Since the majority of the countries of the world have majority of one racial / ancestral group, racism seems unlikely a primary driver of these differences. This would suggest that racial IQ differences have a biological component. However, one alternative explanation is that the IQ of people living in these countries today is affected by events of 80+ years ago. What do you think?
This is a complicated question that you can't just put an all encompassing answer to. My hang up concerns what IQ Tests candider common knowledge. What kind of test was given to all groups and was it the same for all or changed to consider the education level of the groups it is trying to survey? Statistics are not perfect and use fuzzy math to "appear" fair and balanced. Without knowing who funded the research or what was done to gather this information I can't really make an informed opinion. This globe is a frankenstein amalgamation of various sources that may not be equal. Seems to just illicit a knee-jerk reaction that could appear racist. In my personal opinion IQ tests do not accurately define ones intelligence but, show ones ability to take a test and recognize sociably acceptable information.
I voted: historical events, biological/genetic differences, cultural differences and something else [updated my vote]. I hope my explanation is accurate, detailed and clear enough.
Aside from criticism of IQ tests, even though I include focus on linguistic skills and mathematics, here are why I voted those options:
What I mean by historical events: Things like human migrations, invasions and subsequent movement and merger in populations (thus having diverse populations in a country and interracial groups as well), determination if borders of countries, weather events, natural disasters, famines, historical political events and ideologies...
Biological/genetic differences: Duh! The same mechanisms of evolution and geographical factors and historical events (point above, which doesn't include what a leftist might expect: historical racism, slavery and colonization by the evil white man; as those are relatively recent even compared to invasions of civilizations of antiquity) that determine traits, including cognitive functions and abilities, and differences between species, except that in the case of differences between species it's more significant due to being much further back in time and different evolutionary paths, unlike being so recent with the same species. I'd also refer to the differences in IQ between sexes and how it's not really much different but has differences between cognitive functions/tasks (such spatial and verbal). And while on the point of IQ differences between sexes, I'd refer to that difference in IQ being shrinking (and that's maybe more relevant to the next point). I'd also refer to the book Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt (University of Chicago economist/professor) and Stephen J. Dubner (New York Times journalist) and its chapter on how almost negligible parenting is on children education and academic performance and how it's mostly genetics (not socioeconomic status, not school peers!) and how the most part of the parents influence on that is done by the moment of conception. Now apply that to much long ancestral lines!
Cultural differences: Which is the result of the points above! And that includes many aspects and maybe the most prominent (and directly relevant to IQ tests) are language differences, education differences and quality, religion and level of religiosity, and lifestyle and how much one is burdened in day to day life. And I shall elaborate more on each.
Something else: Well, as others mentioned,, and if we're trying to be as much accurate as possible, other factors such as nutrition may have an impact on IQ. Also, dehydration also may have an impact the size of brain structures, IQ and cognitive functions such as visio-spatial processing and motor skills (not to mention other adverse effects such as possible migraines and effect on mood) which can explain why traffic accidents increase during Ramadan! (which also relates to the above point of culture). So maybe the IQ scores of Muslim-majority countries would be different, even if not by much, between Ramadan and other months!
So, elaborating on the cultural differences..
Language: IQ tests focus on linguistic skills and mathematics. If the IQ test is in English , there would be of course differences between a native speaker and someone who knows English as a second or a third language! And there would be differences across age or proficiency in English (I'm saying age as a young novice student learning English would typically be less proficient in the language, so there is usually correlation between the 2 here), unless that's accounted for in the test somehow! I remember back when I was much younger and I was still novice or mid-level to a degree in English trying an IQ test or 2 and having difficulty with the linguistic questions. And if the IQ test is in the native language of the person being tested, then it's not really standardized as there are differences across languages (including difficulty, and I'm stressing this as an IQ test in "Arabic" would typically be in Standard Arabic which isn't really the language of the person being tested as it's more of Archaic Arabic than the day-to-day language of the speaker. I'm also putting Arabic in quotes I'd argue that a language, for instance and maybe specifically "Egyptian" which is the day-to-day language in Egypt is not Arabic as it has differences on the grammar/structure level and it shouldn't be counted as Arabic simply because it uses Arabic words, plus many other words from either Coptic or other languages/cultures). So, an Egyptian for instance having an IQ test in Arabic would still struggle as Arabic itself is hard (especially that you're testing for linguistic skills!) and that's evident by Egyptian students struggling with Arabic throughout education and beyond, especially grammar! Hell, maybe even Saudi's (and I mention them as the KSA is the largest actual Arabic country - Egypt, Levant countries, North Arfican countries... are not - and the country of origin of Islam) would still have some difficulty, maybe! Also, language has some impact on how a person thinks, perceive and process the world!
Education: That's related the the point of language, but not limited to it. The quality of education would have an impact of linguistic and mathematics skills! Not only that, but other factors like how early education of foreign languages start, how many, and what are those foreign languages! Does the education rely on memorization, promotes backward ideas, encourages analytical and critical thinking...?
Religion: Studies have shown a correlation between religiosity and lower IQ, and irreligiosity and higher IQ. Also, differences between religions as, for instance, Christianity adopted elements of Greek/Roman philosophy, unlike Islam! And, another point related to the point of history, Christianity has been to, a great degree, declawed. So religion now in the West (and not necessarily the USA and Europe but Russia as well) doesn't have as much impact on society and education as religion in the Middle East and how much it degrades a person's critical thinking... And that's not only between different populations but also to a degree withing the same population (whether the kind of religion and the level of religiosity) It's also worth noting on that map: Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and other former Muslim-majority Soviet Union states, North Africa, India (which not only has a Muslim population as the second largest religious group there, but Hinduism which is the largest isn't much better!) That's religion (and other factors, including genetics), not only race and genetics alone! We, some ex-Muslims or Nones in general, wonder/joke about that correlation whether it's that they're Muslim because they're stupid or stupid because they're Muslim! Although my opinion is that it's both as some sort of vicious cycle/feedback loop but I also think that's been starting to change recently with more access to information and education getting better and more leaving Islam!
Lifestyle and day-to-day burden: I mean that, for instance, struggling daily to get access to clean water or to provide for your family or even excessively studying daily would impact your education performance and thus linguistic skills and critical thinking, or limit your exposure and consumption of other cultures.
So, as a question of nature vs nurture, I'd say it's both. Denying or trying to distance genetic factors for the fear of the label of "racist" is absurd. However, it's not the whole story as culture also plays a major part as demonstrated on the map. Also I'd expect that on average an African American to have a higher IQ than Africans because of the above mentioned "cultural" (genetics and "racism", alleged current, or historical, wouldn't have much impact as that a very recent, a very short, time frame!)
I voted all of the above.
The idea that there are no race differences in IQ is as absurd as the idea that gender identity erases differences between the two sexes. People have different genetic heritages depending on the environment. Natural selection effects humans just as it does all other animals. The odds that groups of people more or less isolated either geographically or culturally will have the same intelligence is zero. The question is what is intelligence and can it be measured.
The first error people make is that the purpose of IQ is to measure intelligence. It's purpose is to measure abstract reasoning for counseling on life decisions. Someone with an IQ of 100 shouldn't spend their youth working to be a doctor only to fail. Someone with an IQ of 80 should not plan for college. If you have an IQ under 90 you probably will not be able to join the U.S. military. Not only do IQ test help people make happy life decisions they save the limited resources of public institutions.
As pointed out however a general factor of intelligence can be extracted from some IQ test. The accuracy of the results are questionable for diverse populations simply due to the nature of comparative statistics. That said there are correlations between extracted general intelligence and signs of neurological quality such as reaction times. As far as I know there are no completely reliable data sets of reaction times for various groups of humans. What is interesting about G is that it largely erases the Flynn effect validating it conceptually.
The next question is why should anyone care if there are racial differences in IQ. The obvious answer is because you care about people. IQ is as useful a tool in making national decisions as it is for individuals.
