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White Christian missionaries and the noble savages


Veteran Member
IQ is an offensive science, but probably no part of the science elicits more provocation than the estimates of blacks in Africa. The estimates of the average tend to be about 70. Richard Lynn gave a value of 69 for Nigeria and 72 for Kenya. 70 is two full standard deviations below the white median of 100. In contrast, black Americans at 85 are only one standard deviation below the white average. Political provocation is not the only problem. There is a significant scientific problem: 70 is standardized as the cutoff point for mental disability, so a median IQ of 70 would imply that half of black Africa would qualify as mentally disabled. Black Africa is beset with problems, but it is not plausible that half of them are mentally disabled, as they do make functional or semi-functional societies. In my opinion, the problem is not the data but the theory: 70 as the maximum for mental disability works as the standard for whites, but there is no reason to expect that races with significantly different IQ averages should be confined by the same standard. This is the point that first inspired Arthur Jensen's foray into race and intelligence: white children with an IQ below 70 could not function socially, but such black children could.

But of course politics remains the primary problem. Even if propositions of genes have no bearing on the debate, nobody wants to accept that the data of IQ=70 has accuracy or explanatory relevance. It is racist and taboo. It would imply that a typical 16-year-old black African has about the mental age of an 11-year-old white child.

But, most of us implicitly accept what would follow from the data. Especially liberals.

Lately, there has been a campaign to condemn white Christian missionaries to Africa for their perceived role in encouraging the persecution of gays and lesbians (example). In Uganda, lesbians caught in a sex act are raped, and gays are killed. Last year, Uganda passed a law to increase the penalty for homosexuality from years in prison to the death penalty (it was struck down by the Ugandan Supreme Court on a technicality). Uganda is a free democratic republic with 38 million people, but white liberals placed the blame for this democratic law squarely on white Christian missionaries, primarily just one of them in particular: Scott Lively. The documentary "God Loves Uganda" ignited this, claiming that Scott Lively had a pivotal role in encouraging the anti-gay hate popular in Uganda. The documentary and all journalistic investigations that followed remain strangely scarce on evidence. Scott Lively spread conspiracy theories and libel against gays as a group, but there is no evidence that he encouraged violence or the death penalty against gays. He communicated with Ugandan lawmakers, but by his own seemingly plausible and falsifiable account he merely "urged them to pattern their bill on some American laws regarding alcoholism and drug abuse," suggestions that were ignored. Uganda did not follow in the pattern of relatively-moderate anti-gay opinions common among American conservatives, but in the pattern seen in almost all of the rest of black Africa: extremely harsh anti-gay criminal laws.


Still, angry white liberals hold Scott Lively and his company accountable for molding Ugandan society like putty in his hands. Scarce evidence exists, but they find the proposition sufficiently plausible. Why? Seemingly because of the " noble savage" doctrine. According to the noble savage myth, civilization is a corrupting force on an otherwise-sinless pre-civilized society. If the savages do wrong, it is very easily because civilized people are to blame. This perspective works only if the perceived noble savages lack autonomy and are easily influenced by the more powerful. In other words, black Africans are seen as children.
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