May 18, 2013

Harvard students denounce academic freedom

From the Boston Globe:
Harvard students erupt at scholar’s claim in thesis
Thesis asserted Latino immigrants have lower IQs 
By Meghan E. Irons |  GLOBE STAFF     MAY 18, 2013

Harvard students, outraged over a doctoral dissertation arguing that Hispanic immigrants lack “raw cognitive ability or intelligence,” this week urged the university to investigate how the thesis came to be approved and to ban future research on racial superiority. 
The students presented 1,200 signatures to president Drew Faust and the dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, David Ellwood.

Hey, it worked for Dr. Faust back during the Larry Summers imbroglio ...

May 17, 2013

HuffPost: "10 Awesome Latino Inventions"

From the Huffington Post:
A fury erupted when the Washington Post reported last week that Former Heritage Foundation researcher Jason Richwine argued in his Harvard doctoral dissertation that Hispanics are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs. 
Richwine’s dissertation parts from a fallacy. Modern scholars generally agree that “race” is a social construct and is not biologically determined, therefore it can’t determine intelligence. 
So instead of getting bogged down in Harvard-hosted debates over which race is the smartest and most deserving of U.S. citizenship, let’s take a moment to thank all these awesome Latino inventors who gave the world a bunch of great things!
Take a look at some of the great Latino inventors in the slideshow.

Prepare to be awed.

Seriously, I could come up with a more impressive list off the top of my head. If you are going to count Spaniards as Latinos, like the list does, about how "Cervantes, inventor of the novel?"

Heck, Joan Baez's Mexican-born physicist dad Albert Baez helped invent the x-ray microscope. (An interesting family -- more evidence for my theory that there were at least as many interesting Mexican-Americans in 1972 as today).

Wikipedia has a long list of prominent Mexican-Americans. It makes for interesting but underwhelming reading. I tried to find Wikipedia's list of prominent Italian-Americans, but it's so long that it's split up into numerous sub-lists in different spots.

Reason: "Are Hispanics Too Stupid to Become Americans?"

From Reason:
Are Hispanics Too Stupid to Become Americans?
No. And here's why. 
By Ronald Bailey
... Hispanic educational achievements and incomes do lag behind those of white Americans. And certainly there is a substantial genetic component to intelligence; genes are, after all, the recipes that build bodies and brains in response to environmental cues. Yet as Unz’s analysis of Lynn and Vanhanen’s data shows, the average IQ of a population can change in a generation whereas its genetic makeup cannot.  So what else might account for relatively lower Hispanic achievement so far in the U.S.?

The University of Texas economist Stephen Trejo suggests a number of possibilities. For example, Mexican immigration has lasted longer than immigration from any other country, promoting the growth and stability of culturally comfortable ethnic enclaves and slowing the process of assimilation. 

Sounds plausible to me. And what are the implications of that for immigration policy?
Trejo also proposes that earlier generations of unskilled immigrants faced a far less steep learning curve for moving up in a modern economy. In his 2005 book Italians Then, Mexicans Now, the Bard College sociologist Joel Perlman bolsters this point: “The crucial difference between the immigrant experience a hundred years ago and today is that relatively well-paid jobs were plentiful for workers with little education a hundred years ago, while today's immigrants arrive in an increasingly unequal America.”

Sounds plausible to me. And what are the implications of that for immigration policy?
Trejo also wonders if some fairly significant proportion of Mexican-Americans have simply already melded into the white population and so are not counted in the sorts of IQ, income, and education statistics cited by Richwine and other researchers. 

I'm sure that was true to some extent several generations ago, but it has been in the self-interest of marginally Hispanic individuals to assert their Hispanic identity for over 40 years. For example, way back in 1975 my friend with the Spanish surname whose father dropped out of Yale on December 8, 1941 to enlist and whose mother is the closest living version of Katharine Hepburn was besieged by colleges recruiting the Spanish-surnamed to bestow affirmative action upon.
Perlman concludes that “Mexican economic assimilation may take more time—four or five generations rather than three or four.”

In the meantime, pay no attention whatsoever to the state of New Mexico unto the Seventh Generation of Hispanic-Americans.

Comrades! The Great Leaders' Five Generation Plan has not failed. It cannot fail! The Five Generation Plan just hasn't been tried long enough. It just needs another Five Generations (and maybe another Five Generations after that -- when it's time for your distant descendants, if any, to know how many Five Generations it will take, they will be informed through the proper channels, probably by then via a sub-quarkian cognitive implant).

But, even under this best case scenario, isn't "four or five generations" a mite long to wait to break even? What's the national ROI on this four or five generation project, anyway?

In short, we are being told to Bet the Country on hopes and fumes.
Possibly so. But ultimately, modern Hispanic immigrants seem to be no stupider than the immigrant ancestors of other Americans.

Robert Oppenheimer's immigrant father? Seriously?

How much of the media momentum to crush Jason Richwine isn't just a Pavlovian response to the felt need for a triple bankshot strategy to prevent peasants with pitchforks from finally noticing that one Ellis Island immigrant group really is higher in IQ on average?

Perhaps the single most beneficial contribution to improving the quality of intellectual discourse in the United States would be if the gentiles of America could somehow convince Jewish-Americans that the gentiles already know that Jews are smarter than they are on average; moreover, that this knowledge -- rather than making the gentiles want to come after the Jews with their torches and crude farm implements -- inclines the gentiles of America to like Jewish-Americans for being smart and witty and good with money.

Ed West out at The Telegraph

Ed West, one of the most intellectually sophisticated pundits in the English-speaking world, is out of work after four years at The Telegraph in the U.K.
It's my job as a conservative to depress you, so I'm sad to say that, as this will be my last blogpost here, you'll have to find  some other way to get yourself down from now on; maybe stick yourself in a room with some Radiohead CDs and a bottle of gin and put Requiem for a Dream on a loop.... 
Conservatism may sound miserable, even misanthropic, but it only recognises that within the communities we live in, which are from an evolutionary point of view unnaturally large, there need to be firm rules to minimalise free-riding, violent conflict and economic disaster.  
The idea of evolutionary conservatism is to build a society that is as just, progressive, wealthy and happy as is possible within the boundaries of human nature. 
Evolution explains why people are unwilling to pool their resources with people unlike them, why men who are not expected to be providers will become hyper-masculine, why poor people are more hostile to welfare claimants than the rich are, why we’re more scared of terrorists and paedophiles than car drivers, and why things like the gender gap will never be eliminated (though social forces can reduce it). 
Evolution even explains why so much of political debate still revolves too much around Marx and Freud, and too little around Darwin; people just find it difficult to embrace controversial ideas, and are unwilling to accept that they’re wrong. We’re all guilty of this, because we’ve evolved that way, and that’s why political debate is always dominated by irrationality, prejudice, wilful ignorance and tribalism. 
It’s why opinions can inspire very strong feelings, hatred even. We all must occasionally see the face of a know-it-all columnist whose views we disagree with and want to punch them in the face. (Sometimes I look at my own byline picture and want to punch it. I’m sure it must be impossible, after writing comment pieces for a while, not to hate yourself to a certain extent; in fact there’s probably something wrong with you if you don’t. Maybe you’re a psychopath.) 
But then we haven’t evolved to live with such confrontational views being shoved in our faces; humans have a deep-seated desire to be in communion, which explains both the appeal of religion and the moral cowardice of those who hold an unpopular opinion or inconvenient truth when faced with a mob. 
That’s ultimately what political commentators are for, to say something different when faced with the collective madness that passes for current opinion. 
I hope that over the last four years I’ve occasionally succeeded; I’ve regretted some articles, although the Telegraph weren’t keen on a piece called “My five worst blogposts”, which could have had a Ratner effect. But don’t hold it against me. 
So thank you for reading and commenting; I like many of the commenters, and often find them interesting and informative. So thank you, and I will continue somewhere the struggle against cultural Marxism, the Frankfurt School, Lib-Lab-Con, Common Purpose, Gramscian hegemony and reality in general. And remember, if you think things are bad, they can always get worse, and probably will.

