November 1, 2012

Arthur Jensen is dead

An obituary for the great intelligence scientist in the NYT

It starts off well with quotes from authorities Douglas Detterman and James Flynn, but eventually goes  off the track, quoting somebody from somewhereville about the usual as the final word on the subject.

57 comments:

Fun said...

Hey Steve, I heard Arthur Jensen died...

James said...

"Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score"

and

"Socioeconomic status has to do with your quality of schooling, the quality of the teachers that you’re exposed to."

Apart from her saying that correlation=causation, she's saying that intellectual ability is equally distributed across all classes, but the reason that high SES = high IQ is because of their higher quality of 1) schooling and 2) teachers. Is there any evidence that those two things can even impact the g part of IQ ?

FredR said...

'A 1981 book by Professor Grover, “The Cognitive Basis of the Intellect,” was written as a response to Professor Jensen’s book “Bias in Mental Testing” (1980). In that book, he argued that it is possible to construct tests of general intelligence that are free of cultural bias, which in turn makes it possible to isolate heredity as a wellspring of intellect.'

They kind of leave us in suspense as to how this turned out. The book is out of print.

Jason Malloy said...

Another new obit in the LA Times.

Anonymous said...

"Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score,” Sonja C. Grover, an educational psychologist at Lakehead University in Ontario, said on Wednesday.

Is that correct? I thought the best predictor of your IQ is your parents' IQ.

Anonymous said...

It's amusing that the reference in the obituary about Asians scoring better than whites should occur in such close proximity to the recent articles about Asian success in getting into elite schools.

Also, the "somebody from somewhereville" at the end of the article really kind of refutes herself when she argues that criticism of Jensen was not motivated by political correctness because, you see, his work, if taken seriously, really would have had a bad political impact! I think even a lot of people who haven't been paying close attention may notice this.

haddox said...

finalmente.

Thagomizer said...

I hate to be a school snob, but has the NYT ever before quoted a Lakehead University professor?

Anonymous said...

http://www.vdare.com/articles/the-smoking-gun-of-the-benghazi-cover-up

With Watergate, it was media vs white house.

With Benghazi, it's media complicit in the cover-up.

Bay of Pigs II.

Kiwiguy said...

I'm glad they've acknowledged his life and work.

I actually emailed the NY Times earlier in the week noting that Jensen had passed, that he was ranked the 47th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century and suggested Detterman & Flynn might have some thoughts, copying both in on the email. So maybe contacting the editors of newspapers can pay off?

Perhaps, I should have mentioned that the survey by Stanley Rothman & Mark Snyderman found far more researchers considered environmental variation _and_ genetic variation to be behind the b-w difference, as opposed to it being purely environmental (the Flynn view). Still, I'm glad they've provided a obituary for Jensen.

'sphere said...

Huzzah, the obit was published! Our long nat'l nightmare is over!

Kiwiguy said...

Just looking at some of the other recent obit's I see the great boxing trainer Emanuel Steward, also passed away last week. He trained 30 world champions, including Leon Spinks, Tommy Hearns, del la Hoya, Holyfield, Lewis & Wladimir Klitschko. RIP.

psychomelosopher said...

1) It's "Douglas," not "Donald."

2) the LA Times now has an obit as well:
http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-arthur-jensen-20121102,0,5349939.story

eah said...

You really must lower your expectations of the NYT.

In the piece it says When he examined Level II ability, by contrast, he found it more prevalent among whites than blacks, and still more prevalent among Asians than whites, and then later Even psychologists who disagree with Professor Jensen’s conclusions defend him against charges of racism. Of course Jensen is called a racist due to the former, not the latter. It's OK to say that the average intelligence (that's what "more prevalent" is supposed to mean, I guess) of Asians is greater than that of Whites -- I don't recall anyone who states that being called a racist.

In the sidebar, the two most popular stories are Bloomberg's endorsement of Obama (due at least in part to global warming), and a piece about lying during the campaign, byline Charles Blow (remember him?), which is about Romney of course.

Anonymous said...

One of the rare modern instances when the adjective "controversial" actually is used to mean it and not "completely uncontroversial, uninteresting & wishfully acclaimed by our social betters"

neutral observer said...

I'm sure "somebody from somewhereville" wouldn't be bowled over by your c.v. either.

Roger said...

