October 22, 2012

Just repeat after me: "Correlation Does Not Imply Caucasian"

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) wrote in his famous 1993 essay Defining Deviancy Down:
In a 1992 study entitled America's Smallest School: The Family, Paul Barton came up with the elegant and persuasive concept of the parent-pupil ratio as a measure of school quality. Barton, who was on the policy planning staff in the Department of Labor in 1965, noted the great increase in the proportion of children living in single-parent families since then. He further noted that the proportion "varies widely among the states" and is related to "variation in achievement" among them. The correlation between the percentage of eighth graders living in two-parent families and average mathematics proficiency is a solid .74. North Dakota, highest on the math test, is second highest on the family compositions scale - that is, it is second in the percentage of kids coming from two-parent homes. The District of Columbia, lowest on the family scale, is second lowest in the test score. 
A few months before Barton's study appeared, I published an article showing that the correlation between eighth-grade math scores and distance of state capitals from the Canadian border was .522, a respectable showing. By contrast, the correlation with per pupil expenditure was a derisory .203. I offered the policy proposal that states wishing to improve their schools should move closer to Canada. This would be difficult, of course, but so would it be to change the parent-pupil ratio.

This parent-student ratio concept is worth remembering.

As is commenter Rob S's revision of the now-cliched "Correlation does not imply causation" into the less euphemistic "Correlation does not imply Caucasian," because we definitely wouldn't want you to draw that lesson!

23 comments:

stari_momak said...

And speaking of the Canadian border, WorldCat, the catalog of library catalogs, has its 'most popular' libraries list up. Defined as 'WorldCat libraries most often selected as a favorite by WorldCat users"

1) U. of Washington
2) Orbis Cascade Alliance (Eugen, OR)
.
.
.
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7) Portland State College
.
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10) Portland Community College

Granted Berkeley and UCLA are 4 and 8 respectively, but considering the relative population size of Southern California and the Bay Area versus the entire Northwest....

Oh and Cornell (upstate NY) and U of Colorado Denver also make the list.

Anonymous said...

I think that Democrats' inability to consider the impact of black (and to a lesser extent, Hispanic) dysfunction on aggregate statistics is the ultimate set of ideological blinders.

Just recently there was another debate (between Marcotte and some other dunce) over abstinence-only sex ed. Now, studies on abstinence-only sex ed show that teaching safe sex in schools is (very slightly) more effective than teaching abstinence-only sex ed with regard to reducing teen pregnancy/birth rates. Of course, the two fools didn't look at these studies. Instead, they looked at a map of the United States that showed each state's teen birth rate. Look at Mississippi, they said! It's such a red state and it has teen babies up the wazoo! Meanwhile, Maine is both blue and has few teen babies. Of course, the Hispanic teen birth rate is 5.5x the non-Hispanic white teen birth rate, and the black teen birth rate is 6x the non-Hispanic white teen birth rate. These racial considerations dwarf the existent but negligible positive impact of safe sex ed. Perhaps if they had bothered to look at the red, low teen birth rate states (i.e. Minnesota) they might have reconsidered their hypothesis.

I've also seen many lament how income is so highly correlated with academic achievement. Of course, the racial component is once again neglected.

http://www.jbhe.com/features/49_college_admissions-test.html

What we see is that whites from families earning under 10k/yr outscore blacks from families earning over 100k/yr. The Hispanic gap is similar but not quite as large. Now, there are many blacks and Hispanics in the country, many of whom are poor, many of whom do poorly in school. A large part of the correlation between income and academic achievement is actually just a correlation between race and achievement. The abundance of poor, poorly performing Hispanics and blacks makes it seem like poor people's children would perform so much better if they were wealthier when in reality even wealthy NAMs tend to have children with abysmal performance.

