September 6, 2012

Micronutrient supplementation

I've been writing since 2004 about how the most cost-effective way to help poor countries is through micronutrient supplementation: the U.S. used to have, for example, problems with cretinism in inland states caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. (Saltwater fish tend to be a good source of iodine, but not freshwater fish). So, back before WWII, manufacturers started to add iodine to salt, and this IQ-sapping problem went away. Adding iron to flour also helped raise IQs. This is one of the (many) reasons that the military found the mental sharpness of draftees in WWII much more satisfactory than in WWI.

The NYT has an article about an alternative approach to supplementation: instead of trying to get local manufacturers to add micronutrients to staples, have parents sprinkle the nutrients on their kids' food. 

Whatever the delivery method, this appears to be the most cost effective way to raise national average IQ, and higher national average IQs correlate closely with a host of good things such as higher school test scores and higher per capita GDP. Unfortunately, the entire concept of "national average IQ" has been more or less verboten outside a small corner of social sciences, so the best argument for micronutrient supplementation almost never gets aired. So, this extremely promising method remains stuck in the unfashionable corner of global philanthropy, with Kiwanis International being the prime donor.

The good news is that in the last few years the Gates Foundation has begun to get involved in this field. But, after getting in late, a decade after their splashy debuts in other fields, they've kept if pretty quiet. My guess is that Gates' personal worldview is roughly the same as Mike Judge's Idiocracy and Monty Python's The Protestant View. We know he's obsessed with IQ and that his father was big on population control. (As I pointed out in Taki's Magazine, eugenics was the ideology of Silicon Valley's founders, William Shockley and Fred Terman, and, for all I know, it might still be the sub rosa worldview out there. Here's Paul Graham's essay on "What You Can't Say.") How long do you think it would take you to explain the logic of micronutrient supplementation to raise national average IQ to Gates before he interrupted you and said, "Okay, yeah, I get it." 90 seconds?

But because it's pretty obvious that Gates comes out of the old WASP ideology of quality over quantity in reproduction, if anybody stopped and thought about it, he has to operate through these complicated double bankshot projects to burnish his reputation for being a true believer in political correctness, such as wasting (in his own admission) $2 billion on the lefty "small schools" fad of the last decade.

56 comments:

The Legendary Linda said...

Steve as you brilliantly pointed out years ago (and Richard Lynn elaborated on later in his book) the 18 point IQ gap between between African blacks (IQ 67)and American blacks (IQ 85) must be mostly environment, since even African Americans with virtually 0% white ancestry (IQ 80) still score 13 points higher than African blacks.

Lynn brilliantly suggested that nutrition (which raised height and brain size by about 1.5 SD over the last 100 years or so) is probably also responsible for the Flynn Effect, and probably also responsible for African blacks scoring 13 points lower than pure blacks in the U.S., since Steve brilliantly observed that African blacks are shorter than American blacks.

So what does this tell us about India? The average man there is 5'5" compared to American men who are about 5'10": a difference of 1.95 SD. Is this height gap genetic or environmental or both. If indian's are stunted by malnutrition, then would imply that their brain development is equally stunted and that their IQ's could be raised from 82 to 111 (a 1.95 SD increase) simply by moving to the first world. It just so happens that Indians in America DO score an IQ equivalent of 111 on backwards digits span, though that is probably selective migration, not nutrition. On the other hand, if Indian men only have a genetic height of 5'7", then they are only malnourished by 0.78 SD then their Genetic IQ is only 94.

All this assumes that nutrition (including disease which prevents the biody from using nutrients) is the ONLY
significant environmental cause of national and generational IQ differences. That's because there's only conflicting evidence that schooling or culture can raise scores on CULTURE REDUCED tests.

socks said...

For a long time, I wondered why smoking was bad but smoking weed was good. Then I realized both could be seen as ways to reduce competitors' performance.

Not forcing manufacturer's to add these micronutrients could also reduce performance. We're slowly transitioning into a hyper-competitive (along every axis), limits to growth, world. And it's probably worse in a diverse nation.

I think the elite and the non-elite upper classes want the world to work, but first, they have to make sure that if it doesn't, they win, even if they aren't doing it on a conscious level.

Karen said...

I heard something about adding folic acid to flour this morning on CNN Spanish. (My Spanish isn't good enough yet to have completely understood the story, but "las mujeres embarzadas y por ester embarazadas" was a common phrase, as was "ninos mas inteligentes." I agree with you that micronutrients are extraordinarily important, so using language that encourages rather than insults is essential. Focus on the benefits to each kid and her parents instead of abstracts like the "national average IQ."

