Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asian admissions in Boston Globe

Will disparate impact be applied in favor of Asian-American college applicants? Stay tuned! (Perhaps the NBA and NFL are next :-)

The article below appeared in today's Boston Globe Magazine. I'm sure that it will generate plenty of amusing comments there. A similar article in McLeans caused a furor in Canada.

Before commenting here, please peruse this earlier post and its 170+ comments to ensure you are contributing something new to the discussion ;-)

Competitive disadvantage: High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?

... After all the attention given to the stereotype that Asian-American parents put enormous pressure on their children to succeed – provoked over the winter by Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – came the indisputable reality this spring that, even if Asian-American students work hard, the doors of top schools were still being slammed shut in many faces.

And parents aren’t happy about it. “The entry barriers are higher for us than for everybody else,” says Chi Chi Wu, one of the organizers of the Brookline Asian American Family Network. “There’s a form of redlining or holding Asian-American students to higher standards than any other group.”

... However, in researching their 2009 book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and found what looks like different standards for different racial groups. They calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans. >>Note: this is after controlling for grades, scores, family background (legacy status) and athletic status (whether the student was a recruited athlete.)<<

What about the argument that, in relation to the general population, Asian-Americans are already overrepresented at universities? “It’s both true that Asians are overrepresented and that they’re being discriminated against,” says Stephen Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon who speaks out against discrimination he says Asian-Americans face in university admissions. Both things can happen at the same time, he says.

Hsu and others allege that universities are more concerned about boosting black and Hispanic enrollment than admitting qualified Asian-Americans, and that old-fashioned xenophobia comes into play as well.

“My personal perspective is that if institutions are using race to keep Asian-American students out, it’s based on a fear [among non-minorities] that these ‘other’ students are taking over our institutions or taking ‘our spots’ at the best institutions,” says Sam Museus, a professor in the Asian-American studies program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

... Brookline organizer Chi Chi Wu, who is a lawyer and the mother of an 11-year-old, says it may be time to fight back, using a legal theory called disparate impact. “In other areas of civil rights law, when you have statistical disparities, you can often make a case. You don’t have to prove the university is saying, ‘We don’t want all these Asians,’ but just having those statistics and being able to point to disparities is enough.”

She adds, “If we Asian-Americans don’t organize, there’s no amount of piano practicing that will help us.”


athelas314 said...

If Asians win over the white elite liberals that run the universities, they win. But I don't see how they will do that. Fashionable minorities provide left-leaning academics with political ammunition that a hard-working, low-crime minority group can't. Conversely, although an alliance between Asians and the right seems ideologically consistent, I don't see any move in that direction either - and I don't see any signs of power of the right being brought to bear in favor of Asians *except* as a contrast to the fashionable minorities.

NicolasBourbaki said...

It's the conservative legacy white groups that provides the largest hurdle for Asian Americans in the admissions game. They are the ones benefited the most and also the ones with the most by the status quo and has the most influence and desire to keep Asian groups out, not other minorities.

Yan Shen said...

The more pressing question is whether right-wing whites will be as eager to defend the rights of Asian Americans as they are in defending the rights of members of their own tribe. What mentality will prevail, ethnocentrism or a more principled universalism? I suspect that this issue will be of increasing importance as Asian Americans gradually constitute a larger percentage of the overall American population.

Yan Shen said...

Right, so in effect Asian Americans are battling against both the white Left and the white Right here. The white Left is obsessed with equality in outcome and hostile towards the notion of meritocracy, while the white Right is obsessed with racial tribalism and preserving the status quo. Asian Americans are truly stuck between a rock and a hard place, and unless they speak out against bigotry in all of its forms and advocate for a more principled universalism, they're going to continue to be smacked around.

RKU1 said...

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of sharp elite-academic discrimination weren't closely connected to the "Tiger Mom" phenomenon. Basically, over the last decade or two, Asian families have probably realized that there's increasingly fierce competition among among their children for the particular slice of top admissions which they've been allocated, leading to an extreme academic arms race, which ends up making everyone more miserable while not really changing relative results much. This also spills over into the non-Asian students at their schools, putting pressure on them and making them somewhat more miserable as well. The end result of all this cramming really isn't good for anyone or for society as a whole.

Kevin Kramer said...

Here's a couple of posts from the Volokh conspiracy from their legal perspective. There is a disconnect between what universities say we mean by diversity (the value of different cultures) and what is actually expected of them (quotas for low-performing ethnic groups).

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

It's a tough balance between academics and potential contributions to campus life. (As I've said before, I'm half-Asian.)

I recently had two friends visit me--they currently attend a top medical school. They're white. One of them is from California. He was talking about the culture of Berkeley, and how it has changed over the past several decades, becoming more vanilla. He mentioned casually that as the school has become more Asian, it has become more engineering/science focused. For example, some of its previously strong liberal arts programs are on the wane--like journalism. He doesn't know anything about my fascination with these kinds of topics, and he only mentioned it casually. We're all liberals. He chalks it up to being raised in a different culture that's more "submissive to authority." I think that's part of it--Asians tend to have their emotions more bottled up. But I also tend to wonder if there's a genetic component. He thinks it will change over time. I do too, but to a much smaller degree than he does (i.e., I think the genetic component is stronger).

(It's kind of funny: I'm sure I'll get the same dismissiveness of Berkeley's liberal arts programs from the indignant Asians who frequent these HBD blogs as I do from the right wing conservatives. Enemies of tribe who think exactly alike--they're just on opposite sides.)

SAT/ACT scores can easily be boosted by studying or extreme prep. I boosted my own score 100+ points (past 1500) by studying. I know people with lower scores who are more clever than I am. They simply didn't pursue as regimented self prep. And I have no doubts that Asians pursue prep more fervently and systematically than other groups. (That said, I'm not disputing a higher average IQ.)

High scores are important, but so are other factors: like what you can bring to a campus. My sister's ex, for example, was in a successful rock band in addition to being a science major. Now he's now a professor at MIT. (He did post-doc at CalTech, btw.) Multidimensionality is HUGELY important, especially in a world where fields are merging. It's also important for campus culture.

Rhis post isn't meant to deride Asians. I know quite a few multi-dimensional Asians, and they're great. I'm just annoyed by how less likely they are to occur.

steve hsu said...

I particularly liked this paragraph from the second link:

Meanwhile, many Hispanics are solely or primarily of European
heritage, and about 50% identify themselves as “white” on census
bureau forms. UT’s approach (supported by the Obama Administration),
is that a state university can and should favor white descendants of
Spanish conquistadors or Italian immigrants to Argentina or Jewish
Mexicans of Eastern European descent–I know people in all the latter
categories–over a dark-skinned child of Vietnamese boat people, solely
because the former have Spanish-speaking ancestors.

