Killing Jensen part 2: The Obama Gene.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2014 by chanda chisala

Professor Arthur Jensen chose the phenomenon of “Regression to the Mean” as one of the best ways to “experimentally” prove his hypothesis that the tested IQ gap between blacks and whites was due to genes, not environment. Regression to the Mean is indeed something we observe all the time. If a man is very tall but he comes from a family of short people (parents and siblings), he will happen to have children who are shorter than the children of someone else who is tall and comes from a family of tall people. A random tall black basketball player will likely have brothers who are shorter than him but taller than the brothers of an equally tall Chinese basketball player. This would prove that the blacks are genetically taller than the Chinese and it might explain why you have less than a handful of Chinese players in the NBA, although there may be other additional genetic factors (speed?).

Jensen claimed to have observed something similar among the races with respect to intelligence, with blacks having the genetic disadvantage this time. He claimed that the siblings of high-IQ blacks had IQs that were lower than the siblings of high-IQ whites. But the observations were not very conclusive due to sample limitations. After all, environmental differences could still explain why the siblings have a lower IQ, since it is not known what it is precisely in black communities that lowers the IQ. The best test is when you have some black people who are completely removed from the “black community” so that the chances of being influenced by whatever environmental factors are highly reduced. The black families described in “Our Kind of People” by Lawrence Ortis Graham are one such experiment, and they indeed show no sibling or generational regression to a lower (black) mean; if anything, they seem to show a regression to an IQ that is higher than the white mean, which defies Jensen’s predictions.

This condition of some black people or siblings being separated by cultural environment can be seen in many other “experiments” of well-known families that can easily be studied by IQ researchers. The Obama family tree is one such freely available experiment in nature.

Barack Obama Senior (the father to Barack Obama) may have just made his biggest contribution to science by siring children with different women in at least two different cultures. He is a great specimen because he was reputed to be a bright man himself. But his relatives have not been known to have been particularly special. His father was a house servant working for a white family in Kenya. It was while working for this family and observing how they brought up their children, that he decided to initiate his own experiment of forcing his son to do a lot of reading. Despite other people laughing at him for imitating whites (even in his dressing), he had the last laugh by pushing his son all the way from a poor and illiterate African village to being an invited student scholar at Harvard.

However, his other relatives remained ordinary people who demonstrated the expected low phenotypic IQ of Africa. We know this because they have become well-known since their relative became president of the United States. Even among Africans, they do not appear to be among the most elite, socially or intellectually.

This creates a hard puzzle: if Obama Senior was just a genetic anomaly among his otherwise average relatives, then he should not produce children who are elite. There should be a sharp regression to the mean: the black African mean IQ.

Obama Senior briefly married a white woman while he was in the US and sired the future president of the United States. Like him, his son ended up at Harvard where he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Whatever one might think of his policies as president, there is enough evidence that his IQ is not below average. His IQ is certainly above his white mother’s IQ.

Obama Senior married another white woman and sired another son called Mark, who was later to study advanced Physics at Stanford. He too has shown an IQ that is higher than his mother’s, and like his brother, higher than the other children their mothers had with other men, despite giving them a similar environment. Clearly, the superior genes are coming from the father, Barack Senior, and not from the mothers even though they were both probably still above average IQ.

Obama Senior also had children in Africa and these apparently showed no similar interest in school as his children with the white women, and they have not become elite in anyway, not even by African standards. In short, they demonstrate the same average IQ that the other African relatives do.

This seems like persuasive evidence for an environmental explanation for the low African IQs even if you work within a framework of hereditary intelligence. The white wives of Barack Senior were clearly not any special, but they gave a superior environment for the blooming of the Obama gene.

The fact that the Obama gene in Africa does not appear to be elite even within Africa’s normal phenotypic IQ distribution, might sugest that this is in fact an average genotypic IQ, which could imply that the average African could indeed have the same intellectual achievements of Barack Obama, given the right environment and motivation. That would seem to suggest a very high average genotypic IQ, certainly higher than 100 and closer to 120 or more.