Carol said...

Interesting what Karen said. Does masa harina have any iron in it?

kurt9 said...

Global philanthropy is more about making Westerners feel good about themselves and about actually solving problems.

Bono offers endless, merciless yammering about how the West needs to offer ever more amounts of aid to Africa, while forgetting that China has uplifted itself from African-level poverty over the past 30 years through free-market reform and direct foreign investment, not ever increasing amounts of aid.

Jim Rogers, author of Adventure Capitalism, came to the conclusion that NGO's are scams during his visits to Africa.

Anonymous said...

Send them frozen sperm from high IQ donors as well. Or send some sperm donors on a 'vacation' to these places. Hybridization will dramatically increase their average IQ, and their quality of life, all in a generation or 2.

Anonymous said...

China is taking over Africa these days, for their minerals. Which benefits the Chinese far more than our aid does us.

Gloria

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Well, anything is worth a try. But ya know, even while we were deprived of the IQ raising nutrients, we were still able to figure out that we needed them and how to deliver them.

It isn't like the Martians came along and started fortifying our wheat, salt, etc.

Perspective said...

Is there a mircronutrient that western countries are lacking that could be added to boost the IQ scores in those countries? Every country in the world would be better off if IQ scores increased.

Lizard Smile said...

My guess is we should quit pretending Bill Gates is anything other than what he appears: Another Anti-White elite.

Maya said...

NYT's wrong. I'm sure there are a lot of lower class parents who are genuinely invested in their children, and who'd religiously adhere to any system designed to improve their kids' lives. But, on average, such lower class/poor parents aren't common. Don't count on them to do anything.

On that note, does anyone have an idea regarding how I could get these two mothers go pick up their children's free prescription glasses? The medical staff came and evaluated our students right here, at school, but the glasses need to be picked up by the parent or guardian. The clinic is about 3 bus stops away. I was ready to pay them both, but the principal forbid it. She said the other parents might find out and demand that the school pay them too for such parenting tasks. I am allowed to visit the households and go with the mothers, but I don't want to because they are all bigger than me.

precious neanderthal genes said...

Any sources for the claim that iron raises IQ's? That doesn't seem right to me.

Anonymous said...

Mineral absorption would be better if the micronutrients were add to the soil and then taken up by the plants that grow on the soil and the animals that eat those plants. Minerals are washed out of the soil by rain. The problem is worse in tropical countries because higher temperatures speed up chemical reactions and result in more mineral loss.

That said, the Sprinkles product should probably also include selenium, chromium, vitamin K2 and maybe some magnesium.

Anonymous said...

In case we raise the IQ's of our potential competitors too much, we always have our exported "culture" to keep things in hand, eg the BBC Overseas, Lady Gaga, the World Bank etc.

Anon.

Aaron B. said...

Some parts of the world have been eating fortified Western food in the form of aid packages for a while. Has it caused any noticeable improvement in anything?

Dr. Weston Price noticed that when primitive peoples started eating processed grains and sugars brought in by colonists, they became more unhealthy in many different ways. Maybe at the same time their IQs increased, but it seems like someone would have noticed.

Anonymous said...

Micronutrients may be of some importance, but do not oversell them. Consider the main IQ test result in existence for Barbados. The average IQ score of the children of moderately or severely stunted height was 15 points below that of the other children, but since only about 1/6 of the children were, by this measure, malnourished, poor nutrition pulled down the average IQ for all the children by three points at most. Even in India, a majority of the children are not moderately or severely stunted.

Furthermore, the lower IQs of the malnourished children might, in fact, have been due to factors that covary with malnutrition, such as child diseases that may not have been caused by a lack of nutrients. It is also possible that the malnourished children were genetically disposed to have lower IQs because their parents had low IQs, and low intelligence may have caused them to end up both poor and malnourished; malnutrition could have been the effect, and not the cause, of low intelligence.

An interesting test of the above thinking would to examine people in North Korea. The betting here is that average IQ would still be in the 90s, despite more severe malnutrition than exists in India.

Lynn's estimate for average IQ in sub-Saharan Africa is much too low. Wicherts' estimate may be too high, but is closer to the truth.

Nutrition matters, but not by an average of 15 IQ points for every member (both well-nourished and under-nourished) of the population.