Ed's book The Diversity Illusion is available from

"La Banda de los Ocho"

"Oh, no, Senator Schumer, you put what in the bill? Little Marco will be in big trouble!"

May 16, 2013

Jason Collins on IQ and Immigration

A continuing iSteve theme is that the modern world runs to a large extent on "selectionism" (e.g., college admissions or Goldman Sachs hiring or military recruiting or the NFL draft), and that everybody knows that in their own lives, but we're not supposed to analogize from how the world works in our daily lives to public policy. And people turn out to be really, really bad at doing rationally what they are warned not to do. 

For example, here's a professional journalist trying to think about the Richwine Affair in The Atlantic:
Forget the dubious constructs of race and IQ for a moment. 
Suppose there really was a genetically distinct race of white-skinned people inhabiting a large, hypothetical island in the Pacific Ocean; that IQ really could be reliably measured; and that we knew, for a fact, that while the measured IQs of Caucasians, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Native Americans, and all other identity groups in the United States had converged to an identical average, members of this one hypothetical race had IQ scores that measured 5 points lower on average. Additionally, suppose that the average IQ of nations as a whole had been indisputably linked to educational attainment and GDP. Would it be legitimate to bar that lower IQ group from immigrating? 
To me, doing so would be wrongheaded.  
Even setting aside my strong preference for policies rooted in individualism and the dangerous, inherently problematic nature of singling out a specific racial group for disparate treatment, barring the hypothetical low IQ people would imply that intelligence determines worth, and that our project as a nation is intimately tied to constantly maximizing material wealth. 
I wouldn't go so far as to say that recruiting human beings with impressive skills is illegitimate. In fact, I think it is prudent, and I'm glad that lots of talented scientists, athletes, artists, and programmers want to come here. More, please. I'm glad that lots of farm workers and janitors want to immigrate too. I recognize that the economic contributions of the two groups are different, but I don't conclude that the low skill immigrants are less worthy of citizenship or less valuable citizens. Are they kind? Honest? Wise? Fun? 

In contrast, here is obscure blogger Jason Collins (I recommend going to Evolving Economics so you can follow his links to documenting evidence) on the same topic:
The debate (or to be more accurate, the lack thereof) triggered a couple of tangential thoughts. The first is that existing immigration policy in many developed countries already has an IQ filter. Australia and Canada’s skilled immigration systems are often pointed to as being among the most successful; so successful in fact that they are the two OECD countries where second generation immigrants outperform students with native parents in the PISA tests -  see here, here and here. A large part of improvements in Swiss PISA test scores was attributed to immigration changes in the 1990s. 
The immigration reforms that triggered the Heritage Foundation’s report also contain a skills-based component, including a points systems like that used in Australia and Canada. The United States is effectively implementing some of Richwine’s recommendations. (Since I first drafted this post, I see that Ed Realist has pointed out how some of Richwine’s ideas were doing just fine until the storm around the Heritage report.) 
Another thought is that IQ-barriers are pervasive within countries. Tests for entry into college or university (such as the SAT) are highly correlated with IQ scores. IQ test results predict success in universities and awarding of scholarships. Many jobs have IQ-testing as part of the application process, particularly in police and fire departments (which often makes them the subject of litigation about exclusion of minorities). Intelligence is also a filter for who we are friends with and who we marry. Being of low intelligence has significant costs. 
We can have a high level of confidence that the difference in IQ scores within developed countries has a genetic component. Estimates of the heritability of IQ from twin and adoption studies are robust. This means that within many countries we already actively exercise discrimination based on genetic factors, on both an institutional and personal level.

Boehner's Boner

Own goal for Team Red:
Bipartisan House Group Reaches Preliminary Immigration Deal 
A bipartisan group in the House working on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws reached a deal in principle Thursday evening, aides said. The group plans to introduce its bill in June. 
Details of the compromise were not released, but, much like a bill introduced in the Senate, the House legislation will include a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented workers already in the country, as well as increased border security measures. ... 
The two-hour meeting Thursday evening, a last-ditch effort to save the legislation, finally produced the agreement in principle. 
Speaker John A. Boehner had talked to the Republican members of the group last week and urged them to produce a bill. ...
One final issue that was resolved Thursday night, aides said, was how immigrants, who are not initially eligible for federal benefits, would pay for their health insurance costs — something Democrats and Republicans agreed would be a requirement for legal status. Exactly how the compromise resolved this issue was unclear. 

Uh, uh, yeah, health care costs ... but Jason Richwine says Hispanics average lower in IQ!

So, there.
“If the takeaway is that you’ve got a bipartisan process in the House of Representatives that legalizes 11 million people, that’s a huge momentum-giver,” said Angela Kelley, the vice president of immigration policy at the [Democrat] Center for American Progress. “It adds more than it takes away. That’s what people will remember.” 

Kaus: Obama scandals helping The Eight Banditos

The bipartisan Gang of Eight
Mickey Kaus explains at the Daily Caller an idea that Dave Weigel at Slate suggested a few days ago:
An idea so crazy it just might … Opponents and supporters of “comprehensive immigration reform” (i.e. amnesty) agree it doesn’t do well on the front burner of public debate. Excessive attention exposes flaws and contradictions in the legislation and focuses the anger of opponents. Back in March, I didn’t see how the Obama team, however brilliant, was going to protect its amnesty bill from this threat of publicity, given that the mainstream press was “commmitted to overcovering this issue.” 
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Now we know the answer! In its most fiendish strategem yet, Team Obama has launched a series of not-quite-devastating but press-obsessing scandals against itself! The confluence of the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi and AP stories means that dreadful details of the Schumer-Rubio bill will get pushed off the front pages. Reporters who might otherwise cover it  will be temporarily sent to Cincinatti to interview IRS whistleblowers. Meanhwile, the scandals give Sen. Rubio and other Republicans a chance to bash Obama about something new, giving them the anti-Obama cred that might allow them to quietly sell out on amnesty and hand Obama his greatest second-term triumph! 
Senators Rubio, Schumer, Graham & McCain negotiate immigration reform
Similarly, the scandals give conservative activists an alternative, substitute target for their outrage, all the more so because the anger is legitimate. As Greg Sargent put it, the scandals could “distract right wing base for long enough for Graham and Rubio to slip immigration reform past them.” (Dem strategist Joe Trippi tweeted in response: “Shhhhh …”)

Mark Zuckerberg's probably feeling relieved, too.

Irony alert: $48.8 mil for a Basquiat painting

From Huffington Post:
NEW YORK — A Jean-Michel Basquiat (zhahn mee-SHEHL' BAH'-skee-aht) painting has set a new auction record for the graffiti artist at a sale of postwar and contemporary art in New York. 
Christie's says "Dustheads" sold for $48.8 million on Wednesday.

Mandelbrot Set hairdo
From Wikipedia:
Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist.[1] He began as an obscure graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s and evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter by the 1980s. 
Throughout his career Basquiat focused on "suggestive dichotomies," such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience.[2] Basquiat's art utilized a synergy of appropriation, poetry, drawing and painting, which married text and image, abstraction and figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.[3] 
Utilizing social commentary as a "springboard to deeper truths about the individual",[2] Basquiat's paintings also attacked power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.[3] ...

Considering that some plutocrat has $48.8 million to spend on what looks like a colorized drawing from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I'd say the class struggle has been won. As Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang:
Plutocracy and Diversity
Live together in perfect harmony

P.S. One under-reported aspect of art fame is the advantage of being gay for pay, like the bisexual Basquiat, who had been a teenage hustler. For example, Paul Johnson's description of how the heterosexually oriented Picasso had boosted his career by obliging gay critics, collectors, and dealers is eye-opening.

It's a who-you-know business. I remember going to see a spectacular exhibit of Rene Magritte surrealist paintings in 1976 in a Quonset hut in the parking lot of the Rice football stadium. Nobody was there. Magritte was a Belgian commercial illustrator in Brussels who was beloved by commercial artists in the advertising industry. For example, in 1973, Sports Illustrated's preview of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont consisted of Donald Moss's paintings of Oakmont's famous sand traps in the style of Magritte:
But the provincial Magritte didn't fit into the Narrative of high art history easily, so he had this curious kind of non-museum fame in the 1970s.

