Ah, what one misses by having lots of social commitments over the holidays. A prime example would be this chart that Hemant posted on Friendly Atheist.
Cute, huh? Go, us smart atheists! Yay!
Except for one little thing. You see that footnote about the source of the IQ data? Good old Richard Lynn. Shall we see where his data came from?
The main source for the Bell Curve’s claims regarding African IQ was a Lynn article from Mankind Quarterly in 1991, in which he said mean African IQ was 70. Lynn claims that he arrived at this figure by looking at the “best studies” on the subject since 1929. The study he claimed was the “best” was conducted in 1989 and involved 1,093 16-year old blacks, who scored a mean of 69 on the South African Junior Aptitude Test. From this, Lynn then extrapolated mean IQ to the whole of Black Africa. Even worse, Lynn completely misconstrued the findings of the study in question. According to the study’s author, Dr Ken Owen, his test was “not at all” evidence of genetic intelligence. In fact, Owen has noted that the results were found directly related to the existence of apartheid era oppression, and the fact that the test was in English.
Another of the “definitive” studies cited by Lynn in his own article was a 1929 study, in which 293 blacks in South Africa were given the Army Beta Test and scored a mean of 65. But this test was administered by M.L. Finch, an open protagonist of the view that blacks were inherently inferior, even before he had done any studies to “prove” such a thing: he was, in other words, hardly a pure, unbiased scientist. Furthermore, the Beta Test was one of the most culturally biased tests in the world at that time: one question on the 1929 version in dispute showed people playing tennis without a net. To get full credit for the question, one would have to draw the net in the picture—something few black Africans could have possibly known to do in 1929, having never been exposed to the game. A leading proponent of the Beta Test, C.C. Brigham, actually admitted that the test had no validity whatsoever for non-Americans: a fact totally ignored by Lynn, and by the Bell Curve.
You’ll want to read about Lynn’s sources for Asian IQs as well. The only reason these datasets keep getting cited (positively) is that Lynn and some cronies keep citing them, generally in a journal they help to edit. If you’re going to use these folks as a source, you might as well use Lynn’s buddy J. Phillipe Rushton’s work on IQ and penis size as well.
Rushton is cited eleven times in the Bell Curve, and Murray and Herrnstein go to great lengths to ensure their readers that Rushton “is not a quack.” This despite the fact that Rushton’s “scientific methodology” has included approaching shoppers at a Toronto mall (one-third black, one-third white, and one-third Asian) and asking them “how far can you ejaculate,” or “how large is your penis?” He has also said, that intelligence is inversely related to penis size, because “it’s more brain or more penis. You can’t have everything,” and has claimed that the success of the Nazi army was due to its Aryan genetic purity. Interestingly enough, Rushton’s data on penis size all comes from one study, conducted in 1898 by an anonymous French Army surgeon who traveled through Africa and recorded the size of African penises, and from a second study comparing the penises of Nigerian medical students to Czech army officers. In this study, it turned out the Nigerians penises were longer, and the Czech’s had greater circumference. So why is length more important in effecting brainpower than girth? Who knows? Neither the original study, nor Rushton, explains this point.
Hear that, atheist guys? Hemant posted a happy-making little graphic that says that says you’re irreligious because your penises are small. Doesn’t that make you feel good?