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View Diary: Richwine's Harvard PhD: The Committee and Dean Respond (470 comments)

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  •  Please explain (30+ / 0-)

    how a study that argues that hispanics are less intelligent than 'native whites' relying in IQ could ever be considered "sound."

    Really, that's what was argued by Richwine.  

    If the candidate's actual research was sound, there is little the advisors could have done here, other than to tell him that they disagree with some of his conclusions (which it sounds like they did).
    Do you consider the lower intelligence of hispanics compared to 'native whites' a 'sound' argument?

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:08:41 PM PDT

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    •  From what I've read about the paper (10+ / 0-)

      it wasn't an argument that Hispanics generally have lower IQ's than the rest of the population.  Its "empirical data" had to do with Hispanics who were in the United States illegally.

      When they say "the empirical data was sound," they probably mean the sampling method and the testing method, that kind of thing, that resulted in the raw data he used. That's what the advisers are supposed to look at.  

      Apparently, he then used that "empirically sound data" regarding the IQ levels of Hispanics who were in the country illegally to draw all kinds of conclusions about WHY that had happened, and what it meant for immigration policy.  That's where the advisers don't necessarily have to agree with him.  THAT'S where notions of "academic freedom" come into play.

      •  Per both the (26+ / 0-)

        American Psychological Society and American Anthropological Society...IQ is a meaningless measure when used to describe populations.

        At best, it can only be used to compare individuals...and frankly even there its a dumb-ass measure.

        So, the very act of discussing immigrant's IQs violates even the most charitable standards of IQ research.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:27:55 PM PDT

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        •  Make both those societies associations. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fresno

          oops.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:29:37 PM PDT

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        •  I completely understand the dispute over (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          the relevance of IQ testing.  I know there's long been a dispute over its validity and the use of such tests.  But that's more of a "conclusions" type thing.  

          The advisers can (and did, it seems) vehemently disagree with his conclusions.  But when they say the empirical data is correct, they probably mean that his sampling and testing showed that the tested population -- which seems to be immigrants here illegally -- had, on the average, a lower IQ score than his "control" population, whatever that was.  Whether that means anything significant, and if so, what it means, is a conclusion, and apparently the advisers disagreed with his conclusions.  

          •  No, no, no, no (30+ / 0-)

            There is no dispute over the use of IQ to characterize a population.  Its bullshit, plain and simple.  

            Basically, Richwine's dissertation is equivalent to having a math dissertation that divides by zero.  

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:38:18 PM PDT

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          •  APA position on IQ studies (7+ / 0-)

            In response to the controversy surrounding The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association's Board of Scientific Affairs established a task force to write a consensus statement on the state of intelligence research which could be used by all sides as a basis for discussion. The full text of the report is available at a third-party website.

            The findings of the task force state that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual (but not necessarily population) differences in school achievement. They confirm the predictive validity of IQ for adult occupational status, even when variables such as education and family background have been statistically controlled. They agree that individual (again, not necessarily population) differences in intelligence are substantially influenced by genetics.

            They state there is little evidence to show that childhood diet influences intelligence except in cases of severe malnutrition. They agree that there are no significant differences between the average IQ scores of males and females. The task force agrees that large differences do exist between the average IQ scores of blacks and whites, and that these differences cannot be attributed to biases in test construction. While they admit there is no empirical evidence supporting it, the APA task force suggests that explanations based on social status and cultural differences may be possible. Regarding genetic causes, they noted that there is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:45:50 PM PDT

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            •  The issue here then (7+ / 0-)

              is one of disciplinary expertise.  I doubt that any of the members of the committee from the K School of Government have degrees in Social Psychiatry, which would be the expertise required to comment on the use of IQ tests for making populations level conclusions.  

              Since the committee chair has already commented (and you've quoted it) that he, himself has no experience working with IQ data, this level of subject expertise may not travel across the fields.