Yan Shen said...

Haven't we been through this before? That college admissions isn't based on admitting people you personally find to be interesting? That the people whom you find to be uninteresting may also find you to be boring as well? I wonder if cultural intolerance is part and parcel of the white American psyche. What I find interesting is how Asian Americans are much more tolerant of the interests of other racial groups, but white Americans tend to view their own interests as somehow superior. Thus, being a superb piano player is dull, but strumming a few chords on the guitar is somehow hip.

I wonder if you just repeat the same stuff over and over and over again. The problem is that people like you turn this issue into an ethnic flame war about which group is better than the other and so the discussion deteriorates into petty racial sniping.

I wonder if you've ever asked yourself whether or not Asian Americans are annoyed by you and how you mindlessly and repetitively state the same lame arguments over and over and over again. As an Asian American, I was annoyed by how few white Americans at my high school exhibited any interest in joining the math and science club and how most of them were into football and baseball. But unlike you, I never denigrated their personal interests. People who consistently feel the need to bash others often have an inferiority complex of some kind.

Reactionary_Konkvistador said...

Even those who believe in a propositional nation on the White American Right fear that by championing meritocracy they will just get meritocracy for East Asians not for Whites.

In such a situation Whites would be stuck between a rock and a hard place. You are outperformed by X ethnicity? Best man for the job. You outperform x ethnicity? Disparate impact!
Either meritocracy or racial quotas would be preferable to Whites than the above situation. Guess which one is easier to iron out with the White American Left?

Bryan Duerk said...

So is the goal of admissions to find those who are 1) the most academic, 2) those with the highest likelihood of of "success" (as defined by high future salary to be able to give back to the institution), 3) to serve the public good by braking the "cycle of poverty" (which also provides political cover and connections), or to 4) connect individuals with high potential to the current elite. A bet that a top institute sees all four as part of their admissions goals.

1. These are where the high scoring Asians usually place
2. From your previous post on personality and salary, we would want academics, extroversion, and conscientious. All the questions about high school extracurricular activities might help find these--at least drama or sports if not orchestra.
3. Preference for "under-represented" minorities falls here.
4. Preference for alumni

Asians only have an advantage in catagory 1. If my intuition is correct about the institution's admission goals, we would expect Asians to be admitted at the appropriate levels. You can debate the goals, but chances are that an institution that stresses only goal number 1 would fall behind in the rankings due to a reduction in alumni gifts or from political interference.

Disclosure: White, but with half Asian kids who will probably claim to be fully white in admissions for pragmatic reasons.

steve hsu said...

Espenshade's analysis already accounted for (4): the 3x white admit rate for applicants with similar grades, scores, legacy status and athletic status does not include legacies. Espenshade cannot address (2) very well, but the internal Stanford study tried to include it in their analysis and found anti-Asian bias even after controlling for "leadership qualities". (See earlier posts if you don't know what I am referring to.)

There is no perfect academic study of admissions rates, but anecdotal evidence plus the studies suggests that the 3x effect is not simply due to race-blind evaluators responding to population differences in non-academic characteristics such as extracurricular activities. See also the Harvard data from around the time (1990s) they were under investigation for anti-Asian bias. There is very suspicious variation in admit rates for Asians. How could that be if everything were fair and race-blind?

You obviously see a practical advantage to having your kids claim to be white. Why is that, if you think Asians are actually admitted at "appropriate levels"?

Yan Shen said...

Your posts are rambling and incoherent and have nothing do with the actual issue of Asian American discrimination in the college admissions process.
It's always you being offended by the suggestion that Asians are better than whites and griping incessantly about how Asians lag in X, Y, and Z and therefore really aren't better than whites at all. In other words, your comments are nothing but petty racial sniping, irrelevant to the actual substance of the issue. Perhaps one of these days you'll stop turning this issue into an ethnic flame war, though given your insecurity complex, I doubt it, and start actually discussing the merits of holding Asian Americans to a higher standard.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Whoa there, Mr. Yan.

I posted my message 6 minutes before you. You've completely disregarded anything I wrote in 6 minutes. I considered your comments far longer.

You obviously did not process anything I wrote.

It comes down to my last paragraph, which I will repost, so that you may read again and get what I'm fundamentally aiming at:

So let's try to figure out what indicator is ultimately the most important measure of a student. I'd argue that its contribution to society--in whatever form that may be expressed. How many Asians will become creative scientists? How many Asians will win nobels? How many Asians will become CEOs? How many Asians donate to their alma mater?


K bye.

Yan Shen said...

Why are you so petty? This issue has nothing to do with who's better than whom! I'm never seen someone with such an insecurity complex. Save the pettiness for the comments section of Steve Sailer's blog please!

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

"This issue has nothing to do with who's better than whom!"

Wait, wait, what? You're arguing that students with higher SAT scores) should get in over students with lower ones. In effect, you're arguing that that makes them "better" students. You think that, out of "fairness," they should be chosen over other students. I'm arguing that students should be selected on other measures too. Although we're using different systems of measurement, we're still arguing over what determines a "better" student, are we not?

You're right, Asians excel at classical music. I'm a huge fan of Yo Yo Ma--no, I seriously am. I'm almost certain I've followed the guy more than you have. And Asians excel at art too--see the top fashion designers these days.
In indie music scene too, I've remarked among other circles that Asians are starting to take primary roles. See Temper Trap (, or the Glitch Mob, or Plus Minus, etc. In these bands, an Asian is front and center. They are still exceptions, however. And I'm certain some of the underrepresentation is rooted in the fact that the audience is primarily white.

I'm also aware of Asian American contributions to literature. I'd hazard a guess I'm more aware of it than you. I caught Hsu's reference to Monica Sone (I read Nisei Daughter), and I've mentioned among other circles how Eric Liu's Accidental Asian helped form a foundation of how I tend to view my own ethnic heritage. (I could rattle off more names, would you like me to?) Do I think Asians will produce more non ethnic-obsessed literature as they become more engrained into the American narrative? Yes. Do I think it will be proportional to their representation at high SAT/IQ scores? I wonder.

Are some of my critiques of Asian Americans rooted in the fact that I insecure about my Asian heritage? Sure, that's fair statement. I am half Asian after all, and I notice Asian underrepresentation when it comes to nobel-level science, the liberal arts, and elsewhere. And when you're on a campus with a large amount of Asians, you will certainly notice a sense of cultural superiority among Asians and a lack of willingness to associate with non Asians. Not among all Asians, but a good many.

But by pointing out how some of my critiques of Asian Americans is rooted in some sense of insecurity (which I agree with), you don't think you're actually hiding your own insecurities are you? You've clearly become incensed that I suggest that many of these colleges use other measures of a student in addition to standardized scores. It should be pretty clear to anyone viewing this exchange from your vitriolic personal attacks that you're very insecure.