Anonymous said...

instead of trying to get local manufacturers to add micronutrients to staples, have parents sprinkle the nutrients on their kids' food

Is this a joke?

The reason that "birth control" never took off in the, ah, stoopid community is because remembering to take a single pill every day is just way, way, way too complicated a task for girls with IQs in the 80s, 70s, 60s, and 50s.

That's why they had to invent Depo-Provera.

Heck, I doubt that girls with IQs up in the 90s could be counted on to reliably & consistently remember to swallow their birth control pills every day.

The idea that "parents" in sub-Saharan Africa are going to remember to sprinkle the magic pixie dust on their children's UNWFP rice every day is simply ludicrous.

Steve Sailer said...

"by three points at most"

Half of three points would be 10% of the white-black gap: in other words, you'd be making a big difference even if there was a huge way left to go.

Anonymous said...

but the principal forbid it

forbade


.

Kylie said...

"Well, anything is worth a try. But ya know, even while we were deprived of the IQ raising nutrients, we were still able to figure out that we needed them and how to deliver them.

It isn't like the Martians came along and started fortifying our wheat, salt, etc."


Exactly.

Aaron B. said...

Another thing about supplementation is that it generally wasn't necessary until food started being processed and broken down into components like white flour. Iron was added to flour because milling the wheat and removing the bran and germ also removed most of the iron and some other nutrients. Vitamins A & D are added to milk to attempt to replace what was lost in removing some or all of the fat. And so on.

Primitive cultures that still eat whole foods don't have those issues. The traditional Masai, for instance, are very healthy on a diet of raw, high-fat milk, blood, and meat. They're not lacking anything nutritionally, so it would be interesting to see their IQ numbers. It seems unlikely that putting them on an American diet of fortified processed foods would improve them.

So my question would be: how many Africans eat a diet like Westerners ate during that short period between when they started heavy food processing and when they realized their new foods were missing important ingredients? They would seem to be the only ones for whom fortification would be beneficial.

The Legendary Linda said...

Micronutrients may be of some importance, but do not oversell them. Consider the main IQ test result in existence for Barbados. The average IQ score of the children of moderately or severely stunted height was 15 points below that of the other children, but since only about 1/6 of the children were, by this measure, malnourished, poor nutrition pulled down the average IQ for all the children by three points at most.

Only 1/6 of children were SEVERELY malnourished, but that doesn’t mean the other 5/6 had optimum modern first world nutrition. A better interpretation might be that if 17% of Barbados kids are stunted compared to let’s say 2% of African American kids, then, assuming nutrition is normally distributed within countries, the average nutrition in Barbados is probably 1 SD below African American nutrition. According to Lynn African Americans (IQ 85) score 7 points higher than Barbados blacks (IQ 78) so a 1 SD increase in nutrition probably raises IQ by nearly half an SD (that’s pretty good bang for your buck).

Who would have thought that the most promising idea for raising minority IQ emerged on an HBD blog! We’re not so evil after all.

The Legendary Linda said...

Lynn's estimate for average IQ in sub-Saharan Africa is much too low. Wicherts' estimate may be too high, but is closer to the truth.

No if anything even Lynn's estimate might be too high. Studies of African IQ are conducted in such a way that the dullest blacks are not sampled. The studies are done on school students (the least intelligent are often not in school) and done in urban areas.

An average IQ of 67 sounds absurdly low but you have to put in perspective. White Americans were probably scoring below 75 before WWI (against today's norms). Do you think black Africans today are smarter than white America a century ago? The Roma (a caucasoid population that's lived in Europe for centuries)score 68 on IQ tests so an average IQ of 67 is entirely plausible for the least intelligent major race, living in the most disadvantaged region of the world.

Further Rushton independently confirmed that the average IQ of black African university students was in the mid 80s and you would expect a small educated elite to be at least 1 SD above the mean of their countries, which would put the average black African no higher than 70.

You can argue that IQ tests are biased against people in such a culturally deprived region and thus significantly underestimate intelligence, but I don't think the actual scores here are debatable.

candid_observer said...

Steve,

I think you vastly overestimate Bill Gates' capacity for unconventional thinking. Yes, he may believe in IQ bigtime in his work in software. But if the "authorities"-that-be tell him that IQ differences between the races derive from environmental (and perhaps nutritional) forces, and most certainly not from genetic forces, then I find it nigh inconceivable that Bill Gates might have a different thought on the matter.

