December 01, 2005

Academic catfight in the pages of Intelligence

Read also: How to settle the question of the racial IQ gap and Richard Lynn's Massaged IQ Data

Editorial note on controversial papers

Douglas K. Detterman

As anyone who reads Intelligence on a regular basis knows, from time to time we publish what might be considered controversial articles. It has always been my policy that differences of opinion are best resolved in print. For this reason, neither I nor the reviewers have backed away from controversy.

At the same time, we have been cautious and deliberate. Whenever an article evokes strong contrasting opinions from reviewers, the article is very carefully reviewed and in all cases a majority of the reviewers feel that the paper should be published. Some reviewers vote for publication even when they disagree with the content.

In cases where strong differences exist among reviewers, commentary on the original article from the reviewers or others is sometimes solicited (as in the present case). The purpose of these commentaries is to fairly present the broad range of opinion that exists in the field. Since commentaries are not as stringently reviewed as the original article, the author is given a chance to respond to the commentators. It goes without saying that we expect all parties involved to respect the rules of civil debate.

I believe that it is important that controversial ideas have access to the pages of this journal. Without a forum for the resolution of controversy, controversy will not be resolved and science will not advance. If a journal does not advance science, then what good is it? All it can do is fortify the status quo.


Temperature, skin color, per capita income, and IQ: An international perspective

Donald I. Templer and Hiroko Arikawa

The impetus for our study was the contention of both Lynn [Lynn, R. (1991). Race differences in intelligence: A global perspective. Mankind Quarterly, 31, 255–296] and Rushton [Rushton, J. P. (1995). Race, evolution and behavior: A life history perspective. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction; Rushton, J. P. (1997). Race, intelligence, and the brain: The errors and omissions of the revised edition of S.J. Gould's the mismeasure of man. Personality and Individual Differences, 23, 169–180; Rushton, J. P. (2000). Race, evolution, and behavior. A life history perspective (3rd edition). Port Huron: Charles Darwin Research Institute] that persons in colder climates tend to have higher IQs than persons in warmer climates. We correlated mean IQ of 129 countries with per capita income, skin color, and winter and summer temperatures, conceptualizing skin color as a multigenerational reflection of climate. The highest correlations were − 0.92 (rho = − 0.91) for skin color, − 0.71 (rho = − 0.75) for mean high winter temperature, − 0.61 (rho = − 0.68) for mean low winter temperature, and 0.63 (rho = 0.74) for real gross domestic product per capita. The correlations with population of country controlled for are almost identical. Our findings provide strong support for the observation of Lynn and of Rushton that persons in colder climates tend to have higher IQs. These findings could also be viewed as congruent with, although not providing unequivocal evidence for, the contention that higher intelligence evolves in colder climates. The finding of higher IQ in Eurasians than Africans could also be viewed as congruent with the position of Diamond (1997) that knowledge and resources are transmitted more readily on the Eurasian west–east axis.


Sorry, wrong numbers: An analysis of a study of a correlation between skin color and IQ

Earl Hunt and Robert J. Sternberg

We argue that the report by Templer and Arikawa contains misleading conclusions and is based upon faulty collection and analysis of data. The report fails to hold up for quality of data, statistical analysis, and the logic of science.


The Jensen and the Hunt and Sternberg comments: From penetrating to absurd

Donald I. Templer and Hiroko Arikawa

We praised the comments of Jensen and regard most of the contentions of Hunt and Sternberg as absurd. It is ridiculous to question the validity of the skin color map and its application since meaningful group differences and meaningful correlations between temperature and skin color were found. It was inappropriate for Hunt and Sternberg to attribute prejudices and erroneous preconceptions to our raters who were assigned a task that inherently permits very minimal subjective interpretation. The suggestion of Hunt and Sternberg that higher intelligence evolves in equatorial people is incongruent with the correlation or − 0.62 between cranial capacity and distance from the equator reported by Beals et al. Hunt and Sternberg failed to provide a balanced perspective in their critique of the Lynn and Vanhanen international presentation of IQs.


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