Two decades later, though, I paid to hear a packed lecture on Magritte at the Art Institute of Chicago before seeing a sold out exhibit of pretty much the same Magritte paintings. I asked the art historian after her lecture, if, considering how lightly regarded Magritte was back as recently as the 1970s, someday the Art Institute would host a giant M.C. Escher exhibit? She was taken aback, then replied that recent scholarship established that Magritte had spent 1927-1930 in Paris hanging out with famous painters who influenced him. Then she stopped. Finally, she said, "I don't want to make it sound like art history is all about who you know ..." Then she stopped again with an alarmed look on her face.

The point is that discovery of Magritte's Paris interlude made it easier for critics to plug Magritte into the Narrative. I can understand the appeal of that. I like narratives of cause and effect, of who influenced whom.

Basquiat plugs in very easily: Andy Warhol was infatuated with Basquiat.

That doesn't mean Basquiat was talentless. He was no doubt far better at painting Ralph Steadman-style pictures than anybody else plugged into Warhold World, and maybe better than Steadman. Almost everybody who becomes famous is quite good at what they do. But, there's a lot of talent in this world.

Rick Sanchez is against Richwine

The man's got teeth
Longtime iSteve reference Rick Sanchez finally has a paying gig, apparently. His contribution to the Great Richwine Debate: 
Rick Sanchez: Remove The Bias And Let Latinos Get In The Conversation 
By Rick Sanchez 
Fox News Latino 
... The immigration debate is already emotionally charged and colored enough by political rhetoric on each side. We don’t need groups like the Heritage Foundation throwing gasoline on the fire. We don’t need studies grounded in racist and wrong philosophies. ... 
I suppose Hispanics should be grateful that somebody (heck, anybody) took the time to ask their opinion on immigration because it rarely happens. If you watch most news shows, you’ll see that Latinos are rarely invited as guests to discuss or weigh in on the immigration debate. 
(While Latinos make up roughly 17 percent of the U.S. population, a review of guests on 13 evening cable news shows on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC last month by Media Matters reveals that these networks overwhelmingly host male and non-Hispanic white guests, with Fox News scoring the highest at 3 percent, while CNN and MSNBC followed with only 2 percent.) 
... Ask any economist worth his pedigree and he will tell you that to remain vibrant, our country needs a young and motivated labor force. 
Unfortunately, economists, like Latinos, are also too often left out of the immigration debate in favor of politicians pundits. Not only would economists make the immigration discussion more interesting, they would also make it smarter — unless of course they’re employed by the Heritage Foundation.

Welcome back, Rick! One suggestion: in all your immigration pieces, work in references to Emma Lazarus's poem. Just sayin' ...

The weasels are winning: Software pay falls 2% in 2012

Happy weasel
From Computerworld, an IT trade publication:
Software developer wages fall 2% as workforce expands 
Less costly young, and long unemployed older developers may be expanding the workforce at less cost to employers 
By Patrick Thibodeau 
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- The U.S. tech industry added nearly 64,000 software related jobs last year, but as the workforce expanded, the average size of workers' pay checks declined by nearly 2%. 
There are multiple theories for the decline in pay, but a common one cited by analysts is simply that the new people being hired are paid less than those already on the job. 
The average annual wage of all workers in the software services sector was $99,000 in 2012, about $2,000 less than the prior year, reported TechAmerica Foundation in its annual Cyberstates report. 
The foundation is an affiliate of the industry trade group TechAmerca. It uses Labor Dept. data to assemble its report. ...
The Cyberstates report puts the tech labor force at 5.95 million in 2012, an increase of 1.1% from the prior year. Of that, 1.87 million workers are in software services jobs. 
Software services, which includes government defined labor categories software publishers, custom programmers, computer facilities management and other computer related services, are the best paid and the largest segment of the tech work force. 
The next largest, engineering and tech services, employs 1.62 million. Wages for workers in this segment increased by $1,500 to $92,500. But unlike software services, job growth was modest, increasing by only 11,300 last year. 
David Foote, the CEO of Foote Associates, which analyzes IT hiring trends and wages, said the supply of workers in the software services segment "is plentiful. Of course, there are many unemployed workers who want to get back to work."
Employers, consequently, did not need to offer generous wage packages to fill many of their jobs. "In fact, [employers] could get workers pretty cheap," said Foote. 
Foote said the IT industry-specific Cyberstates study doesn't include all tech workers. Working against the wage decline is high demand for certain software skill sets, which puts upward pay pressure on certain jobs that are harder to fill, he said. 
Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a research firm that also analyzes IT wage and employment trends, cited a number of reason for the decline in wages for software professionals. First, technology is becoming easier to implement without having an IT professional, he said. Also, the option of turning to outsourcing creates less pressure to increase wages. 

But, as Mark Zuckerberg tells us, this is just a start: the United States government must help him drive down wages even farther. Zuck getting even richer at the expense of his workers is Good for the Economy.

Barone: In defense of Richwine and Murray

The Richwine Affair is turning into a 21st Century version of the Dreyfus Affair, with intellectuals weighing in on their chosen sides. There's a vague sense growing that which side you choose matters. From the Washington Examiner:
In defense of Jason Richwine and Charles Murray
May 16, 2013 | 4:32 pm

Michael Barone

My American Enterprise Institute colleague Charles Murray came to the defense of our former colleague Jason Richwine ...  Charles was entirely accurate in stating that Richwine’s conclusion that Hispanics have lower than average IQs is accurate and, among specialists in this area, non-controversial. Richwine was careful to say that the average Hispanic IQ might rise over time, as has been observed of other groups’ average IQs. And the Heritage Foundation paper co-authored by Richwine estimating the fiscal cost of legalizing current illegal immigrants (of which the Hoover Institution’s Keith Hennessey has written a sharp critique on other grounds) did not advocate screening immigrants by IQ. He does seem to favor shifting our system toward admitting more high-skill applicants, as do I and many others, and as do the immigration systems of our Anglosphere cousins Canada and Australia. This is not racist; it has resulted in rapidly growing Asian populations in those two countries. It is discrimination based on skills. No nation has an obligation to admit every foreigner who wants to move there.
On the Economist blog a writer identified as W.W. defends the stigmatization of Richwine. He states blandly that “racism has always been predicated on falsification hypotheses about racial inferiority.” I think this is just plain wrong factually: many people have hated Jews and Asians on the grounds that they tend to be unfairly superior in certain respects, including intelligence. But there’s something more wrong with this line of thinking. It assumes that if ordinary people get the idea that one group on average scores worse on intelligence tests then they will conclude that it’s justified to discriminate against all members of the group. Ordinary people—or at least ordinary Americans—know better than that. They have learned, from school, from work, from everyday life, that there is wider variation with each measured group than between measured groups. Some members of a racially or ethnically defined group that on average scores low on IQ tests score far above average. And some members of a group that on average scores high will score far below average. Ordinary people understand that it is irrational to discriminate according to race or religion or ethnic group, and that it is rational to judge individuals on their own merits. 
So the fact that there are differences in average IQ scores between members of different groups does not undercut the case against group discrimination. But it does undercut the case for racial quotas and preferences and for the “disparate impact” legal doctrine which amounts to the same thing. Those cases depend on the assumption that in a fair society we would find the same racial mix in every school, every occupation and every neighborhood. Ordinary people know that isn’t true, but the elites who cherish “affirmative action” want people to believe it is. This is why there was such a furiously negative reaction to Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s 1994 book The Bell Curve,  which patiently explained that intelligence is partly the result of genetics and partly the result of environment: both nature and nurture play a role. I made points very similar to those here when I wrote this for National Review in December 1994.

Sorry about quoting almost the whole thing, but I couldn't see what to cut. It's good.