The delusional belief in the "noble savage" or some facsimile thereof is a source of misery in the world. Reservations for traditional hunter gathers are as unnatural as zoos. As soon as the technology of agriculture was discovered hunter gathers were doomed. Nobody planned it, it has nothing to do with race or racism, it simply reflects population dynamics and technological advancement. The hypocrisy of the live and let live ethos of multiculturalism is displayed by how rapidly and covetously native people acquired firearms, metal utensils, and other trappings of agriculture people. Today it is displayed in welfare dependence and accompanying misery.
Nomads of all varieties have always preyed on more technologically advanced settled people. Often becoming swallowed up in conquered cultures such as the Monguls in China. A look at the genetics of Mongolia tells an interesting story.
There is no denying that humans having evolved for an easy but unstable environment a certain degree of internal conflict and emotional pain accompanies civilized life. Civilization requires a harsh stable environment based on productivity. Productivity is alien to our instincts which are designed for networking, fairness or equal access to resources, and sensuality. In the natural environment those instincts increase fitness. In a civilized environment fitness has a different calculus. Civilization is an environment in which natural selection unavoidably takes place. Unfortunately it is a very slow process and cultural evolution relatively rapid. It would however be a mistake to draw any red lines defining civilized and uncivilized. Neotony in all humans shows considerable self domestication.
The logical conclusion is that IQ is an acquired trait like any other. Do to the constraints of time probably a very weak trait. We can leave the question of intelligence aside. We can also assume that it is a trait that can be influenced by a wide array of factors. Some of which are cultural such as cousin marriage, diet, hierarchy, language, the list is endless.
Now that the high IQ Chinese have adopted the role of the yellow mans burden race is taking on a renewed role in human affairs. It is ironic to say the least that it has gone unnoticed by Western anti racists. It speaks to the shallowness of the current intellectual environment. A similar dystopian attitude relates to the nature of Muslim culture. In the latter case race can be replaced with ethnocentrism. Many Muslims believe what they cannot conquer by force they can conquer by reproductive rates. A strategy not unsimilar if not as overt as that of Catholics either consciously or coincidentally.
Finally we have to deal with whether race is a valid concept. The answer is yes and no. Race for the most part is a crude placeholder for genetic diversity. The fact that genetic diversity is greatest in Africa is a meaningless observation. There is little genetic diversity between humans and chimpanzees. It is simply what you would expect in a founding population. We now have the ability to create more precise genetic groupings. In that sense race is arcane. You could replace race with genetic groups. It would take a very long time for the general population to adopt new naming conventions. By the time that could happen it may be largely irrelevant. The utility of such distinctions being overridden by cheap rapid sequencing.
For those interested in a deeper dive.
Correlation not being causation improving these test is probably a waste of time. A better use of resources would be looking for genetic ties to IQ directly. That has been done but isn't widely accepted.
I took a look at some of the most recent research and noticed that the current testing is just as biased as older tests. Clearly driven by the new cultural and political norms. It is reactionary in the sense that it is focused on "correcting" the old "bad" testing and is often conducted by people with an emotional stake in the question. A broad inclusive test may measure something different than the old tests but it still is only measuring a new definition of intelligence.
The search for G is academic. I'm not saying it is a waste of time only that only that it is likely to produce results only an intellectual is likely to be interested in. The us of specialized tests such as the U.S. military uses is just common sense. What we want are tests that help people make happy decisions. Setting the genetic issues aside what we have seen is that interventions have marginal long term benefits. Something else besides bias is holding people back. It is almost as if the social norms are designed to fail. I believe that most racial differences will disappear over time but that doesn't help anyone today.
The first step to solving the problem of differences in intelligence is to stop shoving people into places where they will fail or are unhappy. It's not a racial problem. It's an attitude problem. If you are doing something in the name of equality you have already adopted a delusional view. No two people have equal ability in anything. Why should differences in intelligence be any different than differences in athletic ability in determining compensation? Of course ability isn't the only factor because motivation is a key element.
