December 14, 2013

Survey of psychometricians finds iSteve one of 3 best journalistic outlets in the world for intelligence coverage

Psychologist James Thompson has been in Melbourne attending the annual conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR). He writes:
What do intelligence researchers really think about intelligence?
There are many reasons for intelligence researchers to keep their opinions to themselves. Intelligence research raises strong emotions, not all of them positive, and a researcher saying the wrong thing in public can lead to disputes, loss of funding, general harassment and sometimes a loss of job. 
So, when finding out about real opinions, anonymity is required. Rindermann, Coyle and Becker have replicated the last survey on experts done 30 years ago.

That's the big survey done by Stanley Rothman and Mark Snyderman in the 1980s.
Researchers were invited to participate only if they had recent intelligence-related publications in Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of School-Psychology, New Ideas in Psychology, and Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 
Invitations were emailed to 1237 persons and at the end only 228 (18%) participants completed the process (70 fully and 158 partially). As far as the authors could make it out, “lefties” and “righties” turned down the offer in equal numbers, complaining that the questions were not good enough, the selection of experts would not be good or that they did not want to participate in a process which suggested that the truth could be found by majority decisions. In fact, the authors just wanted to find out what expert opinion was, in all its variety, and were not intending to come to any conclusions of a majority sort. (Perhaps climate research has poisoned the academic atmosphere, and no-one wants to be involved with anything which smacks of consensus science). As many pointed out, one good study can smash down an old consensus. 
Experts agreed that the following were sources of reasonable evidence for significant heritability of intelligence: monozygotic twins reared apart, comparisons of monozygotic and dizygotic twins, adoption studies, “patchwork” family studies. 
Asked: Is there sufficient evidence to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the heritability of intelligence in populations of developed countries?” 73% said Yes. 
Asked: What are the sources of U.S. black-white differences in IQ? 
0% of differences due to genes: (17% of our experts)
0-40% of differences due to genes: 42% of our experts
50% of differences due to genes: 18% of our experts
60-100% of differences due to genes: 39% of our experts
100% of differences due to genes: (5% of our experts)
M=47% of differences due to genes (SD=31%) 

Like I always say, "Fifty-Fifty" is a pretty reasonable rule of thumb that won't lead you too far astray. It may not be the most accurate, but it's the best for reminding you to stay balanced: this is a complicated subject.
As far as I can see, there are two extreme positions, the 17% who think that the difference is none of it due to genes, and the 5% who think it is all due to genes. The rest are in the middle, and the “consensus” is that 47% of the difference is due to genes. (See above why one should not get too excited about consensus results). All this is obviously very different from the public narrative, which is that 0% of the difference is due to genes. Such a view is rejected by the majority of experts, but there is still a sizeable minority of experts who hold that view. In sum, there are a variety of opinions. 
Asked: What is the influence of average cognitive ability level and highly cognitive competent persons on positive development of society, the economy, technology, democracy and culture? All of the results were above the mid point, suggesting agreement about a positive relationship between high intelligence and social progress.
Asked about measurement bias: a majority thought that test taker motivation and anxiety were important, the race of the examiner much less so. 
Asked: Is there racial/ethnic content bias in intelligence tests? The mean agreement was 2.13 out of 4. 
Asked whether there was bias against lower SES and Africans in the western world, the mean agreement was about 4 out of 9. 
Only a minority wanted separate norms for minority groups. 
Out of 26 media sources on intelligence, only 3 were rated better than 5 out of 9: 
Steve Sailer 
Anatoly Karlin 
Die Zeit
Experts rated public debates on intelligence as twice as likely to be ideological than scientific. I think it is plain that most experts do not regard the press as being much good at reporting intelligence. Stories of marginal importance tended to be paid too much attention. 
They thought the Flynn Effect was due to educational and other environmental causes. The most important factors for cognitive ability differences between nations were education 21% and genes 15%.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this will make Razib very angry.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX said...

Anonymous said...
I think this will make Razib very angry.

I don't see why. Though there was some decent psychometrics blogging in the GNXP.com days, Razib's focus is mostly population genetics now. I'm surprised Anatoly Karlin got mentioned at all. Not that there is anything wrong with him, though in the grand scheme of things his blog is fairly obscure. I'd figure if AKarlin is worth a mention, why not Human Varieties which is probably just as popular and more narrowly focused on intelligence research?

B.B.

Anonymous said...

