August 18, 2011

Shocking News

I'm sometimes told, "Look, everybody knows that what you say is right and they all operate on that knowledge. They just don't want to be impolite and mention it in public." And I think that's true to a large extent for personal decisions like where to buy a home and where to send the kids to school. But, I don't see much evidence that private awareness impacts public policy. To have sensible public policies, you need open discussion of how the world works. 

Instead, you get stuff like this big article in today's Washington Post (there's also a quite similar 936 word article in the New York Times today, so this WaPo article isn't an anomaly; it reflects the conventional wisdom):
Blacks less likely than whites to get NIH grants, study finds 
By Rob Stein, Thursday, August 18, 9:17 PM 
Black scientists are significantly less likely than white researchers to win grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to an audit released Thursday that confirmed disturbing suspicions inside the agency about a lingering bias against African Americans.
The analysis of data from more than 40,000 researchers who submitted more than 80,000 grant applications to NIH between 2000 and 2006 found that only about 16 percent of those from black applicants were approved, compared with about 29 percent of those from white scientists. 
Even after the researchers accounted for other factors that could help explain the discrepancy, such as differences in scientists’ education and training, black applicants were still about 10 percentage points less likely than whites to get NIH funding, the researchers reported. About 27 percent of white applicants’ requests were successful, compared with only about 17 percent of blacks’. 

Affirmative action always peters out at some point. There's affirmative action all the way up the line through education ... until research proposals are submitted to the NIH. At that point, race information is stripped off the application.
Asians applying for money appeared to be slightly less likely than whites to get grants, but that gap disappeared when the researchers matched equally qualified white and AsianU.S. citizens. Hispanics were about as successful as whites. 
The findings are troubling because they indicate that race remains a significant factor in who gets funding for research into diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other health problems from the premier funder of biomedical research, the researchers said. 
“We have a very serious issue,” said Donna K. Ginther, director of the University of Kansas Center of Science Technology and Economic Policy, who led the study published in the journal Science. “Science needs to reflect the diversity and power and potential of the population.” 
NIH’s own internal auditing had indicated that there might be a problem with bias in its scientific review process. The agency initiated and helped fund the study to investigate those concerns. Officials agreed the new findings were alarming and outlined steps the $31 billion agency will take to try to address the problem. 
“This situation is not acceptable,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins told reporters during a telephone briefing. “This data is deeply troubling.” ... 
Only 1.4 percent of applications came from black scientists, even though they account for about 12 percent of the U.S. population, the researchers found.

So, obviously, we are dealing with a problem huge in scale: Blacks make 1.4% of all applications and get 0.8% of approvals, so we are talking about a shortfall of 0.6% of all approvals. If there is a discrepancy of 0.6 percentage points disadvantaging blacks, then, apparently, it's a big story and everybody better worry about it.
Moreover, the applications from black scientists tended to receive poorer scores than those from whites, resulting in bleaker chances of getting funded.

Seriously, that's how normal probability distributions (a.k.a., bell curves) work. Among all the people in America who are at least 5'9", say, most are men, but a significant minority are women. Among six footers, the percentage of women drops a lot compared to 5'9". Among people over 6'3", the percentage of women is very, very low.

But, you aren't supposed to understand bell curves. Being stupid about probability distributions shows your heart is pure.

Something else that even fewer people understand is how diversity programs steal from other diversity programs. You can see it more easily with sports. Say that the U.S. government announced a far-reaching program to dominate women's volleyball in the Olympics by 2024 by getting more 6'3" women to specialize in volleyball from a young age. American volleyball should spare no expense making extremely tall, extremely athletic girls into volleyball players. Well, the obvious side effect would be that spending a lot of money on volleyball would just raid other sports that want extremely tall, extremely athletic girls like basketball, soccer goalies, swimming, and water polo.

