The Instigator
AveragejoeDev
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
RoryStott
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Differences in intelligence between human races

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,141 times Debate No: 15103
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

AveragejoeDev

Pro

Ladies and gentlemen.
I am here to argue whether or not there is a difference between the intelligence of for instance; a person hailing from the sub-saharan Negroid race, and a person hailing from the Caucasian race.

As I believe there is a genetic difference. The first and most obvious difference between the two races is the size of the brain. The size of the Negroid brain is 'only' 1,278 cm�. Whereas the Caucasian brain is 1,425 cm�. which means theres roughly a 16% difference in brain capacity between the two.
Furthermore studies consistently find patterns reinforcing the theory that there is a difference in intelligence between the two races.
For instance Philippe J. Rushton's study on race and intelligence. In this study he found the average IQ of a sub-saharan african to be at a mere 70. For those of you unfamiliar with IQ tests, I can add for comparison; that we in western society consider a person borderline retarded once the person's IQ is below 70. The average IQ of the Caucasian was placed at 100 in the same study.
Which again depicts a huge difference in the intelligence between Negroids and Caucasians.

The ball is in your court.
RoryStott

Con

I would like to thank pro for a very bold topic – and an especial thanks for taking the stereotypical 'immoral' side, it's always nice to have a head start :)

Firstly, to refute your claim upon differences in brain size. I will not even check your statistics, I will accept at face value your claim that black people have smaller brains – because very simply brain size has little to do with intelligence. The largest brain in the animal kingdom belongs to the sperm whale, at an average of about 8kg. [1] (note that brain tissue has a density of roughly 1000 cm2 = 1 kg – thus humans have a brain of about 1.3-1.5 kg) Now I would hardly expect you to claim that a sperm whale is more intelligent than a human, however to follow the logic of your argument, a sperm whale would have a 'brain capacity' that is over 500% the 'brain capacity' of humans. Whilst 'brain capacity' is a very unclear term, I take it you mean it to be synonymous with 'intelligence', and thus I conclude that brain size is irrelevant within the context of this argument.

Your reference to J. Philippe Rushton is very interesting: from what I can see he has repeatedly been accused of approaching his subject with a pre-existing racist bias [2], and other scholars have asserted that "the testing methods were in fact biased against Black Africans. They disagree with other aspects of Rushton's methodology, such as the use of non-equivalent groups in test samples" [2]

Furthermore, I counter with a 2002 study by Richard Lynn & Tatu Vanhanen which argues that there is a strong positive correlation between a nation's economic wealth (in GDP) and the IQ of its citizens – therefore the lower IQ scores amongst the Sub Saharan Africans in Rushton's study are more likely a result of the economic poverty of these countries than a trait which is inherent in their black citizens.

This observed lower IQ comes as a result ultimately of environmental factors, and this will form the basis for my first argument (and only argument in this round). Whilst there have also been observed differences in IQ between African Americans and White Americans, this again can be much more effectively explained through environmental upbringing than racial heredity:

The fact is that, due to the history of African Americans as slaves, there is still a significant number of African Americans in low-income situations, whereas White Americans tend to be in a position of greater privilege. Therefore the observation that "there is considerable overlap between these group scores, and members of each racial group can be found at all points on the IQ spectrum" [3] is better explained by the fact that some African Americans have broken out of the constraints of relative poverty, than by passing these anomalies off as simply 'unusually intelligent for their skin colour'.

In short, my argument is that in any situation you can present to me, an observed difference in IQ between racial groups can be better explained by environmental and circumstantial factors than by the explanation that some racial groups are inherently more intelligent than others.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
AveragejoeDev

Pro

Out of curiosity, why do you consider my side immoral?

Of course a whale has a bigger brain than a human, but you have based your argument on a flawed logic. For you cannot compare the 2 brains, anatomically speaking the human brain is the most complex brain of all animals, it cannot be compared with say, a whale's brain, or any other animal brain for that matter. That would be much like comparing a calculator with a computer. For your comparison to be correct, the whale brain and the human brain would have to be identical, which they unfortunately are not, much contrary to the Negroid brain and the Caucasian brain, which in most ways aside from the size is identical.

