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Sean Last

Race, IQ, and Poverty

(This post was co-written with John Macintyre) Summary: In this post, I am going to look at how well differences in socio-economic status can explain racial IQ differences. First, we will see that affluent Blacks score lower than poorer Whites and Asians on tests of cognitive ability. Second, it will be seen that the Black/White IQ gap is highest among the rich and lowest among the poor. Third, it will be shown that the Black/White SES gap has fallen dramatically over the last 100 years while the Black/White IQ gap has not. And finally, it will be seen that most …

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Racial Discrimination in Loans

Racial differences in the ability to acquire a loan are sometimes pointed to as evidence of White privilege. These differences are said to lead to racial disparities in home ownership rates and entrepreneurship which in turn have a variety of long-term economic and social consequences. Though this story is often repeated, it is not justified by the relevant empirical evidence. The idea that Whites get loans easily due to White privilege is not consistent with the fact that Asians can get loans just as easily as Whites can.

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Ethnic Diversity and the Economy

This article will examine the link between ethnic diversity and economic success at the national, local, and group level. As will be seen, though not definitive, evidence at each level of aggregation suggests that ethnic diversity has a negative impact on economic prosperity. Before turning to the empirical evidence, let’s take a moment to see why, theoretically, ethnic diversity might be good, or bad, for the economy.

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What Diverse Countries Really Look Like

We are often told that ethnic diversity is a strength. Given this, we should expect that diverse countries are, in various ways, better than homogenous ones. Let’s take a look at how accurate this expectation is. To look at this question empirically, I used data on life expectancy, life satisfaction, and national wealth from the 2016 World Happiness Report and data on ethnic diversity from Alesina et al. (2003). Conceptually, ethnic diversity is defined as the probability that two people randomly selected from a nation will not be of the same ethnic group. As it turns out, the more ethnically diverse …

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Racial Differences in Self Control

At its most basic level, self-control is the ability to not do something you want to do in pursuance of a more long term goal. Our need for self-control arises from the fact that, generally speaking, we prefer current rewards to future rewards.  For instance, if given the choice, most people would prefer to be given $1,000 today rather than a year from now. This is true of basically everyone: if the immediate and future reward are the same, our tendency is to choose the immediate reward. It’s when the future reward is greater than the immediate reward that self-control …

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Republicans Are Smarter Than Democrats

A new study came out recently looking at whether Republicans or Democrats are smarter (1). It showed that republicans are smarter than democrats and that this is true even after taking race out of the picture. Unsurprisingly, this study isn’t receiving the kind of attention that studies exposing the intellectual inferiority of religious and/or racist people get.

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Hispanic Immigration and the Demographic Decline of America

Facts about Hispanic immigration to America are often obscured by statistics about “immigrants”. Such numbers are misleading, as not all American immigrants are Hispanic. To remedy this problem, the current post will look at various aspects of the Hispanic American population which are cause for concern. As will be seen, Hispanic Americans are, in many measurable respect, more problematic than White non-Hispanic Americans. Because of this, increasing the proportion of our population which is Hispanic via immigration will damage America in many predictable ways. Moreover, contrary to common mythology, a multitude of studies have shown that Hispanics do not assimilate to …

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Liberalism and Low Self Esteem

In this post I am going to argue that one important reason why many people adopt a liberal political ideology is that it boosts their self esteem by allowing liberals to view themselves as noble warriors in a great battle against evil. There is a good deal of empirical data which is consistent with this theory. But I will also be making use of some evidence which is purely anecdotal. I fully recognize the limitations of such data. But I am still going to talk about it because it adds something meaningful to this theory. The first question that needs …

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The Rational View on Race?