Scientific American: Ban Race and IQ Science in America

Scientific American columnist John Horgan writes:
Should Research on Race and IQ Be Banned? 
By John Horgan | May 16, 2013 |  25 
So there it is, a neo-eugenics program, proposed by a Harvard-minted scholar employed by a prominent think tank. The Heritage Foundation quickly distanced itself from Richwine, stating that the claims of his Harvard thesis “in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation.” Richwine resigned from the foundation last week. 
Some pundits applauded Richwine’s downfall and attacked his Harvard research. I especially like how The Atlantic blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates compiled historical evidence that race is more a social than biological phenomenon.

As Jonathan Swift and Ignatius J. Reilly liked to say, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
Others defended the premise of Richwine’s thesis—that genes account for at least some of the differences in IQ scores between different ethnic groups—and deplored attacks on him as threats to freedom of speech and scientific inquiry. Journalist Andrew Sullivan says that the “effective firing” of Richwine “should immediately send up red flags about intellectual freedom.” 
These are the same sorts of things said in 1994 when Harvard researchers Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray argued in The Bell Curve that programs to boost black academic performance might be futile because blacks are innately less intelligent than whites; and in 2007 when geneticist and Nobel laureate James Watson ascribed Africa’s social problems to Africans’ genetic inferiority. (Watson is also a former Harvard professor. What is it with Harvard? Could there be something in the drinking water?) 
I’m torn over how to respond to research on race and intelligence. Part of me wants to scientifically rebut the IQ-related claims of Herrnstein, Murray, Watson and Richwine. For example, to my mind the single most important finding related to the debate over IQ and heredity is the dramatic rise in IQ scores over the past century. This so-called Flynn effect, which was discovered by psychologist James Flynn, undercuts claims that intelligence stems primarily from nature and not nurture. 
But another part of me wonders whether research on race and intelligence—given the persistence of racism in the U.S. and elsewhere–should simply be banned. I don’t say this lightly. For the most part, I am a hard-core defender of freedom of speech and science. But research on race and intelligence—no matter what its conclusions are—seems to me to have no redeeming value. 
Far from it. The claims of researchers like Murray, Herrnstein and Richwine could easily become self-fulfilling, by bolstering the confirmation bias of racists and by convincing minority children, their parents and teachers that the children are innately, immutably inferior. 
Why, given all the world’s problems and needs, would someone choose to investigate this thesis? What good could come of it? Are we really going to base policies on immigration, education and other social programs on allegedly innate racial differences? Not even the Heritage Foundation advocates a return to such eugenicist policies. ...
Scientists and pundits who insist on recycling racial theories of intelligence portray themselves as courageous defenders of scientific truth. I see them not as heroes but as bullies, picking on those who are already getting a raw deal in our society.

Jason Richwine, unemployed father of two young children, is The Real Bully.
It’s time to put these destructive theories to rest once and for all. 
Irony Alert: It just occurred to me that two recent films, The Great Gatsby and Django Unchained, feature villains who spout pseudo-scientific theories of white superiority. The films imply that these theories are ludicrous relics of our racist past and that no modern person could possibly believe them. If only. 

A classic example of the increasingly popular Argumentum ad Tarantino. (Tarantino claims to be a dyslexic with a 160 IQ.)
Self-plagiarism alert: Some of the material above is recycled from my 1999 book The Undiscovered Mind.

A poem about the future of America using anagrams of "Ta-Nehesi Coates"

Found in the comments::

just a nobody said...

here is a short poem about the future of america using anagrams of ta-nehisi coates for 9 lines. it was fun.

* * *

hi-octane? siesta?

oh, cease titans!
associate thine
atheistic aeons
nacho satieties.


his taco is eaten!

incite hate so as
to chains, tease i.

see: I toast china

John McWhorter on Richwine

Start with this: Race is real. There are those who insist it is a fiction, that there are no group differences between human beings whatsoever. That’s absurd. 
Sure, there are hybrids and fuzzy cases, but people of African descent generally have darker skin and curlier hair. People of Caucasian descent generally have lighter skin and thinner hair. Asians have the epicanthic fold in their eyes 
Why is it utterly impossible that there be differences along the same lines, however slight, in the human brain? 
Okay, some people say. Even if we accept that race is real, and that there might be some differences, it’s “racist” to broach the topic of race and IQ. Wrong. That’s like being accused of infidelity and objecting “How mean!” instead of grappling with the substance of the accusation. 
Or, how about the idea that there’s no such thing as IQ? It’s fake to stick up for this one. We all casually describe one person as smarter than another. We know exactly what we mean when we call someone intelligent. 
Many of us love Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s argument about “multiple intelligences,” where some people are “musically” intelligent, some “emotionally,” and so on. 
Well, Gardner himself also stipulates “logical-mathematical” intelligence — basically what we otherwise refer to as IQ — and no one argues for pulling that one from the list. 
So: IQ, or smarts, is real. Like all genetic traits, it will vary more among individuals within a group than it does among groups. However, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of overall statistical differences between the groups. Science will ultimately resolve the issue, not P.C. dismissal. 
That’s not pretty. But smart people shouldn’t limit their discussion to what’s pretty. 
Yet here’s the equally important point: None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies. 
We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants, many of which will be PhDs coming from India or China. But we cannot allow this to morph into a larger idea that humbler applicants without advanced degrees aren’t welcome, aren’t “smart enough for America.” 
The Founders of the republic, after all, broached no such topic. They had their xenophobias: Benjamin Franklin got itchy about how many Germans were here in his day. But no one of Franklin’s ilk is recorded as worrying that newcomers should be systematically measured for smartness.

In 1754, Franklin wanted immigration restriction because he wanted his Anglo-Americans to enjoy high wages and low land prices in their limited terrain along the Eastern Seaboard. From the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1756, however, he focused upon military conquest so his people could enjoy high wages and low land prices in the Mississippi River Valley. Personally, I'm not in to military conquest, so Franklin's 1754 logic seems pretty reasonable to me: I want my people, the citizens of the United States, to enjoy high wages and low land prices through immigration restriction.

Coates: "Race Is a Social Construct"

From the Atlantic
What We Mean When We Say 'Race Is a Social Construct'
In a world where Kevin Garnett, Harold Ford, and Halle Berry all check "black" on the census, even the argument that racial labels refer to natural differences in physical traits doesn't hold up.
Walter White. Chairman of the NAACP. Black dude.
Most of the honest writing I've seen on "race and intelligence" focuses on critiquing the idea of "intelligence." So there's lot of good literature on whether it can be measured, its relevance in modern society, whether intelligence changes across generations, whether it changes with environment, and what we mean when we say IQ. As Freddie mentions here, I had a mathematician stop past to tell me I needed to stop studying French, and immediately start studying statistics -- otherwise I can't possibly understand this debate. 
It's a fair critique. My response is that he should stop studying math and start studying history. 
I am not being flip or coy. If you tell me that you plan to study "race and intelligence" then it is only fair that I ask you, "What do you mean by race?" It's true I don't always do math so well, but I understand the need to define the terms of your study. If you're a math guy, perhaps your instinct is to point out the problems in the interpretation of the data. My instinct is to point out that your entire experiment proceeds from a basic flaw -- no coherent, fixed definition of race actually exists.

I constantly hear this line of argument. Millions of people must find it incredibly persuasive, but it doesn't make any sense on two levels. 

Consider, as an example of the complexities of racial classification, the President of the United States, Barack Obama. In philosophy debates, the current President of the United States is a stock example, so I'll use him too. The President seems like a reasonable example, right? I don't know what the President's IQ is, but it's obviously above average. Imagine that Obama were part of a study of IQ by race. I'll answer the questions in this FAQ:

Q. What race would Obama be classified under?

A. Black.

Q. Why?

A. Because he says so. (The White House announced that on the 2010 Census, the President checked only the "black" box.) The standard methodology in studies of race and intelligence is exactly the same as in the studies of race and discrimination cited by liberals: self-identification. People check whatever box or boxes they feel like, and that's what the researchers use.

Q. Why rely upon "self-identification?"

A. Because it's easier bureaucratically, for one thing. This isn't apartheid South Africa where bureaucrats told people they are different races from what they claim to be. Here, they just go with the flow.