If you become one of the richest people in the world by monkey-see-monkey-do in the one area you understand well, I don't think it likely you're going to think deep, maverick thoughts in areas you don't understand.

Aaron B. said...

"White Americans were probably scoring below 75 before WWI (against today's norms)."

Why on earth would you think that? Have you seen the kinds of textbooks and tests schoolchildren were given a century ago?

You're talking about a people who conquered and explored an entire continent, criss-crossed it with railroads and telegraph lines, and built towns and cities in every possible climate and terrain. You think they did this with an average 75 IQ? Do you see any society today with an IQ below 90 doing anything of the sort?

Lizard Smile said...

Aaron B is right. Take a look at high school textbooks from a century ago, much more challenging than modern versions. I don't know where this idea comes from that real intelligence has increased since then - LOL. Again, I am talking real underlying intelligence, not a test used to measure it.

Anonymous said...

People generally inflate the difficulty of past course work. I saw the Harvard entrance exam from c. 1900. Not too impressive.

The Legendary Linda said...

Why on earth would you think that? Have you seen the kinds of textbooks and tests schoolchildren were given a century ago?

And what percentage of children were actually reading those textbooks a century ago? What percentage could even read? We've seen a massive rise in literacy over the last 100 years. And just because IQ was lower back then does not mean it was lower in every area.


You're talking about a people who conquered and explored an entire continent, criss-crossed it with railroads and telegraph lines, and built towns and cities in every possible climate and terrain. You think they did this with an average 75 IQ? Do you see any society today with an IQ below 90 doing anything of the sort?


Well Pakistan managed to develop nuclear weapons with an average IQ of 84.

But I see your point about a mean IQ of 75 being absurdly low for a people as culturally advanced as early 20th century whites.

Jensen believes that only about half of the 20th century gains in IQ reflect a biological nutrion based increase in g, and the rest is caused by cultural factors like more schooling which just make people more test savvy without actually improving real intelligence.

Anonymous said...

The idea that "parents" in sub-Saharan Africa are going to remember to sprinkle the magic pixie dust on their children's UNWFP rice every day is simply ludicrous.

Ludicrous? I don't see how. African villagers know rice needs to be boiled and seasoned. Advise them to store the "sprinkles" next to the salt, or better yet make into a condiment. Like a poor man's version of kelp flakes or something.

Kylie said...

"'The idea that "parents" in sub-Saharan Africa are going to remember to sprinkle the magic pixie dust on their children's UNWFP rice every day is simply ludicrous.'

Ludicrous? I don't see how. African villagers know rice needs to be boiled and seasoned."


Then apparently Africans know a lot more about rice than they do about basic hygiene and sanitation. In at least some parts of Africa, the people are unwilling to dig pit latrines for their own use and safety even when that's a condition of receiving government grants.

Katine parishes could lose out on money over latrine coverage



"Advise them to store the 'sprinkles' next to the salt, or better yet make into a condiment. Like a poor man's version of kelp flakes or something."

Right. Like advising them to have--and use--T taps and soap near their pit latrines.

Katine counts mounting costs of strike

If you don't see the difficulties in getting Africans to remember to put "sprinkles" on their food when they are reluctant, even with monetary incentives, to dig pit latrines for their own use, then I doubt anything you read is going to open your eyes.

Aaron B. said...

"People generally inflate the difficulty of past course work. I saw the Harvard entrance exam from c. 1900. Not too impressive."

It doesn't have to be harder than today's to prove my point; it only has to be comparable. Linda suggested that the average American 100 years ago had an IQ barely above what today would have him put in a special Ed class. People with Down's syndrome have an average IQ of 50, so she thinks the average American in 1910 -- a person who ran a farm, held down a factory or office job, and/or raised children -- was as close in intelligence to a Down's sufferer as he was to the average person today. That's just ludicrous.

"We've seen a massive rise in literacy over the last 100 years."

Nope. Our guvmint says illiteracy among white Americans was 4.6% in 1900. Pretty good for a bunch of people who probably spent most of their time tying to keep their shoes because Velcro hadn't been invented yet.

"And just because IQ was lower back then does not mean it was lower in every area."

Since you used the word "average," I assumed you knew what it meant.

Volkverhetzer said...

If previous Europeans were so stupid from malnutrition, then the ones living in areas where there was good nutrition, should be a lot smarter.

