[Marxism] James Watson: Africans are lessintelligent thanWesterners

David Picón Álvarez david at miradoiro.com
Wed Oct 17 10:08:09 MDT 2007

From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
"This is utter garbage. If I ever read anything like this from David
again on the list, he will be unsubbed."

OK. I'm going to have to retract some of what I've said. Basically, evidence 
for genetic difference between racial/ethnic groups is substantially weaker 
and more controversial than I was lead to believe. I shouldn't have made 
statements without checking further. Personally, I find that good news. 
Believe it or not, I am not a racist, and I find worrying, and not a reason 
for joy, that there may be genetically determined differences in 
intelligence. As a matter of fact, race issue aside, I find the idea that 
intelligence is substantially genetically determined quite unsettling as 
well, for which there seems to be greater support (studies to do with twins 
adopted by different families, for instance). I am quite aware that there is 
an agenda behind people who push these kind of explanations, and James 
Watson isn't qualified to make those kind of statements. The mere statement 
that (paraphrasing, I don't have the quote at hand) people can notice racial 
differences in intelligence by looking at their black employees is absolute 
bullshit. Even if there were variations in intelligence between racial 
groups, the individual variations within the group are going to swamp 
everything else. So my observations were not directed to support such 
positions. Speaking of the weird agendas some of these people have, I 
remember reading a while ago an article in which an evolutionary 
psychologist ended up saying that the reason why the Ashkenazi Jews seemed 
to have higher IQs is because they're the chosen people of God.

I suppose that another issue which is controversial is whether IQ measures 
anything meaningful or not. On this, there is a growing body of evidence 
that suggests that IQ does measure something important, at any rate. I 
suppose that it is harder to tell if it is intelligence, as Einde suggests. 
For a summary of the research on this topic, there's a paper called Why G 
Matters, which I used to have a URL to but seems not to be there anymore. Of 
course there are arguments that G is a statistical artifact. As I am not a 
statistician, I can't take a reasoned position on whether G is multifactor 
or not.

I find it unfortunate that I'm being warned I'll be expelled from the list 
if I write "anything like this [...] again". I've recently subscribed to 
this list, and I have had the chance to learn a lot already. I can 
understand a strong reaction against racism, it is only to be expected, but 
it seems to me that there should be room for discussion of what are factual 
matters. Saying that males are taller on the average isn't unacceptable, I 
would hope. I know there are differences: height is readily measurable and 
has no public policy implications. The point is that considering certain 
hypotheses about what things are like a priori out of bounds seems wrong and 
unscientific to me.

Also, I would like to thank Peter McLaren for the book recommendation. I am 
not an expert on these matters, and I don't have a psychological investment 
in the hypothesis that differenct races have different IQ averages--rather 
the opposite. I had been lead to believe that the scientific consensus 
strongly supported such a hypothesis.

Anyway, I hope this clarifies my position, and if there's no place for me on 
this mailing list, so it goes. In case that comes to pass, thanks for all 
the information, and I wish people success in their activism.


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