Let's remove the ethnic dimension so you can see very clearly what I'm saying.

Should a student with a 1500 on his SAT be selected over someone with a 1400? I say yes, given they showed the same level of openness and intellectual curiosity and exploration. The reality is, however, that Asians--on average--do not exhibit those qualities to the same degree.

Sam H said...

Yan Shen:

Are you the author over at that anti-Steve Sailer blog that's been around for well over 4 years?

In the end, like so many things in life, it comes down to money. From Steve Sailer:

"Unpublished statistical analyses by colleges have revealed that their most generous graduates tend to be competitive white males with team spirit and loyalty—in short, nature’s conservatives. From an admissions standpoint, the most likely future donors are smart white legacy jocks.

USC, for instance, last month announced a $200,000,000 donation from an old shotputter whose parents were also USC grads. David Dornsife, Class of ’65, majored in business while on the national champion USC track & field team, then made a fortune in the steel fabrication business in Fresno. I don’t know anything about Mr. Dornsife’s political or social views, but I’ll bet that they are more conservative than those of the average USC professor.

White males are by far the biggest donors to college endowments. But nobody on campus will ever say anything good about white males as a group." ( )

Sam H said...

How about some humor

Yan Shen said...

That's not me. I've only stumbled up Mr. Waffen SS over the past 2 years.

Yan Shen said...

When I say that you're insecure, I mean that you're insecure from a white point of view.

ahn86 said...

I think it's ignorant of you to blindly refer to number of Nobel Laureates by race without thinking in slightest of depth how those numbers came about.

You see Nobel Prize was introduced in early 1900s when most of East Asia was basically in backwaters with no infrastructure for research science. Obviously, you'll see how Nobel Prize can't be won with just individual brilliance. Years of constant funding and suitable environment is desired. Even today, the research (in pure sciences) environments of China, Taiwan, or Korea can't compare to the U.S. or even to the major western powers such as U.K. or France. I'd say only Japan has been a real contender in this respect albeit only relatively recently perhaps 50s/60s and on. Even then I'd say the Japanese research environment still lagged behind U.K. or France, or Russia for majority of these period (I think it's about equal these days although it is still dwarfed compare to U.S. which sports more than half of world's top 100 research universities). It is easy to infer from this piece of information that, by playing numbers game, East Asians haven't been very likely to be major research scientists (or Nobel Prize Winners).

Another way to look at this matter is just considering Asian and non Asian Americans, who have been given relatively same condition for success as research scientists (for example, Nobel Laureates in Sciences). Among American Nobel Laureates in Sciences, Asians have been represented favorably compared to the % of general pop. they represent in the U.S. (notice how the % of Asians in the U.S. used to be even smaller) I understand Asians in the U.S. aren't just random samples of Asians back in Asia. This is a biased data, but so is the number of Nobel Laureates by race.

In essence, you're just referring to a heavily biased data (Nobel Prize list) and number of isolated experiences (again biased, - My sister's ex, for example, was in a successful rock band in addition to being a science major. Now he's now a professor at MIT - and such) in your life to draw rather daring and provocative conclusion, white people tend to show more signs of excellence (compare to East Asians) given similar abilities in academics. In fact, you have NO CREDIBLE DATA at all (or hasn't given one) to back your claim. Whereas there are many convincing evidences (statistics of SAT scores, PISA scores, ...) of East Asian excellence in school academics or standardized tests.

As an added note, I find it a nice touch of you to try to divulge information about AMC (qulifying to AIME)/SAT (1500+ pre-revision) scores to somehow make your argument more credible. I could tell you there are many people who read this blog with similar distinctions as I know others, personally.

I'm also making clear that I'm not trying to discuss viability of colleges making admissions decisions based on other practical matters (besides merit), including financial and political reasons. I think there are merits in that, though I don't agree. My main problem lies with the rhetorics people like you impose to justify the means of an affirmative action, while putting down East Asians without convincing evidence.

Yan Shen said...

I'm beginning to think that 1500 was on the new 2400 SAT.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

I'm aware of the lag effect. Even given that, I think a disparity still exists. I don't remember where, but I do remember a Japanese scientist lamenting the underrepresentation of Japanese scientists vis a vis European scientists in some sort of journal communication. He compared Japan to Austria. It was on one of the blogs in this network. This Japanese scientist argued that there basically are not enough maverick-personality-type Asian scientists. I'm sure someone else remembers the article--please link it.

I mentioned my score only because how I think studying vastly improved it, and because Yan kept on with his "whites like sports, asians like math club" schtick. So, naturally, I had to defend my own chops. I too know that there are many who read these blogs with way greater distinctions x infinity, including being professors in high IQ fields and whatnot.

The problem is that IQ is easier to quantify than other types of intelligence--like creativity. It seems that for some this suggests that those kinds of abilities don't exist, or are completely defined by IQ. I'm doubtful of this.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

To lay another bomb, I'm actually pro-affirmative action. There are nuances to this view of course: technical schools [MIT, Caltech, etc] should exercise it very rarely, as well as high IQ fields. The reality of it for me is that we live in a multi racial society, and the leaders of underperforming minorities need to have their lots tied to whites and asians for a cohesive society. If we were to take one extreme, there would be few to no NAMs in elite institutions, resulting in some level of social stratification in society. If we take the other extreme, we no longer have a meritocracy, resulting in a loss of productivity. There's give and take.

Yeah, I agree I should stop reading HBD blogs.

Yan Shen said...

You might be interested in the fact that over the past decade, 10 ethnic Japanese scientists have won the Nobel prize in the hard sciences(though of course these prizes are tremendously time-lagged and are given for work often done decades ago), more than any other ethnicity besides American. If this trend persists, what it suggests to me is that Japanese science has finally matured. And I'd be fairly confident that China will make that kind of leap over the coming decades. Given the way that Asian Americans dominate the Intel Science Talent Search, which I'm surprised you failed to mention, since you seem to be obsessed with non-test types of activities, I think my optimism is warranted.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Jesus, you're insufferable.

I've said, literally, in every single post I've made that "in addition to SAT/ACT" other traits should be considered. I've always made it clear that SAT/ACT scores indicate fundamental ability.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Carl Sagan didn't recruit Neil DeGrasse Tyson because he thought the guy would produce earth-shattering research. He was considering societal cohesiveness and the relative importance of having a prominent African American scientist.

Yan Shen said...

Any thoughts about Asian American students dominating the Intel Science Talent Search today? That would seem to be an activity which you would look favorably upon.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Asians are definitely overrepresented in the elite science competitions. Maybe I should consider the time lag effect more strongly than I do. I'll be interested in seeing how this parlays into scientific research over the next several decades.

