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Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social functioning?]

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  • Ralph L Holloway
    ... Interestingly, Black children score higher than White children in South Africa on most measures until ab about school going age, after which the balance
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 30, 2005
      On Sun, 25 Sep 2005, Roy Sugarman wrote:

      > Hi
      Interestingly, Black children score higher than White children in South
      Africa on most measures until ab about school going age, after which the
      balance tilts in the other direction, mostly a sign of the poorer quality of
      education: in private schools, with equal opportunity, this change doesnt
      exist and the results are equal for both groups. There is still some
      inequality in Afrikaans-English kids though. In the 50's, Afrikaners scored
      two standard deviations below their white English speaking South Afican
      counterparts, but after the 70's when television came to South Africa, the
      difference shrank slowly to half a sd. Its culture more than brain, and more
      importantly, modernisation.


      Perhaps I am missing something here, and if so, my apologies. My
      understanding is that in addition to a somewhat shortened pregnancy time
      for people of African descent (about 5-7 days earlier than in Asian/
      European descent), the sensorimotor development of African children is
      simply faster. When one considers that African brains bear the same
      metabolic costs as brains from European or Asian descent groups, it makes
      sense to regard advanced maturation of the nervous system as a positive
      adaptation in regions of high heat stress, i.e, tropical conditions. The
      brains still function well in most social/ enironmental challenges, and
      reproduction is clearly not selected against. The downside, perhaps, and
      it is a strong perhaps, is that the brain matures faster in peoples of
      African descent which may make advanced learning more difficult for some
      part of the normal distribution of maturation. Have I got these basic
      facts wrong?

      Thanks,

      Ralph L. Holloway
      Dept. Anthropology
      Columbia University
      NY, NY 10027
      212-854-4570
      Fax= 212-854-7347
      Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2
    • pghiqman
      Highly unusual and improbable claims should require some documented evidence. On September 30, 2005 Roy Sugarman wrote: …in private schools [in South
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 2, 2005
        Highly unusual and improbable claims should require some documented
        evidence.

        On September 30, 2005 Roy Sugarman wrote:

        "…in private schools [in South Africa], with equal opportunity, this
        change doesnt exist and the results are equal for both groups
        [Blacks and Whites]."

        I am quite dubious about the veracity of Sugarman's statement since
        all over the world (i.e. in Britain Europe, Canada, Brazil and
        throughout the USA) Black students as a group invariably do much
        worse academically than the White student population. Can Roy
        Sugarman provide some actual references to document his claim?
        Perhaps these are mostly children of the South African Black ultra-
        elite and thus represent a highly selected subgroup of Black
        students? In South Africa the term "Black" was once used to refer to
        people of pure African ancestry and the term "Coloured" was used to
        refer to people of partly European ancestry or from Middle East,
        India (e.g. the young lawyer Gandhi) and Asia. Are these students in
        the private schools that Sugarman refers to actually "Blacks" or are
        they ethnically more similar to those who in South Africa used to be
        called "Coloured"?

        It would be much easier for me to dismiss the race/genetics/IQ
        claims of Jensen and Rushton if there was actually shown to be a
        place where representative populations of Black and White students,
        given roughly equal opportunity, perform at similar levels of
        academic achievement. If Roy Sugarman actually has evidence of this
        I would be very interested to learn more. But I strongly suspect
        that Roy Sugarman is either referring to a very highly selected
        [i.e. non-representative] group of South African Black students or
        he is just expressing some wishful thinking based upon some slim
        anecdotal information with no actual empirical weight.

        Best wishes,

        Roy Frye
      • Jack Parsons
        ... From: Jack Parsons To: Ralph L Holloway Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:24 PM Subject: Re: [evol-psych]
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 2, 2005
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Jack Parsons" <jackparsons@...>
          To: "Ralph L Holloway" <rlh2@...>
          Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:24 PM
          Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social
          functioning?]