But even if we assumed that the genes of Obama were indeed among the most elite of Africa, despite the fact that they appear comparatively average in Africa, Jensen’s proposition would still be dead. If Obama and his Stanford brother are the products of regression to the mean from an elite family of African genes, then the average genotypic IQ of Africa has to still be higher than 99 or 100, the average genotypic white IQ. That is, if we just placed the Obama gene at IQ 120, then this would imply that the phenotypic “elite” African IQ of 80 found by Lynn in South Africa, has been depressed by 40 points through environmental factors. This would raise the average IQ of black Africa from 70 to 110.

One might of course quibble on the exact IQ  number to give to the Obama gene (it might be realistically higher than 120 or perhaps lower), but what would certainly be mathematically impossible is to derive an average IQ that is less than 100 for average African genes if the results of the Obama family “experiment” were analyzed even loosely.

Killing Jensen — Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 by chanda chisala

By Chanda Chisala.

Regression would explain why Black children born to high IQ, wealthy Black parents have test scores 2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to low IQ, poor White parents.” (Jensen, 1998).

Professor Arthur Jensen was a brilliant psychologist who contributed many ideas to the field of human intelligence and its science of measurement (psychometrics). His research was so controversial that it is difficult to find people who do not either curse his name or swear by it.

Despite the many valuable ideas he contributed to the field, he is most famous for a conclusion he made concerning racial IQs that proposed that whites have an IQ that is genetically above that of blacks, thus suggesting that some negative pathologies in black communities that result from a low IQ are basically unavoidable and resistant to any kind of normal intervention. Others argue that the lower average IQ of blacks is a result of something environmental: something in their culture or socioeconomic conditions.

Debates have been heated, with most critics simply insulting Jensen and his defiant followers – whether those in the rigorous scientific world of formal intelligence research or in the more agile world of largely amateur “Human Biodiversity” (HBD) bloggers. It is almost natural for high-IQ individuals to take a decisive interest in this intriguing issue, no matter what their day job is.

The biggest reason that the debate has not been settled, it has been claimed, is that there are stringent access restrictions to some IQ-related public data due to political reasons, thus limiting the sample sizes for conducting truly conclusive analyses. But it could also be that the researchers have just not looked hard enough at society to see some clear “experiments” that “nature” has already given to them.

In short, there is enough free, unregulated data to kill (or save) Jensen.

One very simple phenomenon in society that appears to kill Jensen’s lower black gene proposition is the existence of many elite black families. If we can find many consistently elite families of black people, arising from apparently average black ancestors, we should be forced to abandon Jensen, or at least to entertain some serious doubts.

Why? Because his theory practically predicts that such a thing should not be possible. Let’s examine why.

Intelligence researchers have observed a certain statistical tendency that they call “regression to the mean,” discovered by Charles Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton. This simply means that if someone has an IQ that departs significantly from what his family genes are expected to “produce,” his close genetic relatives will evidently depart less from this “mean IQ”.

For example, if blacks have more athletic genes (say, in long and short distance running) than whites, then when you find a random black man who runs 100 meters in 10 seconds and a random white man who runs 100 meters in the same time, the white man is more likely to have siblings who are slower or less athletic than the siblings of the black athlete. In short, although both of these fast-running men are statistical anomalies in the human population, the extremely fast white athlete is even more of an anomaly than the equally fast black athlete, which is why his relatives will “regress” to a lower mean than the relatives of his black counterpart.

Our theory that whites are genetically slower than blacks in fast races would be put in serious doubt if we discovered some town where whites regularly  bring up their children to be very fast runners and manage to produce world class runners out of same family siblings. This genetic gap theory would be killed beyond a shadow of doubt if we discovered that they have managed to do this for generations of many white families within their town, and that their ancestral founders of this program had no special athletic superiority. We would have to conclude that whatever inferiority in speed that we see in average whites could not be deterministically connected to their “white” genes.