Same thing with racial diversity programs, especially ones at super-elite levels like this upcoming one. The issue here isn't even getting more blacks to become qualified medical researchers. The issue is getting more blacks to be really good medical researchers. How do you do that? Mostly, you raid very smart blacks off other career tracks, like, say, Goldman Sachs.
“Our research says, ‘If you hold everything else constant and the only thing different between these two investigators is the color of their skin, that person is less likely to get funded,’ ” Ginther said. 
Ginther and her colleagues tried several methods to explain the discrepancy, including analyzing whether differences in the topics being proposed for study by blacks or the types of studies they hoped to conduct might be playing a role, but they did not identify any clear explanation. The researchers speculated, however, that several factors could be playing a role. Black scientists, for example, might not be as plugged into professional “peer-review” networks that judge scientific proposals as white researchers. They might also tend to work at institutions that offer less support. 
“I don’t think it’s overt racism. I’m not thinking someone is going through the applications and saying: ‘Black, do not fund,’” Ginther said. “But it could be a matter of networks — that these investigators are not as well connected as others. Or it could be the resources of their home institutions in preparing the applications.” 
NIH officials agreed and said they were taking steps to boost the number of black scientists on NIH committees that review grant proposals. Having served on such a committee appears to increase the chances of a researcher later getting a grant, the study found. 
“It is a very valuable learning experience in terms of figuring out what works and what doesn’t work in your own application,” Collins said. 
Collins said he has also asked two “high-level” NIH advisory groups to investigate: the NIH Diversity Task Force and the newly formed external Diversity in Biomedical Research Working Group, which will report back to him by next June.

What this kind of brouhaha ends up being about is providing a few easy jobs for members of the protesting group.
In addition, the agency planned to conduct more research to try to determine whether NIH reviewers are biased against blacks. Although an applicant’s race is removed before reviewers see applications, evaluators might be able to figure it out through a scientist’s name, where they work or simply because they know who they are. 
For example, the NIH plans to conduct experiments in which all information that might indicate the race of the applicants, such as their names and where they work, are hidden to see whether that affects how applicants are evaluated. Another study might assess the ability of reviewers to infer the race of applicants. Reviewers might also receive sensitivity training. 
“I would like not to believe that is intentional bias, but I can’t exclude, after talking to lots of colleagues, the possibility that even today in 2011 in our society there is still an unconscious, insidious form bias that subtly influences opinions of people,” Collins said. 
“That may be very disturbing for people in the scientific community to contemplate, but I think we have to think that’s one of the possibilities.” 
NIH officials said they had shared their findings with other federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, to alert them to the possibility that a similar bias might be affecting their grant-making systems.

Now, the good news is that, likely, nothing gigantically disastrous will happen due to this self-evidently dopey application of the conventional wisdom. Instead, a little bit more medical research funding will be bled off into diversity efforts. Patients will die a little earlier on average in the future than they would have without the new Diversity Programs, but not so much that anybody will notice. For the new Chief Diversity Officers and others involved, it's a living.

But, this kind of thing adds up. Cumulatively, it takes a sizable toll on the country.

As I've said many times, if Obama wants to stimulate the economy by removing a long-term impediment and boost his chances of winning re-election, he could declare victory in the War on Discrimination and call the federal troops home. But, you'll notice, nobody else is pointing that out. It's simply not on the conceptual radar.

Instead, we get the following Executive Order issued today by the Obama White House: "Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce."

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, the media is innumerate.

tommy said...

In one of Thomas Sowell's books, published years before the housing crisis, he talked about how the Washington Post had once ran a big story on discrimination against minorities seeking home loans. When the paper underlying the WaPo story was further scrutinized, it turned out that all discrepancies could be attributed to income and credit rating differences with one exception: a single bank was more likely to favor whites over blacks even when controlling for racial differences in credit ratings. That bank was a black owned bank.

I doubt the WaPo ever bothered to update its readers on those inconvenient facts.

Inkraven said...

The cat has long left the sack as it were. Diversity, poverty, you name it, so long as we can attach a label to something that will have a negative impact on on of the left's favored groups, money will be made trying to combat it. Naturally not much will be accomplished, because the left won't quit until every single subgroup of society has the correct number of wheelchair-bound transgendered black jewish vegan lesbians.

Anonymous said...

These are applications for medical research, correct? Could the black applications be somewhat more redundant in the areas of research? For example, what if a lot of those studies were for obesity or adult-onset diabetes? Maybe the grant board tossed out a bunch of redundant applications.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sometimes told, "Look, everybody knows that what you say is right and they all operate on that knowledge."

Sailer continues the self-love marathon.

David said...

Error here:

"Something that almost zero people understand is how diversity programs steal from other diversity programs. You can see it more easily with sports. Say that the U.S. government announced a far-reaching program to dominate women's basketball"

You mean volleyball. The rest of the passage develops the idea that volleyball excellence is what's aimed at, at basketball's expense.

eh said...

OT (slightly)

More future grantless scientists perhaps:

Here is the foto the BBC is currently using to highlight a story about increasing competition for university places due to the rising number of 'A levels'. The lead-in plus foto for the story is currently at the top of the BBC's main page for UK news/stories.

keypusher said...