By the way, I really would like to see some the replies of prominent equalists to the following two statistics:
- whites from families earning under 10k/yr outscore blacks from families earning over 100k/yr on the SAT
- whites from families where neither parent ever set a foot in college outscore blacks whose parents have graduate degrees

Or maybe I don't want to see the replies. I imagine they would be a combination of "those statistics must be faulty," "the test is biased," and "You silly boy, haven't you heard of stereotype threat? Can't you see the bars are equal? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Stereotype_threat_bw.jpg"

Marlowe said...

But we've got a super-genius black President, Mr. Sailer. One counter-example disproves your spurious correlation. It's Popperian!

Anonymous said...

Correlation does not imply the Caucasus.

Anonymous said...

Best.

Pun.

Ever.

Anonymous said...

Uh, if correlation implied causation, then proximity to the Canadian border WOULD CAUSE these differential outcomes.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I really would like to see some the replies of prominent equalists to the following two statistics:
- whites from families earning under 10k/yr outscore blacks from families earning over 100k/yr on the SAT
- whites from families where neither parent ever set a foot in college outscore blacks whose parents have graduate degrees


Those people will never discuss it, because well they would have to admit that the welfare state created in the 1960's didn't work here like it did in overwhelmingly white European countries. It worked in Denmark and Sweden therefore it should work here, and if it doesn't then it must be the fault of Caucasians who must be racist even though they don't act like it. It's their inability to consider the foundation of their belief systems which is causing the problem. If they could admit it, they could still carve out a place for social democratic policies by realizing they are not effective unless you have a Western European or East Asian population who won't free ride on the rest of the population. The illegitimacy rate in Scandinavian countries is all north of 50%, and yet there is no crime explosion, no crack wars, no public housing that becomes a war zone that police are afraid to go to. In fact academic sociologists are citing Scandinavian out of wedlock births having no effect on children's success has proof that Americans unfairly stigmatize single moms. You see, they are stuck in neutral in a huge mud pit because they can't consider that different racial ethnic groups don't respond to welfare with the same outcomes. If the data you cite became widely known then people outside of the government academic nexus would begin to question the policies, so the best thing to do is to pretend the data doesn't exist.

Marlowe said...

Socialism didn't work in Sweden.

Old Soviet citizens' joke: if socialism was scientific they would have tried it on dogs first.

Did the CCCP lack sufficient homogeneity or something? Socialism in one country ought to have been socialism in one gene pool?

Anonymous said...

"This parent-student ratio concept is worth remembering."

gay-marriage fans rejoice

Anonymous said...

I think that Democrats' inability to consider the impact of black (and to a lesser extent, Hispanic) dysfunction on aggregate statistics is the ultimate set of ideological blinders.

Reading anything from Marcotte has same effect on your brain as hitting yourself in the face with a 2x4 while huffing paint.

It's quite comical to see the same mistake being made over and over by various libs when they point out red state dysfunction, not realizing that it's generally non-white dysfunction that they're actually highlighting. Poor ol Mississippi, the blackest state in the country, is forever being picked on for its illegitimacy rate, crime rate, obesity rate, etc.

Sam Harris triumphantly announced that Christians committed more crime than the non-religious, by reasoning that red state = Christian, and then pointing out that there is more crime in red states than blue. Oh how foolish he looked when an opponent broke down the crime rate by county, and it was revealed that it is the bluest counties in the red states that actually have the highest rate of crime. Which of course is blindingly obvious to anyone with a cursory knowledge of the realities of crime in America.

irishman said...

"Marlowe said...
Socialism didn't work in Sweden."

I don't see how it could have considering it hasn't been tried. There is very little worker control of the means of production in Sweden. What their is is an adequate welfare state with corporatist economic features. These ensure a high standard of living for most.

By the way how much does healthcare run you in good ole U.S. of A.?

How long is your commute because you have to live way out in the sticks so you can raise your kids in a "good neighbourhood" far away from the Brown people the capitalist class brought in to undercut people like you?

Has it not occurred to you that the reason the schools are teaching your kids to hate themselves because of your and their race has to do with the need of global capitalism to homogenise labour in order to make it fungible and therefore to commoditise it?

I could go on but I trust you get the point.

If you had socialism you'd love it.