For instant all the fishermen farmers along the coasts of the North see, lived on a diet of salt water fish, while extra nutrients came from their vegetable garden and from having a cow for milk. It was also common to have a few goats and perhaps a pig.

The food these people ate might not have been the most tasty, but it contained all the main nutrients that is supposed to give a low IQ.

So if the theory about Europeans being stupid from malnutrition is correct, you should see differences between coastal areas and inland areas, a difference I have not seen.

You do find differences in blondism though, as the agricultural areas needs blonder hair to get enough vitamin D, while this isn't really a problem for those whose diet mainly consists of fish.

You don't find the same differences in blue vs brown eyes when comparing the coast to the inland areas, as it was better for both to be able to see better in the dusk. When we know that the nights don't really become dark in the northern part of Europe, to be able to walk or sail around after the sun has set, is a major advantage.

Volksverhetzer said...

"We've seen a massive rise in literacy over the last 100 years."

Sweden has had compulsory schooling since 1686, and it was not implemented in Scandinavia primarily to get the population to be able to read, as a large part already knew that, but to get control over the religious education, as you did not want the population to read the bible unguided.

Only at a later time, did reading and writing become a separate subject from education in the one true faith.

I also suspect that the early start in force feeding the Scandinavian population Christianity, is a major explanation for the all the Scandinavian atheist you find today.

sunbeam said...

This is something that has real validity, but it seems like it is too boring for decision makers to jump on. I might be wrong though.

Reading these Flynn Effect and IQ posts with their discussion of the culture bias on IQ tests, I had a recurrence of a thought I've had several times.

The importance of literacy, particularly in being taught how to read and write at an early age.

I'm no expert, but I am convinced this changes the brain at an important time, having an effect that can't be duplicated by becoming literate at a later age.

And in a round about way, this is one of the reasons I don't think Libertarians or Randians have a clue about how to run a society.

Education is too important to be left to the vagaries of a parent's whims, or the ebbs and flows of an economy.

This seems like heresy, but let me ask you something: how useful for anything is a population of illiterates? What exactly can they do in the world as it exists now? As time goes on every last niche they ever filled is being eliminated.

And yes, I think a society set up the way Libertarians apparently want to would inevitably produce this. Including amongst a lot of the white population to be blunt about it.

If you look at the literacy rates of previous eras before public schooling, I think you can find a lot of support for this.

This is only one of the reasons I personally think Libertarianism is stupid.

Although I'd gladly swear off foreign wars, and have no problem with marijuana being legal.

Anonymous said...

Not-So-Off-Topic Muslim cousin-marriage in the science news:

Amino-acid deficiency underlies rare form of autism
Ewen Callaway
06 September 2012
nature.com

A rare, hereditary form of autism has been found - and it may be treatable with protein supplements.

Genome sequencing of six children with autism has revealed mutations in a gene that stops several essential amino acids being depleted. Mice lacking this gene developed neurological problems related to autism that were reversed by dietary changes, a paper published today in Science shows.

"This might represent the first treatable form of autism," says Joseph Gleeson, a child neurologist at the University of California, San Diego...

The children came from three families with Middle Eastern ancestry; in each case the parents were first cousins...

unix said...

" what percentage of children were actually reading those textbooks a century ago? What percentage could even read? We've seen a massive rise in literacy over the last 100 years. And just because IQ was lower back then does not mean it was lower in every area."

Not all that "massive." Just about everybody went to school. Literacy was 90% by the end of the 19th century. The rural south did have a small percentage. But even there, a census for 1870 Mobile, Alabama, shows virtually all young kids under 14 in school -- even blacks.
If you read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder stories of growing up on the American frontier, you will get a good idea of what farm kids were studying. She became a teacher at barely 16, before she even finished all the readers. The texts were standardized (I think Horace Mann was instrumental) by the 1860s, and completing the sequence of "Readers" meant you completed school. Usually kids were 17 or 18 when this occurred. Eventually the system morphed into "High School."
So the 8th grade tests that most of us could not pass today, were indeed what was taught in schools. Now how well most kids did on them is another story.
I think what is being said here is that a predominantly rural environment does seem to make for lower IQ, while urban environments somehow stimulate the IQ to higher points. This is what people mean when they talk about the immigrants of the 1890s with their 85 IQ. New language, rural background, and unfamiliarity with the new world were in effect. By the next generation the actual level was manifest, and it was in the average range of 100.

unix said...

