraphernalia, even if the carriers of these are functionally clueless. It’s all about status and appearance of intelligence.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be the Fundamental Constant of AMERICAN Sociology. One can, for example, study the sociology of Japan, but this particular Fundamental Constant would not be relevant to the sociology of Japan.

Anne said...

I'm not buying that the constant size of the gap can be explained away so easily. Why in the world should an entirely different mechanism just happen to create the exact same number in every subpopulation every time?

As you say, it's deeply mysterious.

Richard Hoste said...

"Wouldn't it be totally awesome to get a five-figure check in the mail for something you wasted time on and failed at a decade ago? So, you can see why so many minorities who didn't have a chance of getting a good score took the firefighters test -- because there was always a sizable chance under Disparate Impact theory that a judge would change the rules years after the game was played and send them money."

Without evidence that this practice is well known in the black community I don't believe it. Too much foresight is necessary, too much knowledge about law and American politics.

Hypothetically though, there's all kinds of things blacks could do to get money. Say, walk around trying to piss off cops while having your friend video tape it. Or try to join a country club and then sue. Or take a bunch of kids to a pool, have them act obnoxious, and...

Anonymous said...

There is another fundamental sociological constant in American society: overconfidence. Most of use are taught that we shouldn't let reality get in the way of our dreams.

You can do whatever you put your mind to. Be all you can be. An army of one. Yes you can have it all.

La Griffe's constant reflects this aspect of American society more than a nefarious conspiracy that requires foresight and long-term planning which low-scoring test takers usually don't have.

Anonymous said...

Here is an article (2 in fact) from this mornings newspaper that highlights Sailer-esque themes (deviations below the mean, future-time-orientation, criminality, etc.).

I'll cut-and-paste them, get ready to LAUGH OUT LOUD:


Nashville man charged with groping joggers
July 29, 2009

It started with a call from a concerned citizen and ended with an arrest Tuesday.


Metro Police say a man driving near Lipscomb University on Monday called detectives after he saw a white 1995 Honda Accord and suspected it might be the car referred to in news accounts about a man accused of groping several female joggers in the Belmont area this month.
Julio Cesar Juarez, 19, of Wallace Road, has been charged with two counts of sexual battery for grabbing the buttocks of at least four female joggers as they ran on or near Belmont Boulevard, police say.
Police said they are withholding Juarez's photo pending further lineups in the case.


(Belmont is a wealthy WHITE area)




For a really funny story, I mean a howler, look at this one:


Glencliff quarterback charged with aggravated burglary, theft
By MAURICE PATTON • THE TENNESSEAN • July 29, 2009

Mitchell Clemons, expected to be Glencliff’s starting quarterback, has been charged with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000 along with two other teenagers.


Brentwood police suspect the three of being involved in more than 15 home burglaries in Davidson and Williamson counties.
A second Glencliff student, Abanzer Tsegay, and an unidentified 15-year-old also were charged. Clemons and Tsegay are each 18.


According to the complaint filed with Williamson County General Sessions Court, three people forced entry to a Brentwood residence Sunday and took televisions and jewelry, which they loaded into their vehicle. In doing so, they also locked the ignition key in the trunk of the vehicle.


The occupant of the home returned around 4:30 p.m. and discovered three young men. She called police and the three fled on foot, leaving their car backed up to the garage at the residence.


The three were taken into custody about six hours later in south Nashville. Brentwood police expect additional charges to be filed.


Clemons is being held on $12,500 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 6.
Last season, Clemons had 848 passing yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 169 yards. He earned the starting position as a sophomore and threw for 2,100 yards


“I don’t know if I can talk about it right now,” Glencliff Coach Scott Murray said Tuesday. “I haven’t talked to my administration, I haven’t talked to our athletics director and I haven’t talked to (Metro Schools AD) Scott Brunette. I don’t know what I can or can’t say and I don’t want to say anything I’m not supposed to.”


Glencliff Principal Tony Majors and Athletics Director Roosevelt Sanders each declined to comment when reached Tuesday.


Aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, carries a punishment of 3-15 years in prison. In cases where it is a first offense, a three- to six-year sentence is typical, 30 percent of which must be served to be eligible for parole.


(Brentwood is a VERY wealthy white area OUTSIDE of Nashville. Glencliff is now da'hood, even though it was quite nice 20 years ago before the invasion started)

Anonymous said...

A situation somewhat related to the topic of this posting is the racial gap in law school grades, as described by Richard Sander of UCLA.

According to the data presented by Sander, it's pretty much universal in law schools ,from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom, that half of black law students are in the bottom 10% with respect to their law school grades. ("Historically black colleges and universities" (HBCUs) are of course an exception, by the pigeon hole principle of mathematics.)

Sander also says that LSAT score and undergrad GPA predict law school grades equally well for blacks and whites, and that the gap in law school grades is completely consistent with the gap in LSAT+GPA.

Sander had some fascinating data (posted at the Empirical Legal Studies blog) about expectations of begining law students:

http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_legal_studi/2006/09/why_doesnt_the_.html

For whites, blacks, and Hispanics, 99% of each expect to have above-average grades. 39% of blacks expect to be top 10% (and almost no blacks end up in the top 10%).

So, a large fraction of black law students go to law schools where their LSAT+GPA numbers predict they'll be village idiots, in comparison with the other students.

Sander thinks that, in terms of their bar-passage chances, most black law students would be better off in a school where their incoming credentials are typical, rather than bottom-of-the-heap.(And the worst black students are hopeless cases who would be better off doing something else.) Plus, it must be VERY unpleasant to be a village idiot.

So, in the face of all this evidence, why do so many black law students set themselves up for predictable failure and humiliation (with crippling debt as the cherry on top for many of them)? Are they like lemmings going over a cliff, with no one having told them about the fate of the lemmings who went before?

Like Steve says, taking a civil service exam can be a pretty good bet even for dopes: low cost and potential for big pay-off. Lots of black law students,on the other hand, seem to be making a bad bet.

brent said...

So it's the lawyers fault? There are lawyers defending the action too. The idea that the NAM's took the test because they knew they might win the lottery and get a five-figure check in 5-10 years is preposterous.

Anonymous said...

Blacks consistently overestimate their abilities. They have higher self-esteem than whites, who have higher self-esteem than Asians. This goes back to Rushton's r-K stuff.

Today's media reinforces blacks' already naturally high self-esteem by relentlessly promoting and exaggerating all black achievements, even in science and technology.

Finally, to estimate one's chances of success before one tries is to engage in planning. Forethought.

Anonymous said...

"There is the study showing blacks have the highest self-esteem and asians the lowest with regard to academics and intellectual abilities - even in fields such as mathematics."

This is true. And on top of that, a Black with a 95 IQ living her whole life around other Blacks will consider herself quite smart. By not acknowledging the IQ gap, society sets this woman's expectations far too high and so her only hope for achievement is affirmative action.

J said...

If I understand the question (I am not sure I do) then what Steve is asking is why black people keeps taking the exams where they have little chance of success.

Well, anywhere you look in the media you see successful black people writing code, managing complex businesses, presiding world powers. How could they imagine that they are not equal or superior? Disappointment and bitterness is sure to follow if confronted with reality. But no, society will not let them get hurt, so they are kept in a world of illusions, fantasies and lies.

I think it is wrong and evil to deceive decent and hardworking black (or any other) people.

David said...

This just in:

Irish fracas stirs national donnybrook earlier this month

HERE

(How does Gates that know his Irish forebears were masters instead of slaves, and his black forebears slaves instead of masters? Could anyone untangle the reparations in this case?)

josh said...

I wonder if the "community organizer" plays some sort of role in this. When the tests are announced,there is always a big effort to inform the black(and now Mexican) community that the test is going down. I wonder if the Revs organiz groups to descend en masse to take it. This is what they do for their various protests and what not. Its always amusing to see a reverend out there with hulking, menacing ghetto blacks chanting"We got to stop the violence"!!

