I'd better start with a disclaimer, I guess, lest people come screaming into my house and stab me in the rotunda (very old joke, given at the end of this post). Here's the disclaimer: I don't think people vary much in their mental capacities from region to region, from color to color, from race to race. Note that I said "I don't think." That's because I don't know. Nobody does. If someone states categorically, "Race X has a higher IQ than race Y," they are thinking wishfully.
That said, it's important to note that if there is no really hard evidence for differences, there is also no really hard difference for sameness. So, when an esteemed author sets out to demonstrate that differences in race are a matter of geographic accident, he starts from the assumption that there are no differences. That bothers me. I don't think that we should start a protracted argument with an undocumented assertion that we accept as an article of faith.
But that's not what I want to talk about today. Let's assume, just for a moment, just for this discussion, that it could be proven that one race had -- oh, let's say -- a seven point IQ advantage over another. Let's assume moreover that we all agree on what IQ is (fat chance), and that we all agree that the testing is valid (ibid). We'd have to ask the question, "What does that mean?" Does it mean that any given member of Race A is 7 points brighter than any given member of Race B? That's patently rediculous, so it has to mean something else. What it means is that the totality of Race A scores 7 points higher. The problem with such a finding is this: What is true of the aggregate is not true of the individual. The question is whether the data has any predictive force. Look, suppose two people are sitting across from you, a member of Race A and a member of Race B. You have to hire one of them, based at least partly on their intelligence. Does the 7-point rule help? Not at all. The member of Race A could be the dumbest person on the planet and the member of Race B could be the smartest.
So, something like a 7-point difference is meaningless when applied to individuals. I am therefore forced to the opinion that people who froth at the mouth about race and IQ either have no real understanding of what the math says, or lump all people together in one category. In either case, they're not people I want to have lunch with.
Besides, it doesn't matter anyway. I am smarter than some of my relatives, dumber than others. That doesn't affect my love for them one way or another. We're all family.
Oh, the joke. Here it is:
Cassius: "They've stabbed Caeser."
Cassius: "In the rotunda."