Not impressed with Sonja C. Grover? Her real passion is: A Curriculum for Teaching Children’s Rights and Peace Education through Poetry.

Nanonymous said...

Well, what do you expect from "journalist originally trained as a linguist"?

Mr X said...

Finally they noticed?

As for that Sonja C. Grover, heh:

http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=478527

Not a single good rating, that must be a record.

Anonymous said...

In order to refute Jensen, the psychologist cited says that “Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score.” This is an extremely stupid statement, as that that's exactly what the hereditarian argument would expect.

I Googled Sonja C. Grover, and wasn't able to find anything aside from her RateMyProfessor. Apparently, she was too over-the-top PC for Canadian college students, which is saying something. I'd like to see a picture. Is this an Anglo woman, or something else?

TH said...

It's a pretty fair obituary. They had to find someone to condemn Jensen, but it's funny that that someone is a nobody who proposes the non-starter of socioeconomic status as a causal mechanism of intelligence differences.

BTW, it's neither Daniel nor Donald but Douglas Detterman.

Anonymous said...

Well, I actually think that piece was as good as we could expect from the New York Times. The ending says:

She added: “In no way am I suggesting that he wasn’t completely well intentioned. But I would make the point that you cannot separate social science from human rights, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.”

This is basically an admission that (a) he was well-intentioned and (b) some scientific facts can't be stated if they are in conflict with 'human rights'.

TH said...

The LA Times now has an obit, too. It seems as if they were waiting to see what the NYT would do before publishing their own take.

rightsaidfred said...

Indeed, you can see the wheels turning: "Well, we better do an obituary of a prominent scientist, so kind of be fair, but be sure and round up the usual criticisms."

Kiwiguy said...

LA Times obit.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-arthur-jensen-20121102,0,5349939.story

teqzilla said...

Much better than I wouldve expected. I kept waiting for a Mark Potok or Tim Wise to get quoted.

Anonymous said...

So, the final word seems to be, even if he was right, we still need to "separate" his right ideas from the world.

candid_observer said...

If one looks at the works of the somebody from somewhere it's clear that she has spent the entirety of her life fighting "moral" battles, rather than engaging in anything like objective research.

Even the short quotes she generates are breathtakingly ignorant. Flynn describes the evidence on race and IQ as exceedingly complicated, and this idiot talks as if it's something a first grader could see through.

Christ, The Times.

vandelay said...

Pretty strange that the NYT would have to call up a small, kinda crappy university in Thunder Bay, Ontario to find a professor to obliquely call Jensen's work racist. Couldn't they have gone to just about any psych department for that?

Bostonian said...

The Los Angeles Times also has an obituary, "Arthur Jensen dies at 89; his views on race and IQ created a furor" http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-arthur-jensen-20121102,0,5349939.story .

pat said...

I read his 1969 article at the San Francisco Public Library. In those days that was the only way to have access to this kind of information.

Of course at the time I couldn't discuss the implications of that paper because I had no connections with anyone else who had also read it.

A lot of people nowadays like to think that progress has slowed. They look at the covers of their old "Popular Science" magazines and wonder - where are the personal helicopters we were supposed to have by now? The Internet, Google and Wikipedia and this blog are more profound progress than any stinky old helicopter.

Albertosaurus



Anonymous said...

http://weaselzippers.us/2012/10/31/poll-more-than-90-of-europeans-would-vote-for-obama-over-romney/

Veracitor said...

From the NY Times story:

"A noted authority on intelligence, Professor Flynn has long opposed Professor Jensen’s views on the subject. “Take it from me, the evidence is highly complicated,” he said. “The best we can say is that it is more probable that the I.Q. gap between black and white is entirely environmental in origin.” [emphasis added]"

What a hypocrite! We can convict him on his own testimony. Perhaps Flynn thinks intelligence is genetic in New Zealand but not in the USA?

However, you gotta admire the NYT reporter's skill in finding a transgender critic to quote against Jensen! Check out professor "Sonja C. Grover," for whom the pronoun "he" is appropriate in one paragraph, and "she" in another. Apparently s/he published a jeremiad against Jensen 30 years ago as a man, and is now available to give manifestly false testimony as a "woman."

“Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score,” Sonja C. Grover, an educational psychologist at Lakehead University in Ontario, said on Wednesday. “Socioeconomic status has to do with your quality of schooling, the quality of the teachers that you’re exposed to. Many people who do poorly on an I.Q. test have a very poor fund of general knowledge, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not intelligent.”