And really, it doesn't bother me in the least that Asians are kicking ass in the science competitions. I think it's pretty awesome, and I have literally touted it on other blogs on completely different topics as evidence of how Asian Americans are contributing to America. It's pretty ironic that I'm being charged as being insecure from a white person's perspective--it evokes memories of high school when I cast my lot with the few high school Asians for the sole just so that we could say, "Hey, it looks like we Asians dominated the calculus competition." (Top slots were mainly Asian, despite smaller numbers.)

I removed the ethnic dimension very specifically to address to you that the fundamental traits I view as important are NOT--I repeat NOT--inherently dependent on an ethnic bloc.

So let me just reverse the monikers to once again demonstrate: If a white person scores a 1500 on his SAT, and an Asian a 1400, but the Asian has shown other traits such as creativity, openness, and exploration, the Asian should be favored over the white guy.

Get it? As far as my admission criteria would go, the person's ethnic background is incidental.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

See above.

botti said...

***The more pressing question is whether right-wing whites will be as eager to defend the rights of Asian Americans as they are in defending the rights of members of their own tribe. ***

Biased "right-wing white" here. I definitely think admissions should be colorblind. Surely it's liberal elites that set admissions criteria? Have you emailed any of the people in these positions with questions about their selection criteria?

botti said...

Is there any info on admissions for Indian Americans?

Ju Hyung Ahn said...

Notice, Espenshade and Radford accounted for (2)&(4) somewhat in their calculation (legacy status, extracurriculars, ...)

Actually, the whole point of the article is to challenge the validity/legality of case (3) and (4) instead of just accepting it as an excuse to raise more endowments.
In the U.S., there's this thing called Civil Rights Act of 1964 which has this to say.
"This title declares it to be the policy of the United States that discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance and authorizes and directs the appropriate Federal departments and agencies to take action to carry out this policy"
I believe all the top research universities receive significant amount of federal funding. Of course, private universities can relinquish federal funding to continue their practice of racial preference. I believe it is hardly desirable. This was the main point behind Jian Li's civil rights complaint against Princeton which happened back in 2006.

In addition, Princeton Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye has made remark that could be considered as admission to racial preference in admissions criteria in this article after Princeton admissions officers obviously denying of such possibilities earlier. "Amid Charge of bias, Rapelye stands firm" -

"The key, Rapelye explained, is finding a balance in the class. "Race can be a plus factor in reading a file, and that sometimes factors in and sometimes doesn't, and we literally do not keep track," she said. "The process is more art than science.""

I'm sure using it SOMETIMES is still a form of discrimination. Whether it is being used ALWAYS or OFTEN, as opposed to, SOMETIMES is yet another question to ask.

It's ironic how civil rights movement that was supposed to end racial discrimination gave rise to another form of racial discrimination albeit to a lesser extent.

Aaron Abraham said...

Wow, so you say you yourself gamed the SAT's, and know people much smarter than you who scored lower. This is hugely significant, and I'm not sure even you realize how much so - it should be the central point of your posts, not a tangent. What you are saying essenially is that the smartest and most talented kids - i.e the ones most likely to be responsible for human progress - are NOT the ones getting into our best colleges, but rather much more mediocore kids who simply work really hard! Is this what we want? Our bets schools filled with kids willing to endure incredible grind and effort but not fundamentally creative or talended? If so, say good bye to progress! Say goodbye to scientific advances!

If this really captures the Asian/white disparity - mediocore Asians willing to work enormously hard filling places in the best colleges, while more intelligent/creative whites unwilling to endure such drudgery being forced to settle for second place - then we as a country, as a planet, are in serious trouble. It sounds like the prescence of large numbers of Asians in this country poses a unique and extremely iteresting challenge which turns out to be completely unexpected - who could have anticipated the unique intelligence/charachter profile of Asians, the baffling combination of mediocrity with high intelligence? Expected or not, it is something thar surely needs to be addressed. And as you note, even if we completely ignore the ethnic angle - which I'm not sure can be done other than just for the purposes of clarifying the ideas involved and presenting them in stark clarity - it is a sitaution that calls out for the developement of better measurs of future performance than the SAT.

( as a sidenote, most scientific nobles before the 50's didn't involve massive research faciltlies, just a brilliant mind doing calculations in his/her head. Einstein didn't need massive laboratories. Asians had every chance to compete, since, say, the 1850s when they began to take science seriously, and Japan industrailized the same time as Germany, and was cranking out the best airplanes and other hardware by the 1930's. Yet no nobels. Asian underperformance remains a mystery, but it has nothing to do with not having opportunity. Opportunity was ample, and current science talent contest - what do they really reflect? How many of their winners went on to do brillaint things? I'm genuinely curious. I would be ecstatic if Asians - suddenly - despite ample chances in the past display creative potential now. Better late than never.)

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Yeah, I think a hundred points is pretty significant. How much of my 1420/1520 was an accurate assessment of my abilities is hard to say. So I just say: SAT/ACT scores are a good approximation of ability. That's it. I'd like think I have a strong visual and verbal creative ability, for example, but that can't be measured on a linear scale. And I don't blame adcoms for looking for other indicators.

As far as what I mean by "progressive," it gets sticky. I see what you mean as far as the temporally based definition, but I would go back to the Ted Talk. I think it comes down to how one takes in and interprets information.

I consider the way I intake the world that of a "progressive." How this plays out as far as political views: I'm for curbing low-skilled immigration, which would not be labeled progressive. I'm pro-affirmative action, but for different reasons than most. I'm an avid environmentalist. I'm give and take as far as creating a prosperous business environment and balancing those with public concerns. Etc. There some semantic issues here.

My friend's mathematical ability is superior to mine, but I don't think that was accurately conveyed in our SAT scores. I'm certain my verbal ability is better than his, however, and I feel this was conveyed in the score. If we were to take my case, it would seem that Asians are actually being *undervalued* since they tend to better in math, relatively. My only point was that all things can't be measured by the SAT/ACT, and I feel I've noticed this at the anecdotal level.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Yea, I'm aware that on average a group with a higher score will have higher IQs. My test outings were just two datapoints: maybe I underperformed my given ability on the first outing and over-performed on the second outing, resulting in the large disparity.

Anyways, I'm interested in seeing how things play out over the next years--not just in science, but literature, art, music, etc.

botti said...

***I suspect that you know you're actually being read by a few smart people here, at the least.***

This kind of smugness gets really grating. It's why Oriental Right suggested people should ignore you when you start on about iSteve or similar blogs. I can think of several bright Mangan readers, RKU, Cornelius Troost & Mencius Moldbug for instance.

Yan Shen said...

