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07 May 2007 Blog Home : May 2007 : Permalink

IQ, Culture, Race and Crime

A Finnish gentleman called Mikko Ellilä wrote a controversial blog rant called Society Consists of People (translation) where he blames the race and culture of non-Europeans for their lack of cultural progress, what he believes to be their average lower IQ and as a result of the above, the criminality of immigrants from these cultures in Europe. His rant eventually drew the attention and ire of one Mikko Puumalainen, who is the official Finnish government ombudsman for minorities, and who has asked the police to instigate a criminal investigation for various hate-crime sorts of things. This investigation, in turn, was drawn to the attention of the Gates of Vienna and thence to me. I'm not going to go into the Puumalianen thought crime bit - it should be obvious that free speech means the right to say objectionable things and that just because Ellilä has written something highly objectionable does not mean he should be punished.

What I am curious about is whether anyone has bothered to look at what he wrote and poke holes in the wrong bits. And for that matter whether anyone is willing to find data to back up the places where he is right.

Part of the problem is that the whole debate about a racial or genetic basis for intelligence is extremely controversial. At Gates of Vienna, the Baron wrote:

I don’t credit [racial or genetic basis for intelligence] theories because I have studied them extensively. I didn’t want to lengthen my post by discussing it, but I minored in Anthropology (with a major in Math) at college, and during my senior year I wrote a term paper in Physical Anthropology on race and intelligence, concentrating on the works of Arthur Jensen.

In my paper I wrote that the question of a racial component for intelligence was not fully answered, but that the evidence did not warrant Professor Jensen’s conclusions.

Not long after I wrote my paper, honest discussion on such topics within the academy was shut down completely.

So when I said, “I do not credit any of the theories,” I was maintaining that the evidence does not support the hypothesis. I have not seen any additional evidence in the intervening 35 years to change that conclusion.

Of course, in the intervening 35 years, the reigning orthodoxy has forbidden the gathering of more evidence. That’s why the topic is still open.

The Baron is unfortunately mostly correct, however he isn't completely correct. As a loyal reader of GNXP I have seen a number of posts covering the subject such as this one about Bruce Lahn and this extremely long one reviewing Richard Lynn's book Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. From the latter it is possible to extract a graph that does indeed show that there is a difference in average IQ between countries and races and which shows that, for example, Africans in Africa have a far lower average IQ than Africans in America but that even the latter have a lower IQ than whites in America. It may well be that this analysis of a large number of IQ surveys is flawed but evidence to support that piece of Mr Ellilä's essay does appear to be present in some degree. On the other hand the book's data also indicates that Asians are smarter than Europeans, something we also see in US SAT scores, so the Asian portion of the essay appears to be on shakier ground.

There is also evidence (e.g. US crime and prison statistics) for Mr Ellilä's claim that African folks are more criminal than white folk. He also says that Finnish crime statistics show that in Finnland immirants commit a larger proportion of crimes than they would if they were equally liable to criminal tendencies as the natives, I haven't seen those figures but I have no problem believing that they are what he says. Therefore on can conclude that Mr Ellilä is not necessarily wrong even though what he says goes completely counter to the multi-culti-tranzi politically correct view that we are all equal.

Now having said that I think that there are a number of alternative hypotheses for the criminal bit that have not been properly analysed. For example one alternative hypotheis that might explain the crime figures is poverty: poor people tend to commit more violent crimes than rich people and/or can't afford the lawyer to get them off. Based on that, let me paint an alternative 2 point hypothesis that explains the same crime figures for immigrants without getting into whether their IQ (or culture) leads them to being criminals.
  1. the poorest people in society commit most crimes
  2. immigrants are usually amongst the poorest members of a society

I note that in France the rise in crime has paralleled the rise in unemployed 2nd generation immigrants providing some independant evidence for my hypothesis. I also note that in the UK richer immigrants from India have generally moved into the middle classes quickly whilst their fellows from Pakistan and Bangladesh have done significantly less well. Given that Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis all come from the same part of the world I would be surprised if there were any major IQ differences between them. There is one key cultural difference, the Indian immigrants tend to be from urban families whereas the Pakistani ones (and I think the Bangladeshis) tend to be from rural areas. These folks are now fighting 2 degreees of assimilation at once; learning how to live in cities and learing how to live in another country. Is it any surprise that they tend to be less successful than immigrants who have already figured out half of the puzzle?

Now having said all this it is quite possible that culture and genetic factors influence IQ and that IQ influences wealth and that therefore since people with lower IQ tend to be poorer, immigrants with bad cultural or genetic backgrounds will end up poor and therefore, according to my hypothesis, likely to commit crimes.

To go back to the multiculti. I don't know whether any of the above is true - it is all speculation - but if we are not allowed to propose hypotheses like this, come up with experiemnts or data analyses to prove them, and discuss them then we will never be able to come up with solutions. It could be that the simple fact is that racism keeps the immigrants poor and therefore (see hypothesis above) more likely to be criminal, it could be intelligence, it could be a combination of the two or it could be something totally different. If we can't do the research we're unlikely to be able to come up with the reason and thus unlikely to be able to come up with a solution. Solutions based on a bunch of vague handwaving and no evidence have not to date been terribly successful, indeed a cynic might suggest that they usually make the problem worse.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin