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.