Q. How accurate is this?

A. It's good enough for government work, evidently.

Q. But what if we gave genetic tests to all subjects in studies?

A. These days, that would be increasingly affordable.

Q. So wouldn't that change the results?

A. Yes. It would likely make the white-black IQ gap slightly worse than under self-identification.

Q. Huh?

A. Consider Obama, who had an sub-Saharan African father and >99% white mother. Currently, because the President chooses to self-identify as black and only black, his above average IQ would be credited wholly to blacks. But, genealogically, he's half white and half-black. So, if his IQ were split among the white category and the black category, the white average would go up slightly and the black average would go down slightly. 

Q. Is this true on average that genetically whiter self-identifying blacks average higher IQs?

A. Probably:
The quants at Human Varieties have been kicking this around and it appears to be modestly true, although the correlation isn't enormous. I could imagine that this might change. If Jason Richwine were put in charge of immigration policy and he only let in high IQ immigrants, over time the average IQ of people who are 100% sub-Saharan African might get pretty high.

Q. La-la-la-la, I have my fingers in my ears, I can't hear a word you are saying.

A. Let's put it another way: leaving out recent African grad school immigrants, nobody, white or black, has ever argued that blacker African-Americans are smarter than lighter ones on average. But let's just assume they are absolutely equal. Then what would be the effect of divvying up subjects in an IQ study by genetic background? C'mon, it's simple arithmetic.

Q. I'm a history guy, not a math guy.

A. Zero. You'd get the same results as now. So, even under the most favorable of assumptions, this entire discussion is a red herring.

Q. Red herring? Is that racist?

A. Or consider your photographic example, Walter White (presumably the ironic namesake of the anti-hero of "Breaking Bad," but that's a whole different story). Walter White was 27/32nd white, the direct descendant of two Presidents. Or consider former NAACP head Julian Bond in the SNL video from the 1970s above. Or consider the current NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, who looks like Mark Ruffalo. (There'a reason the dark-skinned masses called mixed-race elites of the NAACP the "National Association for the Advancement of Certain People.")

Presumably, these are guys with IQs > 100. How in the world would moving them from the black to the white category narrow the IQ gap?

Take your time and think about it. Get back to me when you've done the arithmetic.
To drop out of the FAQ format, I'm fascinated by the terrible statistical sense displayed by pundits in the race-IQ debate. Evolutionary psychology suggests that human beings ought to be pretty decent at statistics. And, indeed, we see that intelligent people are pretty good at figuring out which are low crime neighborhoods to buy a home in and which are low violence schools to send their kids to, even if they aren't particularly good at math.

Yet, when they try to talk about the statistics of race and IQ, they seem completely inept. Why?

It's a little like conspiracy theorizing, where the most popular conspiracy theories are almost always wrong, even though conspiracies really do play a massive role in history.

For example, there's a new major history of World War One out that traces the origin of the Great War to one man's conspiracy: Dragutin Dimitrijevic, called Apis, the head of Serbian military intelligence, who arranged the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But I was unaware of that name until Greg Cochran told me it when I was about 45. Nobody is interested in Dragutin Dimitrijevic  even though he organized the most catastrophic conspiracy since the assassination of Julius Caesar. Conspiracy theorists would rather pull out their toenails than discuss how Dimitrijevic's conspiracy blew up the world.

Same with race and IQ: pundits seem to have an instinct, a magnetic attraction, for being wrong.

May 15, 2013

How anthropology explains the Richwine witch-hunt

Literal witch-hunts remain common in places like Papua New Guinea, and anthropological research into them is useful for thinking about the Jason Richwine witch-hunt.

hbd chick writes:
To disbelieve in witchcraft is the greatest of heresies
what happened to jason richwine this week — and everyone else who’s been watsoned for politically incorrect crimethink, like john derbyshire — was a witch-hunt. no question about it. and it wasn’t even metaphorically a witch-hunt, or even just kinda like a witch-hunt — the event bears all the traits of an actual, honest-to-goodness witch-hunt like they do it in papua new guinea or used to do it in medieval europe, just with less violence, that’s all. 
the politically correct chattering classes, both on the left AND on the right, who went after richwine behaved EXACTLY, in every regard, like png witch-hunters (except, like i said, for the violence). the richwine affair was an irrational ritual so that all those involved — and everybody watching — would be absolutely clear from now on what the acceptable boundaries are when it comes to discussing immigrants or non-whites or … whomever. 
what did we have? “stigmatization”? check. (plenty more examples out there like that one.) “use of simulated evidence”? did anyone actually read jason’s thesis? no. check. “simulated expert testimony”? i don’t have any links on hand now, but i saw appeals to stephen jay gould in rebuttals to jason’s research. definitely simulated expert testimony! “nonfalsifiability characteristic of evidence” and “use of the loaded question technique”? probably, but i don’t have examples (anyone?). we’ll leave those as unknown for now. “resemblance to a fair trial”? well, like in the png examples above, there was no mock trial, but there was certainly a trial of sorts in the press/on the internet. “reversal of polarity” and “non-openness”? oh, yeah! richwine was obviously guilty of being a warlock crimethinker from the moment someone discovered his thesis. and pretty much NO ONE was open to hearing otherwise — no one who isn’t already a crimethinker themselves, that is. 
“climate of fear.” climate of fear is an interesting one because it’s something that sorta feeds back into the whole system exacerbating it all, since what’s going on is that, not only are the richwines and derbyshires of the world afraid (or supposed to be afraid, anyway), EVERYone is afraid — afraid of becoming the next one accused of being a witch/crimethinker. as we saw above from Meaning and Moral Order, witch-hunts occur sporadically, so you can never know when or where the next one will be — or who the next victim will be. witch-hunts are terrorizing — and they’re meant to be. 
from walton [pg. 396 - pdf]: 
“A climate of fear is a third important characteristic of the initial conditions of the witch hunt. First, the witch hunt is based on, and propelled by fear of the stigmatized individuals that are the objects of the hunt. Witches are portrayed, for example, as both repellent and dangerous. But second, the whole procedure of the witch hunt is suffused with fear. Everyone who could be accused is terrified, because they know that targeting is relatively random, and even an innocent person can be accused. But also, they know that once they are accused, and caught up in the tribunal process, the consequences are horrific (for anyone whose reputation matters to them) and the outcome is inevitably certain to be bad. Thus a climate of (well-founded) fear is characteristic of the whole process of the witch hunt.“ 

this is why everyone piles on the accused so quickly and with full force — because they REALLY want to establish in a very public way that they, themselves, are NOT witches/crimethinkers, ’cause none of them want to experience being on the wrong end of a witch-hunt. 
edit: i should’ve mentioned that none of these behavioral patterns are particularly conscious ones for the witch-hunters involved. they’re just acting on some sort of instinct — a herding instinct or something. some people out there might, of course, understand how to get a good witch-hunt rolling and use such events for their own purposes. not saying that that’s what happened this week — just sayin’.
i’m having a hard time figuring out what the “pressure of social forces” factor is for all the politically correct people who take part in these watsonings/witch-hunts. i mean, witch-hunts supposedly take place in eras of turmoil and uncertainty — and, while I certainly feel we’re living in an era of uncertainty with all this mass immigration and rapid changes, what are the pc people concerned about? they LIKE all this change and multiculturalism, don’t they?
and they can’t possibly feel threatened from the alt-right, can they? the left might feel threatened by the right on many issues and vice versa, but since almost all of them are politically correct these days, they can’t feel threatened by each other on that count. or do they? i really don’t know — help me figure this out! 
the only thing i could think of is that maybe they actually are afraid of the brave new world they’re creating (a la putnam [pdf]), but because they want to run with the herd, they don’t want to voice any concerns — and so their concerns/fears are coming out in nervous witch-hunts? i dunno. but check this out — from Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance [pg. 195]: 
“The example of the Renaissance witch craze provides a lesson for contemporary society: Multiculturalism does not eradicate the moral panic. Indeed, the more diverse the society, the larger number of moral panics, as competing symbolic-moral universes produce their own folk devils, each with exaggerated fears and anxieties. In turn, these folk devils resist such definitions, drawing, as they will, on the support from members of competing symbolic-moral universes. The modern scene of moral panics thus witnesses a larger number of moral panics, some in conflict, some potentiating each other, and some flourishing and fading as quickly as they have come into being. The modern, complex moral structure of societies may very well create a social setting which gives rise to a multitude of moral panics.“

Flynn Effect: The smart get smarter

The Flynn Effect is a term coined by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein to refer to the phenomena of rising raw scores on IQ tests that James Flynn has frequently documented.

