Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leftism rots the brain (again)

There is a program being shown shortly on British TV about the connection between race and IQ. So Britain's most widely circulated "quality" newspaper has published an anticipatory article on the subject by a Professor of Genetics at a prestigious British university: University College, London. From the personal particulars he mentions, one gathers that he is also a long-time Leftist activist.

Quite unsurprisingly, he pooh-poohs the idea of any connection between race and IQ. But in the article he makes not one single reference to any scientific fact (despite over 100 years of academic research on the subject) and his only criticism of those who say that there is a connection between race and IQ seems to be that they are all elderly (which is not true and even if it were, so what?). Can academic standards get any lower than that? To read such schoolboyish amateurism from an eminent professor of genetics is about the clearest demonstration one could ask of the fact that the "all men are equal" crowd have lost the intellectual argument. All they have to fall back on is crude political polemics.

Insofar as one can detect any argument at all in his article, he seems to be saying that the unfailingly low standard of average black educational achievement is due to poor education -- quite ignoring the fact that American educators are at their wits' end in trying to find anything that will budge the black/white "gap" in attainment. If our twitchingly Leftist professor of genetics can find ANYTHING that will get blacks achieving at anywhere near white levels he will get a Nobel prize (not that that means much these days).

Our sad professor explains high Asian academic achievement by the "push" that they get from their families. And there is a similar article here which proclaims that low black educational attainment is due to "absent" black fathers. There is a small grain of truth in that. Parental pressure can indeed raise educational achievement to some degree. But since our unscientific professor's article consists mainly of anecdotes, perhaps I can offer a counter-anecdote. Let me in fact offer two anecdotes to show that parental pressure is only a minor factor in intellectual attainment:

My son had zero pressure on him during his schooling and I was an "absent father" throughout. His mother and I split up in the same year that he began school. But he was always a couple of years ahead of his class in reading age and now has a first class honours degree in Mathematics from a distinguished university and is well set for an academic career. How come? I am a high-achieving academic and he has academic genes. He didn't need pushing. He mainly just coasted but the work was easy for him so he still did well.

And I myself grew up in a working class family, which, like most such families, had no expectations of high achievements among its children, and I was in fact discouraged from continuing my education beyond junior school. But my parents were both great readers of books and both had siblings who did exceptionally well at school. So I obviously got good genes from them which enabled me also to cruise and still do well academically.

Explanations for low black achievement in terms of black family patterns do have one virtue: Black families are not going to change any time soon so if that is the problem, we have to conclude that the attainment "gap" is immovable. And it is immovable, though not for that reason.

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