              A school of government also isn't likely to have social psychologists as part of their faculty, which means the ins and outs of this kind of data (or datasets) wouldn't be part of the K Schools area of expertise.

              That seems to be the bigger problem. Or the fact that neither the candidate, nor the committee realized that the expertise of a social Psychologist might be relevant to the study.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:13:21 PM PDT

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              •  This is really fairly basic stuff (6+ / 0-)

                any social scientist should (is) aware of it now.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:20:55 PM PDT

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                •  I beg to differ (6+ / 0-)

                  They might be aware of it, but not the specificities of the differences between individual level and population level conclusions.  And my guess is that faculty members at a school of Government are more likely to be from disciplines like political science and economics and even public policy which, at least in my experience in the social sciences, in fact don't pay attention to the fields of social psychology or even all dimensions of sociology, so I'd seriously doubt if they paid enough attention (outside of basic econometrics or statistical manipulations) to understand the context-bound caveats about certain kinds of data sets.

                  I don't know what your field is, but as a sociologist who has sometimes had to work with folks from disciplines that schools of government tend to farm from, no they wouldn't necessarily know this.

                  I mean, I do, but that's because I'm trained in sociology and have dabbled in both some social psych and even some educational policy arenas.  The disciplinary walls are still pretty damn high and lots of stuff you'd think is "accepted" is still housed in some pretty tight little disciplinary niches.    

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Fri May 10, 2013 at 06:01:18 PM PDT

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              •  Not to be picky, but most psychiatrists don't know (10+ / 0-)

                squat about intellectual testing.  In fact, such testing was the core of the start of the fields of clinical and educational psychology, which, with additions from neuropsychology and cognitive psychology, still provide most of the experts on the topic.

                        One of the problems with the whole IQ-race controversy is that very few people had significant expertise in all the relevant fields -- intellectual ability testing, statistics, genetics, social psychology, cultural studies, etc.  Of course, an even more nefarious problem was bloviating "scientists" who knew very little about ANY of the requisite fields but wrote popular screeds about the topic anyway--e.g., Shockley, Herrnstein.  

                "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

                by Oliver St John Gogarty on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:45:55 PM PDT

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                •  I'm not talking about psychiatrists (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm talking specifically about those people trained as research experts in social psychology, and in educational psychology, or who work quite specifically in intellectual testing, that's a pretty specialized subfield.   The ones you mean.

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Fri May 10, 2013 at 06:04:27 PM PDT

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                •  what IQ-race controversy? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  louisprandtl, Ditch Mitch KY

                  I believe that diss. to be faulty to begin with, as today "race" is widely considered a social construct in academia.  If the measure used is "race", then as a social condition everything affecting it would have to be environmental not biological, i.e. nurture rather than nature.

                  So, does he look at the environmental conditions surrounding so-called "hispanics?" That is are we looking at income levels, education, living conditions, infant and child health care, etc.?

                  And what is "hispanic?"  What does that mean? Who does it mean? Undocumented agri-worker from Guatemala or the dissertation writer's classmate from the upper caste of Buenos Aires or Bogotá? I can imagine his answer to that but I want a definition because it is relevant to the measure "race"

                  Or maybe he is just academically paraphrasing Mel Brooks when he sang

                  Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi party!
                  because this diss seems to be a parody, too

                  Don't be a dick, be a Democrat! Oppose CPI cuts! Support Social Security and Veteran Benefits!

                  by Jeffersonian Democrat on Sat May 11, 2013 at 03:03:59 AM PDT

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              •  I agrees that no one in the school probably (3+ / 0-)

                has the expertise to direct this dissertation nor Richwine to conduct it. However, I would like set the record straight on who would be qualified. Psychiatry would not likely know much about IQ research nor would most Social Psychologists. It would be Mesasurement specialists, School or Educational, or Clinical psychologists who use or have studied the IQ construct and more broadly, the construct of Intelligence or intelligences.

                This was an ill conceived project by an ill prepared and ideologically driven student, supervised by a committee that was over it head. I have not read sthe piece but would be quite sure that none of them possess the statistical sophistication to conduct such a project.

                "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

                by RonK on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:56:47 PM PDT

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                •  Which raises another question ... (10+ / 0-)

                  Why was no competent IQ specialist on the committee?

                  I work in public health myself. But our students are allowed to have committee members outside of their department. In fact, they are required to do so if the home department does not have a faculty member who is competent in a content area that is crucial to the dissertation topic. They also must include someone who is knowledgeable about the study design and analytical methods they are using.

                  For instance ... my department is Health Behavior. If your topic involves health care utilization, you'll need someone from organization and policy (still public health, but a different department). If you are looking at sick-role behaviors, you include a health psychologist or a medical sociologist on your committee (both housed in arts & sciences on our campus). If your concern is people who already have a certain diagnosis, you go to the appropriate medicine or nursing department for a clinician.

                  Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

                  by susanala on Fri May 10, 2013 at 07:47:18 PM PDT

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          •  Let me ask you this.... (2+ / 0-)

            where exactly does one get IQ data for Hispanics in this country illegally?

            And how would someone who isn't fact checking this guy, which is highly unlikely given the culture of the Kennedy School, be able to judge that the the empirical data came from anywhere besides being pulled out of  Richwine's ass.

            Maybe, instead of defending this work, you should spend five minutes scamming his abstract.

        •  Minor quibble - be careful with your words... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vickijean, Hopeful Monster

          You wrote:

          American Psychological Society and American Anthropological Society...IQ is a meaningless measure when used to describe populations.
          What the APA said (and what you emphasized) was:
          The findings of the task force state that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual (but not necessarily population) differences in school achievement.
          We're dealing with science, and language is (or should be) used with precision.  When the APA says "not necessarily population", that does not equate to "meaningless;" rather, it suggests that no predictive validity has yet been determined.  There's a difference.

          There are innumerable questions to which a scientist may answer, "not necessarily," without suggesting that the questions have been disproven in any conclusive sense.  Let's not put words in the APA's mouth.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Sat May 11, 2013 at 07:15:09 AM PDT

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      •  How many illegals of which you are aware of (3+ / 0-)

        have gotten IQ tests?

      •  Also wasn't published in a peer-reviewed journal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SadieSue, louisprandtl

        We really need to hold our political leaders to a higher standard.

        They should NOT be basing important public policies on sketchy scientific research.   They hold the science, medical and health care profession to higher standards when creating public policy on drug approval, Medicare reimbursement, etc.  They should have the same high standards for all public policy.

        "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

        by Betty Pinson on Fri May 10, 2013 at 04:53:54 PM PDT

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      •  A question (9+ / 0-)

        How did he get data on the IQ of Hispanics in the country illegally?

        I'm sure there's some way--I'm not a statistician.

        But little old me here is trying to picture a box one checks off on the IQ test that asks if you are "documented" or "undocumented."

        Actually, the question is real.

        Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

        by NCJan on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:27:02 PM PDT

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      •  Apparently, you were misled by the HuffPo (3+ / 0-)

        article, then. His claims are not limited to those here illegally -- an issue he barely treats at all, notwithstanding its possible implications for some of his datasets. He is talking primarily about the average IQ of Hispanic immigrants and their U.S.-born offspring being lower than the average for non-Hispanic white Americans (which, in turn, is lower than that for certain Asian American groups). He's making a multigenerational claim (see, e.g., p. 60), and not one that relates to legal status.

    •  if he collected (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Draxinum

      the measurements using that index and that's what the data show, then that's what the data show.  What it means is entirely a different matter.  What's your solution, throw out the data because it doesn't come back the "right" way?  I'm sorry but that's been tried (for example, lysenkoism was but one egregious example of this kind of approach), it isn't a good way to go.

      Better, if you have other data or better metrics, use them.

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

      by Mindful Nature on Fri May 10, 2013 at 05:19:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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