Is this the same Cornelius Troost who rants and raves about the inferiority of blacks on Mangan's? ;)

botti said...

***iSteve and Mangan's are less intelligent than readers here at infoproc. It's a simple fact.***

Sure, but you seem to suggest that only idiots would read those blogs. Maybe I've gotten the wrong impression.

You get idiots on most blogs - I just looked at & found comments that are as ethnically chauvinistic as anything I've seen on mangans or isteve.

I'd agree that Half Sigma seems to attract better commentators overall.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

If Half Sigma is the paragon of HBD discussion, we've got problems.

You can see the guy's personality disorders and mild paranoia laced throughout his posts. Off the top of my head: he stalked black folks barbecuing in park just so that he could take pictures and then degrade them. Also, he had to return his cat. It fits the personality type of someone who lacks emotional perceptivity.

Another piece of evidence: he thinks climate change isn't real and is concocted by liberals. It takes a profound lack of intuition of probability to believe that hundreds of scientists across many fields with corroborating data are uniformly misreading the evidence/getting it wrong. In other words, he's one of those guys who thinks to himself, "climate change is a liberal issue," and so he reflexively takes the opposing position. His opposition is rooted in his cultural self-perception.

It's very clear that a majority of Steve/HS readers are interested in HBD because it confirms their latent prejudices, not because they simply seek out the truth or have the capacity to do so. So then you get these people with weird a mingling of latent prejudices and above average intelligence. On the one hand, it leads them to the logical conclusion that their are race differences in IQ. So they get it right. On the other hand, their latent prejudices overpower their logical capacities when it comes to issues like climate change. So they get it wrong.

botti said...

***If Half Sigma is the paragon of HBD discussion, we've got problems.***

I think it pays to have an eclectic approach to these blogs. Half Sigma is good on some topics, for instance I thought his analysis of the Ricci Supreme Court decision was excellent. On climate change he's pretty lazy.

***interested in HBD because it affirms their latent prejudices***

Yeah, well unfortunately people have tribal tendencies. Which I suppose is one reason why it's so hard to find HBD being discussed in a rational way.

chinoiserie said...

many Hispanics are solely or primarily of European

This a tiny minority of Hispanics in the US.

TGGP said...

I didn't think Ginsburg's dissent was that bad.

David Backus said...

Louis Menand had an interesting piece a while ago about the rise of standardized tests for college admissions, the success of (notably) Jews in taking such tests, and their subsequent devaluation as an admissions criterion. Might be worth comparing the two cases. I'll try to track it down.

steve hsu said...

If you can find the reference I would be quite interested. If you've never looked at The Chosen by Jerome Karabel, I highly recommend it.

Another guy who understood this stuff very well as Bourdieu, although he didn't believe in g.

botti said...

***For instance, Steve Sailer has repeatedly suggested time and time again that SAT scores are significantly amenable to extensive test prep***

Does he? I thought he was pretty skeptical about the benefits of test preparation courses, going back to this article in 1991.

botti said...

Heh, although I see here that he observes:

"there's a common assumption that a shift away from memorization toward critical thinking will narrow the racial gaps that currently exist between Asians and whites and between blacks/ Hispanics and Asians / whites.

But, is there much evidence for this widespread assumption?

I don't know. Asians do well on the AP tests, but they also do well on the Ravens Progressive Matrices, too."

Also, when asked how much hispanics could close the achievement gap if they "learned to be workaholic grind outs like their white peers", he answered:

"A not insignificant amount. Probably less than 50% but more than 10%."

Aaron Abraham said...

Steve, I agree with you on one level but disagree on another. You are completely right that European populations gave no evidence of any special talent till rather late in history. I personally believe they were actually of much lower IQ in ancient times and raised their IQ in historic times, much like the Jews. I certainly do not believe in any kind of eternal, intrinsic genius inherent in the European populations for all time. They were stupid in the past, and show some signs of becoming so in the future. Populations change. It's entirely possible that Asians will develop the capacity for original thinking in time - I hope so fervently!

What I don't see is how the lack of expensive equipment in Asia can explain the lack of brilliantly original thinkers, in pretty much any intellectual field, in the past 150 years, dating from the time roughly when Asia began to seriously grapple with intellectual challenge of the West. I might be wrong (science history is not my expertise), but before the 1950s didn't most scientific breakhroughs NOT involve expensive laboratories and funding? Didn't Eisntein dream up his theories while a postal clerk? Didn't most famous mathematicians write their theories on paper? In this area, there was nothing stopping Asian scientists - or mathematicians - from coming up with the big ideas. The situation is the same in other areas of thought. Political science and economics were subjects the Chinese, for instance, were very interested in, yet during a period with the West was prolific in original thinkers, the Chinese were unable to produce original thinkers of their own, forcing them to borrow from the West in a field of vital and immediate concern to them at the time (they borrowed contemporary thinkers, not ancient ones). Why? Even today, I was reading, Chinese thinkers vitally interested in the political future of their country turn to thinkers like Leo Strauss to oreint themselves, rather than producing thinkers of their own - why?

I am not trying to denigrate Asians but to point out a very real mystery that is not explained by saying that Asian countries lacked expensive equipement.

I do think Asians might develop the capacity for original thoruhg - but I think it IS an intellectual ability, pure and simple, not well mesured by standardized tests, the ability to "see" some new connection between ideas.

But I don't really know, it's all guessing in the dark - time will tell!

steve hsu said...

Expensive equipment is not the only important factor. 150 years ago most parts of the world had no organizations dedicated to scientific investigation. You may as well attribute the failure of Spanish or Russian scientists to anticipate Newton to lack of creativity!

This topic is quite complicated and has been studied from a variety of perspectives. I suggest you go to Google books and read a bit from Needham's Science and Civilization in China. While Needham probably exaggerated some of his claims, you will find all sorts of things (ranging from pure math to very practical devices) that may have been invented in China hundreds or even thousands of years before they were developed, e.g., by NW Europeans. Progress in science and technology depends on lots of things -- institutions, resources, culture and (of course) individual abilities.

Aaron Abraham said...

Why, Yan Shen, I do believe you are a hothead! I am delighted - most unusual personality for an Asian man :) We need more like you. But alas, your emotional explosions lead you to read me poorly - I am not in the least bit hostile to Asians and frequenly say very flattering things about them. Nor do I have anything close to unqualified admiration for white people. I think the West is dead, and I expect Asians to carry the torch of civilization forward - I am just nervous that they might not be able to do so as brillaintly as I would like, and I see no reason to be shy in saying so. Instead of counting on the Asians, I think we might have to wait for some new, unexpected amalgamation; perhaps Asian-white, perhaps Asian-white-hispanic-black. Who knows? All current human groups seem to have exhausted their various potentials - lets wait for some new unexpected combination!