In fact, this very thing has happened in the black “community” of America with regards to IQ. A fascinating book published in 1999 entitled “Our Kind of People” by bestselling black author, Lawrence Otis Graham, described in great detail how some black families have been building some sort of secret elite society for many generations, running all the way back to the Emancipation. The secrecy with which the remarkable achievements and activities of these families has been guarded from the public might explain why IQ researchers did not include them in their analyses before, but it does not explain why they have not fixed that since the book’s publication. It was reviewed in the New York Times, the LA Times, and many other places.

Granted, this elitist project was apparently started by blacks who were progenies of white slave masters and black slave women working in their homes, which admits a white gene component. They were treated differently from other black slaves – the “field negroes” – and this gave them a sense of being different from (and superior to) other blacks. They thus deliberately refused to associate closely with the less privileged blacks or to live like them, preferring the culture of their white masters. They even rejected their musical tastes and other forms of black cultural expression. However, they also “realized” that they were never going to be accepted by whites as their equals and in fact were legally forbidden from marrying white people, which made them develop an even stronger animosity against whites and to fiercely embrace their compromised “black identity,” while also being determined to prove themselves to their white colleagues.

Fully conscious of the overwhelming contradictions that their attitudes and goals entailed, they decided to keep their sentiments and activities a secret from the general public. (They would have perhaps been a perfect addition to Amy Chua’s “Triple Package” collection!)

Even when interracial marriage became acceptable, these families tended to avoid any such “miscegenation.” This makes for a perfect natural experiment because we know that the reason they continued to create generations of intellectually elite people was not because they started some selective mating with some white geniuses; the white gene admixture in each family tree was basically limited to the same historical slave masters (mainly in the South) and these have not been found to have been particularly selected for genius IQ for them to genetically cause such a dramatic rise in the generational IQs of these blacks. The group further limited their chances of genetically raising their IQ by traditionally rejecting association or marriage to blacks who were smart but did not share their historical “white” cultural values and tastes. This means that they made themselves elite, after being emancipated from slavery, not by significantly raising their genetic makeup, but by simply inculcating in themselves the positive values they gathered from their former white masters’ families, which they practice religiously to this day.

Beginning with an intensive children’s mentoring program they call “Jack and Jill,” these families constantly  expose their children to black role models who are doctors, lawyers,  dentists and so on – they are not allowed to become entertainers or sportsmen and are never exposed to any such “role models” no matter how rich they are. These children then qualify to very good universities before proceeding to elite professions that demand a pretty high IQ while also paying very well. They use their wealth from these professions to continue supporting the activities of Jack and Jill and their own adult versions of the elite children’s group!

The writer of the book was himself a product of this enduring “secret” project and his family is a classic example of this defiance of Jensenian regression to the supposed black mean: he went to Princeton and Harvard Law School while his only sibling, Richard, went to Tufts and became an orthodontist who set up his own successful dental practice in North Carolina.

The book attracted a lot of controversy and some opprobrium because of the embarrassment that some of these black families felt when this exposé was published, especially for their disdain for “mainstream” black culture. The writer was only half apologetic.

This natural “experiment” kills Jensen because, even if we account for the early white genetic admixture from the slave masters, the supposed genotypic IQ of their African slave girls according to Jensenites (IQ of around 70) would make it impossible to produce such elite offspring, and even more impossible for this to be sustained for generations, especially with the expected regression to the mean. The fact that it was the black women who had contributed the black genes makes it even more remarkable since they are expected to have had a lower average genetic IQ than the black men, at least according to Jensenite Richard Lynn.

The social profile of these black families show a mean IQ that is obviously above that of the white mean, which should never have happened in Jensen’s world. Jensen would certainly never have predicted, under any plausible scenario, that the white slave master’s descendants with the black slave woman would have a higher average IQ than his descendants with his good white wife, once given an approximately equal cultural environment.

