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Impact of slavery on IQ

 
Gamril
 
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Gamril
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04 June 2017 05:30
 

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

 
pyrrho
 
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pyrrho
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10 June 2017 14:35
 

I assume this is Murray’s central idea, although he was remarkably silent on the evolutionary biology behind it, and remarkably sanguine about throwing racial labels around.  He also did NOT suggest that Africans (without a slavery history) tested differently than new world blacks (I assume that no one has really studied that).  I think the general hypothesis that heritable traits can be selected or de-selected is rather obvious but its applicability to “race” and class in modern US depends on a lot of semantic (define “race”,  “intelligence”,  “isolation,”, etc.), statistical, and technical (e.g. testing)  issues which I don’t feel qualified to evaluate.  There is also Sam’s point: “even if it’s true, what does that get anybody?”  This seems like a fairly toxic topic that isn’t going to do anybody much good.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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10 June 2017 22:00
 

I would except that slavery would promote a certain kind of intelligence, just like being a slave owner promotes a different kind.
But 400 years are nothing in terms of evolution.

 
 
pyrrho
 
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pyrrho
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10 June 2017 22:20
 

I agree that there are “kinds of” intelligence that Dr. Murray probably didn’t measure.  The greatest musical talents in American popular music and jazz have been African-American- a trait which slavery and Jim Crow did NOT de-select for.  What I’m not clear about is the time line.  Is 400 years “nothing”- or more than enough in terms of selecting or de-selecting traits?
Sam brought very little illumination to this conversation so, unless we get a conversation with a population geneticist, I guess we’ll never know.

 
Gamril
 
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Gamril
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12 June 2017 05:44
 
pyrrho - 10 June 2017 10:20 PM

I agree that there are “kinds of” intelligence that Dr. Murray probably didn’t measure.  The greatest musical talents in American popular music and jazz have been African-American- a trait which slavery and Jim Crow did NOT de-select for.  What I’m not clear about is the time line.  Is 400 years “nothing”- or more than enough in terms of selecting or de-selecting traits?
Sam brought very little illumination to this conversation so, unless we get a conversation with a population geneticist, I guess we’ll never know.

Well if anything the situation probably fostered musical talent as the only expression permissible.  I would think 400 years is not much if a population is left alone but not if 9 out of 10 are being slaughtered.  We are talking about 60 million people.  Even so I’ve heard almost the opposite being argued for the Ashkenazi.  I think if we can come to the conclusion that it did have an impact than A) we know we can reverse it and/or B) some better understanding of the causes ought to be considered and not just blaming a population.

 
Gladlylearn
 
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Gladlylearn
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12 June 2017 19:25
 

Studies of African American folk stories find that they emphasize the importance of quick wits and deception to survival. The Uncle Remus stories, although filtered through white retelling, often have this structure. There also are many examples of enslaved persons “playing dumb” to avoid undesirable tasks. Intelligence manifests in many ways.

 
bigredfutbol
 
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bigredfutbol
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12 June 2017 19:37
 

Slavery was hardly a static institution, for that matter. The institution, as practiced in the mainland North American colonies and later the the United States, varied widely from place to place and from time to time.

Cotton slavery, the most widespread and common form of chattel slavery in the 19th century, was particularly brutal and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that those who lived through it suffered real trauma, what we might call PTSD today. You could say the same for the sugar plantations of southern Louisiana and the Caribbean.

But in the United States, the cotton regime really only dominated slavery in the last several decades. For much of the history of American slavery, the work regimes were more varied, and a fairly high percentage of slaves were skilled workers. The same goes for urban slaves both North and South, not to mention domestics. Slaves in the tobacco culture of the Chesapeake or the rice culture of the Carolina Lowcountry were much more likely to be engaged in a variety of trades and occupations. The monotonous, mind-numbing work of picking cotton was psychologically tormenting and probably hindered the cognitive development of many individuals, but in the big scheme I think it would be a huge stretch to claim that a few decades of mind-numbing labor under severe physical and mental duress would be sufficient to markedly change the evolution of an entire ethnic group.

[ Edited: 12 June 2017 19:45 by bigredfutbol]
 
 
bigredfutbol
 
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bigredfutbol
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12 June 2017 19:42
 
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

You’re assuming a lot here. I don’t know enough about suicide rates among slaves to address that, but the idea that slaves were not allowed to reproduce flies in the face of everything we know about the institution.

Also, as I noted above there were many different slave sub-societies over a period of roughly 250-300 years, depending on whether we’re talking about the USA or places further South. As an example—prior to the rise of “King Cotton” it wasn’t at all unusual in a place like Virginia for, say, a slave father who practiced a skilled or specialized craft to pass his knowledge along to his son so that the son would be valuable to future owners and therefore would have some leverage in terms of negotiating a better standard of living, the right to keep his family together, etc. Such examples were not uncommon.