If Asian applicants were more successful than white applicants, Hispanic applicants were somewhat less successful than white applicants, and black applicants were markedly less successful than white applicants, the results of this study would jibe with lots of other data points out there.

But (going strictly by your excerpts from the article) it appears that blacks are markedly less successful than Asians and Hispanics, as well as whites. Asians do not do better than whites. In fact, they only do as well as whites only after controlling for credentials.

Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?

Unemployed White Guy said...

“We have a very serious issue,” said Donna K. Ginther, director of the University of Kansas Center of Science Technology and Economic Policy, who led the study published in the journal Science. “Science needs to reflect the diversity and power and potential of the population.”

Yes we have a very serious issue: my tax dollars are wasted on BS studies of non-problems by PC academic institutions.

Is the University of Kansas Center of Science Technology and Economic Policy all that diverse itself? I doubt it. Looking at her CV shows Donna has interests including "economic demography". She really needs to read this blog!

Truth said...

"Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?"

Hummmph...the theory is a load of Hund Scheiss?

Anonymous said...

“Our research says, ‘If you hold everything else constant and the only thing different between these two investigators is the color of their skin, that person is less likely to get funded,’ ” Ginther said.

Ginther and her colleagues tried several methods to explain the discrepancy, including analyzing whether differences in the topics being proposed for study by blacks or the types of studies they hoped to conduct might be playing a role, but they did not identify any clear explanation. The researchers speculated, however, that several factors could be playing a role. Black scientists, for example, might not be as plugged into professional “peer-review” networks that judge scientific proposals as white researchers. They might also tend to work at institutions that offer less support.

Seems like they did not actually "hold everything else constant" at all, if they are left speculating about "several factors".

RS said...

> Asians do not do better than whites. In fact, they only do as well as whites only after controlling for credentials. Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?

Well, you are comparing this result against IQ findings alone. IQ tests are extremely meaningful but don't mean everything. When you look at eminent inventions, Ashkenazim and (gentile) Europeans seem to do a bit more than Asians do. The reason is probably something like 'creativity', whatever that is. For example, Eysenck found that virtually all geniuses scored quite high (90th %ile and higher IIRC) for 'psychoticism', a continuous variable that indexes psychotoid traits in both clinically psychotic and clinically non-psychotic individuals. Non-psychotic first-degree relatives of psychotics show markedly higher P.

His description of psychoticism states that a person will exhibit some qualities commonly found among psychotics, and that they may be more susceptible, given certain environments, to becoming psychotic. Examples of such psychotic tendencies include recklessness, disregard for common sense, and inappropriate emotional expression to name a few (Boeree, 1998).

Recklessness basically means high levels of risk taking. P is also associated with (and/or definted to include) lonerism and relative emotional coldness. It correlates with things like drug use and rape fantasy (not that either of those two phenomena are uncommon).

It was also found that the psychoticism scale correlates significantly with other hostility and tough-mindedness scales and traits such as non-acceptance of cultural norms, immaturity, and anti-authoritative attitudes. Higher psychoticism scores were also reported amongst psychopaths and criminals (Howarth, 1986). This reinforces the idea Eysenck described as his psychoticism scale.

This echos Nietzsche, who noted that cultural innovators were ipso facto 'immoral' or contrary to mores, and bore certain psychological similarities to criminals.

Basically, all normal achievements are a function largely of IQ * C, with a modest amount of additional variation that's not explained by IQ * C. But ingenious achievements are not like this. Geniuses do not generally have very high C.

Most people doing NIH research are doing (or trying to do) something in between normal achievement and ingenious achievement. They, along with a few other types of people in society (perhaps somewhat under 1% of a Western population), are striving for a sort of demi-genius. Their success is not going to be all that well predicted by IQ * C, and factors like P are going to enter into it in a pretty big way (if Eysenck was correct).

Eysenck's belief that P has something to do with such things is not completely and totally canonical, so far, but it has been accepted by some others.

rob said...

Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?

Here's some impure speculation. The NIH likes to fund new and interesting research. Being less creative, Asians are less likely to submit applications for new and interesting projects.

Anonymous said...

Obama just issued an Executive Order demanding more diversity in the federal government:

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/08/18/new-eo-from-obama-to-push-diversity-in-the-federal-workforce/


There is no end in sight. The third-worldization of this country appears to be irreversible at this point. I have not heard a single word from even one Republican candidate about quotas; no one in politics is even putting up a fight. The depth of indoctrination of our political class is frightening.

keypusher said...

OK, I've seen a few of the usual chestnuts trotted out about the Asians (which isn't to say they're wrong). Anyone have a theory why Hispanics would do as well as whites but blacks would do markedly worse?