Not only did the survey show strong support for iSteve; it showed great disenchantment with the New York Times, National Public Radio, and Time magazine. With so much important research going on, one might think that the annual conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research would draw some media covergae, but no it does not.

Now we find that, on average, researchers believe that 47% of the average IQ difference between whites and blacks is due to genetic factors. Will this finding be reported by any major media outlet?

anony-mouse said...

I wonder what their opinions are of ISteve commenters. Of course I'm assuming they read the comments.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are one of the best writers on so many subjects.

If not widely, it is at least secretly acknowledged.

Will you publish the list of MSM pundits whose IP addresses regularly appear on your metadata report?

Anonymous said...

I'm not that surprised you're on the list. I'm surprised akarlin and Die Zeit are.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the psychometricians like iSteve so much undermines the credibility of the survey's conclusions in progressive eyes. It also suggests that the hereditarian authors like Rindermann scared off environmentalist respondents.

The response rate for this survey was far, far, lower than the Rothman Snyderman study, and it should be trusted less.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the raw numbers. It's kind of hard to believe that Steve has much recognition beyond the alt-right crowd. (Not a bad thing, just kind of hard to believe.)

Auntie Analogue said...


Kudos, Mr. Sailer, kudos.

theo the kraut said...

Die Zeit is a German broadsheet that has been centrist with a left bend ("liberal" in German/European parlance). It has switched to the loony left about 20 years ago, so they dissed Thilo Sarrazin as they felt they had to--all the while still pretending to be centrist and impartial anyway. It has an extensive science section though that's still interesting if nothing political is at stake--should be true for about 30% of the articles.

btw., editor-at-large is former chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who's quite happy to be not so politically correct more often than not, as he gives a shit at the age of 95. Yet, he doesn't interfere with what his nominal underlings scribble, in turn they're happy to have him as figurehead.

Ichabod Crane said...

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Steve and much deserved. (1570 SAT under 1600 max here, 800 on all three SAT2's)

Anonymous said...

shame vs blame

blame wins

Dennis Dale said...

In a rational world Steve would be considered a national treasure. As it is he's the only guy in a niche that should be a full-fledged field. I don't how much is testament to Sailer's ability and how much to the general cowardice of the times, but it can only mean one thing. We're screwed! The march of history is now the crazy parade.

Anonymous said...

"I'd like to see the raw numbers. It's kind of hard to believe that Steve has much recognition beyond the alt-right crowd. (Not a bad thing, just kind of hard to believe.)"

Steve is recognized among IQ researchers, who understand that they have targets on their backs.

Super Egos said...

What is the age profile of the respondents? Is there a representative proportion of publicly-employed Psych Dept. old hands or did selection bias yield more of the shock-jock impresarios like Geoff F. Miller? I'd assume protecting their identities was a condition of participation. Anyway congrats on impressing the 18% of emails that came back.

To the question of the commenter "anony-mouse" 4:09, if the researchers weren't queried on the best outlet for bad limey puns and preening threadjack insults directed at the site moderator, don't worry: those would be hard to miss as long as you're commenting on nearly every post, however strained. Don't settle for 90% market penetration though.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Steve.

I've learned a lot here.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Good for you.

Think about it this way, in the future when Friedman, Gladwell, Krugman & Yglesias are forgotten, they'll probably still be selling ebooks that bundle your best columns.

9 out of 10 dentists agree said...

Well, this certainly has a bit more eclat than "David Brooks reads me"

sabril said...

"The march of history is now the crazy parade."

You know, there is a Currier & Ives print from 1860 which depicts Abe Lincoln marching into an Insane Asylum with his supporters - feminists, black nationalists, polygamists, and so on.

It's called "The Republican Party Going to the Right House."

Check it out.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the psychometricians like iSteve so much undermines the credibility of the survey's conclusions in progressive eyes. It also suggests that the hereditarian authors like Rindermann scared off environmentalist respondents.

The response rate for this survey was far, far, lower than the Rothman Snyderman study, and it should be trusted less.


Why is it considered "progressive" to pretend that Gould wrote the last word on nature vs nurture as it relates to intelligence?

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what their opinions are of ISteve commenters. Of course I'm assuming they read the comments."

Most don't.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know the names of all the scientists who thought that the genetic contribution to intelligence was greater than 0%, so that they can be publicly outed and their careers ruined. Didn't they learn from Dr. Watson?

Anonymous said...