The key to motivation is respect. We respect people that are motivated to improve themselves. The importance of competency hierarchies to a functioning society should be self evident. To the extent that competence is acquired should then be the basis for respect. Because I had a religious up bringing I have never segregated people into groups. As a child I respected the butcher as much as the doctor. respect was dependent on them being a "good" person. Good people do not take on responsibilities they are incapable of fulfilling. They work however hard they have to to be competent in whatever they have chosen to do. It isn't fair that it requires different amounts of effort but that is why agency is important. Society requires people make good choices.
The IQ test was invented by psychologist to classify people with a bias favoring those people groups that have urban structure and formal rout memory based education, and has been used to classify many indigenous peoples as sub human to justify the stealing of their lands.
The Origins and History of IQ Tests
If you look at this way: those in moderate (ie tropical) climates have a less stressful environment to live in that does less to provoke needed changes, therefore no need to learn new behaviors. The higher the stress to just survive, the higher the IQ, ability to learn and adapt....
IQ test are notoriously biased toward English and Math. The most damning thing about them is that people can study / take prep classes to improve their score. This proves it is a poor measure of general intelligence and a good measure of knowledge of a body of knowledge. There are some tests that don’t use words/ numbers but those are generally not the ones people take. Example: If I took an IQ test today that measured my knowledge of obscure Japanese words, I’d have a pretty low IQ because I don’t know Japanese.
I suspect IQ tests, and even measurable adult intellect itself, is as much a test of how well one has adapted to "modernity" as much as inherent natural intelligence.
This is not to claim the tests are culturally biased (which they could well be to a degree), but that living in a modern setting, filled with complex daily interactions with manufactured technological objects and complex tasks for daily life, full of spatial structures with geometrical relationships, and abstract ideas and verbal challenges; trains the mind from a very young age to more fully realize its potential.
"A year ago, no gene had ever been tied to performance on an IQ test. Since then, more than 500 have, thanks to gene studies involving more than 200,000 test takers. Results from an experiment correlating one million people’s DNA with their academic success are due at any time.
The discoveries mean we can now read the DNA of a young child and get a notion of how intelligent he or she will be, says Plomin, an American based at King’s College London, where he leads a long-term study of 13,000 pairs of British twins."
As soon as it is possible China will start gene editing to increase intelligence. What should we do in response?
The average IQ is not terribly important.
It is the actual number of people with IQ’s above
120 that matters.
That is why the IQ of India is relatively low (although I have my reservations about that number), however due to its large population and high IQ variation it is a world power.
China in the other with its high average IQ and population, due to its narrow IQ variation, actually have similar number of >120 IQ individuals as India and much lower than the US.
The IQ test and metrics are bunk, about as credible as a scientology test.
There is no proper reliable way to test for intelligence for every circumstance in any meaningful way because it is poorly defined in the first place, especially in the case of troubled children, people with autism and victims of brain damage.
Poor nutrition and sickness... you ain't too smart looking when you're dying of hunger or loaded on excessive empty calories
Western education systems sucks and only teaches you what to think and learn but not How to Think and Learn so to many kid become drifters and fall into bad habit and company... you become like the first 4-5 people closest to you who you spent the most time with
IQ tests are flawed and obsolete.
Created by white people based on white people metrics to be used on white people to determine chance of success in work related fields.
As such, is it any surprise that these tests are lower in non-white countries where work, culture, and what is considered "intelligent" is different?
I also question the methodology behind this chart and thus this chart is flawed and untrustworthy
You'll see that SAT scores is one of the sources, a test that has ZERO meaning outside the USA and outside college admission.
Another of the sources is "etc" meaning who knows what went into creating this chart.
And "jews" figure prominently in their assessment but not catholics, muslims, etc. I find this focus on jews hints at overt or covert anti-semitism.
Nor are the categories the same in all countries and thus it is unclear that there can be any valid comparason.
(Addendum: I adhere to Howard Gardner's "multiple intelligence" view of intelligence and thus outright reject that one can quantify intelligence with on number.)