Too bad Sonja's assertion has long since been debunked. Perhaps the most dramatic illustration was published in JBHE in 2005:

"But there is a major flaw in the thesis that income differences explain the racial gap. Consider these three observable facts from The College Board's 2005 data on the SAT:

• Whites from families with incomes of less than $10,000 had a mean SAT score of 993. This is 129 points higher than the national mean for all blacks.

• Whites from families with incomes below $10,000 had a mean SAT test score that was 61 points higher than blacks whose families had incomes of between $80,000 and $100,000.

• Blacks from families with incomes of more than $100,000 had a mean SAT score that was 85 points below the mean score for whites from all income levels, 139 points below the mean score of whites from families at the same income level, and 10 points below the average score of white students from families whose income was less than $10,000.
"

"A 1981 book by Professor Grover, “The Cognitive Basis of the Intellect,” was written as a response to Professor Jensen’s book “Bias in Mental Testing” (1980). In that book, he argued that it is possible to construct tests of general intelligence that are free of cultural bias, which in turn makes it possible to isolate heredity as a wellspring of intellect.

"But in focusing on the link between genetics and intellectual ability, Professor Grover said on Wednesday, Professor Jensen’s work has sweeping, and potentially grave, implications."


Ooh! Grave Implications. So grave the speaker must turn to the last refuge of scoundrels, the double-negative damning with faint praise:

"She added: “In no way am I suggesting that he wasn’t completely well intentioned. But I would make the point that you cannot separate social science from human rights, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.”"

Or which locker room you use? (Deirdre McCloskey notwithstanding, my experience is that the average transgender individual is profoundly mentally disturbed.)

Anonymous said...

Boy, were you right, Steve. Some fourth rate nobody lefty psychologist from some university no one outside of Canada has ever even heard of. She gets the final ideological charged word, after consulting a pro-Jensen and anti-Jensen psychologists of note. That's why the obit took ten days, they had to dig her up this "critic" left over from the 1960's. It would be like having some community college prof have the last negative word about some Nobel Laureate that they hate and thought was a bad person. I'm guessing she is charged up, if she was on the political right ( In Canadian academia, I know not likely ) she would be denigrated for teaching a soft subject at a loser U, but because she is attacking the Great Satan of academic psychology, she is really important.

Anonymous said...

The content calls for mention of the 1988 survey of experts (Snyderman and Rothman). The
expert consensus made clear there
was nothing 'far out" or "shoot from the hip" about Jensen's hypothesis in his 1969 HER article
that cuased such a media-politico
firestorm. Typical MSM: hype makes
headlines; facts get small print...sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Help.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to be president is crazy. The real disaster is ahead in 2013.

2Degrees said...

She added: “In no way am I suggesting that he wasn’t completely well intentioned. But I would make the point that you cannot separate social science from human rights, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.”

That's why Jensen was a real scientist and she's only a social scientist.

Anonymous said...

This obit is so reveling of the intellectual bankruptcy of the USA. Our "Greatest Newspaper" the one read by all the "elite", can't even write what everyone knows. Everyone knows intelligence is genetic; just like Height. And everyone knows you can work hard and increase your IQ, but like your ability to run the 100 Yard dash everyone has a built-in genetic ceiling. And Everyone also knows IQ varies by race, and that Blacks are at the bottom and Jews are at the top. Yet, the Times obit sounds like Pravda discussing some matter where Marx was wrong.

Grim.Sad. Pathetic. Jensen was a great man. Was a Jew? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11/2/12 7:05 PM,

Jensen wasn't a full Jew, but one of his grandmothers was ethnically Jewish. It was the same for H.J. Eysenck.

Veracitor said...

Steve-- I was wrong about Sonja Grover being transgender-- I messed up a google search after reading what must be a typo in the NYT story. I regret my error and ask you to correct my comment by removing that part.

I do not regret criticizing Prof. Grover's remarks, assuming they were fairly reported, nor Flynn's, assuming ditto.

haddox said...

Veracitor - some good points outside of the Grover transgender take. Assuming you were serious there, the "he" is just an ambiguous antecedent. I actually thought it was a plain typo at first, but closer reading shows it must refer to Jensen.