          > Dear Ralph/colleagues,
          > Just a hazy memory from some 40-45 yrs
          > back -- can't recall refs. -- I seem to remember reading what looked like
          > a sound study of development rates in black & white South African infants.
          >
          > Stage 1. black babies developed appreciably more rapidly at first
          >
          > Stage 2. white toddlers fairly soon caught up and then began to leave
          > their little black compatriots behind
          >
          > Stage 3. white nippers zoomed ahead
          >
          > Reasons offered:
          >
          > 1. Black infants soon began to suffer from slow/inadequate myelination --
          > the sheathing of nerve-fibres
          >
          > 2. This, in turn, was probably caused by increasingly inadequate nutrition
          > in the case of the black infants
          >
          > Sorry folks -- can't be more specific. Jack P
          >
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: "Ralph L Holloway" <rlh2@...>
          > To: "Roy Sugarman" <beegone@...>
          > Cc: <aelewis@...>; <foo@...>;
          > <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 3:16 PM
          > Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social
          > functioning?]
          >
          >
          >> On Sun, 25 Sep 2005, Roy Sugarman wrote:
          >>
          >>> Hi
          >> Interestingly, Black children score higher than White children in South
          >> Africa on most measures until ab about school going age, after which the
          >> balance tilts in the other direction, mostly a sign of the poorer quality
          >> of
          >> education: in private schools, with equal opportunity, this change doesnt
          >> exist and the results are equal for both groups. There is still some
          >> inequality in Afrikaans-English kids though. In the 50's, Afrikaners
          >> scored
          >> two standard deviations below their white English speaking South Afican
          >> counterparts, but after the 70's when television came to South Africa,
          >> the
          >> difference shrank slowly to half a sd. Its culture more than brain, and
          >> more
          >> importantly, modernisation.
          >>
          >>
          >> Perhaps I am missing something here, and if so, my apologies. My
          >> understanding is that in addition to a somewhat shortened pregnancy time
          >> for people of African descent (about 5-7 days earlier than in Asian/
          >> European descent), the sensorimotor development of African children is
          >> simply faster. When one considers that African brains bear the same
          >> metabolic costs as brains from European or Asian descent groups, it makes
          >> sense to regard advanced maturation of the nervous system as a positive
          >> adaptation in regions of high heat stress, i.e, tropical conditions. The
          >> brains still function well in most social/ enironmental challenges, and
          >> reproduction is clearly not selected against. The downside, perhaps, and
          >> it is a strong perhaps, is that the brain matures faster in peoples of
          >> African descent which may make advanced learning more difficult for some
          >> part of the normal distribution of maturation. Have I got these basic
          >> facts wrong?
          >>
          >> Thanks,
          >>
          >> Ralph L. Holloway
          >> Dept. Anthropology
          >> Columbia University
          >> NY, NY 10027
          >> 212-854-4570
          >> Fax= 212-854-7347
          >> Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >> Yahoo! Groups Links
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >
        • Mark Flinn
          I think if we are looking at selective pressures that are salient to understanding the evolution of human cognitive processes then life history effects of
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
            I think if we are looking at selective pressures that are salient to
            understanding the evolution of human cognitive processes then life history
            effects of pathogens and social competition are the two areas that are
            likely to have been much more important than heat stress or anything else
            about climatic conditions per se.

            I think it useful to get our heads out of the narrow confines of our
            impressions of recent human conditions and examine the broader picture in
            comparative perspective. There is no pattern analogous, e.g., to geographic
            parthenogenesis, in the distribution of brain size in animals. Whatever
            taxa you want to look at, there are no general associations btw cold
            climates and large brains. To the contrary, what associations there are
            indicate links between benign environments fostering greater social
            competition and larger brains. High pathogen loads (and high early
            morbidity) can push faster senescence.


            Mark Flinn
            Departments of Anthropology
            and Psychological Sciences
            University of Missouri
            Columbia, MO 65211
            (573) 882-9404
          • Ralph L Holloway
            ... This response to my earlier suggestion is about as glib as you can get, Mark. There are no studies relating pathogen levels to distributions of brain sizes
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
              On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Mark Flinn wrote:

              > I think if we are looking at selective pressures that are salient to
              > understanding the evolution of human cognitive processes then life history
              > effects of pathogens and social competition are the two areas that are
              > likely to have been much more important than heat stress or anything else
              > about climatic conditions per se.

              This response to my earlier suggestion is about as glib as you can get,
              Mark. There are no studies relating pathogen levels to distributions of
              brain sizes throughout the world. There are no studies of social
              competition that have similarly related brain sizes to gradienhts of
              social competition throughout the world. The earlier parturition of
              peoples of African descent appears here in the US as well as elsewhere,
              and I sicerely doubt the pathogen loads are higher here than elsewhere.

              The heat stress hypothesis is simply that. Offered in part because it
              jibes with some facts you appear to ignore.


              >
              > I think it useful to get our heads out of the narrow confines of our
              > impressions of recent human conditions and examine the broader picture in
              > comparative perspective. There is no pattern analogous, e.g., to geographic
              > parthenogenesis, in the distribution of brain size in animals. Whatever
              > taxa you want to look at, there are no general associations btw cold
              > climates and large brains. To the contrary, what associations there are
              > indicate links between benign environments fostering greater social
              > competition and larger brains. High pathogen loads (and high early
              > morbidity) can push faster senescence.
              >

              Show me the studies done on human beings where these ideas apply. "Useful
              to get out of our heads..." means to me that the comparative perspective
              necessarilyt has to trump associations between brain size, neuromuscular
              and sensory development (tell me, did Freedman's study find high pathogen
              loads in the newborn babies he studied?). Sorry you don't like what is in
              some of our heads or the data upon which some hypotheses are offered.

