Who’s The Leading Black Classical Music Composer?

Richard Lynn writes in his book Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis:

* The low musical abilities of Africans, except for their strong sense of rhythm, are consistent with their generally poor achievements in classical music. There are no African composers, conductors, or instrumentalists of the first rank, and it is rare to see African players in the leading symphony orchestras.

[Chaim Amalek: To be fair, if you were a musically talented Negro, why would you want to spend your talents mastering the works of long dead European composers when there is vastly more money, respect, and sex to be had by focusing on musical idioms native to the Negro in America? You would be a fool to focus on Mozart when the potential rewards are so much greater in hip-hop.]

* The problem of the genetic and environmental contributions to the low IQ of Africans has been debated since the early decades of the twentieth century, particularly in regard to the problem of the low IQs obtained by African Americans in the United States. Three positions have been taken on this question. The IQ difference between Blacks and Whites is wholly environmentally determined or at least there is no compelling evidence for any genetic contribution to the low Black IQ. This position has been taken by Flynn (1980), Mackintosh (1998), Nisbett (1998), Fish (2002), Brody (2003), and many others. The IQ difference is determined by some mix of genetic and environmental factors. This position has been taken by Loehlin, Lindzey and Spuhler (1975), Vernon (1979), and Waldman, Weinberg, and Scarr (1994, p. 31), who conducted one of the most important studies of this question involving the IQs of Black children adopted by White couples. The IQ difference is largely genetically determined. This position has been taken by Henry Garrett (1945, 1961); Frank McGurk (1953a, 1953b), who showed that when Blacks and Whites were matched for socioeconomic status, Blacks scored 7.5 IQ points below Whites; Kuttner (1962), who argued that Black-White differences in intelligence were reflected in the differences in the building of early civilizations; Shuey (1966), who made the first compilation of Black-White IQ differences, from 1916 up to 1965; Robert Osborne and McGurk (1982), who made an updated compilation of Shuey’s work covering the years 1966–1980; and Jensen (1969, 1974, 1980, 1998), who made numerous contributions to this issue and concluded that about two thirds of the American Black-White IQ difference is attributable to genetic factors. Others who have taken the largely genetic position are Shockley (1969), Eysenck (1971), Baker (1974), Levin (1997), Rushton (2003), and the writer (Lynn, 1994c, 2001).

There are seven major arguments for the presence of some genetic determination of the intelligence difference between sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans. First, the two races have evolved independently in different environments over a period of approximately 100,000 years (Mellars and Stringer, 1989; Cavalli-Sforza, 2000). When two populations evolve largely in isolation from each other for this period of time, genetic differences between them inevitably evolve for all characteristics for which there is genetic variability. These differences evolve as a result of genetic drift, mutations, founder effects, and most important, adaptation to different environments. The extreme environmentalist position that there is no genetic difference between the two races for intelligence defies this general principle of evolutionary biology and should be ruled out as impossible.

Second, the consistency with which Africans obtain low IQs in so many different locations can only be explained by the operation of a strong genetic factor. If only environmental factors were responsible for the different IQs of different populations, we should expect to find some countries where Africans had higher IQs than Europeans. The failure to find a single country where this is the case points to the presence of a strong genetic factor. Third, the high heritability of intelligence found in twin studies of Blacks and Whites in the United States, in Europe, Japan, and India shows that intelligence is powerfully affected by genetic factors and makes it improbable that the differences between Africans and Europeans, or between any other pairs of races, can be solely environmentally determined. Fourth, the brain size difference between Blacks and Whites points to a genetic difference, considering the high heritability of about 0.9 of brain size and the correlation of approximately 0.4 between brain size and intelligence.