Well, you are comparing this result against IQ findings alone.

No, I am not. Any reader of this blog should know an Asian-white disparity shows up in many places besides IQ scores. In fact the non-IQ disparities tend to be larger than the IQ disparity.

helene edwards said...

I'd like to know what the ratio is is between blacks doing any kind of scientific research, and blacks who occupy any sort of diversity/outreach position.

not a hacker said...

Who wants a date with Professor Ginther?

http://people.ku.edu/~dginther/

RS said...

> No, I am not. Any reader of this blog should know an Asian-white disparity shows up in many places besides IQ scores. In fact the non-IQ disparities tend to be larger than the IQ disparity.

Fair enough, I didn't read you very meticulously on that point.


> OK, I've seen a few of the usual chestnuts trotted out about the Asians (which isn't to say they're wrong). Anyone have a theory why Hispanics would do as well as whites but blacks would do markedly worse?

One strong possibility is that this group of Hispanics is very, very enriched in White Hispanics. That's plausible considering those applying for these grants are quite rarified indeed in terms of both IQ and C.

I also wonder whether Hispanics might have succeeded rather less than Blacks in getting themselves overrepresented relative to ability. Supposing the applicants were 3% Hispanic and 7% Black, when the population fraction is about 13% for both Hispanics and Blacks, then naturally the former would be much more select than the latter, and much more talented.

Anonymous said...

Check out this fight between the Georgetown Hoyas and a Chinese basketball team.

Anonymous said...

Why is the discrimination hypothesis so inconcievable?

It sounds more likely than any alternative scenario proposed.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Want a better crack and funding? Add a black to your research team.

The stupidity of divertocracy as it plays out its logic to the end astonishes even this cynic.

Nanonymous said...

There is no place in the grant application to indicate one's ethnicity. Half the time the reviewers don't even know the applicant personally and have no way of knowing if he is white, black, rainbow or polka dot.

Ginther and her colleagues tried several methods to explain the discrepancy ... but they did not identify any clear explanation.

Oh, poor researchers. The most obvious explanation has never apparently crossed their minds.

WaPo: "Only 1.4 percent of applications came from black scientists, even though they account for about 12 percent of the U.S. population, the researchers found."

Such is the quality of writing in today's journalism - black scientists account for about 12 percent of the U.S. population.

David Davenport said...

Why is the discrimination hypothesis so inconcievable?

It sounds more likely than any alternative scenario proposed.


Why is discrimination more likely than the HBD hypothesis? Show us some proof to prove your point, or else my question has the same weight as your question.

Why more "Hispanics" in this winner's circle? Probably the broadness of the "Hispanic" classification. An "Hispanic" can be of purely European Christian or Sephardic descent or purely Native American genetic heritage.

Felix said...

Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?

You do realize, of course, that it was whites, not Asians, that singlehandedly propelled the world out of the darkness of candle-lit subsistance agriculture and into the modern era, right? Does the fact that virtually every single invention and technological advance of the last 500 years has been created by whites not speak to you on at least some level?

Shocking though it may seem, Asians' ability to cram for and ace standardized tests is not a perfect embodiment of intellectual superiority. Being 'good at math'
is not the end goal, using math to advance humanity and achieve real world results is the end goal. It seems that whites are just better than Asians at that all important measuring stick of success: getting sh!t done!

Anonymous said...

"Among people over 6'3", the percentage of women is very, very low."

Only a hidebound male chauvinist will not add 6" of heels into the equation.
We will patiently wait till the next generation of men is short enough for our equality.

"American volleyball should spare no expense making extremely tall, extremely athletic girls into volleyball players. "

Or raise their side of court, coz seriously, it's hard to play volleyball in heels.

"like basketball"

lower the hoop, get a trampoline underneath.

"soccer goalies"

Hope Solo jersies and tiger moms will take care of it. I assume everyone knows that japan won the women's football world cup.
And that it is called football and not soccer.

Anonymous said...

Steve, is Vdare redesigned?

Anonymous said...

One way to test whether there really is hidden racism would be to look at acceptance rates of publications in top blind-reviewed medical journals by the race of the lead authors, since the reviewers then would have even less access to the author's identity.

Anonymous said...

Check out this fight between the Georgetown Hoyas and a Chinese basketball team.

Before it's all said & done, that one might end up being more famous than Epic Beard Man -vs- Amberlamps.

TGGP said...

There's a book on this phenomena (dubbed "preference falsification") by the Turkish economist Timur Kuran. It's called "Private Truths, Public Lies". It has a lot on affirmative action. My posts on it here.

sabril said...