Why Jews won't accept citizenism:

“One must refuse everything to Jews as a nation but one must give them everything as individuals; they must become citizens.”

http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/marc-chagall-between-paris/

sabril said...

Actually "3 best" is an understatement.

According to today's post on the same blog, Steve was number 1 by a pretty big margin.

JI said...

Sounds like 17% of intelligence researchers aren't very intelligent.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtO6CjNkzb0

Erasing our "Racist" Past

Luke Lea said...

From that very short list it is not hard to conclude that iSteve is the number one site for journalistic coverage of the issue of intelligence.

As he is on many another topic, both cultural and scientific. He is easily the best journalist in America and I think a lot of mainstream journalists secretly know that. Most of them cowards.

Luke Lea said...

Why should most iSteve readers read the comments? They are all over the place, a few good, most pretty mediocre -- including my own. Except for hard core fans it would be a waste of time.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I am wondering what the actual arguments are of that 17%

Anonymous said...

http://www.isironline.org/meeting/pdfs/program.pdf

The poster for the study is in this document. Apparently the answers above are based on 60 people, out of 1200 approached. The scope for selection bias is extreme. Since the authors include noted hereditarians, it's likely that their friends were especially likely to bother replying.

This is not very informative.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it's possible to make surveys like this completely anonymous. There are web companies that handle online elections for various organizations (e.g., the Sierra Club), and I'd be surprised if they couldn't also host surveys. It would be good if participation in a followup server were higher; running the survey through a trustworthy third party would certainly help.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Like I always say, "Fifty-Fifty" is a pretty reasonable rule of thumb that won't lead you too far astray

I seem to recall John Derbyshire positing, possibly in debate with someone in The Corner like Jonah Goldberg, that a child's outcome was generally determined by a 45/45/10 rule: 45% innate, 45% peer group, 45% parental influence.

That always struck me as a pretty good rule of thumb.

(ps. the Help-Us-With-Your-Neighbors-Street-Address thing in the captcha is still totally circumvent-able)

Anonymous said...

Why should most iSteve readers read the comments?

Why are you so annoying?

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

I seem to recall John Derbyshire positing, possibly in debate with someone in The Corner like Jonah Goldberg, that a child's outcome was generally determined by a 45/45/10 rule: 45% innate, 45% peer group, 10%!! parental influence.

panjoomby said...

none of my (good) factor analytic intelligence research ever made the media. BUT, the worst research i ever did (latchkey/drug use) got picked up by USA Today! so "journalistic outlets for intelligence coverage" sounds like one long oxymoron to me:)

Anonymous said...

I was just curious about something, it is obvious in the West doing intelligence coverage can be very dangerous for ones career and reputation. In countries like Japan and China do they have the same societal restrictions ? Is one allowed to say that East Asians are cleverer than Africans ? Are they any well know East Asians that are equivalent to Sailor ?

Anonymous said...

The comments section is as good as reading Steve's articles, IMO. There are plenty of interesting ideas generated here that have only been advanced here because there is in fact a comments section. Not all are great or even good, but that's to be expected of any comments section on any corner of the internet. Many comments go on to influence Steve himself.

Of course, it's a given that leftists are going to hate the comments section because discussion is permitted that is further to the right than Steve's Citizenist stance. Even while themselves commenting.

Anonymous said...

Ever since I started tithing to Steve Sailor, I've been winnning big at all the underground Mexican cock-fighting pits in San Diego.

After I finish taking all the Mexicans' lunch-money, I'm gonna target the canasta & hahjong games at the Senior Citizen homes.

Anonymous said...

I have learnt more than an Australian undergraduate degree ( I have 2 of those) reading Steve Sailer over the last 4 years. Thanks, Steve.

Sailer should be a recognised tertiary major.

AshamedToEvenKnow said...

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...
(ps. the Help-Us-With-Your-Neighbors-Street-Address thing in the captcha is still totally circumvent-able)

Yes, the google recaptcha only has one turing test word and the other word is them getting your help deciphering something. They've moved on to address numbers but it had prior been scans of old books.

3 or 4 years ago, 4chan implemented a captcha system in response to a spam deluge. The denizens of /b/ quickly determined that google was trying to get their help digitizing old books and proceeded to type the turing test word along side, ahem, the N word, in an attempt to get it inserted randomly into old texts.

Googlemen are bright so they likely caught on quickly and filtered out intentionally bad responses.