Fifth, several egalitarians have proposed that White racism may be responsible for impairing the IQs of the Blacks. Thus, Weinberg, Scarr, and Waldman write that their result that Black children adopted by Whites have low IQs “could indicate the results of environmental influences such as the pervasive effect of racism in American life” (1992, p. 41) and “the IQ results are consistent with racially based environmental effects in the order of group means” (p. 40). Mackintosh (1998, p. 152) also falls back on White racism in a final attempt to argue that the low IQ of the Black adoptees can be explained environmentally and suggests that perhaps “it is precisely the experience of being Black in a society permeated by White racism that is responsible for lowering Black children’s IQ scores.” These egalitarians do not explain how hypothetical White racism could impair the IQs of Black children reared by middle class White parents. There is no known or plausible mechanism by which supposed White racism could impair the IQs of Blacks. Nor do they attempt to explain how it is that Africans throughout sub-Saharan Africa, who are not exposed to White racism, except in South Africa, have IQs of approximately 71. Furthermore, if racism lowers intelligence, it is remarkable that Jews in the United States and Britain should have IQs of around 110 (Lynn, 2011b), since Jews have been exposed to racism for many centuries. The high IQ of American Jews has been well known since the 1930s and has been extensively documented by Storfer (1990), MacDonald (1994), and Herrnstein and Murray (1994), yet it goes curiously unmentioned by environmentalists like Flynn (1980), Brody (1992, 2003), Neisser (1996), Mackintosh (1998), Jencks and Phillips (1998), Nisbett (1998), Montagu (1999), and Fish (2002).

Sixth, Black infant precocity is impossible to explain in environmental terms and can only be attributed to a genetically based maturation difference. Seventh, the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study carried out by Waldman, Scarr, and Weinberg (1994) was designed to show that when Black infants are adopted by White parents they would have the same IQs as Whites. The authors of this study examined groups of Black, White, and interracial babies all adopted by White middle-class couples. It turned out that at the age of 17, the IQs were 89 for the Blacks, 98 for the interracial individuals, and 106 for the Whites. Thus, a 17 IQ point difference between Blacks and Whites remains even when they are reared in the same conditions.

Being raised by White adoptive parents had no beneficial effects on the intelligence of the Black children because their IQ of 89 is the same as that of Blacks in the north-central states from which the infants came. The interracial group with its IQ of 98 falls midway between the Black and the White, as would be predicted from the genetic cause of the difference. A full analysis and discussion of this study has been given by Levin (1994) and Lynn (1994c), together with an unconvincing reply by Waldman, Weinberg, and Scarr (1994, p. 43), in which they assert “we feel that the balance of the evidence, although not conclusive, favors a predominantly environmental etiology underlying racial differences in intelligence and that the burden of proof is on researchers who argue for the predominance of genetic racial differences.” Notice that their use of the phrase “predominantly environmental etiology” concedes that they accept that genetic factors are also present.

While the results of this study show that differences in family environment cannot explain the low Black IQ, it remains possible that Blacks provide an inferior prenatal environment as a result of poorer nutrition of pregnant Black women or possibly of the greater use of cigarettes that might impair the growth of the fetal brain. These possibilities are rendered improbable by studies showing that the nutrition of American Blacks throughout the twentieth century was not inferior to that of Whites (see Chapter 13, Section 7).

Another possibility is that Black babies might suffer greater impairment of the brain because pregnant Black women might smoke cigarettes more, since there is some evidence that smoking retards fetal growth, but this is rendered improbable by numerous studies showing that Blacks smoke cigarettes less than Whites.

Despite their commitment to the egalitarian position, it is interesting to note that Waldman, Scarr, and Weinberg (1994) concluded that their evidence shows that both genetic and environmental differences contribute to the Black-White IQ difference: “We think it is exceedingly implausible that these differences are either entirely genetically based or entirely environmentally based” (p. 31). Thus, while there is nothing in their data that can justify this conclusion, because they provide no evidence for any environmental contribution to the low Black IQ, their final position is not greatly different from that advanced by Jensen (1969), that both genetic and environmental factors are responsible for the low Black IQ; but where Jensen proposed that the relative contributions are about two thirds genetic and one third environmental, Waldman, Scarr, and Weinberg have concluded that both factors are involved, although they do not suggest a quantification of the magnitude of the respective contributions.

In fact, the results of the Minnesota Interracial Adoption Study show that both conclusions are incorrect. The conclusion to be drawn from this study is that rearing Black children in a White middle-class environment has no effect at all on their IQs at age 17.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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