Anonymous said...

Stupider people overestimate their own chances.

Anonymous said...

You're really out on a limb on this one Steve. I doubt the NAMs taking the firefighter test have the future orientation to think in terms of your lottery ticket payout analogy. The reason is probably because our society is constantly telling NAMs that they should have proportionaly representation and that they believe it. The most talented NAMs aren't going for firefighter jobs, but are in over their head at colleges and post-graduate programs and, since institutions of all types are striving for proportional representation, there is a cascade effect with NAMs aspiring for all types of jobs with differing required levels of cognitive competence in over their heads. (this is similar to George Sander's observations about blacks ending up in a higher tier law school than where they belong) I think many of them really to believe the leftis' line that their non-competiveness is due to discrimination or racism, which encourages overreach or overestimation themselves (rember your VDARE article where you said you have often seen black ghetto children on TV saying they aspired to be a doctor or lawyer, but never to have, say, a carpet cleaning business). Many probably have doubts deep down about their abilities vis-a-vis whites, but this is something that many NAMs probably cannot admit to themselves because it would be too painful. In any case, the position among the overwhelming majority of NAMs is probably that even if they don't have equal average abilities, they should have equal results.

Bret Ludwig said...

Blacks as a group don't have the time preference to look at things this way. It's mostly about their higher self-regard-vs.reality ratio and the Peter Principle of AA: the blacks who would make fine firefighters are being sent to law or business school where they fail.

Open acknowledgment of, one, the Bell Curve and two, the fact (which many WN's downplay) that Blacks were slowly becoming more upstat (to borrow a scieno-ism) from the end of reconstruction until LBJ-most of which gain, overall, is now gone-would be a blessing for most Blacks and most Whites. Who would not benefit? Well, as individuals, most of them would benefit as well, but in terms of their cohesive group goal.....need I say it??

Anonymous said...

the average height of Chinese NBA players (such as Yao Ming) has usually been well above the NBA average. Short Chinese guys just don't play in the NBA.

So, why don't we see this kind of non-representativeness of the sample among FDNY test-takers?



Yeah, it's a tough one. If we didn't know better we might have to conclude that the NBA is more selective than the FDNY, and that FDNY applicants basically don't represent a high IQ subset of the population.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

One effect of AA policies is that NAMs are, to a considerable extent, simply competing against each other. If a NAM has gone through life being rewarded on this basis but without ever knowing the full extent to which it happens, he may come to overestimate his chances on something like a civil service exam that isn't as "inclusive."

Anonymous said...

Mugabe, for instance, has several degrees which he obtained by correspondence whilst in a Rhodesian prison. He claims he's the most intelligent person in Zimbabwe.

A (white) friend of a friend has recently become engaged to a Nigerian girl. My friend reports that she is very intelligent because *drum roll* she has five degrees.

Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

"My friend reports that she is very intelligent because *drum roll* she has five degrees."

Well they *are* the best educated nationality in America according to Steve, IIRC.

Jack Burton said...

So, it occurred to me that there's a link between this disparate-impact-of-testing stuff and "Because I'm a black man in America?"-gate. In order to satisfy the 4/5ths rule, FDs, PDs, etc. have to make the test so easy a lot of dumb white guys pass. Then some random or corrupt process chooses among the many passers.

Result: more dumb cops. Given the likely correlation between dumb & bad, that probably means more ACTUALLY racist cops, too. Or at least dumb enough to act in ways that can be effectively characterized as racist.

This is either a really ironic bug, or a really sinister feature of eliminating cognitive testing for police recruits.

Anonymous said...

Well they *are* the best educated nationality in America according to Steve, IIRC.


Yeah, that's why their country is such a swinging success! Funny, it took just 200000 whites to turn Rhodesia into a country which Nigeria, with 80 million "highly educated" inhabitants, can never become. Ditto South Africa. Mmmm.