The converse of the naturalistic fallacy is the
moralistic fallacy, which occurs when reasoning jumps from prescriptions about
what ought to be to statements about what is. It was coined by Harvard University
microbiologist Bernard Davis (1978) as a response to calls for ethical guidelines
for studying what could purportedly become “dangerous knowledge,” such as the
genetic basis of IQ. Davis reasoned that chilling an area of inquiry on moral
grounds fixes our knowledge in that area, so it becomes, in effect, an illogical
effort to derive an “is” from an “ought.” An example of the moralistic fallacy is
to claim that because warfare is wrong, it cannot be part of human nature.
One corollary of the moralistic fallacy is the demonizing of those who refuse
to observe it. Another is that someone must be blamed whenever Nature stubbornly
refuses to conform. Because Blacks and Whites ought to be equal in IQ and
educational outcome but still are not, some who adopt a moralistic position hold,
in effect, that White people’s attitudes are largely to blame (e.g., Ogbu, 2003;
Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 2003). Both fallacies are conjoined when it is argued
that whereas minority dislike of Whites is “natural” (because of mistreatment, or
because of feeling “culturally dominated”), White prejudice is inherently bigoted
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, there has been no narrowing of the 15- to
18-point average IQ difference between Blacks and Whites (1.1 standard deviations);
the differences are as large today as they were when first measured nearly
100 years ago. They, and the concomitant difference in standard of living, level of
education, and related phenomena, lie in factors that are largely heritable, not
cultural. The IQ differences are attributable to differences in brain size more than to
racism, stereotype threat, item selection on tests, and all the other suggestions given
by the commentators. It is time to meet reality. It is time to stop committing the
“moralistic fallacy” that good science must conform to approved outcomes.
In our target article (Rushton & Jensen, 2005), we proposed a hereditarian
model—50% genetic–50% environmental—to explain the 15- to 18-point average
IQ difference (1.1 standard deviations) between Blacks and Whites. We reviewed
the worldwide distribution of test scores, the g factor of mental ability, the
heritability of within- and between-groups differences, the relation of brain size to
intelligence and of race differences in brain size, regression to the mean, crossracial
adoption studies, racial admixture studies, and data from life-history traits
and human origins research. We were unable to identify (in Section 12 of Rushton
& Jensen, 2005) any reliable environmental contribution to the Black–White IQ
difference, including the non-g Flynn effect (i.e., the secular rise in IQ scores). We
also found that on many dimensions, East Asian–White differences were a mirror
image of Black–White differences. In Section 14, we concluded in favor of an
even stronger hereditarian model—80% genetic–20% environmental—based on
Jensen’s (1998, p. 443) “default hypothesis” that, by adulthood, genetic and
environmental factors carry the same weight in causing group differences as they
do in causing individual differences.
Gottfredson (2005) is the only commentator who confronted head-on all the
empirical, theoretical, and moral issues. The other commentators (Nisbett, 2005;
Sternberg, 2005; Suzuki & Aronson, 2005) sidestepped the totality of the threeway
race– behavior matrix shown in our Table 3. They invoked one or other of the
culture-only refrains, that “race” is only “skin deep”; if not, then any difference
is too small to matter; if not, then it is due to cultural factors such as statistical
artifacts, insensitive tests, racism, stereotype threat, and poverty; if not, then it is
poor form to talk about it. They also offered the usual culture-only promissory
notes that the Black–White IQ gap can be reduced by economic improvements,
interventionist programs, culture-friendly assessment systems, and nonweighted
models of gene– environment interaction. Their examples only confirm what we
described in Sections 2, 13, and 14: Culture-only theory is a degenerating research
Nisbett (2005) provided the most empirically forceful of the rebuttals. He
claimed that the Black–White IQ difference had decreased to only 10 points in
magnitude (0.70 standard deviations) and that it could be eliminated altogether
within 20 to 60 years. He based this assertion on a purported narrowing of the
Black–White difference on school achievement tests (reading, vocabulary, and
mathematics), which he then extrapolated to the IQ differences.
Reality, however, is stubborn. Jensen (1998, pp. 375–376, n. 33, 407–408,
494–495) showed that gains in scholastic achievement do not equal gains in g,
and the Black–White differences in g are as large as ever, even for measures of
reaction time. Jensen’s conclusion dovetails with a meta-analysis by Roth, Bevier,
Bobko, Switzer, and Tyler (2001) that we cited at the opening of our target article.