It is widely assumed that the Flynn Effect will narrow racial/ethnic gaps in IQ. The handful of  semi-sophisticated denouncers of Jason Richwine like to cite the Flynn Effect: Well, sure, Hispanics lag in IQ now, but the Flynn Effect will solve that Real Soon Now.

This is not an unreasonable presumption on a priori diminishing marginal returns grounds. For example, in recent decades, life expectancy gaps between countries have mostly narrowed (except during the worst AIDS years in Africa), because traditionally rich countries have had diminishing returns at improving life expectancies compared to traditionally poor countries.

But, there's not much evidence of IQ racial/ethnic gaps closing in the real world: gaps in IQ are notoriously intractable. So, just eyeballing the data over the decades suggests that the Flynn Effect is about the same size for all racial/ethnic groups, with possibly Asians having a larger one.

Here's a major study of the Flynn Effect focusing directly on that question, using an amazing data resource the Children of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979. The females who joined the nationally representative NLSY79 to have their lives tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have had over 15,000 children, and a sizable number are having their children tracked, including IQ testing.

The researchers found sizable Flynn Effects among these children from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s. (I believe they think they've found a way to adjust for those women taking longer to reproduce tending to be smarter.) But, did they find larger Flynn Effects among blacks and Hispanics than among whites? (The small number of Asians and Native Americans are lumped in with whites in this study.)
Intelligence. 2010 July 1; 38(4): 367–384. 
The Flynn Effect within Subgroups in the U.S.: Gender, Race, Income, Education, and Urbanization Differences in the NLSY-Children Data 
SiewChing Ang, Joseph Lee Rodgers, and Linda Wänström 
Although the Flynn Effect has been studied widely across cultural, geographic, and intellectual domains, and many explanatory theories have been proposed, little past research attention has been paid to subgroup differences. ... These prior findings suggest that the NLSYC data can be used as a natural laboratory to study more subtle FE patterns within various demographic subgroups. We test for subgroup Flynn Effect differences by gender, race/ethnicity, maternal education, household income, and urbanization. No subgroups differences emerged for three demographic categories. However, children with more educated (especially college educated) mothers and/or children born into higher income households had an accelerated Flynn effect in their PIAT-M scores compared to cohort peers with lower educated mothers or lower income households. We interpret both the positive and the null findings in relation to previous theoretical explanations.

... Until the current study, this finding could be explained by a differential Flynn Effect in which minority scores increased at a steeper rate. However, we found no interaction in our data; the three different race categories each showed substantial FE’s, but they also tracked closely to the same consistent increase. The absence of race differences in FE patterns also has implications for the various other theories. If FE patterns in the NLSY-Children emerged from within the family, or were related to average family size (e.g., Sundet, Borren, & Tambs, 2008), ethnic differences in family culture and family size could potentially create differential FE patterns; but those differences were not observed. If average educational quality is lower for minorities, this could lead to differential FE patterns; again, this finding did not obtain. As for gender, theories that are silent with regards race differences in FE patterns are consistent with the current findings, including the nutrition hypothesis, testing artifacts, and heterosis. ...

In conclusion, we now know new and important features of the Flynn Effect, at least the FE found in U.S. data from the past two decades or so. The effect itself is strong and consistent, but we found no differential gender or race FE, nor was there much of a differential urbanization status identified. The positive finding of a differential FE in relation to maternal education (and at a smaller level, household income) at the older ages is suggestive of some of the dynamics of the process leading to the Flynn Effect.

Thus, across this spectacular, nationally representative two-generation database, blacks and Hispanics aren't closing The Gap over a 35 year period

The main subgroup effect seen is that mothers with more education have children with larger Flynn Effects: the smart get smarter, even relatively speaking.

Jason Collins on Andrew Sullivan on Jason Richwine

No, not that Jason Collins, but the Jason Collins who blogs at Evolving Economics:
I agree with [Andrew] Sullivan that red flags should go up around intellectual freedom. ... 
There’s a few things I’d change with Sullivan’s piece. I’d weaken the skepticism about whether racial categories can be made of the “DNA salad”, the basis of IQ and whether ‘g’ means anything. And I certainly would have not used the beagle/poodle analogy. ...
But there is one point in Sullivan’s piece that I found particularly interesting. Sullivan writes: 
I believe IQ is an artificial construct created to predict how well a random person is likely to do in an advanced post-industrial society. And that’s all it is. It certainly shouldn’t be conflated with some Platonic idea of “intelligence.” 
I don’t consider IQ to be a social construct. However, let’s suppose that Sullivan’s statement is true. The interesting thing is that under that definition, IQ remains a big deal. We’ve passed a point where more than half of the world’s population is living in post-industrial societies. Those numbers are increasing every day. And success in those societies affects poverty, inequality and the success of those societies themselves. This would be a construct worth measuring. 
Further, even if IQ were just a construct of this nature, Richwine’s argument would probably not change. After all, Richwine’s argument (whatever its merits) is not about creating a highly intelligent race. It is about creating a successful post-industrial society. IQ as a social construct is still of use.

Cato's Lindsey says Richwine is wrong

Brink Lindsey, a lawyer at Cato, weighs in against Jason Richwine in The Atlantic:
Why People Keep Misunderstanding the 'Connection' Between Race and IQ 
Jason Richwine's IQ-based argument that American Hispanics are less intelligent than native-born whites has been called racist. It's also wrong. 

Last week Heritage Foundation scholar Jason Richwine, coauthor of a hotly disputed new study on the fiscal costs of comprehensive immigration reform, resigned his position in a hail of controversy over his 2009 Harvard Ph.D. dissertation. In that dissertation Richwine had argued, among other things, that American "Hispanics" are less intelligent than native-born whites as evidenced by their lower average scores on IQ tests. Richwine then attributed Hispanics' alleged intellectual inferiority at least partly to genetic factors. 
The Richwine affair is just the latest flap in a long-running dispute over the significance of IQ tests and group differences in IQ scores. It's easy enough to shut down that debate with cries of racism, but stigmatizing a point of view as morally tainted isn't the same thing as demonstrating that it's untrue. Here I want to explain why Richwine's position is intellectually as well as morally unsound. 
... When these assumptions are relaxed, environmental factors start to loom larger. In this regard, consider a pair of French adoption studies that controlled for the socioeconomic status of birth and adoptive parents. They found that being raised by high-SES (socioeconomic status) parents led to an IQ boost of between 12 and 16 points - a huge improvement that testifies to the powerful influence that upbringing can have.

This was a study of 10 kids who were born to poor parents and adopted by rich parents and eight kids who were born to rich parents and adopted by poor parents. It found IQ at age 14 under those circumstances to be 58% nature and 42% nurture. Despite the tiny sample size, that seems highly plausible to me.
A study of twins by psychologist Eric Turkheimer ...
Among the strongest evidence that IQ tests are testing not just innate ability, but the extent to which that innate ability has been put to work developing specific skills, is the remarkable "Flynn effect": ... The Flynn effect is acutely embarrassing to those who leap from IQ score differences to claims of genetic differences in intelligence.

It's so acutely embarrassing that the term "Flynn Effect" was coined by Herrnstein and Murray in The Bell Curve.
Jason Richwine is the latest exemplar of the so-called "hereditarian" interpretation of IQ - namely, that IQ scores are a reliable indicator of immutable, inborn intelligence across all groups of people, and therefore that group differences in IQ indicate group differences in native intelligence. Yes, the hereditarian view lends aid and comfort to racists and nativists. But more importantly, it's just plain wrong. Specifically, it is based on the ahistorical and ethnocentric assumption of a fixed relationship between the development of certain cognitive skills and raw mental ability. In truth, the skills associated with intelligence have changed over time--and unevenly through social space--as society evolves. 