              >
              > Mark Flinn
              > Departments of Anthropology
              > and Psychological Sciences
              > University of Missouri
              > Columbia, MO 65211
              > (573) 882-9404
              >

              Ralph L. Holloway
              Professor of Anthropology
              Dept. Anthropology
              Columbia University
              1200 Amsterdam Ave.
              NY, NY 10027
              212-854-4570
              Fax= 212-854-7347
              Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2
            • Mark Flinn
              Hi Ralph, I am not trying to be glib. I am not suggesting an immediate ontogenetic response to pathogens or social competition, although that is a
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 3, 2005
                Hi Ralph, I am not trying to be glib. I am not suggesting an immediate
                ontogenetic response to pathogens or social competition, although that is a
                possibility. I do not understand what I wrote that led you to believe that
                I am ignoring facts that you proposed, such as earlier parturition. Indeed,
                to put the shoe on the other foot, where is the evidence that humans with
                Euro or Asian geographic ancestry respond to higher temps in the southern
                (vs. northern) USA by having earlier parturition? Or the effects of air
                conditioning? Or the within continent variation (there are cold parts of
                Africa and hot parts of Asia...) Or more to the point of my post, where is
                the evidence that there is such a pattern in other taxa? My point is that
                the evolutionary theoretical basis for a geographic pattern of smaller
                brains associated with higher temperatures is not clear, and not independent
                of other linked variables (morbidity from pathogen loads, social complexity)
                for which there are reasonable theoretical reasons for examining. All of
                this is in rather wildly speculative territory, so my apologies. If there
                is something upon which we clearly agree it is the unfortunate lack of
                useful data. By way of interesting comparisons, I think Bobbi Low's analyses
                of what is associated with significant pathogen loads in humans are good
                food for thought.

                Low, B.S. (1989) Pathogen stress and polygyny in humans. In L. Betzig, M.
                Borgerhoff Mulder, & P. Turke (eds.) Human Reproductive Behavior.
                Cambridge: CUP.


                On 10/3/05 10:56 AM, "Ralph L Holloway" <rlh2@...> wrote:

                > On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Mark Flinn wrote:
                >
                >> I think if we are looking at selective pressures that are salient to
                >> understanding the evolution of human cognitive processes then life history
                >> effects of pathogens and social competition are the two areas that are
                >> likely to have been much more important than heat stress or anything else
                >> about climatic conditions per se.
                >
                > This response to my earlier suggestion is about as glib as you can get,
                > Mark. There are no studies relating pathogen levels to distributions of
                > brain sizes throughout the world. There are no studies of social
                > competition that have similarly related brain sizes to gradienhts of
                > social competition throughout the world. The earlier parturition of
                > peoples of African descent appears here in the US as well as elsewhere,
                > and I sicerely doubt the pathogen loads are higher here than elsewhere.
                >
                > The heat stress hypothesis is simply that. Offered in part because it
                > jibes with some facts you appear to ignore.
                >
                >
                >>
                >> I think it useful to get our heads out of the narrow confines of our
                >> impressions of recent human conditions and examine the broader picture in
                >> comparative perspective. There is no pattern analogous, e.g., to geographic
                >> parthenogenesis, in the distribution of brain size in animals. Whatever
                >> taxa you want to look at, there are no general associations btw cold
                >> climates and large brains. To the contrary, what associations there are
                >> indicate links between benign environments fostering greater social
                >> competition and larger brains. High pathogen loads (and high early
                >> morbidity) can push faster senescence.
                >>
                >
                > Show me the studies done on human beings where these ideas apply. "Useful
                > to get out of our heads..." means to me that the comparative perspective
                > necessarilyt has to trump associations between brain size, neuromuscular
                > and sensory development (tell me, did Freedman's study find high pathogen
                > loads in the newborn babies he studied?). Sorry you don't like what is in
                > some of our heads or the data upon which some hypotheses are offered.
                >
                >>
                >> Mark Flinn
                >> Departments of Anthropology
                >> and Psychological Sciences
                >> University of Missouri
                >> Columbia, MO 65211
                >> (573) 882-9404
                >>
                >
                > Ralph L. Holloway
                > Professor of Anthropology
                > Dept. Anthropology
                > Columbia University
                > 1200 Amsterdam Ave.
                > NY, NY 10027
                > 212-854-4570
                > Fax= 212-854-7347
                > Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2

                Mark Flinn
                Departments of Anthropology
                and Psychological Sciences
                University of Missouri
                Columbia, MO 65211
                (573) 882-9404
              • Wade Allsopp
                Forgive my ignorance of the literature on this subject, but I was under the impression that this issue had something to do with mating strategies. I know that
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 4, 2005
                  Forgive my ignorance of the literature on this subject, but I was under
                  the impression that this issue had something to do with mating
                  strategies. I know that at least here in the UK, the academic under
                  performance of Blacks is largely confined to Black males. Black females
                  seem to do reasonably well, adjusting for environmental factors etc. Do
                  empirical studies show a marked difference in the IQs of black males and
                  females as well as their academic performance?

                  If this is the case, could there be a link between mating strategies and
                  IQ? I believe there is evidence to support the hypothesis that
                  differences in the size of sexual organs and the quantity and type of
                  sperm produced etc between Black males and their White and Asian
                  counterparts is linked to different patterns of sexual behaviour. If ,
                  as seems to me plausible, our large brains have evolved mainly through a
                  process of sexual selection, could different patterns of sexual
                  behaviour, be the driver of the apparently lower average IQ scores of
                  black males?

                  If anyone knows of any studies which either support or refute such a
                  hypothesis, I would be grateful for a link.

                  Wade Allsopp




                  Jack Parsons wrote:

                  >----- Original Message -----
                  >From: "Jack Parsons" <jackparsons@...>
                  >To: "Ralph L Holloway" <rlh2@...>
                  >Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 11:24 PM
                  >Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social
                  >functioning?]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>Dear Ralph/colleagues,
                  >> Just a hazy memory from some 40-45 yrs
                  >>back -- can't recall refs. -- I seem to remember reading what looked like
                  >>a sound study of development rates in black & white South African infants.
                  >>
                  >>Stage 1. black babies developed appreciably more rapidly at first
                  >>
                  >>Stage 2. white toddlers fairly soon caught up and then began to leave
                  >>their little black compatriots behind
                  >>
                  >>Stage 3. white nippers zoomed ahead
                  >>
                  >>Reasons offered:
                  >>
                  >>1. Black infants soon began to suffer from slow/inadequate myelination --
                  >>the sheathing of nerve-fibres
                  >>
                  >>2. This, in turn, was probably caused by increasingly inadequate nutrition
                  >>in the case of the black infants
                  >>
                  >>Sorry folks -- can't be more specific. Jack P
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>----- Original Message -----
                  >>From: "Ralph L Holloway" <rlh2@...>
                  >>To: "Roy Sugarman" <beegone@...>
                  >>Cc: <aelewis@...>; <foo@...>;
                  >><evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                  >>Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 3:16 PM
                  >>Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social
                  >>functioning?]
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>>On Sun, 25 Sep 2005, Roy Sugarman wrote:
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>>Hi
                  >>>>
                  >>>>
                  >>> Interestingly, Black children score higher than White children in South
                  >>>Africa on most measures until ab about school going age, after which the
                  >>>balance tilts in the other direction, mostly a sign of the poorer quality
                  >>>of
                  >>>education: in private schools, with equal opportunity, this change doesnt
                  >>>exist and the results are equal for both groups. There is still some
                  >>>inequality in Afrikaans-English kids though. In the 50's, Afrikaners
                  >>>scored
                  >>>two standard deviations below their white English speaking South Afican
                  >>>counterparts, but after the 70's when television came to South Africa,
                  >>>the
                  >>>difference shrank slowly to half a sd. Its culture more than brain, and
                  >>>more
                  >>>importantly, modernisation.
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>Perhaps I am missing something here, and if so, my apologies. My
                  >>>understanding is that in addition to a somewhat shortened pregnancy time
                  >>>for people of African descent (about 5-7 days earlier than in Asian/
                  >>>European descent), the sensorimotor development of African children is
                  >>>simply faster. When one considers that African brains bear the same
                  >>>metabolic costs as brains from European or Asian descent groups, it makes
                  >>>sense to regard advanced maturation of the nervous system as a positive
                  >>>adaptation in regions of high heat stress, i.e, tropical conditions. The
                  >>>brains still function well in most social/ enironmental challenges, and
                  >>>reproduction is clearly not selected against. The downside, perhaps, and
                  >>>it is a strong perhaps, is that the brain matures faster in peoples of
                  >>>African descent which may make advanced learning more difficult for some
                  >>>part of the normal distribution of maturation. Have I got these basic
                  >>>facts wrong?
                  >>>
                  >>>Thanks,
                  >>>
                  >>>Ralph L. Holloway
                  >>>Dept. Anthropology
                  >>>Columbia University
                  >>>NY, NY 10027
                  >>>212-854-4570
                  >>>Fax= 212-854-7347
                  >>>Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>
                  >>>
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