Taking Jensen’s own theoretical framework, it appears from this experiment that the only way an elite class of black families could be formed and sustained, going down to many contiguous generations, is if the genotypic IQ of the blacks in this experiment was significantly higher than that of the whites to begin with. The average IQs required to practice in the professions that these families have typically chosen in the modern age should be at least 120, which would make average black genotypic IQ at least equal to white IQ (around 100). But since we have no evidence that the black slave women who had (nonconsensual) sexual relations with their white slave masters were selected for their elite IQs, it means that the average black genotypic IQ is plausibly equal to or near 120; these black elite families could in fact be of average black IQ, genotypically. But the purpose of this analysis is more modest than to argue that controversial conclusion with its ironic implications.

What should be incontrovertible is that by intentionally isolating themselves from the so-called “mainstream black culture” and some of its anti-intellectual proclivities, these families inadvertently escaped whatever “environmental” factors are responsible for the persistent nominal IQ gap between blacks and whites, and have certainly not been producing children who score “2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to low IQ, poor White parents.




Barack Obama vs Ayn Rand

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 by chanda chisala

Buy New book by Chanda Chisala:


The book is an imaginary debate between Obama and Rand that I conceived in 2008 when I was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and then wrote some it when I was a visiting scholar later at the Hoover Institution. I edited it recently to include some new revelations in Mr. Obama’s philosophy.

This edition contains only their debate on economic issues, while also laying their fascinating foundational philosophies of collectivist salvation versus individualist salvation. Both of them have in fact used the term “salvation” in this context and defended their moral ideals on the basis of this religious-sounding term. It is the best way of understanding the basis of both Obama’s and Rand’s ideas.

Zambia’s chipolopolo shows the power of determination.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 by chanda chisala

Many of us in Zambia cannot recall feeling as much joy as we felt when Zambia scored that winning goal against the highest ranked team in Africa, the Great Elephants of the Ivory Coast. When the copper bullet (chipolopolo) finally struck that fatal blow into the Goliathic elephant’s heart, a sudden mixture of pride, relief and amazement overwhelmed the hearts of Zambians watching from all over the world. For those of us old enough to remember the team that perished and in whose honour the tournament was being played, the moment was also a teary acceptance of final closure that we failed to find for the past twenty years. May your souls finally rest in peace, Chipolopolo 1.0.

Such great achievements are never short of deeper lessons for the human soul. I believe the biggest lesson from Zambia’s historical achievement is simply the idea that great determination, great self-belief, can achieve anything. It’s a lesson that was artfully displayed before us in concrete fashion for three full weeks as an underrated team kept beating much more fancied teams boasting players from top European teams (its own players are almost all from local African clubs). The team had resolved from the start of the tournament that they would win in honour of the team that died in a plane crash in Gabon in 1993 as they were trying to achieve national glory for the first time. To understand how great this perished team was, you have to recall that the team that was built to replace them managed to reach the finals of the Africa Cup in 1994. And yet most of the players in that new finalist team that lost by one goal to Nigeria could not even make it to the reserve bench of the perished team!

The captain of that perished team (the legendary Kalusha Bwalya), who was also the first and last player to be crowned African footballer of the year from Southern Africa, had luckily survived by simply taking a different late flight from Europe. As the current executive president of the Football Association of Zambia, he took this tournament very personally, and he is the one who led the young team to the site of the plane crash on the coast of Gabon to lay wreaths and dramatically absorb their inspiration.

It was this simple resolution to win at all costs, no matter who stood in their way, that led to that final momentous victory. This heroic and deeply infectious resolve also inspired the people of Zambia at home, many of whom had started their celebrations days before the match was even played. It’s the first time Zambian expectations have been that high. I even spotted at least one car that was fully painted in the colours of the national flag in anticipation of the victory. In short, the self-belief of both the players and the fans was bordering on insanity, given all the reasonable odds against our young team!

But when a person believes that strongly in his ability to achieve a seemingly impossible goal in which he has sufficient skills, he will achieve it. We thank the chipolopolo boys and their passionate coach for making that lesson permanently coloured on our minds as we pursue our own individual dreams.

Raising minimum wage is a mistake.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 3, 2011 by chanda chisala

Mr Sata’s decision to raise the minimum wage is his first economic mistake as president of Zambia. Hopefully there won’t be too many such mistakes on balance, compared to good decisions. When he was announcing this he asked the professionals present in his audience if they would accept 450,000 kwacha as their salary (the minimum wage). Do unto others as you would want them to do to you, he admonished (in consistence with his promise to lead by Christian principles).

