Here is what eugenicist has to say about the above cartoon:
I’m staggered by the intellectual dishonesty behind this comic. Let me illustrate:
1. “There’s a certain ‘scientific’ theory that…[whites] are inherently, genetically smarter than blacks!” This idiot thinks that putting quotation marks around the word scientific, and making the theory sound distasteful, disproves it. For an analogy: “There’s a certain ‘scientific’ theory that…light and heavy objects fall at the same rate!” Same level of intellectual content.
2. Mr. Labcoat is correct, but a bit dishonest, in stating that black Americans score 15 points lower than white Americans, on average. (A better, more accurate term would be “one standard deviation,” since IQ tests use different scores and systems.) This gap is not a product of biased testing; it is remarkably consistent, no matter what test(s) you use. So, a few points for that.
3. Could the IQ gap be because blacks are “inherently, genetically” not as smart as whites? Quite possibly. This theory has not been disproven; it’s simply too horrible for most intellectuals to consider, so they act as if there’s conclusive evidence against it, when all they have is their own disgust. That’s anti-science.
4. It’s possible that the liberal thesis is correct, i.e. that the gap is entirely due to environmental factors. The problem is, we can’t know the reason for the gap when certain theories are viewed as heretical. It’s like saying “Well, we can study the planets and the universe, so long as we conclude that the earth is the center of the solar system, because to suggest otherwise goes against God.” That’s anti-science.
5. The whole slave narrative “experiment” assumes that, before slavery, Africans had intellects at or above the level of whites, but ill treatment degraded their potential. In reality, black Americans routinely score 10 to 25 points higher on IQ tests than black Africans, including Africans in countries where there is no history of colonialism, apartheid, slave trading or any real white presence. In some sub-Saharan African countries, the median IQ is somewhere in the 60s.
Maybe all the smart blacks were shipped over here. Maybe some special conditions degraded black IQs more steeply in Africa than America. Maybe the fact that black Americans are, on average, 1/5th white has something to do with it. Maybe not. But as long as this cowering fear of “racism” persists, we won’t know why.
6. “IQ tests designed by privileged black Africans.” Oh, don’t make me laugh! The reason that IQ tests are used isn’t because they were designed by “privileged” Americans, it’s because they correlate with success in western societies. If Africans designed an “IQ test” that correlated with success in African societies, blacks would probably do better than whites. And you could claim that those skills are the real intelligence. By this rubric, a Robert Oppenheimer, or a Hubert Henry Harrison for that matter, is “privileged” over a Bushman because, while the latter can survive and thrive in the Kalahari, the former can “only” understand advanced physics or give extemporaneous lectures on a wide variety of subjects. Such a viewpoint baffles me, frankly.
7. “If…you’ve proven the hypothesis!” You don’t have to go through this sadistic rigmarole to do it. We can now sequence DNA; it would be easy (but expensive) to take a large cross-section of the populace, sequence their DNA, study their lives from age 5 to 30 and document everything, like the NLSY did. Would black Americans in homogeneously black, upper-income neighborhoods score higher on IQ tests than dirt-poor whites? Does divorce affect IQ? And how predictive are gene sequences for lifetime success when divorced from environmental factors? It would be fascinating stuff, but any time someone would draw an unorthodox conclusion, it would go from being scientific to being “scientific,” however well-documented or thorough.
8. If white Americans have abetted black American dysgenics for hundreds of years, it doesn’t disprove the genetic hypothesis. It might even prove it, since black slaves were presumably bred for certain traits for generations. (Chris Rock discussed this in a comedy special.)
9. It’s possible that the IQ gap exists, solely or mostly, because of centuries of ill-treatment of blacks by whites. That is useful knowledge, the same way it’s useful to know that childhood abuse hampered you in adult life. But there’s no way to reverse trauma that’s already happened, and the traumatizer can’t deal with your issues for you.
10. I must also take issue with the tone of this comic. It is sadistic and sarcastic and dishonest. It wants to give whites a “taste of their own medicine” for daring to contradict liberal orthodoxy. It misunderstands science and relies on arrant misrepresentation. It aims to intimidate people rather than inform them. It may be pro-intellectual, but it is (no pun intended) anti-intelligence.
“But it’s just a comic,” I hear you say. (Well, I don’t actually hear you, or hearyou, because I’m anticipating an imaginary reader’s response in my head.) “What do you expect, a proof in symbolic logic?” No, but I expect some basic honesty and common sense. Tom the Dancing Bug is a fairly popular comic published in newspapers, alternative weeklies and boingboing.net.
If you find the idea of inherent group differences disgusting, there are many ways to express that without bullying the opposition or suggesting they be enslaved. You could also conduct, support or publicize scientific studies that address these issues, instead of entertaining revenge fantasies and calling your opponents names. In other words, you could act like an adult.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, eugenicist!