Probably part of the explanation is that black researchers and faculty members know that they don't have to hustle for grant money in order to make tenure or otherwise keep their jobs.

Inchcape said...

Many of the black grant seekers got their PhDs via AA. That is why their grant proposals got lower scores on avg even though they addressed mainstream topics. Don't you just love how the story works that in and makes it sound like the colorblind proposal grades were actually the result of racism? Without that misdirection there would be no story, just "low-rated proposals garner fewer grant funds!" Of course one big part of the diversity scam at NIH is presuming all PhDs are equally qualified, when the NAM/AA ones are less capable (and correcting for measurement error, as La Griffe once pointed out, would suggest blacks are more likely than W&A's to be overrated by a degree program... a kind of test).

Anonymous said...

If Asian applicants were more successful than white applicants, Hispanic applicants were somewhat less successful than white applicants, and black applicants were markedly less successful than white applicants, the results of this study would jibe with lots of other data points out there.

No, not really. There are not many "data points" to suggest that Asians are better at science than whites. On the contrary ..

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a theory why Hispanics would do as well as whites but blacks would do markedly worse?

Because Hispanic is not a race. Check out the pictures of some Hispanic scientists - they're European.

Truth said...

"Because Hispanic is not a race. Check out the pictures of some Hispanic scientists - they're European."

Yeah, and just think of where the world would be without Spaniard / Argentine scientific innovation.

Reg Cæsar said...

Steve, the media is innumerate.

The media are innumerate. And illiterate, as well-- they say "is", too.

They were more trustworthy when "reporters" worked for the "press". Now "journalists" are in the "media".

Anonymous said...

just think of where the world would be without Spaniard / Argentine scientific innovation.

You're being silly. I did not say that they were "Spaniard / Argentine", I said they were European.

tommy said...

Eysenck's belief that P has something to do with such things is not completely and totally canonical, so far, but it has been accepted by some others.

As you describe it, Eysenck's speculations make a lot sense to me. I've also speculated that there are strong links between the following traits:

1. Self-absorption and behavior resembling narcissism.
2. Lack of empathy, emotional coldness which is sometimes compensated by traits (4) and (10) below.
3. High verbal IQ and significant gaps favoring verbal over nonverbal IQ.
4. Altruism that is strongly advertised, but shallow in practice. This is often accompanied by tactful conscientiousness in place of sincere concern.
5. Analogical reasoning.
6. Revolutionary creativity as opposed to incremental or evolutionary creativity.
7. Argumentativeness.
8. Intellectual idealism, utopianism and dogmatism.
9. Credit-seeking and blame-avoiding behaviors. Inability to admit wrongdoing or take responsibility.
10. Skill in self-promotion, salesmanship and acting abilities.
11. Risk-taking.
12. Tendency to feel shame and embarrassment rather than guilt.
13. Self-pity.

This sounds similar to what Eysenck has proposed if I'm understanding you.

Essentially, I suspect that humans who are good at talking others into things and making excuses also tend to be good at talking themselves into things and giving themselves excuses. There isn't necessarily a strong division between talking and thinking, especially for the verbally facile.

Reg Cæsar said...

Well, they just need more, and better, role models, like Professor Wiseman who runs the Museum of Science.

She's a woman of color with an authentic, sassy voice, and she's a genius. How do we know? She comes right out and tells us! (The blackest thing about her, by the way.)

She seems to be a popular costume choice for white, often Jewish, mothers of little pithecophiles.

Nanonymous said...

Yeah, and just think of where the world would be without Spaniard / Argentine scientific innovation.

Nobel Prizes in Sciences: three Argentines and two Spaniards. Rest of Latin America: zero. Africa: zero. Continental China: zero.

Anonymous said...

"Essentially, I suspect that humans who are good at talking others into things and making excuses also tend to be good at talking themselves into things and giving themselves excuses."

Tommy, you and RS are treading into some interesting, controversial territory there. The most successful in our society are going to be people who have benefited from the high IQ and somewhat manipulative behavior that go with high P. It's a flip side of the coin discussion. I'm certain we could harvest the next layer of more average IQs and label them according to authoritarian personality traits ( + more obedient, conventional, focused on law and order, - rigid, controlling, fearful tending to prefer fascism) while going to those below average will probably yield a crop of dependent personalities (+ greater preference for harmony in relationships, - inability to discern good vs bad in role models). Everyone fits in somewhere.

Engineer Dad said...

Mark Feffer of Dice News explains: "If you’re looking for workforce diversity, you’re not going to find it in Information Technology. In Silicon Valley less than 2% of Blacks and 5% of Hispanics were employed in computer or math positions in 2008. Also salaries for Blacks and Hispanics was 25.8% lower than their white and Asian counterparts."

The figures reflect the emphasis on demonstrated merit at workplaces here in Silicon Valley, but unfortunately is thought prejudicial by newspaper opinion editors and political ideologues, like California governor Jerry Brown.

This reminds me of a quarterly evaluation our manager gave two male software engineer co-workers and myself, a white (me), a Chinese, and a Hispanic, about 18 months ago. By our managers IT measurement models my Chinese colleague and I were high contributors and nearly equal competitors, although each of us were unaware of how much the other was contributing. Our Hispanic colleague was a distant third, whom we out produced by ratio of 20 or 21 to 1.

I felt kind of robbed by the injustice of it.

Truth said...

"Nobel Prizes in Sciences: three Argentines and two Spaniards."

"Europeans" or Semites? I looked at their pictures.

RS said...

Tommy, yeah some of the entries on your list sound like aspects of P.

Some of them may also belong to the concept 'ego strength', which Eysenck also found eminent geniuses to consistently be quite high in. This is one of those rare things that you can't find out much about by a quick googling, but it has something to do with integrating the ego with the id and the superego. Eysenck seems not to have liked Freud very much, but I guess he did believe there exist conflicting impulses in the mind with different levels of moralism.

Specifically, you mention geniuses exhibiting shame rather than guilt. Shame is the product of an instance of discord between the person and others, but doesn't mean the person is necessarily in conflict with himself - whereas guilt does mean that. I can be ashamed at being disesteemed by others even if I think their disesteem quite unjustified. Guilt in contrast is an internal conflict of moral impulses, so I'd imagine that frequent and intense guilt would be the kind of thing that's considered to reflect low ego strength, a relatively weak mastery over the id and superego by the ego.

keypusher said...

For example, the NIH plans to conduct experiments in which all information that might indicate the race of the applicants, such as their names and where they work, are hidden to see whether that affects how applicants are evaluated.

This is what they should have done with a sample of applications from the study (this assumes a meaningful number of applications are still available). If the black applications were again graded lower than the white/Hispanic/Asian applications, well...

Anonymous said...

This comment thread illustrates the problem perfectly. Truth is underrepresented and out of his depth.
Gilbert Pinfold.

Georgia Resident said...

The more unqualified NAMs we put in important positions, the more they will screw up and blame their troubles on "discrimination" by whites.

Gordon F. said...

"If Asian applicants were more successful than white applicants, Hispanic applicants were somewhat less successful than white applicants, and black applicants were markedly less successful than white applicants, the results of this study would jibe with lots of other data points out there.

But (going strictly by your excerpts from the article) it appears that blacks are markedly less successful than Asians and Hispanics, as well as whites. Asians do not do better than whites. In fact, they only do as well as whites only after controlling for credentials.

Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?"

- I can think of quite a few actually. For starters, Asian IQ avgs tends to be moderately higher than whites, and not much at that, relative to the differences between whites and other races. It is predominately in math/spatial areas. In verbal areas, which would play a major role in grant writing, they do not appear to have any advantage and may perform lower. If you can't sell your ideas on paper, you won't get funded.

Secondly, as mentioned in the article, networking is required to be successful. While one observes Asians frequently networking with other Asians, they are on average less likely to plug into the old boy's network of well-established labs that have been getting funded and putting out papers for the last few decades. These are more likely to be white, as the cohort of people getting MDs and PhDs around 30, 40 yrs ago was white. In fact, these older well-established labs are more often the ones who get funded themselves. I would guess as more and more Asians becomes more established over time, a networking with other Asians benefit would kick in.

Another interesting consideration is the type of degree. Don't know how well this was discussed, but in a number of biomedical granting agencies, an MD will more often get the funding over a PhD. Not sure how that plays out on the race angle.

Frank T. said...

"Many of the black grant seekers got their PhDs via AA."

- Maybe in some fields like ()studies departments, but they runs up against reality barriers in others.

The problem for the hard sciences, engineering, and other fields outside of the departments specializing in fantasy, is that the University has to turn out competent PhDs or the reputation of the University suffers, which in turn leads to lower rankings, fewer applicants, less funding, less alumni contributions, etc. They can't afford to churn out sub-par PhDs.