This is a critique of RationalWiki’s page on “racialism”. This response will be long, but that is only because RationalWiki commits an astonishing number of errors. RationalWiki begins by defining racialism as “the view that human races are substantially different from each other and these racial differences strongly determine the abilities and behavior of individuals and peoples.” This isn’t a horrible definition. But it is missing a few key facts. Human races are groups of people who share a common ancestry from certain pre-historic populations. Typically, we group people based on whether they mostly descend from the Americas, Africa, Asia, …

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Brain Size, Race, and IQ

Summary: There are four methods of measuring brain size, and studies utilizing all four methods have found that Whites have larger brains than Asians who have larger brains than Blacks. If you adjust for body size, the position of Whites and Asians flips. There are at least six lines of evidence to suggest that genes explain part of these racial differences: the differences are present at birth, around the world, the Black/White brain size gap is not smaller today than it was 100 years ago, mixed race individuals have brain sizes in-between their parent’s races, and, finally, traits that typically …

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On Tulsa, North Carolina, and the Charlotte Riots

Black people were once again shot by police and so there are once again violent BLM riots in which people are dying. As usual, it is not clear that either police officer committed murder and, if they did, that it had anything to do with race. The first incident occurred in Tulsa. Police encountered Terrence Crutcher who was unresponsive to their commands. They thought he had a weapon and ordered him to stop approaching his car. He continued to approach his vehicle, with his hands up, and they shot him. The second incident occurred in North Carolina where police say …

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Child Abuse and Racial Differences in Crime and IQ

Racial differences in the prevalence of child abuse probably contribute to racial disparities in both IQ and crime. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the rate at which children suffer from abuse is roughly 14.6 per 1,000  for Blacks, 8.5 per 1,000 for Hispanics, and 8.1 per 1,000 for Whites. Thus, the Black child abuse rate is about 80% larger than that of Whites and Hispanics. Some people deny that Blacks abuse their children more often than whites do and argue, instead, that Black child abuse is more likely to be reported. The fact that Blacks are vastly overrepresented …

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Thomas Sowell is Wrong About Fixing Black Poverty

Thomas Sowell is great at demolishing liberal narratives. Unfortunately, he has a habit of building equally weak theories of his own in their place. One of Sowell’s favorite stories goes like this: Blacks perform poorly in school, which in turn sets them up for lifelong failure because education is soft on them and encourages a chronic lack of motivation and self-discipline. Schools with majority Black student populations which set very high standards for students have high test scores and most of the students who graduate from such schools go to college. If schools, and families, all set these high standards …

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The Hill Lies About Race and America

The Hill recently published an article entitled “DNA undermines David Duke’s brand of separatism” written by Sandra McCollum and Harold Doley. In it, these writers push a deeply confused and ill-informed viewpoint on the genetics of race and the role race played in American history. This article will serve as a correction to some, though by no means all, of their mistakes. With that said, let’s jump right in:

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Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

Summary: Research shows that people like those who are similar to them. Moreover, the more heritable a trait is the more important similarity in it is to friends and spouses. Thus, people enjoy the company of those who are genetically similar to them. This may explain why people to marry, befriend, and live near, members of their own race for more than randomness would predict. Moreover, a rich literature of correlational, longitudinal, and experimental, data shows that people get along better with members of their own race and that ethnic diversity damages social cohesion. 

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Re: Why Do Black People Commit More Crime?

(If you would rather listen/watch the video presentation of this, it can be found here.) The YouTube user “Sargon of Akkad” has recently made a video entitled “Why Do Black People Commit More Crime?” in which he looks to poverty, family structure, and gang culture to explain the high rates of crime seen among African Americans. In Sargon’s video, he correctly points out that African Americans commit crime more often than members of other races do, and that the same is true of poor people and people from single parent homes. Moreover, Blacks are far more likely to be both …

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Brain Size and IQ

Brain Size Correlates With IQ In the last ten years, three meta-analyses on over 100 studies on the relationship between brain size and intelligence have been done. All three showed that the larger a person’s brain is the higher they are likely to score on an IQ test (McDaniel 2005, Rushton and Ankey 2009, and Pietschnig et al 2015). These studies produced correlations ranging from .24 to .40, meaning that a person with a brain size 1 standard deviation above average would, on average, be predicted to have an IQ score .24-.40 standard deviations above average. (Or, put yet another way, brain size explains between …

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The Nice, France Terrorist Attack, Islam, and the West

Today there was yet another terrorist attack. This time, a man in Nice, France, got in a truck, ran over a bunch of people, got out of said truck, shot a bunch of people, and then died. As of the time that I am writing, at least 80 people are known to be dead. Coming just a month after the Orlando shooting, Islamic mass murder probably seems pretty familiar by now, so let’s just cut to the chase.

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