Kiwiguy said...

The LA Times ends on a more reasonable note:

"Although subsequent studies show that the white-black IQ gap has narrowed, Jensen did not waver in his belief that such differences are rooted in nature more than in nurture.

"The study of human differences cannot be racist," he told the London-based Times Higher Education Supplement in 1996. Comparing himself to anthropologists and medical researchers who study physical differences between racial groups, he said, "I'm simply doing the same thing with this trait" called general intelligence.

Anonymous said...

"“Socioeconomic status turns out to be the best predictor of your I.Q. score,” Sonja C. Grover, an educational psychologist at Lakehead University in Ontario, said on Wednesday."

I thought correlation was not causation?

(IMHO she's got it the wrong way round. High IQ people tend to be higher paid.)

James said...

@Veracitor -
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but I did have to read that sentence in the article twice.

Anonymous said...

truth rip

integrity rip

courage rip

honesty rip

Melendwyr said...

I see several people commenting on how the newspaper had to find an obscure and not-especially-noteworthy source for an 'opposing viewpoint'.

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the quality of the quoted sources might be intentional, that a subtle message might be concealed within the apparent standard PC?

TGGP said...

Pinker also has a background in linguistics, although he's not really a "journalist".

I also was confused by the gendered pronouns in the NYT article, but on a reread I understood that "he" is referring to Jensen and his book.

JC said...

Washington Post.

Anonymous said...

Props to Jason Malloy, The LAT obit is actually pretty good compared to the NYT piece, it mentions Margaret Mead and Stephen Jay Gould criticizing him, but doesn't really take sides, and ends with a former black immigrant graduate student saying the Jensen was most definitely not racist despite assurances from other grad students that he was. This guy said he simply followed the data wherever it lead. Imagine that, having empirical information guide you, what an novel concept.

europeasant said...

So far the New York and Los Angeles newspapers have obits on Jensen's death but the nation's third largest city, population wise, had nothing as far as I could find out. I looked at the printed copies of the Chicago Tribune and the onlines versions of the Trib and Suntimes and found nothing.
Does anyone know if the Trib and Suntimes carried news of his death?

Anonymous said...

Aside from the interactive e-mail interview-based book by Frank Miele, the best brief introductions to Jensen by Jensen are a 1992 interview of him by Jared Taylor, available on the American Renaissance web page and a paper, "Jensen on Jensenism" by
Jensen published in a special 1998 edition of the journal INTELLIGENCE.

Drawbacks said...

Very eminent guy, born in 1933. Totally in line with what Malcolm Gladwell says in Outliers!

Anonymous said...

born in 1923--not 33

Anonymous said...

"The study of human differences cannot be racist..."
His broader principle was: "Nothing scientific can be racist; nothing racist can be scientific"

Anonymous said...

One person--himself with a tested IQ as a school boy of nearly Full
Scale 145--who was very interested
in Jensen's views and his 1969 "firestorm" article in the Harvard Educational Review was
Richard M. Nixon. Nixon asked
Patrick Moynihan to assign some
able person to read all of Jensen's work and to keep him,
the President, briefed via Moynihan, of course. When Jensen was in the District of Corruption on some professional task, he got a call from Moynihan's secretary telling him Moynihan would like him, Jensen, to stop by (in the White House, where Moynihan's office was ) and Jensen did so for
a lengthy visit and a drink from
Moynihan's in office wee bar. A lot of people who feared being directly in contact with him respected his work, and him, enormously, including Nixon.

Anonymous said...

A very important "primer" biography for Jensen could be set
in place by just putting online freely accessible the list of all his publicaitons (The special commemorative of the journal INTELLIGENCE IN 1998 has fine short tributes from a number of notable scholars (some of whom did not agree with Jensen). Jensen himself contributed a very interested autobiographical sketch as "Jensen on Jensenism". But all this is copyrighted. An online listing of all his publicatons could easily invite competent and fair minded annotation entries for various publications but also entries that would comment about how one publication was related to others among his many publications. This is especially true in that there was no "publish or perish" hopscotching in his work but a methodical building upon previous work. You can bet your week's beer money that there will be a conventionally published "biography" of Jensen that will serve to be dismissive or otherwise will disincline venturesome undergraduates to peek into the "forbidden". A timely online commemoration can let a lot of the hot air out of these disinformation efforts.