Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Modernity and Islam

Expand Messages
  • J. P. Rushton
    Steven D Aprano asks, I am interested in hearing whether there are any Evol Psych arguments that the Middle Eastern culture(s) are more or less likely to
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 30, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Steven D"Aprano asks, "I am interested in hearing whether there are any
      Evol Psych arguments that the Middle Eastern culture(s) are more or less
      likely to undergo a reformation when faced with threats from the West."

      Rick Goldberg replied: Steven, I assume you are asking about Islamic culture.
      Western technical superiority (what we call modernity) over the past several
      centuries has helped cause Islamic societies to become in most respects only
      more insular (with the partial exception of Turkey).

      Phil Rushton adds: Everyone assumes that all populations and cultures are
      equally capable of "modernization" but this rests on very dubious "Blank
      Slate" assumptions. Richard Lynn's (2002) book IQ AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
      finds that the world average IQ is about 90 and that the average of 100 is
      mainly found in Western Europe and Eastern Asia. Most Muslim countries, all
      those in North Africa, most in Middle East, and on through the Indian
      subcontinent, average IQs of around 93. Sub-Saharan Africans average about 70.
      If Lynn is correct, that an IQ of at least 90 is needed for a modern
      technological democracy, then up to half the world may never reach this,
      including the Caribbean, larege parts of Latin America, even the inner cities
      of the USA. Perhaps these IQ scores are somewhat depressed by poor nutrition
      and a lack of schooling, but as evolutionists, can we really believe that all
      the human traits predisposing to modernity (IQ, industriousness, frugality,
      long-term planning, emotional stability, paternal investement/committment),
      which we know are about 50% heritable, are equally distributed across all
      continents and in all population groups? At some point we are going to have to
      seriously come to grips with just how wide the variance is in the human
      species. It may make us more realistic and cautious in thinking about how easy
      it will be to change things. Muslim populations may remain "non-Western" as
      will sub-saharan Africans, no matter how many stock-exchanges, parliaments, or
      Christian churches can be built.

      Perhaps I am wrong about this but I haven't seen any evidence that I am.
      Japan, China, North Korea, and Vietnam -- fine. But their average IQ is about
      105.
    • Herbert Gintis
      ... I think it is reasonable to assume that most IQ differences across groups is environmental, given the Flynn Effect (see, for instance, William T. Dickens
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 31, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        At 11:40 PM 1/30/2003 -0500, J. P. Rushton wrote:
        >...Everyone assumes that all populations and cultures are
        >equally capable of "modernization" but this rests on very dubious "Blank
        >Slate" assumptions. Richard Lynn's (2002) book IQ AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
        >finds that the world average IQ is about 90 and that the average of 100 is
        >mainly found in Western Europe and Eastern Asia. Most Muslim countries, all
        >those in North Africa, most in Middle East, and on through the Indian
        >subcontinent, average IQs of around 93. Sub-Saharan Africans average about
        >70.
        I think it is reasonable to assume that most IQ differences across
        groups is environmental, given the Flynn Effect (see, for instance, William
        T. Dickens and James R. Flynn, "Heritabilty Estimates vs. Large
        Environmental Effects:The IQ Paradox Resolved", Psychological Review 108,2
        [apr] (2001) and James R. Flynn, "IQ Trends Over Time: Intelligence, Race
        and Meritocracy", in Kenneth Arrow and Samuel Bowles and Steven Durlauf
        (eds.) Meritocracy and Economic Inequality (Princeton: Princeton University
        Press, 2000):35-60.
        Perhaps Professor Rushton has a critique of the Flynn effect, or a
        suggestion why it might not likely apply to the populations he discusses.
        Does anyone have IQ information on Americans of Middle EAstern
        descent, suitably corrected for demographics? That might help.

        Best,



        Herbert Gintis
        Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of
        Massachusetts
        External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM
        15 Forbes Avenue, Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-7756
        Fax: (011) 44 0 871 433 4050
        Recent papers are posted on my <http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~gintis>web site.
        Get Game Theory Evolving (Princeton, 2000) at
        <http://www.isbn.nu/0691009430/amazon>Amazon.com.
        There is no sorrow so great that does not find
        its background in joy.
        Niels Bohr (1938)
      • Ian Montgomerie
        ... You must not be looking very hard. Take for example the obvious fact that if you compare non-normalized IQ (which you have to in order to get these kinds
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 31, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          On 30 Jan 2003 at 23:40, J. P. Rushton wrote:

          > Phil Rushton adds: Everyone assumes that all populations and cultures
          > are equally capable of "modernization" but this rests on very dubious
          > "Blank Slate" assumptions. Richard Lynn's (2002) book IQ AND THE
          > WEALTH OF NATIONS finds that the world average IQ is about 90 and that
          > the average of 100 is mainly found in Western Europe and Eastern Asia.
          > Most Muslim countries, all those in North Africa, most in Middle East,
          > and on through the Indian subcontinent, average IQs of around 93.