 

[ Edited: 12 June 2017 19:47 by bigredfutbol]
 
 
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12 June 2017 22:43
 
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ. . .

I stopped here.  Let’s talk about what can be measured and observed before we apply it to an obviously race-baiting speculative question. 

What do you have to convince me of the “belief” IQ is inheritable?  And when I write “belief” I mean objective measurement.

 
Gamril
 
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Gamril
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13 June 2017 05:27
 
Skipshot - 12 June 2017 10:43 PM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ. . .

I stopped here.  Let’s talk about what can be measured and observed before we apply it to an obviously race-baiting speculative question. 

What do you have to convince me of the “belief” IQ is inheritable?  And when I write “belief” I mean objective measurement.

Good thing you stopped there because I never said inheritable.  The word was “heritability”.

 
Gamril
 
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Gamril
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13 June 2017 05:43
 
bigredfutbol - 12 June 2017 07:42 PM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

You’re assuming a lot here. I don’t know enough about suicide rates among slaves to address that, but the idea that slaves were not allowed to reproduce flies in the face of everything we know about the institution.

Also, as I noted above there were many different slave sub-societies over a period of roughly 250-300 years, depending on whether we’re talking about the USA or places further South. As an example—prior to the rise of “King Cotton” it wasn’t at all unusual in a place like Virginia for, say, a slave father who practiced a skilled or specialized craft to pass his knowledge along to his son so that the son would be valuable to future owners and therefore would have some leverage in terms of negotiating a better standard of living, the right to keep his family together, etc. Such examples were not uncommon.

 

Just want to highlight we are talking about dozens of ethic groups not one.  But I do know about the suicide rates which happen both on the voyage and during slavery.  It’s not really relevant how long you say it happened but rather if it happened at all due to the severity cleatlry over many generations. 

I have no doubt that slaves reproduced but the question is what type of slave was surviving and allowed to reproduce.  Did they have their choice of mate or were they forced to pair with the most physically robust and not the most intelligent.  I’m also aware that under many circumstances it was easy and cheaper to buy new slaves than to look out for their well being.  I don’t doubt that there were anecdotes of leniency but I’m speaking of the overall impact.  Things like reading, math, critical thinking, leadership etc that are correlated with “G” don’t seem to be particularly useful in this environment.  Those who had these traits would’ve been less likely to survive and if the did less likely to be viewed as valuable and able to reproduce.

 
bigredfutbol
 
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13 June 2017 06:10
 
Gamril - 13 June 2017 05:43 AM
bigredfutbol - 12 June 2017 07:42 PM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

You’re assuming a lot here. I don’t know enough about suicide rates among slaves to address that, but the idea that slaves were not allowed to reproduce flies in the face of everything we know about the institution.

Also, as I noted above there were many different slave sub-societies over a period of roughly 250-300 years, depending on whether we’re talking about the USA or places further South. As an example—prior to the rise of “King Cotton” it wasn’t at all unusual in a place like Virginia for, say, a slave father who practiced a skilled or specialized craft to pass his knowledge along to his son so that the son would be valuable to future owners and therefore would have some leverage in terms of negotiating a better standard of living, the right to keep his family together, etc. Such examples were not uncommon.

 

Just want to highlight we are talking about dozens of ethic groups not one.  But I do know about the suicide rates which happen both on the voyage and during slavery.  It’s not really relevant how long you say it happened but rather if it happened at all due to the severity cleatlry over many generations.

There were many ethnic groups from Africa, but in the end in the New World individuals were mixed up randomly, more in some times and places than others, but over time the effect was to blur ethnic heritage. Also, there was plenty of intermixing with American Indians and whites. African-Americans are a pretty wide mix of all that.

I don’t know what you know about suicide rates both on slave voyages and in the New World, but most evidence I’ve seen suggests it wasn’t all that common, considering.

Gamril - 13 June 2017 05:43 AM

I have no doubt that slaves reproduced but the question is what type of slave was surviving and allowed to reproduce.  Did they have their choice of mate or were they forced to pair with the most physically robust and not the most intelligent.

When and where? Again, as noted, the institutional of slavery changed a great deal over time and always varied from place to place as well. Particularly, in the USA, prior to the explosion of the cotton economy in the 19th century.

The evidence we have suggests strong efforts by slaves to maintain family bonds; at some times and places the nature of the slave economy facilitated this—during the 18th century, most American (i.e., what would become the USA) slaves lived in either the Chesapeake or the Lowcountry. The population, particularly in the former, was somewhat stable and beginning to grow largely through natural increase. It was the norm for slaves lineages to live in the same general area, or even the exact same plantation, for several generations. And in the Lowcountry, owners largely practiced a matter of “benign neglect” in terms of overseeing the day-to-day lives of their slaves. The wealthiest planters and largest slaveowners spent most of their time in Charleston, and left either white overseers or more often trusted slaves in charge of the plantation.

