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Out with Steve Sailor as well... it's annoying to have to wade through comments like that to read from your blog and your other commenters. If I want to seek out his opinion or similar ones, I know where to go.

Hari Iyer

Steve Sailer definitely IN!

I find his comments interesting and many a times logical, and often its his comments that present a counterview to Malcolm. Its this intellectually stimulating debate in the comments section that I keep coming back here for.

Also is blocking Seve the real solution. Today its Steve tomorrow it might be someone else who has opinions contrary to what is written in the post. Isn't listening to other's opinions the real purpose of having comments option open?

But as the owner of the Blog you have the final call to choose to decide when a comment has crossed the limits. You must censor / delte the comments that you find totally unacceptable just as you would for SPAM.

In general I think banning Steve completely is not the way to go.

M. Simon


If black men want to pay more why is taking advantage of that fact racist? Isn't it the job of business giving the customer what he wants at a price he is willing to pay?

Some rich guys like to pay more for the show as well. Is it "racist" to take advantage of them?

M. Simon

BTW could some one contact Steve and tell him I would love to have 14 comments by him?

I could use the traffic.


Keep him in (Sailer).

Being challenged is a good thing. Unfortunately many of the comments posted are simply denigrating without substance, and this is true for both groups in this "debate."

The Sailer supporters appear to focus on the difference in IQs between blacks and whites, and making all kinds of unjustified conclusion from it. For some, it appears that being members of a group that has higher IQs makes them feel superior, and thus being able to dismiss any arguments from the other side as having no merit due to the "obvious" lack of intelligence. It may be that intelligence is well defined, and understood by the experts in the field, but for us laymen it carries a lot of connotations. We may be placing too high a value on it. Is it better to be intelligent or to be kind? Is it better to be single minded leader or one who consults? It all depends on the circumstances, what one values, on what is valued by our society and so on.

One of the problems is that generalizations are useful for some decision making, but not a valid justification for other actions. Lets assume that it is true that black men are more likely to pay a higher price for a given car then white men. Lets say that 60% of black men will not bargain down the price, while only 40% of white men would not bargain down - a significant 20% difference. Lets also assume that life is a little bit more complicated. For the sake of a point, let assume that 90% of college educated men are not likely to accept a high price for a car, because they are well informed about the car sales process, and will likely walk out of the dealership if made such an offer. What then does it say about the salesman who focuses on the fact that a customer who walked in is black rather than college educated? Is he acting intelligently, or in his self interest by offering a high price to this man? Or does he know that this man is not likely to be offered a better price down the street, because he knows the people that work there, and they will act just like he does? What if all the car salesmen get together and decide that they want to offer different pricing to different ethnic groups, just because they control the market, and they can get away with it? Can such a decision be made subconsciously by a large number of people? Is this so far fetched?

Here I totally agree with Gladwell that there are lots of uncertainties in the whole situation to jump to conclusions.

On the other hand, one can not assume that the car salesman is doing this with an intent to wound. I don't know if anyone has done studies on car salesmen, to determine their intelligence. I suspect they may be acting on what they perceive as "common knowledge" or simply behaving the way they have seen others behave. They may be thinking they are outsmarting the potential customer and thus maximizing their gain.

Some of the Sailer supporters made comments that implied an intelligent person will act in his self interest. I take exception to that. It may be true that the majority of people do that, but one can not assume that a given individual will. There are some altruistic people out there, thank god.

Many of us have trouble with basic math, and I expect this to be more true of understanding statistics. Just because you are a white male, who on average have higher IQs than black males, it does not mean that you are more intelligent than the next black man you will meet. If you are near the bottom of the heap in your own group, almost all the black men you will meet will be more intelligent than you are. If you are in the middle, then perhaps only four out of ten black men you meet will be more intelligent than you. Now do you think someone of average intelligence will be pondering this when they get home from their job, and act on this in their daily life?


Mr. Gladwell, unless your intention with this blog is merely to collect adulators, I feel your writing and your career would be well served, in the long run, by taking the considered criticism of your logic by Judge Posner and Mr Sailer, and that of your supporters on this page, seriously. I tell you this as one of your admirers. These readers have pointed out logical fallacies in your deduction, and control weaknesses in the experiments you posit as evidence. At times, your analogs are hastily chosen. There are points you may concede, and by so doing, grow. My hope is that you will have the opportunity to trim some of the book's weaknesses from future editions.

Gilbert De Bruycker

Discrimination is not an accusation against all members of a group.

Most mules are not likely to kick a man; and yet, because a higher percentage of mules than of horses do kick men, the reasonable person is wary of walking near an unknown mule, without having first tested all mules. One does not judge each mule on its own qualities. If these are known, judging is not required.

Ignoring probability in dealing with human beings is unreasonable. If the experienced samples of a group have a higher percentage of individuals possessing an objectionable quality, we are justified in practicing protective discrimination. With the exceptions, when noted, we deal as best we can. Sure, we will make mistakes; we will be unfair to some members of the group. One of the greatest mistakes is not to run the risk of making a mistake, of being unfair.

If the experienced members of a group have a high proportion of unsocial individuals or dishonest persons (*), being on one's guard against members is not a vice but a virtue!
Such self-protection, it is contended, is unfair to the honest members of the group. So it is. But what to do? Judge every man by his own merits, it is argued. If the merits are known, there is no need of judging.

(*) "Lying is a common policy amongst Islamic clerics and statesmen.(...) Mohammed often lied and instructed his followers to do the same." - Abdullah Al Araby


I came to this blog and comments purely randomly and so have no real idea who any of the protagonists are. However the various comments have interested and amused me and left me wondering on many questions. Perhaps the readers can answer these for me?