Yes Rushton's work has endured some criticism, though I fail to see how that makes any of it less valid. I don't believe we considered Darwin's work invalid simply because it endured criticism when it was released.
In fact Rushton used the very same method for his work as Darwin used, a method which we know as The Scientific Method. A method that marked the upward surge of technology as it ignores personal beliefs, say, racist or religious beliefs, and only strives to find empirical truth.

The criticism of Rushton does not justify and attack on the overall quality or validity of the work, it rather shows how much the work goes against common beliefs of our society, and as you mention in the beginning of your argument, I agree this is indeed a controversial subject, as the criticism of Rushton reflects.

I am glad to see you bring in a new empirical study to the debate. I am in fact familiar with Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen's work in their book "IQ and the Wealth of Nations". I am little surprised you chose to base your argument on this book, as it seems to support my side of this debate. As the book, as you mentioned, draws a correlation between the average national IQ of a country and the country's wealth.
In fact Lynn went on to argue, that the reason we have such inequality in the wealth of the world, is largely due to the difference in IQ and intelligence in the world. He in fact signed the "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" statement, a statement which established 25 conclusions about intelligence. Some of those conclusions being:

Conclusion 8: "The bell curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks. The evidence is less definitive for exactly where above IQ 100 the bell curves for Jews and Asians are centered"

Conclusion 14: "Heritability estimates range from 0.4 to 0.8 ... indicating genetics plays a bigger role than environment in creating IQ differences"

I thank you for bringing in Vanhanen and Lynn's great work to support my side though.
RoryStott

Con

RoryStott forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
AveragejoeDev

Pro

Despite that fact that my opponent has apparently forfeited round 2, I will continue to argue for my side of this debate.

I established in the first round that there was a difference between brain size among the human races, now I will establish that brain size correlates with IQ.

To my experience it has been proven thoroughly by Rushton, Jensen and McDaniel, that there is a clear correlation between brain size and IQ, and I don't believe that has ever been scientifically refuted by any Scientist, Anthropologist or Psychologist.

Here's a few links to some of those studies that proves a correlation between brain size and IQ:
http://health.dailynewscentral.com......... - this links to McDaniel's study that found a correlation between brain size and IQ, using MRI scans and IQ tests.

http://en.wikipedia.org......... - this is a link to Rushton's study, where he found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com......... - this links to a book By Ramond Peal which yet again found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com......... - this links to a study conducted by Ankney and Rushton which yet again found a the same correlation.
RoryStott

Con

I apologize for forfeiting my last round, unfortunately I have been rather busy and probably should never have taken this debate on in the first place. Besides, I don't really know what I'm talking about.

For now, I concede the debate, everyone should vote for my opponent - however I suggest that my opponent have the same debate with reatonate - who clearly is more knowledgable on the subject and should be a more worthy opponent.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by bakchod 3 years ago
bakchod
While all competent authorities in this world agree that there are differences in human races when it comes to physical capabilities ( read sports and athletics ), we all shy away from the making any comment about intelligence. there is even a difference inside africa when it comes to physical characteristics wth west africans better at sprinting and speed while the east africans better at marathons and endurance sports. similiarly you can see that blacks have performed badly in economic parameters in all places that they reside. Indians and blacks were taken together to work on rice farms in west indies, mauritious, fiji etc. while indians there have prospered, blacks ar still languishing in poverty. i am an indian btw.
Posted by AveragejoeDev 6 years ago
AveragejoeDev
Despite that fact that my opponent has apparently forfeited round 2, I will continue to argue for my side of this debate.

I established in the first round that there was a difference between brain size among the human races, now I will establish that brain size correlates with IQ.

To my experience it has been proven thoroughly by Rushton, Jensen and McDaniel, that there is a clear correlation between brain size and IQ, and I don't believe that has ever been scientifically refuted by any Scientist, Anthropologist or Psychologist.