Mr. Lindsey seems to confuse making a theoretical case that something could happen (Hispanic performance on tests and in the economy could rise dramatically) with the assumption that something will happen ... all without presenting any evidence that it has happened.

The U.S. has had enormous experience with Hispanics since 1848. Surely there must be lots and lots of Hispanic physicists employed at Los Alamos, New Mexico? Surely, Los Angeles' entertainment industry must be overrun by local Hispanic screenwriters and sound editors? Surely, Palo Alto's venture capital firms must be heavily staffed by local Hispanics?
The lower IQ scores of American Hispanics cannot simply be dismissed out of hand. They are evidence of skill deficits that sharply curtail chances for achievement and success. But contrary to the counsel of despair from hereditarians like Richwine, those deficits aren't hard-wired. Progress in reducing achievement gaps will certainly not be easy, but a full review of the IQ evidence shows that it is possible.

Perhaps Mr. Lindsey should tell us how many generations will it take to make this possibility into a reality? And how many trillions of dollars will it cost?

Wouldn't it make more sense to select immigrants who can strongly contribute immediately, not in several generations?
And it will be aided by policies, like immigration reform, that encourage the full integration of Hispanics into the American economic and cultural mainstream.

A very testable suggestion: After 1986, 2.7 million illegal aliens were amnestied, the majority in California. The subsequent history of the public schools in California and California's economy (e.g., mortgage defaults) suggests that evidence for Mr. Lindsey's optimism about amnesty raising IQs is limited, to say the least.

64% of Hispanic high school graduates don't score high enough to enlist

Another point from my new FAQ on the Richwine whoop-tee-doo in Taki's Magazine.
Q. Who cares about test scores besides the Ivy League? 
A. The military. A disproportionate number of Hispanics don’t qualify to enlist. A 2009 RAND Corporation report for the National Defense Research Institute to look into this sizable problem, Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth: Obstacles and Opportunities, found that “Hispanics are underrepresented among military recruits.” 
A major reason for this is that to get into the military these days, you have to score on the Pentagon’s entrance exam (the AFQT) at least at the 31st percentile (what the Pentagon calls Category IIIB). RAND reported: 
Only 36 percent of young Hispanic high school graduates would score in AFQT Category IIIB [31st percentile] or above, compared with 68 percent of white high school graduates. A key implication of this result is that increasing the high school graduation rate among Hispanic youth may not lead to comparable increases in enlistment eligibility. [Bold mine.]

Note that this comparison excludes the large percentage of young Hispanic high school dropouts. So, 64% of Hispanic high school graduates (in the major 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth study funded by the federal government) score in the bottom 30% of the AFQT, versus 32% of white high school graduates. Now, problems with the English language are an issue that sap Hispanic performance on the AFQT to some extent, but we're still talking about Hispanic high school graduates here, not dropouts. 

Also, the NLSY97's sample consisted of 9,000 kids from 12 to 16 on 12/31/96. So, it doesn't include immigrants who arrived after that age, and, I suspect, it would be light on illegal immigrants and even children of illegal immigrants, whose parents probably wouldn't be as quick to volunteer them for a study where the federal government tracks how they are doing each years for the rest of their lives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues annual reports on how its NLSY97 sample is doing in life as they reach each additional year of age. The 2013 report looked at progress by age 25:
At age 25, there was a large difference in educational attainment among racial and ethnic groups. NonHispanic blacks and Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to be high school dropouts in the October they were age 25. In comparison, whites were more than twice as likely as blacks or Hispanics to have received their bachelor's degree by this age. Thirty percent of whites had received their bachelor's degree, compared with 14 percent of blacks and 12 percent of Hispanics. 

That's not horrible, but getting slightly less education than African-Americans isn't good, either. As I point out in my FAQ in Taki's, because Hispanics average higher overall on IQ tests than blacks, they ought to be getting more years of education than blacks get. Thus, IQ testing implies that Hispanic educational achievement is being depressed by the Hispanic culture of apathy toward education, which is something that could be fixed in the very long run -- an insight for which everybody ought to thank the IQ testing experts, not sneer at them.

"The Economist" denounces Jason Richwine

From a column in The Economist:
Racism and immigration policy
The Richwine affair
May 14th 2013, 20:36 by W.W. | HOUSTON

Presumably, W.W. is Will Wilkinson. I thought Will had announced he had given up journalism to become a fiction writer -- a wise move, in my opinion.
JASON RICHWINE, a co-author of the widely trashed Heritage Foundation study on the the costs of immigration, "resigned" his post at Heritage Friday after his doctoral dissertation on immigration and IQ fell under a shadow of suspected racism. Harvard awarded Mr Richwine a PhD in 2009 for work arguing that Hispanic immigrants are less intelligent than non-Hispanic white Americans, that this gap has a genetic basis, and that immigration policy should discriminate against less intelligent groups of people, albeit under the cover of the language of "low skill" and "high skill" immigrants. Is this really racist?
... Now, I don't think the subject or conclusion of Mr Richwine's dissertation is out of the bounds of reasonable discourse. Yet I think a suspicion of racism is perfectly reasonable. Grad students can choose from an infinite array of subjects. Why choose this one? Who are especially keen to discover a rational basis for public policy that discriminates along racial lines? Racists, of course. Anyone who chooses this subject, and comes down on the side vindicating racist assumptions, volunteers to bring suspicion upon himself, to expose his work to an extraordinary level of scrutiny.
... Nevertheless, Mr VerBruggen, sees "a shocking unwillingness on the part of Heritage to stand up to bullying and protect the academic freedom of its researchers". Michelle Malkin says that Mr Richwine was "strung up by the p.c. lynch mob for the crime of unflinching social science research", which she finds "chilling, sickening and suicidal". This sort of indignation speaks more to the right's failure to take seriously the history and reality of American racial injustice than it does to Mr Richwine's fate. As long as conservatives are inclined to think that Mr Richwine was "bullied" and "lynched" for his brave empiricism, instead of having been sunk by the repugnant prejudice exposed by the shoddiness of his work, non-white voters will continue to flock to a party less enthusiastically receptive to the possibility of their inferiority.

Andrew Sullivan defends Richwine again

Andrew Sullivan blogs:
That is not what IQ is. It’s a very limited measurement of predicted success on our modern economy. There are other kinds of intelligence, which can be measured differently. And you can also note that this research could also be saying that, on some cases, race may lead to superior outcomes – for, say, Asians and Ashkenazi Jews. If all this were a white supremacist plot based on rigged pseudo-science, I would not expect Jews to come out on top, or for there to be no measurable difference in IQ between the two genders, or for Caucasian whites to be in the middle of the pack. And I wouldn’t expect it to earn a PhD at my alma mater. 
Since this issue is so explosive and important, I look forward to the scholarly dismantling of the Richwine thesis. Have at it. I’ll happily publish the grotesque, racist errors that somehow got past Christopher Jencks.