Thus, NAMs can get a helping hand getting in, and are often given major helping hands while they are in the programs, with extra career counseling, scholarships earmarked for minorities only, programs just for them to help them improve study habits, etc. But ultimately, when push comes to shove they have to make the grades and have to pass the qualifiers and prelims.

Jonathan Silber said...

The cornucopia of original, important research by black scientists is marvelous to behold.

Anonymous said...

I heard this story this morning on Morning Edition. And to be fair the study's findings did leave room for the possibility that the disparity in funding was caused by unconscious racism. So credit where credit is due please.

Sean

Anonymous said...

"Why is discrimination more likely than the HBD hypothesis? Show us some proof to prove your point, or else my question has the same weight as your question."

So you admit that the discrimination hypothesis is at least as credible as any other.

Thank you!

Bill said...

Affirmative action always peters out at some point. There's affirmative action all the way up the line through education ... until research proposals are submitted to the NIH. At that point, race information is stripped off the application.

Ummm, no. Names are NOT stripped off NIH applications, and academic sub-specialties are small towns. The relevant people know the race of the applicant. One of the things explicitly considered in grant review is the quality of the research team.

On the scientific review panels I have served on and heard about, there is clearly affirmative action going on, though it is somewhat sub-rosa. People who are not "on the same page" get encouraged to clue in or don't get invited back. There is also a tendency for applications from black applicants and on what you might call "black issues" to get assigned to black primary reviewers.

In addition to this informal, sub-rosa affirmative action, there are explicit affirmative action programs at NIH and AHRQ---that is, applications from black applicants are given explicitly lower standards at the "council" stage (i.e. the stage after the scientific review, where funding decisions are actually made). Furthermore, research on "disparities" are given a boost, and these applications are disproportionately from minority applicants.

Look at the "other factors" mentioned in the article. Notably absent is the quality of the presentation in the grant app. I wonder what would happen if they sent out the textual portion of 100 randomly selected apps written by whites and blacks, stripping all identifying information, and asked a panel of readers to rate the quality of the presentation.

My perspective is social science oriented, so it's possible that the sub-rosa AA is not there in harder disciplines. But the explicit AA is. And, again, it seems pretty likely that blacks are way over-represented in social science disciplines.

keypusher said...

Apart from Asians not doing better than whites and Hispanics not doing worse, the other interesting thing is that women do as well as men in getting grants.

This might cut a couple of ways.

I assume women have lower P-levels than men?

On the other hand to the extent that it's obvious on the face of an application that a women submitted it, this would tend to militate against the "unconscious discrimination" hypothesis suggested in the article. Or in the alternative, it would suggest that reviewers discriminate against blacks but not women.

DCS said...

I'm glad Obama figured out that this whole time the problem has been lack of diversity in Federal government hiring. I mean, it is so simple, I should have thought of it first. The guy is an absolute genius. I can't wait until he gets back from vacation and drops a few more bombshells on us. Wow!

Anonymous said...

"Europeans" or Semites? I looked at their pictures.

And did they look like Yasser Arafat? (That is what "Semites" look like)

bleach said...

>
"Europeans" or Semites? I looked at their pictures.
>

The Spanish Inquisition ended in 1834, Truth

Hook-noses aren't exclusive to Jews, in fact they're common to many European (esp. southern) and ME ethnic groups.. surely you've noticed

Sorry, but even low-achieving European countries outperform your entire continent

Anonymous said...

OT:
romance is bad for STEM

Severn said...

Asians do not do better than whites. In fact, they only do as well as whites only after controlling for credentials.

Any idea (beyond pure speculation) why this particular pattern would be seen?

Credentials and IQ scores are a very crude way of measuring who is going to be a good scientist.

Compare the population of Britain with that of China and India over the last several hundred years. It is a mathematical certainty that the number of people with an IQ greater than 140 in China and India exceeded the number of such people in Britain by orders of magnitude. But the much smaller number of high IQ British people produced vastly more first rank thinkers.

We don't properly understand what makes some people creative geniuses, but the empirical evidence tells us that a room full of high IQ Europeans is much more likely to produce valuable new ideas and discoveries than is a room full of Asians (or anyone else) with the same IQ.

So if I was funding science, I'd make sure to favor the people of European background.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Obama abolishing preferences has less likelihood of happening then an alien invasion of Earth tomorrow afternoon.

Svigor said...

Thank GOD a few people called T on his racist anti-semitic remark. Otherwise that would've made like a half-dozen times someone made the "Jews aren't white" argument here to the sound of chirping crickets.

!Phew!

NOTA said...

I don't think AA has much influence at all in PhD programs in math, hard sciences, or CS. Is there any evidence for that?