I am not your enemy. I am the furthest thing from a white nationalist. But I'm not an Asian triumphalist either. But a piece of advice - less emotion, more thought! Believe it or not, I actually appreciate the ethically complex position that finds such tortured expression in your various outbursts; torn between Asian chauvinism and a more sophisticated humanism, shocked into defensiveness by white nationalism, it's tough to maintain one's dignity under such conditions.

Yan Shen said...

You've used the same line of reasoning before on Mangan's blog. First it was, Asians began to grapple with Western science in the 1600s. Then it was the 1700s. And now you use the date 1850. Japan began modernizing 110 years before China finally opened up in 1978, and that was with the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. China up until 1978 had been in a state of disarray for quite a while. So in this sense, your picking the date 1850 as when all of East Asia finally embarked full steam on a process of modernization is quite misleading. In other words, the proper date for your analysis at least with respect to China should be 1978.

We can already see in the case of Japan the rapid uptick of science and technology in recent decades. I've argued that the recent influx of Japanese nobel laureates in the hard sciences(since 2000 more than any other ethnicity except American) is perhaps a sign of the maturity of Japanese science. In any case, it's fairly obvious that Japanese contributions today have increased significantly even compared to say 50 years ago.

By the way, I've argued on Mangan's blog that the West modernizing before East Asia wasn't the only instance of a supposedly lower IQ group outperforming a higher IQ one over a period of a few hundred years. I gave the example of the Islamic Golden Age of Science and explicitly contrasted it with European stagnation after the early Greek efflorescence. My understanding is that pre-Renaissance Europe was helped by Muslim translations of the ancient Greek texts and to a lesser extent by the work of pre-modern Islamic scientists.

Also, I've mentioned the fact that history already has one pretty significant example of a group coming out of nowhere and suddenly establishing themselves intellectually, i.e the Jews! Charles Murray mentions in his book Human Accomplishment that prior to the year 1800, he only counted 2 significant figures of Jewish origin(perhaps I have that precise number wrong), and that post 1800 the numbers suddenly started skyrocketing. Before then, the Jews were mostly known for commerce. In other words, until the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s, the notion of Jewish genius would've been absurd!

Yan Shen said...

Aaron, there's a spell check built in to the commenting. ;)

Aaron Abraham said...

That last statement is actually untrue. The most g loaded segment of the IQ test is the verbal, and on this Asians score equal to or lower than whites. While on more g-loaded tests Asians score better, it is clear that they do not score better on those sections of those tests that are most heavily g-loaded. Do you see the difference? There is one, and if you stop (no hotheaded rushing to conclusions!) for a moment and think, you will notice it. Oh Ok, I'll spell it out! Even more heavily g-loaded tests contain many less g-loaded sections, so an overall higher Asian score on these tests does not necessarily point to a higher g score. It's a subtle subterfuge, but it don't pass muster, bub. Lets retire it - henceforth it shall be banished from discussions of Asian/white IQ!

As for the SAT's, that there is a point of diminishing returns for studying does not in any way controvert the fact that before that point is reached there is great lattitude for there to be at least a 100 point difference between people of the same intelligence. And since 100 SAT points is huge, and the statistics we are using to suggest that Asians are being discriminated against does not mention differences of more than 100 points - well, logically, that's all we need! And so on and so forth, in perpetuam, amen.

Aaron Abraham said...

I would only add that I find it refreshing to hear that the SAT/ACT is not a comprehensive and perfect measure of all dimensions of the intellect - so many talk as if it IS, and it's only shortcoming is that it doesn't measure persoanlity, which is then said to interact with intelligence in all sorts of ways that might limit it's performance. It's nice to hear that the limitation might be located in the intellect and not the persoanlity!

Yan Shen said...

Please learn to use the built in spell-check in the commenting! While the mediocrity of your commentary might fit in perfectly with Mangan's readers, you're absolutely embarrassing yourself here! Now the fact that you misspelled the word personality twice in exactly the same quirky way suggests to me that your misspellings aren't typos and are actually the result of you not knowing how to spell simple words, which to be honest is pretty appalling.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

I agree--I think personality does in fact play a role. I don't see how the mentality you take into approaching tasks would not aggregate in a significant way (as Hsu has talked about "maverick" personalities). Some people are not going to like that assertion.

TheGuyFromEarlier said...

Yan Shen. Take a deep breath. It's ok.

Are you just on an infinite loop here? Do you just like listening to yourself speak? Have you noticed where I said to Aaron, "You're taking this to the other extreme: you're discounting the intelligence of those who score high as merely 'hard workers.'"

Yes. The SAT is heavily g-loaded. I have essentially said that, I think maybe 14 or 15 times now? That said, I also know prep helps extensively. Honestly, I'm very skeptical of CollegeBoard's claim that studying has little impact on scores. I think it's probably in their best interest to make that claim. I actually don't think 100 points is all that uncommon of an increase, honestly.

And, as we've pointed out several times in this discussion, there are factors that are harder to condense on a linear scale--hence my lack of citations. (Speaking of which, Hsu, do you have any systematic way to measure maverickness? Otherwise, it--apparently--doesn't exist.)

BTW, being intensely unlikable--a "dick"--does not help your cause.

Yan Shen said...

"Yes. The SAT is heavily g-loaded. I have essentially said that, I think maybe 14 or 15 times now? That said, I also know prep helps extensively. Honestly, I'm very skeptical of CollegeBoard's claim that studying has little impact on scores. I think it's probably in their best interest to make that claim. I actually don't think 100 points is all that uncommon of an increase, honestly. "

Once again, more conjectures and I thinks. When are you going to learn, buddy? :) Cite some data!

No, I'm not being a dick. I'm being intellectual honest and rigorous, which is a quality that people on the losing side of the argument tend to dislike. Remember, in a serious intellectual debate, you're made to account for your claims.

Aaron Abraham said...

Spelling, eh? Best you could come up with? Seems appropriate, though. As an Asian intellect, perhaps mastering the alphabet IS your poudest achievement :) I hope it didn't take you too many hours of grind, though. After all, the world is full of trivial minutiae for you to devote endless hours of grind to :) And yes, mastering technicalities is just as good as having original throughts. Don't let those nasty whties tell you otherwise.

Yan Shen said...

I've already exhausted the many other flaws of yours.

1. You being a low IQ idiot.
2. You never bothering to cite data to support your flawed assertions.
3. You being incredibly whiny and insecure and monotonous.

Now tell us Aaron, what community college did you go to again?

And by the way, it's spelled PROUDEST! ;)

Nah, as a relatively high IQ Asian, spelling came to me easy as one, two, three... :)

Yan Shen said...