Another thing. Most traditional diet were probably better than a lot of the crap we eat now. Why are soda, chips, cup cakes and frozen dinners (even fortified) better than the whole grains, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish eaten --everywhere.
The reason for fortification was because so much was lost in the processing, not because there was so little to begin with.
That doesn't mean everybody does well on every diet--if all there is to eat is whole grain oatmeal, and you are grain intolerant, you've got problems.

Gene Berman said...

the Legendary Linda:

What's your basis for believing that "we've seen a massive rise in literacy in the last 100 years?"

From what i've been able to gather, it's been nearly the reverse--with greatest literacy rates having been recorded in the first 50 years or so of the Republic. Places like Philly (at that time the largest English-speaking city but London), Boston, NYC--all had literacy rates in the 90s (though not necessarily in English, as many were immigrants).
Even before the U.S. came into existence, the colonies had more newspapers than existed in the entire "rest of the world" and in about as many languages as from which we had immigrants. Only in America could a young man (or even, possibly, a young woman) have had a reasonably good chance to earn a living by becoming a "writer."

In his book, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, published c. 1835, de Toqueville marvelled not only at frontier marksmen "driving nails," but equally at how eagerly they digested recent "papers" brought
in by stagecoach and made such news the subject of their dinner conversation.

In 1818, the New York Board of Regents discussed whether there was a ned for publicly-funded schools. Their conclusion was that almost no youngster whose parents desired their education would be denied an opportunity at one of the many private (often religious) schools in existence (and that most such schools had endowments to assist the needy); and, further, that such schools made no religious demand on either regular or charitable enrollees. The major reason some remained uneductaed was that they were farm kids more remote from any school and whose parents needed their contribution of labor to the farm.

About 5 years ago, there was circulated on the net a copy of the exit exam from the public school (8th grade) of Salinas, KS, which when given to present-day college students, few could pass.
Although some of the difficulty was due to unfamiliar and archaic measures (rods, furlongs, bushels, pecks), most was straightforward.
You could probably find that piece via Google. Just recently, someone sent me an email containing 20 questions that I'd call a "Civics"
test was abe to answer all 20 correctly. According to the email, only about 40% of college students (and 60% of college professors!) were able to even pass the test (don't remember what "passing" score happened to be). Also, about 5 years ago, NYC had all teachers in public schools take an exit exam required (by NY State Board of Regents) for HS graduation. Again, I forget the specific pass/fail numbers but it was about
58%--terrible either way.

I don't claim to know the "facts" about any of these things--they're just what I've read from time to time. But, back when I was going to HS, I never heard of teachers and school administrators engaging in schemes and conspiracies to raise their students' test scores; today, it's a regular and recurring phenomenon.


Volksverhetzer said...

"And what percentage of children were actually reading those textbooks a century ago? What percentage could even read? We've seen a massive rise in literacy over the last 100 years. And just because IQ was lower back then does not mean it was lower in every area."

You must come from a background in social sciences, and must be projecting the stupidity of the social scientists a century ago, to other areas you know nothing about.

Somebody who have studied math, and have seen that the curriculum haven't really changed for a century in linear algebra and calculus, is a lot less likely to say they must have been stupid a century ago.

Even less likely to call people stupid a century ago, is the ones that works with crafts where a lot of knowledge have been lost, as in building boats of wood.

Modern log house builders are also in awe for their ancestors, when they compare what they do with modern equipment, to what our ancestors did centuries ago, with the tools they had then.

neil craig said...

Does anybody know if chimps suffer from iodine deficiency? If not this seems conclusive proof that for most of evolutionary history we were shore living creatures.

Anonymous said...

The idea that "parents" in sub-Saharan Africa are going to remember to sprinkle the magic pixie dust on their children's UNWFP rice every day is simply ludicrous.

While I personally do believe that the black/white achievement gap is partially genetic, statements like this are ignorant, insulting, and reflect badly on the HBD community. Even the least advanced humans know a lot and are capable of a lot. Farmers know how to grow their crops. The Bushmen know how to process particular types of insect grubs into poison for their arrows. And so on.

All human societies have complicated technologies that are not easy for outsiders -- including Westerners -- to learn. Certain ideas -- like the need for rigorous schedules for medications -- may be kind of alien and difficult for some peoples. But the idea of a magic powder that is good for children is well within the grasp of any society that I have ever heard of.

The Legendary Linda said...