Given that the reviews aren't blinded, it's hard to rule out discrimination. As someone else noted, if you could look at paper acceptance rates (in fields with blind reviewers) for a comparison, or get blind reviewers to read and grade the grant proposals and see if that changes the results.

My first guess would be that there's some additional thing going on in terms of the subset of blacks vs whites vs Asians vs Hispanics that go into the areas of bio/medical research that get funded by NIH, and what sub-areas they go into.

The thing is, there is a default media narrative that easily explains the result without any thinking, and there's also a default HBD narrative that explains the result without thinking. But both are just ways of stating what our starting assumptions were--to actually learn anything, we need to look at reality and see where it shows us our stories are wrong.

james said...

The issue is getting more blacks to be really good medical researchers. How do you do that? Mostly, you raid very smart blacks off other career tracks, like, say, Goldman Sachs.

But what's wrong with that? If more smart blacks are going into medical research instead of working for Goldman Sachs, then more smart people are going into medical research instead of working for Goldman Sachs. Medical research is better for society than whatever it is that Goldman Sachs does.

Anonymous said...

Truth should get a grant to study the longterm health consequences of drinking too much Whiskey.

Anonymous said...

Medical research is better for society than whatever it is that Goldman Sachs does.

Goldman Sachs robs us blind.

If you ever look through their site, it's amazing how many black people you see. If you ever look at an employment-contact directory, however, not too many black names. Lots of Chinese, Indians, Russians..... Hmmmm......

Maybe somebody could crack the puzzle for me.

Truth said...

A couple of "hook-nosed Catholic" Hispanic Nobel Winners:

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar_Milstein

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

Hey Sevvey could be Einstein's brother. And if they're white, how come you spend so much time whining about them?

Anonymous said...

Hey Sevvey could be Einstein's brother.

That's the point, dumbass. Sevvey could be Einstein's brother, but he could not be brother to these guys.

Anonymous said...

A couple of "hook-nosed Catholic" Hispanic Nobel Winners

You might want to check the prescription for your glasses, because none of those men are "hook-nosed". And Einstein was not "hook-nosed" either".

Anonymous said...

"But what's wrong with that? If more smart blacks are going into medical research instead of working for Goldman Sachs, then more smart people are going into medical research instead of working for Goldman Sachs. Medical research is better for society than whatever it is that Goldman Sachs does."

Because Steve Sailer and his white nationalist readers are incredibly petty and tribal. They would rather bash blacks for their inferiority in order to feel good about themselves, rather than celebrate the relatively few blacks who would be capable of contributing to science.

Truth said...

"...but he could not be brother to these guys."

No Sport, I think THAT'S the point.

Doug1 said...

What the researchers auditing the NIH should have controlled for was not the credentials of the grant applicants (see affirmative action), but rather the Graduate Record Exam results of them compared to successful white applicants.

That still might not ENTIRELY account for the difference since I'd imagine black researchers with the same GRE scoring white ones put in somewhat less effort and skill into their grant applications, since they're used to getting somewhat of a free affirmative action ride on the academic work.

Thomas L. said...

"What the researchers auditing the NIH should have controlled for was not the credentials of the grant applicants (see affirmative action), but rather the Graduate Record Exam results of them compared to successful white applicants. "


-These are not student fellowships, they are 6-7 figure professional grants for researchers to run laboratories conducting professional research for several years. Its vastly more relevant to look at what research these people are proposing, what their labs have accomplished and what their professional connections to the resources of other labs are than to look at the GRE scores they earned a couple of decades ago, as to whether they will be able to accomplish the task.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer and his white nationalist readers are incredibly petty and tribal.

How unfair! Everybody knows that only blacks, Jews, and Asians get to be petty and tribal!

Foreign minority scientist in academe said...

Academia is only somewhat meritocratic (see here: http://scienceforums.com/topic/22696-the-anti-intelligence-climate-of-academia-and-its-negative-effects/).

Networking, and being in the "in crowd" count for a lot more in NIH funding than it ever should.

Anton said...

"Networking, and being in the 'in crowd' count for a lot more in NIH funding than it ever should."

This is 100% true.

--------------------------------

As to discrimination on NIH study sections: yes, it is rampant. (I've served on dozens).

Panel members bend over backwards to be positive about applications coming from investigators known to be AA (not always known, but often). Asian applicants (when not known personally by panel members) are much less likely to get positive evaluations. This is not due to doubts about their intelligence, but to lingering concerns about their 1) creativity, and 2) culturally determined enthusiasm for pleasing their bosses and mentors.