Since this conversation has taken the particular turn that it has, let me just state that the main problem of all of this racial strife is because of insecure whites! This really goes to the heart of a much larger issue present within American society. For instance, this thread was going along perfectly fine until Guy derailed it entirely with a long-winded rant about IQ and HBD and Asians. No one else even discussed these issues before he managed to drag them up. This specific example of his behavior though is really a symptom of a much larger disease present within American society, that is, the incredibly annoying habit of white Americans of viewing their own relative strengths and interests as the only things worthwhile. Let me explain.

For instance, it's true that East Asians tend to gravitate towards math/science more so than the humanities/liberal arts. But, I've rarely heard East Asians denigrate the humanities or white Americans for their interest in the humanities. Likewise, East Asians tend to excel in classical music, with an emphasis on instruments like the piano and violin. I've also never heard East Asians denigrate white Americans for their interest in say playing the drums or the guitar. There's no, oh but white Americans are just going into less intellectually rigorous fields, or other such pettiness. East Asians by and large focus on themselves and respect others who may have differing interests.

White Americans on the other hand, are so incredibly petty. They keep defining something as interesting only if they excel at it relatively speaking. So being extremely interested in the humanities and terrible at math is considered perfectly fine. But being extremely good at math and not particularly interested in the humanities is considered dull. Playing the piano or violin masterfully is also considered dull, but sitting around campus, lamely strumming the same few chords on the guitar is absolutely fantastic!

I've brought this up before, but it bears bringing up again. East Asians are relentless self-critical in a way that blacks, whites, and Hispanics aren't. Ask an East Asian why he's under-performing academically relative to someone else, and the explanation you're most likely to hear is that the person believes that he didn't work hard enough. You might also hear that the person believes he simply isn't as smart as the other guy. Very rarely if ever, will you hear something about how the more successful individual was part of a privileged class or was a grind, etc.

Aaron Abraham said...

I would agree that the kind of slow, incremental refinement of technologies we see as scientific "progress" today depends on those things, but the production of radical new ideas and ways of looking at the world seems to me to perhaps have other sources. I would distinguish between brilliant original thinkers and incremental technological advance. But I take your point - the issue is immensely complex, though fascinating! Perhaps the next few hundred years will see Asians playing a leading role in extracting all that can be gotten out of existing technologies, a task that seems wells suited to their abilities.

I've long been meaning to look into that Needhad book - maybe this is the time. Spain, Russia, eh? Not the best examples of generally creative countries, though, even without the example of Newton, who is one of a handful of world thinkers in a class of their own.

Yan Shen said...

Right, so this is the problem with your analysis. I'm not talking about political stability. I'm talking about having institutions amenable to intellectual progress. Remember, one of the criticisms was that countries like China and Japan were isolationist, disinterested in ideas from other cultures, etc. Your idea that East Asia began to take Western ideas seriously since 1850 is seriously flawed. In fact, one of the criticisms that Japanese intellectuals during the Meiji Restoration like Fukuzawa Yukichi directed towards China and Korea were that they were hopelessly backwards, uninterested in modernization. So Japan had to spiritually leave East Asia as it were.

In other words, you keep insisting that Asians have been taking modern intellectual discourse seriously for much longer than is actually the case. At first, you insisted on Mangan's blog that it was the 1600s when Asians attempted to engage with the modern world. Then you pushed it back to the 1700s. Now you seem to have stuck on the year 1850, which is incredibly odd, because that date is almost 20 years before the Meiji Restoration!

I suspect thought that the key issue here is time lag. Japan only recently began to dominate the Nobels, and they began the process of modernization in 1868. Institutions take time to develop. What occurred in Europe over a period of hundreds of years, beginning with the Renaissance, isn't going to be compressed into the span of a mere decades in East Asia.

Yan Shen said...

Read your own link more carefully.

"The two with the highest g loadings are the verbal and reasoning factors... Raven Progressive Matrices is a good example of a culture reduced test that loads highly on the reasoning factor alone."

Yan Shen said...

Aaron, you're too hilarious. You really are the single most insecure person I've ever seen. And you entire post is rambling, incoherent, and riddled with misspellings. It's like you just repeat the same thing over and over again, while disregarding everything I've said and providing zero historical references of your own! By this point, I've gotten tired of debating with an idiot. By the way, you also seem to misunderstand the definition of g-loaded, a point which I've explained to you in another comment.

Aaron Abraham said...

Duh. It measures non-verbal reasoning, otherwise knows as....visuo-spatial intelligence! Obviously all intelligence is a form of reasoning (perhaps plus memory), the question is merely what kind. No one is arguing that Asians are incapable of all kinds of reasoning, just that they are peculiarly good at some kinds, involving space and objects within it, but not at others.

But you are tenacious. You approach this with the religious zeal of a missionary. You would have made a good Christian martyr. I can only shake my head at so much energy wasted on so futile and empty a cause - you cannot prove the impossible. Why not make an effort at a real understanding of the Asian/white difference? Understanding facts is always better than bashing your head against them. More fascianting, as well.

Aaron Abraham said...

Ironically, the time lag theory would explain the lack of great scientific research in Asia, and yet that is the one thing that Asians, especially the Japanese, have been relatively good at it. The time lag says nothing about the abscence of great thinkers in all fields.

It seems to me this entire argument revolves around a crucial confusion; you are talking about large scale scientific research that takes funding and organization, I am talking about brilliant individuals having original thoughts. Time lag can easily explain the abscence of the first, but not the second. Perhaps that clears some things up.

So all this talk of a process that took hundreds of years in Europe, the need to develop unspecified institutions, the need to modernize, is just so much obscuring smoke - it is NOT about large-scale, heavily organizede scientific research.

Pretty much the only relevant point is when East Asians began to take an intellectual interest in Western ideas (not adopt them, but take an interest in them). This is a question of historical fact. Beyond that I simply don't see how you have really responded to anything I said, and I really don't see anything new I can say. In your mind you are arguing against a phantom, not my actual position. You can't quite get past the idea that this is about large scale scientific research. That's your mental model, and you slip in and out of it at key moments, as the situation fits your point.

You "suspect that it is tme lag" because that it is a consoling thought. Isn't it time you dropped this charade and joined the "dark side"?

Yan Shen said...

You're so stupid. Fuck off.

Yan Shen said...

My momma taught me to not gripe like a loser when someone else was doing better than me in life! I wonder who else that lesson could benefit?

In the future, think more carefully before you derail a thread with your gratuitous and irrelevant negativity, because I'm going to keep smacking you around and making sure that you adhere to a modicum of intellectual rigor and honesty in your posts.

steve hsu said...

I have 10+ years of SAT data from the University of Oregon. It shows that only very rarely do SAT scores move by as much as 1 SD on retest. So most methods of preparation do not work, or only yield modest improvement. Obviously many people spend money on things that don't work. Astrologers are still in business, sometimes even in the White House.

steve hsu said...