People with Down's syndrome function at lower levels than one would expect from an IQ of 50 because Down's syndrome impairs MANY functions of the brain (and body), not intelligence only.

And if Jensen is correct that only about half the Flynn Effect reflects an increase in REAL intelligence, then the average white American in 1910 had a REAL IQ around 90

Nope. Our guvmint says illiteracy among white Americans was 4.6% in 1900.

The source I found says 6.2%:

http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

Illiteracy in white America went from 11.5% in 1870 to 0.4% in 1979. That implies about a 1.44 SD increase in 109 years.

Since you used the word "average," I assumed you knew what it meant

My point is that nutrition does not necessarily  increase all parts of intelligence to the same degree.  For example Lynn reports that when identical twins experience unequal nutrition in the womb, the malnourished twin is born with a smaller brain and even at age 15 scores lower on tests of spatial and abstract reasoning, but is unimpaired in academic skills.  This is consistent with the Flynn Effect being (largely) caused by nutrition because gains seem greater on culture reduced tests of abstraction than on SAT type tests of book smarts.

pat said...

China is taking over Africa these days, for their minerals. Which benefits the Chinese far more than our aid does us.

It seems to me that China is most likely to initiate the reconquest of South Africa. Next would be India and then possibly Russia. It is also certainly possible for some relatively small Islamic country to mount an invasion.

What doesn't seem at all likely is that South Africa can long endure under rule by its native population.

The reasons for this prediction are quite simple and well known. South Africa is good land. It has a temperate climate and less tropical disease that countries further north and closer to the Equator. When the white invaders ruled it was prosperous. But the native population have made a hash of it. It leads the world in several crime rate areas. It's buildings and roads have crumbled. It is sliding back into barbarism.

Nature, I'm told, abhors a vacuum. China and India are overpopulated. Sooner or later they will look across the Indian Ocean with hungry eyes. The Indians have more experience in Africa but China right now seems more expansionist.

A fascinating scenario might play out if Egypt - another over populated country - declares some sort of Koranic justification for invasion. All of this speculation is about the motives of the potential invaders. The government of South Africa hardly come into it. They have no military worthy of the name and they have little money to buy mercenaries. There only defense is worldwide public opinion. Right now we are still in the thrall the legend of Mandela and the fight against Apartheid, but that will change. The reality is just too distant from that myth.

So should Africans get micro-nutrients? We should ask their new masters the Chinese.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

The children of Barbados (higher average living standards than Portugal) who were not even moderately malnourished had an average IQ score (against 1979 British norms) of 83. The reason that the score was slightly lower than the standard result for African Americans is not that African Americans eat better. It is that the children of Barbados have less white admixture on average.

pat said...

There used to be an old "Show of Shows" routine where Sid Caesar introduced a beaming Carl Reiner as the man who had a high school diploma. Even then that was funny.

The joke was based on a simple truth - only a small sliver of society got through high school and college attendance was very rare. So if in 1900 the high school curricula was aimed at only the top 5% of the population who were likely to attend, then that could be a very challenging curricula. Modern high schools assume that everyone will attend and that there is something wrong with the school if very many don't graduate. Obviously the comparison of modern universal education schools with those that were aimed at an intellectual elite will be tricky.

The modern correlation between height and IQ is only about .10. Almost all of that comes not from general intelligence ('g') which is normally distributed but from the bumps in the distribution from various IQ lowering conditions that also lower height. Down's syndrome is the most obvious example. But most other aneuploidy or point mutations that lower IQ also lower the victim's height.

There is every reason to believe that a millennium ago in Europe the correlation between height and IQ was much more substantial. Peasants ate poorly. A consequence was that they were short, short lived and stupid. The prejudices of the nobility (tall and smart) were quite justified. The social gulf reflected a biological gulf.

Albertosaurus

pat said...

Yes, the NYT spins. That's why I don't subscribe. That's your job.

Albertosaurus

The Legendary Linda said...

The modern correlation between height and IQ is only about .10. Almost all of that comes not from general intelligence ('g') which is normally distributed but from the bumps in the distribution from various IQ lowering conditions that also lower height. Down's syndrome is the most obvious example. But most other aneuploidy or point mutations that lower IQ also lower the victim's height.

Within generations height reflects the quality of your genes. BETWEEN generations height reflects the quality of your (biological) environment. Both affect IQ, but he Flynn Effect is an environmental phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Then apparently Africans know a lot more about rice than they do about basic hygiene and sanitation. In at least some parts of Africa, the people are unwilling to dig pit latrines for their own use and safety even when that's a condition of receiving government grants.