Here's a few links to some of those studies that proves a correlation between brain size and IQ:
http://health.dailynewscentral.com...... - this links to McDaniel's study that found a correlation between brain size and IQ, using MRI scans and IQ tests.

http://en.wikipedia.org...... - this is a link to Rushton's study, where he found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...... - this links to a book By Ramond Peal which yet again found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...... - this links to a study conducted by Ankney and Rushton which yet again found a the same correlation.
Posted by AveragejoeDev 6 years ago
AveragejoeDev
Also the last bit of your question left me a bit confused, could you please elaborate on the meaning of your words "which leaves the floodgates open for other factors that aren't taken into account when determining a person's intelligence". Which 'floodgate of other factors' does measuring only the brain size and comparing it to IQ exactly open? I can't seem to think of any. To me it would seem to be quite the contrary, as it would seem to be by far the most precise and accurate way to prove a correlation between brain size and IQ.
Posted by AveragejoeDev 6 years ago
AveragejoeDev
Haha, lets save the Global warming discussion for another debate.

All the 4 studies I pointed to in my last response still refute your first statement as well as your edited second statement, all these studies still hang as a huge shadow over your seemingly inaccurate and false statements.

And I was somewhat delighted to see that you were unable to find any studies that could refute that actual brain size correlates with IQ(I suppose I was right then), and instead had to rely on a vague study that found that there isn't a correlation between 1 of many genes that determine brain size and the brain size.
Naturally such a study is inaccurate in a debate like this, as it firstly does not take into account the actual brain size of the people tested, and hence provides no solid insight to the debate at hand. And secondly doesn't take into account that many genes, even some potentially unknown could also influence the brain size. How big of an influence the gene they tested had on brain size is also somewhat questionable.
Posted by reatonate 6 years ago
reatonate
But hey I don't suspect someone who doesn't believe in Global warming (moron) to understand these things.
Posted by reatonate 6 years ago
reatonate
I would firstly like to point out that I miss-worded my comment, I was implying that it is not the size of a person's brain that determines how intelligent a person is, in other words to rephrase my comment: "Numerous studies have been carried out that refute any claim that head size (and brain size) between humans is a determinant of intelligence."

Secondly, there are genes that determine brain size that have no bearing on how intelligent a being is:

http://www.abc.net.au...

Rushton's findings are some of the most controversial and are largely criticised.

I have also noticed that most of studies you have listed are very basic in their methodology and so are very prone to statistical errors.

My main point is that it isn't having a large brain that makes an individual smarter it is the individuals genes.
And the people with high intelligence typically have other genes that give a person a bigger brain.
None of the studies you listed even look at genes, all they do is look at cranial volume and compare it to the person's head size which leaves the floodgates open for other factors that aren't taken into account when determining a person's intelligence, namely genes but also any factor that gives an individual both a larger head and also more intelligence.
Posted by AveragejoeDev 6 years ago
AveragejoeDev
Thats an interesting comment, care to name any of those 'numerous' studies?

To my experience it has been proven thoroughly by Rushton, Jensen and McDaniel, that there is a clear correlation between brain size and IQ, and I don't believe that has ever been scientifically refuted by any Scientist, Anthropologist or Psychologist.

Here's a few links to some of those studies that proves a correlation between brain size and IQ:
http://health.dailynewscentral.com... - this links to McDaniel's study that found a correlation between brain size and IQ, using MRI scans and IQ tests.

http://en.wikipedia.org... - this is a link to Rushton's study, where he found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com... - this links to a book By Ramond Peal which yet again found the same correlation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com... - this links to a study conducted by Ankney and Rushton which yet again found a the same correlation.

There's an ocean of other studies to back up the correlation, feel free to google it yourself.
Posted by reatonate 6 years ago
reatonate
Numerous studies have been carried out that refute any claim that head size (and brain size) between humans has any correlation on intelligence.
Posted by RoryStott 6 years ago
RoryStott
huh... kinda accepted that on a whim... not really sure what my argument is going to be. Well, I live for a challenge.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Anjou 1 year ago
Anjou
AveragejoeDevRoryStottTied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a maddening one. Con's forfeit is essentially the only reason why Pro gets any points at all; Pro's arguments were inane and have nothing to do with intelligence. He compared the "brain capacity" of sub-saharan africans with little or no academic infrastructure and a GDP less than a tenth of the average for western European nations, and assumes that's a reasonable argument to make. I would have given Pro the "more convincing arguments", but I morally can't, his arguments were flawed and outright incorrect.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
AveragejoeDevRoryStottTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes the debate.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
boredinclass
AveragejoeDevRoryStottTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: con forfeit