P.S. The reason society isn't falling apart here in Northern and Western Europe even though we have sky-high illegitimacy rates is because co-habitition is the done thing. Most of our illegitimate kids are being raised by their mother and father in de facto marriages.

Anonymous said...

100 million dead - let's try socialism some more!

Can't believe people get away with expressing praise for the system of Stalin and (gasp!) Hitler these days. Seriously, go away, you monsters.

Anonymous said...

So Steve, why aren't you living anywhere near the Canadian border?

anony-mouse said...

So Steve, why aren't you living anywhere near the Canadian border?

Anonymous said...

Sam Harris triumphantly announced that Christians committed more crime than the non-religious

What about Muslims, Hindus, Jews, etc?

Anonymous said...

Correlation does not imply the Caucasus.

And Caucasian doesn't imply the Caucasus, at least not the way that word is used in America.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, if correlation implied causation, then proximity to the Canadian border WOULD CAUSE these differential outcomes." - If all blacks moved north, lots of them wouldn't like it and would move right back south, so the cold basically(or proximity to the Canadian border in other words) is selecting for people that behave in a certain way.

Now if we built a giant orbital mirror, and illuminated the area, the differential outcomes would likely disappear, along with the correlation and the caucasian.

Anonymous said...

"Has it not occurred to you that the reason the schools are teaching your kids to hate themselves because of your and their race has to do with the need of global capitalism to homogenise labour in order to make it fungible and therefore to commoditise it?"

"workers of the world unite" was a capitalistic cry, who knew?

"I could go on but I trust you get the point.

If you had socialism you'd love it."

of the national variety? Where exactly does socialism talk against racial equality and stopping immigration?

"
I don't see how it could have considering it hasn't been tried."

leave no witnesses...

Marlowe said...

The dangers of making assumptions, part one:

By the way how much does healthcare run you in good ole U.S. of A.?

It doesn't cost me anything, mate. I don't live there.


How long is your commute because you have to live way out in the sticks so you can raise your kids in a "good neighbourhood" far away from the Brown people the capitalist class brought in to undercut people like you?


An Indian (sub-continent not wigwam) family lives a few doors down from me on my street. I don't commute to avoid the Brown people. My local town high street has plenty of Muslims, Africans and Nepalese walking up and down it who arrived here because of the mass immigration policy operated by the Labour (socialist) government 1997-2010 and not because of evil capitalist businessmen.


Has it not occurred to you that the reason the schools are teaching your kids to hate themselves because of your and their race has to do with the need of global capitalism to homogenise labour in order to make it fungible and therefore to commoditise it?


I think it has more to do with 13 years of Labour government controlling the state education system, and using it to push its multiculturalist, anti-racist, pro-immigrant views, supported by teachers who belong to a Fidel Castro worshiping union (the NUT). Another union's executive stated in the last week that any expansion of private schools in my country would lead to a fascist takeover.


I could go on but I trust you get the point.

If you had socialism you'd love it.


I live in a country which has had socialism since 1945.

JayMan said...

@irishman,

Interesting.

pat said...

I quoted Moynihan when I chose to burn my bridges in Urban Planning. I turned in my final plan for what to do with burned out South East Washington DC after the MLK riots. I submitted a blank sheet of paper titled "Benign Neglect".

And of course I was right. That whole area stayed a wasteland for another decade.

Moynihan ran counter to traditional liberal thinking about social problems. He thought that the people in the buildings mattered. Traditionally government programs avoid considering the characteristic of human beings. They prefer to spend money on architecture and structures. Hence these beautiful (and expensive) new school buildings you show in your blog.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"If you had socialism you'd love it." - We did have it back in the sixties, and it was quite well loved. and then they voted all of this mess into place.

Poul Sain said...

"Anonymous said...

"If you had socialism you'd love it." - We did have it back in the sixties, and it was quite well loved. and then they voted all of this mess into place."

It was loved by the naive youth and the newly self-appointed elites. Everyone else thought it was nonsense.