Actually yes. They know a lot more about food preparation than sanitation. That is true of most undeveloped places, from medieval Europe to modern India. Adding salt when preparing food is a pre-existing behavior, obvious to African cooks and requiring no "coaching" or great expense. Give them iodized salt or something similar and they will use it. A Sailer points out, it's really an easy win.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that China is most likely to initiate the reconquest of South Africa. Next would be India and then possibly Russia. It is also certainly possible for some relatively small Islamic country to mount an invasion.

Frankly, those countries would invade each other before South Africa. Also for some strange reason you assume old fashioned military conquest and colonialism is acceptable in 2012 (barring "regime change" justified by self-defense, which only the U.S. can get away with).

Anonymous said...

problems with cretinism in inland states caused by a lack of iodine in the diet.

"In the early 1960s, iodine was added to bread as a dough conditioner.
...In the 1980s, thanks to iodophobia, iodine was replaced with bromine in the bread-making process. Bromide is a goitrogen and interferes with iodide utilization by the thyroid gland
...Currently 15% of the US adult female population excreted in their urine less than 0.05 mg iodide/L, a level classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as iodine deficiency.
...a trend of increasing prevalence of cancers of the mammary and thyroid glands was reported."
link

Truth said...

"...Sooner or later they will look across the Indian Ocean with hungry eyes....A fascinating scenario might play out if Egypt - another over populated country - declares some sort of Koranic justification for invasion."

India and Egypt; yeah, a couple of military POWERS with the might to start wars halfway around the world!

I remember you once being angry that colleges would only let you teach IT courses instead of history: Dude, they were right.

Bill said...

You know, one thing Gates could do that would have a major impact here at home would be to preserve middle and working class families.

Simply keeping these families intact would provide the resources for hundreds of thousands of would-be engineer and programmer boys, who could do wonders for his company and our nation.

So why doesn't he focus on this very easy project? Is it too politically dangerous to take on the lesbians? Is Bill Gates scared of the lesbians [probably yes]?

This gives me an idea for activism. I think I'll make a big banner and row my canoe out to the lakefront of his estate, and then unfurl it.

It will read something like:

"Stop American Family Destruction -- Save our Future Innovators from Mediocrity"

Imagine what would have happened if Steve Jobs' mom had done an "Eat Pray Love" routine and kicked his dad Paul out of Jobs' life. No Apple. Without his dad around, Steve never, ever would have pulled it off. Same with Bill Gates.

Don't these guys get it?

Hapalong Cassidy said...

If native Africans have lower IQ than African Americans, why is it that African immigrants to the US are smarter than African-Americans? I've known and worked with enough African immigrants to make this generalization. Obviously, the US is able to impose tighter immigration controls on Africans than Mexicans, so you do get the cream of the crop. But I do wonder if some West African cultures have a caste-like system whereby higher IQ may be selected for smaller sub-groups. This would be similar to Indians, another group whose emigrants have substantially higher average IQ than their homeland's people.

Anonymous said...

Remember this stuff. Half the kids I knew sprinkled it on their cereal every morning. I can't imagine why it went out of fashion.

http://www.mrbreakfast.com/cereal_detail.asp?id=1143

Maya said...

" But I do wonder if some West African cultures have a caste-like system whereby higher IQ may be selected for smaller sub-groups. "

This is true for EVERY population. Third generation middle class African Americans are allergic to the ghetto blacks and they are highly suspicious of the first generation out of the ghetto. Higher class Jews are completely disgusted with the vulgar, embarrassing specimen of Brighton Beach. I know that in East Asia and Eastern Europe, the division between the classes and the contempt that the "betters" feel for the "lessers" is even more pronounced. There is no such a thing as an egalitarian society, and extraordinary talent is always required for a member of a lower class to be allowed into the breeding pool of the class above it.

Lucille said...

I also suspect that the early start in force feeding the Scandinavian population Christianity, is a major explanation for the all the Scandinavian atheist you find today.

What "early start"? Christianity did not become the established religion in Scandinavian countries for centuries after it was established in Southern Europe.

A fascinating scenario might play out if Egypt - another over populated country - declares some sort of Koranic justification for invasion.

Invasion of whom - South Africa? If Egypt starts any wars, I can think of some more likely targets, including their northern neighbor...