They found a mean effect size of 1.1 standard deviations that ranged from 0.38 to
1.46 (based on a sample of 6,246,729 from corporate, military, and higher
education samples) depending on the g loading of the test. On the question of
whether the difference was diminishing, they suggested any reduction was “either
small, potentially a function of sampling error . . . or nonexistent for highly g
loaded instruments [italics added]” (Roth et al., 2001, p. 323).
In her commentary, Gottfredson (2005) underscored this message with evidence
that no narrowing had taken place in average Black–White differences. She
contrasted Black–White differences on highly g-loaded “IQ tests” with those on
less g-loaded “school achievement tests.” Gottfredson found that Black–White
differences on IQ tests remained constant at 1.0 standard deviation throughout the
20th century. She agreed that the differences on school achievement tests did
narrow slightly from 1.07 to 0.89 standard deviations from the 1970s to the 1990s
when the National Assessment of Educational Progress collected data on 9- to
17-year-olds. However, as she then pointed out, even this 20% reduction in
educational achievement (a) had occurred by the mid-1980s and no longer
continues, (b) is compatible with the group differences in g, and (c) does not
contradict the hereditarian hypothesis.
These variable Black–White differences are explained by Spearman’s (1927)
hypothesis, which states that Black–White IQ differences are “most marked in just
those [tests] which are known to be saturated with g” (p. 379; see Section 4 of
Rushton & Jensen, 2005). The differences are lower on specific tests of memory,
or arithmetic and spelling, than they are on general reasoning and transforming
information. One implication is that test constructors could in principle reduce the
Black–White difference to zero (or even reverse it) by including only non-g items
(or those negatively loaded on g). However, they would then be left with a test
that had little or no predictive power. Roth et al.’s (2001) meta-analysis concluded:
“Overall, the results for both industrial and educational samples provide
support for Spearman’s hypothesis. That is, black–white differences on measures
of cognitive ability tended to increase with the saturation of g in the measure of
ability” (Roth et al., 2001, p. 317).
There is in fact no good evidence, contrary to Nisbett (2005; and Suzuki &
Aronson, 2005), that g is malleable by nonbiological variables. That would
require not just evidence that training produces higher scores but evidence of
broad transfer of training effects to other highly g-loaded tasks. Extrapolation of
the trends into the future may be like extrapolating the non-g secular rise in IQ
scores (the Flynn effect; see Section 12). That the Flynn effect is not a Jensen
effect (i.e., did not have a loading on the g factor) was corroborated by Wicherts
et al. (2004). This is consistent with the lack of convergence of White and Black
means across decades despite the overall rise in IQs.
Two recent monographs show just how wide the achievement gap between
Blacks and Whites remains. First, Thernstrom and Thernstrom (2003) comprehensively
documented the scale of the Black deficiency: For example, in reading,
history, geography, and mathematics, 12th-grade Black students do not do as well
as eighth-grade White students. The authors showed, moreover, that despite
numerous, often well-publicized, countywide projects (such as the $2 billion
program in affluent Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as the Kansas City,
Missouri, school district, under judicial supervision since 1985), no plan has yet
made a replicable dent in the Black–White achievement gap (despite low student–
teacher ratios and computers in every classroom). Second, Ogbu (2003) studied
the persistent underachievement of Black children in the well-to-do suburb of
Shaker Heights, Ohio, as a result of concern raised by their (Black) parents, often
highly paid professionals who had moved to the area specifically for its schools.
The Black students did better than Black students elsewhere, but there were huge
gaps between the Blacks and their non-Black counterparts. Instead of genetic
differences in intelligence, both books offer variations on the usual culture-only
explanations: poor schools, prejudice, stereotyping, low expectations, and alienation
from White cultural domination. Nor do they consider regression to the
mean (Section 9) or other genetically influenced traits that differentiate the races
and affect attitudes to schoolwork (Section 10).
-more here from Prof. Rushton and Prof. Jensen
The reason genetic science and racial studies are such a taboo today is because they show continued and consistent differences in the races.
If you reject the reality of genetic racial differences then you are left with blaming Whites (who make up 13% of the population of the world) for the continued (historical) socio-economical gaps between the races, whether they be In America, Europe, Africa, Latin America or Africa.
If you are going to follow the pursuit of truth through science, then you must ask yourself if it is reasonable to believe that various groups of Homo sapiens, spreading out and evolving over tens of thousands of years in wildly varying environments, will evolve to the same abilities, skills, intrinsic societal values, IQ and Morality.
The honest answer is of course, "no they will not".
Do Homo sapiens share commonalities and genetics?
But then we also share commonalities and genetics with plants and animals as well.
The pursuit of "The Universal", whether it be in the religious (as in monotheism) or the secular (as in equality) , is the quest of the arbitrary fool.
It is road down which no Civilization or people return...