          ...

          > Perhaps I am wrong about this but I haven't seen any evidence that I
          > am.

          You must not be looking very hard. Take for example the obvious fact
          that if you compare non-normalized IQ (which you have to in order to
          get these kinds of international comparisons), IQs in the western
          world have shot up quite substantially since testing started. Quite
          a nuisance, that, what with needing to renormalize the tests. It
          seems a bit unlikely that intelligence genes have become far more
          common in Europe and North America in the last three generations.

          Or for that matter, read a little history. Europe was a backwater
          for most of its history - the Middle East was the place where
          civilization first originated, and was one of its two most advanced
          centers for thousands of years (the other being China). It wasn't
          until half a millenia ago, with the turning away of Islam from pre-
          scientific investigations, the final fall of Byzantium, etc, when the
          Islamic world began to fall behind Europe. You must think IQ genes
          can rise or fall awfully fast.
        • J. P. Rushton
          Barry Desborough stated I can t help wondering if the average IQ in North Africa and the Middle East was higher than in Northern Europe during the Dark Ages,
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 31, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Barry Desborough stated "I can't help wondering if the average IQ
            in North Africa and the Middle East was higher than in Northern Europe
            during the Dark Ages, and during the height of the ancient civilizations of
            Egypt and the Fertile Crescent"

            there are two straightforward ways of establishing this. FIRST, examine
            cultural artifacts produced by different layers of society; the higher the
            quality of the average artifact/invention, the higher the average intelligence
            of the population. SECOND, examine the average cranial capacity of the
            populations from skulls or helmets or hats. The larger the brain the higher the
            IQ (on average). BOTH may be too simple, but as first approximations they
            might do. Many have claimed that Islamic Culture was higher than European
            Culture at various times.

            Herb Gintis states that it is reasonable to assume that most IQ differences
            across groups is environmental, given the Flynn Effect, and cites the well
            known Psych Review paper by Dickens and Flynn that make this claim.
            He does not cite my 1999 paper in Personality and Individual Differences
            (downloadable from my university homepage
            at:http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/psychology/faculty/rushton.html) showing that the
            Flynn Effect is NOT on the g factor of general intelligence, and that group
            differences have not at all been diminished over the last 100 years of testing
            (Black-White IQ differences are still one standard deviation). More generally,
            as evolutionary psychologists, we should be willing to state the general
            hypothesis that MOST (if not all) PHENOTYPES ARE ABOUT 50% GENETIC AND ABOUT
            50% ENVIRONMENTAL. Just because we can demonstrate AN environmental effect
            (e.g., change over time) or A genetic effect (e.g., from a twin study) does not
            mean that 100% of the variance is explained. This foolish overgeneralization
            seems to occur repeatedly. The NULL HYPOTHESIS NOW IS THAT ALL PHENOTYPES ARE
            PARTLY HERITABLE AND PARTLY CULTURAL. THIS MUST APPLY TO GROUP DIFFERENCES IN
            IQ.
          • Joao Sousa
            ... 70. ... What is Lynn s model for the connection between *average* IQ and the technological level of a nation or society? Why doesn t Lynn recognize that
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 31, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              >
              >Phil Rushton adds: Everyone assumes that all populations and cultures are
              >equally capable of "modernization" but this rests on very dubious "Blank
              >Slate" assumptions. Richard Lynn's (2002) book IQ AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
              >finds that the world average IQ is about 90 and that the average of 100 is
              >mainly found in Western Europe and Eastern Asia. Most Muslim countries, all
              >those in North Africa, most in Middle East, and on through the Indian
              >subcontinent, average IQs of around 93. Sub-Saharan Africans average about
              70.
              >If Lynn is correct, that an IQ of at least 90 is needed for a modern
              >technological democracy, then up to half the world may never reach this