George Washington’s slaves in Virginia were typical of the time—he owned slaves with a wide variety of skills and trades.

Gamril - 13 June 2017 05:43 AM

I’m also aware that under many circumstances it was easy and cheaper to buy new slaves than to look out for their well being.  I don’t doubt that there were anecdotes of leniency but I’m speaking of the overall impact.  Things like reading, math, critical thinking, leadership etc that are correlated with “G” don’t seem to be particularly useful in this environment.  Those who had these traits would’ve been less likely to survive and if the did less likely to be viewed as valuable and able to reproduce.

In many of the tropical plantation cultures, the death rate was extremely high. Population increase was maintained by high rates of slave importation. Mainland North America was in many ways an outlier in this and other respects.

I’m not really talking about incidents of leniency so much as the structural realities of slavery over time and space. It seems to me that you’re regarding the institution of slavery—and the lived experience of slavery—as fairly static and homogeneous. Before you begin extrapolating the possible heritable effects of slavery, you need to recognize that at any given time or place during the 250-300+ years (depending on which part of the Western Hemisphere we’re talking about) the institution was practiced it took very different forms. Slavery in South America (which I confess I know very little about) was different from slavery in the Caribbean, which was different than slavery in the North American Lower South, which was different from in the North American Upper South, which was different from slavery further North. And within those regions there was variation over time and space—slavery in Barbados in 1640 was different from slavery in Jamaica in 1670 or Haiti in 1770. Slavery in South Carolina in 1775 was very different from slavery in Alabama in 1825. And so on.

It seems to me your thesis begs the question as to how fixed and static the conditions under which slaves reproduced really were. I’m arguing that the historical record suggests the condition were far too fluid and unstable over time and space to test your theory.

 
 
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13 June 2017 06:45
 
Gamril - 13 June 2017 05:27 AM
Skipshot - 12 June 2017 10:43 PM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ. . .

I stopped here.  Let’s talk about what can be measured and observed before we apply it to an obviously race-baiting speculative question. 

What do you have to convince me of the “belief” IQ is inheritable?  And when I write “belief” I mean objective measurement.

Good thing you stopped there because I never said inheritable.  The word was “heritability”.

OK, then what objective evidence do you have of your hypothesis?  So far BRF is doing your homework for you and it is not looking good for your hypothesis, but enough of his explanations, what are yours?

 
Gamril
 
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Gamril
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13 June 2017 09:34
 
Skipshot - 13 June 2017 06:45 AM
Gamril - 13 June 2017 05:27 AM
Skipshot - 12 June 2017 10:43 PM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ. . .

I stopped here.  Let’s talk about what can be measured and observed before we apply it to an obviously race-baiting speculative question. 

What do you have to convince me of the “belief” IQ is inheritable?  And when I write “belief” I mean objective measurement.

Good thing you stopped there because I never said inheritable.  The word was “heritability”.

OK, then what objective evidence do you have of your hypothesis?  So far BRF is doing your homework for you and it is not looking good for your hypothesis, but enough of his explanations, what are yours?

Relax Skip!  I have no desire to have a confrontation with you.  LOL!  I don’t have a hypothesis an really just probing members here who obviously think a lot about these issues to see what they think.  I could be convinced of anything at this point.  I’m actually glad I finally got some responses to think about.

 
Art Dodger
 
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13 June 2017 10:35
 
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

Slaves were not bred like dogs, and intelligent slaves where prized.  So, there are likely no effects of the institution of slavery on IQ.

 
Lausten
 
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Lausten
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13 June 2017 12:47
 
Art Dodger - 13 June 2017 10:35 AM
Gamril - 04 June 2017 05:30 AM

Honest question here…  if you believe in the heritability of IQ and selective pressures driving Its usefulness, what do you think 400 years of slavery did to this populations IQ.  I’m assuming many intelligent people killed themselves, were killed, not allowed to reproduce, etc as survival had little to do with passing on IQ.

Slaves were not bred like dogs, and intelligent slaves where prized.  So, there are likely no effects of the institution of slavery on IQ.

Thanks A.D. Gamril keeps making assumptions, but his last post says he’s open to being corrected, so we’ll see. I took 3 African American Studies courses back in the day, and I recently visited 2 plantations in New Orleans. I picked 2 that focused on the slave instead on the “big house”. In one of them, they showed us the architecture that came directly from Africa. Slaves didn’t just pick cotton. I also learned a few stories of African royalty that ended up in slavery because their rivals captured and sold them.

It’s easy to think of slaves as people without histories, with no skills from their home cultures. That’s because the system of slavery was designed to have people think like that. It was a very successful system and we’re just getting to the task of undoing it.

 
 
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