But this was the wrong rhetorical question to ask his audience. The fact is that even these professionals are grossly underpaid. If they moved to a better economy most of them would more than quadruple their salaries. So by the president’s logic, even they should have their salaries at least doubled.

I am surprised that the Economics Association of Zambia has not already reacted to this policy statement and the fallacies embedded in it since there are many economists who now (should) know the error of such policies, from all the examples already available. Or perhaps I’ve misunderstood their function as an association.

An economy’s wage situation can not be fixed by simply ordering employers to increase wages or face jail. If this was the solution then the president could easily solve the problem of brain drain to greener pastures by simply ordering Zambian employers to increase the salaries of these professionals too. Why stop at the lowest workers? If he could order all hospitals to quadruple the wages of nurses and doctors, for example, the problem of these professionals leaving the country for better paying jobs elsewhere will be solved, right?

That’s obviously ridiculous. The hospital can’t afford to pay a nurse 3000 dollars because it doesn’t make that much money from patients. If it increased patient fees to meet this need, no one will go there, because its patients don’t get that much money.

This makes sense to many people. But the logic is the same even for the lowest paid workers. A nurse or teacher who takes home 3 million kwacha from his job can not pay 1 million kwacha to his house servant. There’ll be too little money left for his own family’s needs.

Just like a hospital this house servant employer can only manage to increase his servant’s wage if he can also receive more money from his job. But he won’t because his company can’t just increase its charges to its customers in an economy where people make so little money in general.

It is clear then that the answer lies only with the growth of the whole economy. The reason Botswanans pay their nurses more (and these nurses in turn pay their house servants more) is not because their bosses believe in “doing into others as you would have them do to you”. They are not any more Christian than Zambians are. The president was wrong to imply that the reason zambians pay such small wages is because they have no empathy for their workers. Botswanans pay more because they make more. This is because their economy is much stronger.

Botswana’s economy became that strong because of its powerful pro-growth economic policies. Botswana in fact holds the world record for average economic growth rates since its independence. This is why their people can afford to pay higher wages and even attract brains from Zambia and other African countries. It did not happen by government ordering them to pay higher wages. Shortcuts don’t work. And for a small economy, shortcuts can be disastrous. When people are forced to pay above what they can afford, they will just fire some workers. That will mean higher unemployment.

This is just another example of how good-hearted intentions can lead to unintended negative  consequences that are bigger than the problem they were trying to solve.

The Ford CEO Bonus is immoral?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 23, 2011 by chanda chisala

The popular argument given against financial industry executives who got big bonuses a couple of years ago was that it was immoral to reward them for failure. This argument from the intelligentsia was so convincing that the public outcry against these “fat cats” almost turned violent.

But was this a genuine argument?

Today we have what we call in science experimentation, a control experiment, to test if that argument was indeed sincere. The CEO of Ford Motor company managed to turn his company around, saved many jobs, and did not even get any bailout money. For this he has now been rewarded handsomely in stock options. So, what is the reaction of the critics now that we have a guy who is not being rewarded for failure but for success? Are they now satisfied?

Believe it or not, they still say it’s immoral! The dishonesty involved in maintaining these two contradictory positions is simply overwhelming.

Here’s the story.

How Kenneth Kaunda aborted the Zambian Dream

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 by chanda chisala

That’s the title of my  latest article published at Zambia Online.

Today is Zambia’s independence day. Looking back at our nearly 50 years of independence (46 to be exact), I think the last statement of this article sums up my pensive mood:

Let our history books be reset. The struggle for African independence was not always as hard (or perhaps even as urgent) as our old “freedom fighters” and their “historians” claimed. What has been really hard is the struggle against tyranny – after independence.

Gregg Zachary, a professor of Arizona State University (formerly a Wall Street Journal and New York Times correspondent/columnist) also blogs generously about my article here.



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