Race, genes, and IQ test scores: A new conceptual starter kit

My previous conceptual starter kit for thinking about genes, race, and IQ test scores jumped in too quickly.  It might be better as a sequel to the new starter kit here (designed for a high school audience at a museum of science presentation on what science says about racial differences).

The title “Race, Genes, and IQ test scores suggests a simple relationship:

Race -> Genes -> IQ test scores

or:

Differences in Races -> Differences in Genes -> Differences in IQ test scores

Take home lesson: The world is not that simple.

ACTIVITY (distributed on a Note card on each person’s seat).

Imagine you are XX (where depending on the notecard XX = Individual in group 1 // Individual in group 2 // Government politician/ policymaker // Teacher // Genetics researcher //  IQ researcher)

  • What would you do on the basis of these IQ test score patterns?
  • What more would you want to know about the IQ test score patterns before deciding what to do?

Compare your answers with your neighbor.

Now let me tell you that group 1 are your grandparents’ generation and group 2 are your parents’ generation.

(How could this be?–IQ test scores are supposed to have an average of 100.  Answer: Each generation IQ testers shift what counts as 100.

Now—

  • What would you do on the basis of these IQ test score patterns?
  • What more would you want to know about the IQ test score patterns before deciding what to do?

Discuss with your neighbor how your original answers change or not with this new information.

Now let me tell you that group 1 are people who were adopted by poor families and group 2 are people who were adopted by well-off families. (Actually the 115 should be only 112 in this case.)

Ditto

Now let me tell you that group 1 are African-Americans in the USA and group 2 are Euro-Americans (“whites”) in the USA.

Ditto

Take home lesson: The world is not as simple as Differences in Races -> Differences in Genes -> Differences in IQ test scores.  (If it were, then Differences in Generations -> Differences in Genes -> Differences in IQ test scores, but we know that Differences in Generations do not -> Differences in Genes.)

(+ Be skeptical of anyone who wants you to think it could be: They are not being true to the science or to the complexity of understanding differences among groups.)

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One thought on “Race, genes, and IQ test scores: A new conceptual starter kit

  1. Pingback: Race, genes, and IQ test scores: The latest conceptual starter kit « Intersecting Processes

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