              What is Lynn's model for the connection between *average* IQ and the
              technological level of a nation or society? Why doesn't Lynn recognize that
              societies may achieve great technological levels with bright people at key
              creative positions and the rest very dumb? For example, the US has the most
              developped science and technology in the world (by far more advanced than
              Europe's) and education specialists in both continents recognize that
              developped European nations provide better primary education than US (see
              Carl Sagan's book Demon Haunted World). This is not a great puzzle. Simply,
              the US economy is much more effective in pushing bright people to the top
              key positions in corporations and universities (perhaps the level of
              economic competition, greater in US, promotes this), which builds a much
              more effective meritocracy. Lynn is also failing to acknowledge that
              nowadays there is a trend in modern economies for the so-called "know-how
              centers" to become more and more concentrated, partly via mergers and
              acquisitions, with less and less people making the most creative work, and
              more and more making more "assembly" works (which causes successive waves
              of job discharges in technological corporations. This is entirely
              compatible with a future society of 95% of dumbs governed by the other 5% -
              with the average IQ dropping to 85 or so, and still with a technological
              level immensely superior to the highest seen in today's world.

              The dynamics of modern technological societies are immensely complex, and
              need to be addressed at a very "micro" level. Simple societal averages of
              any quantitative traits such as IQ will not do.
            • Joao Sousa
              ... 70. ... cities ... all ... have to ... easy ... parliaments, or ... One century ago, as I read, the Irish were also stigmatized by reference to the
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 31, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                >
                >Phil Rushton adds: Everyone assumes that all populations and cultures are
                >equally capable of "modernization" but this rests on very dubious "Blank
                >Slate" assumptions. Richard Lynn's (2002) book IQ AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
                >finds that the world average IQ is about 90 and that the average of 100 is
                >mainly found in Western Europe and Eastern Asia. Most Muslim countries, all
                >those in North Africa, most in Middle East, and on through the Indian
                >subcontinent, average IQs of around 93. Sub-Saharan Africans average about
                70.
                >If Lynn is correct, that an IQ of at least 90 is needed for a modern
                >technological democracy, then up to half the world may never reach this,
                >including the Caribbean, larege parts of Latin America, even the inner
                cities
                >of the USA. Perhaps these IQ scores are somewhat depressed by poor nutrition
                >and a lack of schooling, but as evolutionists, can we really believe that
                all
                >the human traits predisposing to modernity (IQ, industriousness, frugality,
                >long-term planning, emotional stability, paternal investement/committment),
                >which we know are about 50% heritable, are equally distributed across all
                >continents and in all population groups? At some point we are going to
                have to
                >seriously come to grips with just how wide the variance is in the human
                >species. It may make us more realistic and cautious in thinking about how
                easy
                >it will be to change things. Muslim populations may remain "non-Western" as
                >will sub-saharan Africans, no matter how many stock-exchanges,
                parliaments, or
                >Christian churches can be built.
                >

                One century ago, as I read, the Irish were also stigmatized by reference to
                the English, Ireland was underdevelopped, and in recent years Ireland GNP
                raised and equaled the top GNPs of Europe - a sudden genetic change?
                Italians in the US were stigmatized in the 30s (inferior IQs, etc) and now,
                as I read, they fare well in US society and have good IQs. So, why be so
                pessimistic about Arabs and others?
              • Henry Harpending
                ... higher the ... intelligence ... I have seen evidence about cranial capacity and IQ, but where does the correlation with technology come from? I don t
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 1, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "J. P. Rushton"
                  <rushton@u...> wrote:
                  > Barry Desborough stated "I can't help wondering if the average IQ
                  > in North Africa and the Middle East was higher than in Northern Europe
                  > during the Dark Ages, and during the height of the ancient civilizations of
                  > Egypt and the Fertile Crescent"
                  >
                  > there are two straightforward ways of establishing this. FIRST, examine
                  > cultural artifacts produced by different layers of society; the
                  higher the
                  > quality of the average artifact/invention, the higher the average
                  intelligence
                  > of the population. SECOND, examine the average cranial capacity of the
                  > populations from skulls or helmets or hats. The larger the brain the higher the
                  > IQ (on average). BOTH may be too simple, but as first approximations they
                  > might do. Many have claimed that Islamic Culture was higher than European
                  > Culture at various times.

                  I have seen evidence about cranial capacity and IQ, but where does the
                  correlation with technology come from? I don't believe it and I
                  suspect it might even go in the other direction. Go to an ethnographic
                  museum and find the sources of the fancy pretty stuff: it will
                  invariably be from societies where either (a) women do all the work
                  else (b) where resource pulse so men don't have to work very many days
                  a year: plains, nw coast of US, highland PNG, Amazonia, etc. I think
                  the fancy stuff is an outcome of male competition while when males
                  have to work they don't do it.