Andrew Sullivan and Charles Murray on Richwine

I should know better than to bring this up again. But the effective firing of a researcher, Heritage’s Jason Richwine, because of his Harvard dissertation should immediately send up red flags about intellectual freedom. ... 
What I do want to insist is that the premise behind almost all the attacks – that there is no empirical evidence of IQ differences between broad racial categories – is not true. It is true (pdf), if you accept the broad racial categories Americans use as shorthand for a bewilderingly complex DNA salad (a big if, of course). There’s no serious debate about that. The serious debate is about what importance to assign to the concept of “IQ” and about the possible reasons for the enduring discrepancies: environment, nurture, culture, or genes – or some variation of them all? 
... But the core point about any dissertation is a simple one: does it hold up under scholarly scrutiny? Richard Zeckhauser, the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at Harvard, is on record as saying that “Jason’s empirical work was careful. Moreover, my view is that none of his advisors would have accepted his thesis had he thought that his empirical work was tilted or in error.” One of those advisors was the very serious and very liberal scholar Christopher Jencks. 
I haven’t had time to read the thing, and some have cast aspersions on it after a browse. But it is abhorrent to tar someone researching data as a racist and hound him out of a job simply because of his results, honestly discovered and analyzed. ...
But the idea that natural selection and environmental adaptation stopped among human beings the minute we emerged in the planet 200,000 years ago – and that there are no genetic markers for geographical origin or destination – is bizarre. It would be deeply strange if Homo sapiens were the only species on earth that did not adapt to different climates, diseases, landscapes, and experiences over hundreds of millennia. We see such adaptation happening very quickly in the animal kingdom. Our skin color alone – clearly a genetic adaptation to climate – is, well, right in front of one’s nose. 
But what the Harvard students are saying is worse than creating a straw man. They are saying that even if it is true that there are resilient differences in IQ in broad racial groupings, such things should not be studied at Harvard because their “end result can only be furthering discrimination.” You can’t have a more explicit attack on intellectual freedom than that. They even seem to want the PhD to be withdrawn. ...
That’s my view in a nutshell. What on earth are these “liberals” so terrified of, if not the truth? ... 
But please don’t say truly stupid things like race has no biological element to it or that there is no data on racial differences in IQ (even though those differences are mild compared with overwhelming similarity). Denying empirical reality is not a good thing in any circumstance. In a university context, it is an embrace of illiberalism at its most pernicious and seductive: because its motives are good.

Charles Murray writes in National Review:
In Defense of Jason Richwine  
His resignation is emblematic of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse. 
... I have a personal interest in this story because Jason Richwine was awarded a fellowship from my employer, the American Enterprise Institute, in 2008–09, and I reviewed the draft of his dissertation. A rereading of the dissertation last weekend confirmed my recollection that Richwine had meticulously assembled and analyzed the test-score data, which showed exactly what he said they showed: mean IQ-score differences between Latinos and non-Latino whites, found consistently across many datasets and across time after taking factors such as language proficiency and cultural bias into account. I had disagreements then and now about his policy recommendations, but not about the empirical accuracy of his research or the scholarly integrity of the interpretations with which I disagreed. 
In resigning, Dr. Richwine joins distinguished company. The most famous biologist in the world, James D. Watson, was forced to retire from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2007 because of a factually accurate remark to a British journalist about low IQ scores among African blacks. In 2006, Larry Summers, president of Harvard, had to resign after a series of attacks that began with his empirically well-informed remarks about gender differences. These are just the most visible examples of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse: If you take certain positions, you will be cast into outer darkness. Whether your statements are empirically accurate is irrelevant. 
In academia, only the tenured can safely write on these topics. Assistant professors know that their chances of getting tenure will be close to zero if they publish politically incorrect findings on climate change, homosexuality, race differences, gender differences, or renewable energy. Their chances will not be much higher if they have published anything with a distinctly conservative perspective of any sort. To borrow George Orwell’s word, they will have proved themselves to be guilty of crimethink. 

Joel Kotkin does a number on Mark Zuckerberg

And without resorting to weasel jokes.

Joel is seriously unhappy about media glorification of winner-take-all-ism. Here are the Zuckerbergian parts, but there is lots more about other Silicon Valley superstars:
America's New Oligarchs -- FWD.US and Silicon Valley's Shady 1 Percenters 
by Joel Kotkin 05/14/2013 
... A new, and potentially dominant, ruling class is rising. Today’s tech moguls don’t employ many Americans, they don’t pay very much in taxes or tend to share much of their wealth, and they live in a separate world that few of us could ever hope to enter. But while spending millions bending the political process to pad their bottom lines, they’ve remained far more popular than past plutocrats, with 72 percent of Americans expressing positive feelings for the industry, compared to 30 percent for banking and 20 percent for oil and gas.  
Outsource Manufacturing, Import Engineers 
Perversely, the small number of jobs—mostly clustered in Silicon Valley—created by tech companies has helped its moguls avoid public scrutiny. ...
This is an equation that defines inequality: more and more wealth concentrated in fewer hands and benefiting fewer workers. 
Not so much anti-union as post-union, the tech elite has avoided issues with labor by having so few laborers who could be organized.  ...
But Americans with those skills shouldn’t rest easy, either. These same companies are always looking to cut down their domestic labor costs. Mark Zuckerberg, in particular, is pouring money into a new advocacy group,, with a board consisting of big-name Valley luminaries, to push “comprehensive immigration reform” (read: letting Facebook bring in a cheaper labor force). In a remarkably cynical move, has separate left- and right-leaning subgroups to prod politicians across the political spectrum to sign on to the bill that would pad the company’s bottom line. 
Ostensibly, the increase in visas for high-skilled computer workers is a needed response to the critical shortage of such workers here—a notion that has been repeatedly dismissed, including in a recent report from the Obama-aligned Economic Policy Institute, which found that the country is producing 50 percent more IT professionals each year than are being employed in the field. The real appeal of the H1B visas for “guest workers”—who already take between a third and half of all new IT jobs in the States—is that they are usually paid less than their pricy American counterparts, and are less likely to jump ship since they need to remain employed to stay in the country. Facebook’s lobbyists, reports the Washington Post, have pressed lawmakers to remove a requirement from the bill that companies make a “good faith” effort to hire Americans first. 
The Valley of the Oligarchs 
Even as market caps rise, the number of Americans collecting any cut of that new wealth has scarcely moved. Since 2008, while IPOs have generated hundreds of billions of dollars of paper worth, Silicon Valley added just 30,000 new tech–related jobs—leaving the region with 40,000 fewer jobs than in 2001, when decades of rapid job growth came to an end. ... 
But little of the Valley’s wealth reaches surrounding communities. ...
But past the conspicuous consumption, the most outstanding characteristic of the new oligarchs may be how quickly they have made their fortunes—and how much of the vast wealth they’ve held on to, rather than paid out to shareholders or in taxes. ... 
Tech oligarchs control portions of their companies that would turn oilmen or auto executives green with envy. ... In contrast, Mark Zuckerberg’s 29.3 percent stake in Facebook is worth $9.8 billion. ...
The concentration of such vast wealth in so few hands mirrors the market dominance of some of the companies generating it. ... Even the oil-and-gas business, associated with oligopoly from the days of John Rockefeller, is more competitive; the world’s top 10 oil companies collectively account for just 40 percent of the world’s production. 
Greater Representation with Minimal Taxation 
Despite this vast wealth, and their newfound interest in lobbying Washington, the tech firms are notorious for paying as little as possible to the taxman. 
Facebook paid no taxes last year, while making a profit of over $1 billion. ... 
And now, these 1 percenters—who invested heavily in Obama—are looking to help shape the “public good” in Washington and, as with, what they’re selling as good for us all is what aligns with their interests. 
... The oligarchs believe their control of the information network itself gives them a potential influence greater than more conventional lobbies. The prospectus for—headed up by one of Zuckerberg’s old Harvard roommates—suggests tech should become “one of the most powerful political forces,” noting “we control massive distribution channels, both as companies and individuals.” 
One traditional way the wealthy attain influence is purchasing their own news and media companies. Facebook billionaire and former Obama tech guru Chris Hughes (who owes his fortune to having been another of Zuckerberg’s college roommates) has already started on this road by buying the New Republic. (His husband, perhaps not incidentally, is running for the New York State Assembly.) ... 
If You're the Customer, You're the Product
Perhaps an even bigger danger stems from the ability of “the sovereigns of cyberspace” to collect and market our most intimate details. ... Apple is being hauled in front of the courts for its own alleged violations while Consumer Reports recently detailed Facebook’s pervasive privacy breaches—culling information from users as detailed as health conditions, details an insurer could use against you, when one is going out of town (convenient for burglars), as well as information pertaining to everything from sexual orientation to religious affiliation to ethnic identity. ...
But while Facebook and Google have been repeatedly cited both in the United States and Europe for violating users’ privacy, the punishments have been puny compared to the money they’ve made by snatching first and accepting a slap on the wrist later. ... 

Lots more here.