Very strange that you would denigrate Russian science and mathematics. (Do you know what you are talking about?) The whole point is that these things change over time, and over timescales too short for there to be anything but a cultural or institutional explanation (gene frequencies don't change much in 100 years). Please have a look at Needham's book. You will find many examples of individual creativity or even genius that entirely unknown in the West. "History" (as constructed by any particular group) is a very imperfect record of what happened in the past.

steve hsu said...

Aaron, it's kind of obvious from what you've written on this point that you do not understand factor analysis (or even linear algebra).

Just because the verbal or reasoning factors have the largest g loading out of the 7 factors you listed (which are themselves a bit controversial among experts), doesn't mean that a test like RAPM can't be more heavily g loaded than any of the single 7 factors. It's obvious that RAPM has a visual aspect, but it obviously also loads on reasoning, memory, perhaps even the verbal factor depending on how people solve the problems. All of these factors overlap in a complicated way. g isn't reducible to any single factor, in fact it is the certain special combination of all those factors that best predicts general performance on a battery of tests.

I'm not even a big believer in the "strong" interpretation of g. But it's just mathematically obvious that the argument you give is not correct. Look up the empirical results on g loading of various tests.

Also, look at GRE scores or SMPY data and you'll find that subjects like philosophy are definitely more verbally loaded than, say CS or engineering. SMPY shows very different career trajectories for verbally gifted (law, humanities), mathematically gifted (engineering, math, CS) and both V and M gifted people (theoretical physics?) that they've tracked for 50 years now.

You seem very interested (obsessed) with this topic, but you don't seem to have done any research other than misinterpreting some things you've read on the Web.

Aaron Abraham said...

As graceful an acceptance of defeat as you are probably capable of :) Not bad, you've reduced the insult content of your reply to only about 70%. I leave you with one last word of advice, my hot tempered young friend. As you get older you'll realize energy, however admirable, cannot substitute for a sharp mind, and a shift to insult, however satisfying, is probably a sign that at some level, you realize you are lost. I hope you learn wisdom - and emotional self-control - as you get older.

A few Japan observations (not directed at you Yan Shen, you'll only get angry).

Japan has a pop roughly 50% larger than Germany and became "modernized" roughly the same time as Germany. During this entire period Germany produced vastly more Nobels than Japan. In the past decade alone Japan produced one - one - more Nobel than Germany, and this is cited by you as Japan "dominating" the Nobels and as an unstoppable trend. You invest the number with a rather extraordinary importance. Japans larger population is ignored. It's posession of the modern instituions - unspecified - supposedly so crucial to producing Nobels for the past hundred years is ignored (of course China's dismal performance can be explained through lack of these institutions. But why not be inconsistent when it suits?). And yet I am the one who is insecure, I am the one who cannot stand it that my "tribe is losing" - sigh, I can only shake my head.

But Japans recent Nobels has a much more melancholy explanation. Japan is merely doing what it was always good at; producing good incremental improvements. These days, that's all anybody does, so Japan's performance begins to look good in that context. Back in the days when the Wes was will producing great ideas, Japan was doing what it is doing now, but it looked far less important. Japan didn't get any better, the West got worse. A sad reflection, and one can apply it to China too.

Oh well, I have no doubt new big ideas will eventually come from somewhere. History will surprise us, though.

Aaron Abraham said...

Yan Shen says: " It makes no sense to say that a test is the best measure of pure g, i.e most g-loaded, but that the g it measures is less g-loaded than the g of some other test. g is just one thing. There aren't different flavors of g."

Here we have the crucial misunderstanding. A test is more heavily g loaded if it captures the ability underlying all factors (or thought to underly them). RPM captures this factor to some degree - and nothing else!!!! Verbal sub-tests capture this factor AND cultural content as well, so is less good at capturing JUST g. But if someone does well at verbal and another does well at RPM, and that's ALL we know about the two people, then the guy who did well on verbal is more likely to do well on tests of all other factors than the guy who did well on RPM. However there is more white noise and background static on the vebal sub-test than on RPM, so it less good as a measure of PURE g.

Aaron Abraham said...

Ha ha ha, why are you so threatened by me? I am simply an apostle of truth :) Come over to the side of light, Yan Shen. You'll feel better, my friend.

Aaron Abraham said...

Russian science is rather a late flower, is it not? And mostly a Jewish thing, no? (I could be wrong on that last but I doubt it)

But a sudden shift in what a people can do can be the culmination of a long and invisible genetic change - it seems sudden because it suddenly bears fruit. But I don't think that sudden changes in a nations performance profile necessarily mean it's cultural. It can easily be the long awaited fruit of a genetic shift taking place under the surface. I thnk we see something similar with the Jews.

I WILL read Needhams book, and if he does really show examples of genius comparable to the best of the West, I will freely and even happily change my mind. I have not seen evidence of this yet. But I WANT to change my mind. So far everything I know of Asian performance is that it is capable of a high level, but not genius. I WANT to be proven wrong.

steve hsu said...

What you wrote above is just terribly confused...

steve hsu said...

I think you are arguing against a straw man. No one is saying SAT and GPA are everything. The more serious claim is that even after extracurriculars, legacy status, etc. are controlled for there is an Asian penalty assigned (de facto) on the basis of race. As far as I can tell, Jewish applicants are not assessed any such penalty these days, although they certainly were in the past. Please read the comments on the previous post to get a more nuanced idea of what people here are talking about.

You write as if Asians are one monolithic group, whereas what is really happening is that individual students and families are each deciding, for their own reasons, that they really want to attend an elite university. Just because a large fraction of Asians are highly motivated to attend an elite, and a higher percentage (compared to other groups) are able to put together a strong HS record, is hardly reason to accuse the group as a whole of "piggishness"!

Yan Shen said...

How do you define leadership? My understanding is that Chinese Americans have contributed a disproportionate share of the start-ups in Silicon Valley. Does tech leadership count under your definition? I've always been skeptical of the claim that somehow Asian Americans aren't risk takers or adequate leaders. I see plenty of creative risk taking undertaken by Chinese Americans in Silicon Valley. Yahoo was started up by Jerry Yang. Nvidia by Jen Hsun-Huang. And Steven Chen was one of the three co-founders of YouTube.

I suspect that leadership in areas like politics or finance, though, requires less g and more the ability to manipulate others verbally. I agree that perhaps in these areas, Asian Americans may not be as proficient. Asian Americans have long admitted to themselves that they aren't particularly good at bullshitting. But it seems to me that when leadership is more dependent upon actual technical no-how, Asian Americans more than excel.

Baysiders10 said...

no racism where we play.

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