                  For example look at
                  http://harpend.dsl.xmission.com/Documents/kungtools.png
                  which is a photo of essentially all of !Kung Bushmen's hunting
                  technology. Loooks like a 12 year old made it yet those guys are out
                  bringing down big mammals all the time with it.

                  Then look at fancytools.png in the same directory, technology from the
                  Congo basin recorded by Stanley. Beautiful fancy knives, spears, and
                  shields, all functionally useless, produced by societies where women
                  did the farming and men parasitized the women and did guy stuff
                  otherwise.

                  This contrast BTW leads me to doubt that the invasion of Europe by the
                  Aurignacian represented a "creative explosion" as most of our texts
                  have it: I expect it was an invasion by people who had fignured out
                  how to live off women.

                  Henry Harpending
                • Rich Faussette
                  ... wrote: [snip] I have seen evidence about cranial capacity and IQ, but where does the correlation with technology come from? For example look at
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 1, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "Henry Harpending"
                    <harpend@x> wrote:
                    [snip]
                    I have seen evidence about cranial capacity and IQ, but where does
                    the correlation with technology come from?

                    For example look at
                    http://harpend.dsl.xmission.com/Documents/kungtools.png which is a
                    photo of essentially all of !Kung Bushmen's hunting technology.
                    Looks like a 12 year old made it yet those guys are out bringing down
                    big mammals all the time with it.

                    Then look at fancytools.png in the same directory, technology from the
                    Congo basin recorded by Stanley. Beautiful fancy knives, spears, and
                    shields, all functionally useless, produced by societies where women
                    did the farming and men parasitized the women and did guy stuff
                    otherwise.

                    Henry Harpending
                    -----------------------

                    I thought the reference to technological complexity as a measure of
                    intelligence was adequate for rough 'first approximations' as JP
                    Rushton described it. I don't know that the fact that !Kung bushmen
                    can take down big animals with their crude tools says anything about
                    intelligence or technological complexity, just good hunting.

                    In the same vein, visually 'beautiful' weapons are not necessarily
                    technologically advanced or complex weapons.

                    rich faussette
                  • Jeremy Bowman
                    ... -- I think Julian Huxley originally promoted this idea. ... [...] ... -- For the record, I have spend much time in Irish villages, among Irish villagers,
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 6, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      J. F. Buck:

                      > H.J. Eysenck wrote this:
                      >
                      > "...take the Irish--a well defined interbreeding population,
                      > isolated on an Island, and thus removed from most sources of
                      > outbreeding, and certainly subject to historical processes which
                      > might be expected to have drawn away, over many centuries, the most
                      > able and adventurous of citizens to foreign countries." (p126)

                      -- I think Julian Huxley originally promoted this idea.

                      Steven D'Aprano:

                      > she tells me that the typical country Irish really are
                      > terribly stupid and ignorant.
                      [...]
                      > she tells me that out in the villages, there are many
                      > people, including parents of multiple children, who
                      > honestly don't know basic reproductive facts such
                      > as the causal link between sex and pregnancy.

                      -- For the record, I have spend much time in Irish villages, among Irish
                      villagers, and I can confidently assure everyone that none of them is in
                      any doubt as to where babies come from. I'm sorry to say it's the main
                      topic of conversation -- when they're not asking "Who's round is it?",
                      they're asking "Who do you think the real father is?"

                      Ireland is rather a small island, and no Irish village is more than 50
                      miles from lap dancing clubs, gay bars, adult shops, etc. The majority of
                      any village's inhabitants would own a car and a computer, and practically
                      everyone would regularly watch satellite/cable TV.

                      The most remote villages of all tend to be inhabited by wealthy English
                      celebrities attracted to the "simple rural life".

                      Some rumours say more about the people who believe them than the people
                      they are about (e.g. "Jews drink the blood of gentile children at
                      Passover", etc.). A little healthy scepticism, please!

                      I cannot believe that there is any group of people who are unaware of the
                      causal connection between sex and pregnancy. However, I can believe that
                      there are some ingénues in anthropology who believe everything the natives
                      tell them.

                      Jeremy Bowman

                      *************************** ADVERTISEMENT ******************************
                      Learn new skills online. Visit IOL's NEW e-learning channel and
                      choose from a wide range of training courses!
                      http://content.iol.ie/elearning-home.htm
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.