First, the concept of IQ tests. What exactly do they measure? How biased to a certain way of thinking are they? Why do so many of the people I know who have extremely high tested IQ"s also seem to have Asperger's Syndrome to some degree? If as some readers have suggested, high IQ's lead to a better ability to achieve and socially interact with the world do many of my friends who have tested extremely highly seem to have the least ability to communicate well with the widest spectrum of people? To me it seems an ability to communicate with others on any level would be a more relevant assessment of a persons innate understanding of their surroundings than what I have seen of IQ tests.

Do the tests that are being discussed here just test Black American and White Americans? How do they decide who is a Black or White American? Are DNA tests done? What percentage of DNA from each continent needs to be present for a person to be judged racially black or white? This confuses me as I had assumed much of the DNA of Americans would have a large cross-over by now and appearances can be very deceptive. Recent DNA tests done in the UK and amusingly televised showed most people to have DNA from many parts of the world to lesser and greater degrees. This is due to the the many ports and constant waves of immigration into the UK from the Romans onwards (remember the Roman troops came from all over Europe and North Africa). People have integrated to a much greater extent than the casual eye can perceive. Watching white seminal racists discover on TV they have DNA from African, Romany and Arabian sources was a delight to watch. Again this is a matter for percentages though so surely if you are truly going to suggest the results imply a difference in ability to perform in IQ tests can be based on genetic differences you would first have to test the DNA of each person and then decide which 'racial' grouping they should be placed? Or do all the participants choose their own racial groups.. or does someone else decide for them? Be interesting how they work out the cut off points, and how they cope with Hispanic peoples who in Europe are considered European, but I gather are not European in America. Is this due to the fact that the Southern parts of Europe were once ruled by the Moors? Or more recent history with Spanish peoples mixing with South Americans? To me its all a bit like counting how many Angels you can fit on a pin head..

I would like to assume that the tests also included people from other areas apart from the US. I see people mention here the high IQ"S achieved by Chinese people. Is this American Chinese? What about American Japanese? What are the differences between American Japanese and Japanese results? I had heard that Japanese students excel at all forms of tests but many observers at the time assumed this was cultural. Working hard for tests and being constantly tested being a large facet of Japanese society. So many cultural factors can affect the results of IQ tests that it would be interesting to see other tests done.. for instance do "white europeans" give similar test results to "white americans", is there any correlation to the current under achievement of males to females in UK schools reflected in more recent IQ tests. I would hope that to everyone that it is obvious that the differences in achievement are cultural, and not based on some innate ability of women to do better than men scholastically.

If you are suggesting that future success in life and ability to contribute in a meaningful way to society can be predicted by intelligence tests where are the statistics to prove this? What are the statistics for the very richest of people versus the very poorest? The IQs of those from inherited wealth as opposed to self earned wealth. How about the IQ's of the British Royal family? Supposedly their ancestors must have been quite bright once. The statistical IQ's of those who choose to work for the good of the community in a direct way versus those who choose a more esoteric form of work or work purely for their own benefit? If you are not suggesting that the IQ tests can be used in this way what exactly are you suggesting we can take from the results of IQ tests? Who is most likely to be able to do the Times Crossword in under five minutes?

Does the discussion of IQ tests race and class and the interpretation we each put on the results, and the way we choose to pick and group those tested, actually give us more information about the people who discussing the subject than the people and groups that are being tested? A bit like the white mice really being the ones who are performing a psychological test on us and not us on the white mice. (Hitchikers reference)

I have no great love of the concept of freedom of speech, some people's freedom can just mean the freedom to insult, to belittle and to create hatred, however, its always amusing to watch someone showing their true beliefs through personal interpretation of statistical data. Everyone knows statistic lie :) However, I wont vote yes or no to this guy, I don't really know how annoying he is but it is your personal space so my suggestion would be if he annoys more than he amuses, if he creates dissension rather than discussion, kick him ;)

Gilbert De Bruycker

"I have no great love of the concept of freedom of speech, some people's freedom can just mean the freedom to insult, to belittle and to create hatred..."

Well, take a peek at http://rationalargumentator.com/issue89/offensiveness.html

We need more offensiveness, not less. We must offend the liars, the degraded, the darkness, the destroyers of civilization.

Silver Jewellery




Great postings you have on your blog, i bookmarked it and hope to find more soon

Great discussions, what the concept of the blog was meant for. Bookmarked. More Please.

Area Rugs

I think it would be interesting to ask the car sales person why they price the cars differently. Of course they would never feel free enough to answer honestly. I found this story very interesting. I would have guessed that the car would be priced less for the people of color because of the common perception that they are paid less. So why would the car salesman think they can or will pay more? The salesman is trying to get as much as possible for each car they sell because they will make more money. But if the car doesn’t sell they don’t make anything on that car. They must believe that the people of color will pay more but why? I am not sure the idea that they are trying to impress people makes any sense. I don’t know anyone of any color who thinks they need to impress car salesmen. I think this study would have been more helpful if it had anonymously asked the salespeople why they did this. There can be as much bias in the conjecture of why they did it as there obviously was in the fact that they did it in the first place. This does say something for the internet economy. One extra benefit of shopping online is that the color of your skin never affects the price. Whatever anyone feels about the how’s any why’s of this story or the extent of racism in general this would still really make me mad as hell if I were black, a women or especially if I were a black women.

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