See Race Realism page for more.
Tatu Westling (2011) has proposed a new spin on the old IQ-crime link. In the old rendition, ethnic groups with the lowest IQs have more testosterone which predispositions one to criminal activity. Testosterone, however, would produce a larger than average penis. This view is chiefly employed by Canadian psychologist J.P Rushton whose work is freely available online. Rushton (2000) claims that his unique thesis explains the high crime rate, low IQ, and larger penile sizes of African males. It is then quite simple to infer that a country with testosterone driven criminals would have low GDPs and GDP growth rates as Westling proposes. To understand the correlation between the ideas of Westling and Rushton, a more expansive discussion of Rushton is required.
Rushton uses intelligence and genital size to typecast Africans and ʻOrientalsʼ as being the victims of nature. As an African, one might have large genitalia but will be doomed to higher levels of testosterone, promiscuity, and sexual disease. These would shorten your life and you would also not be as intelligent as non-Africans. As an Asian, you would be the most intelligent but somewhat socially retarded by extra ʻcautiousnessʼ and ʻpassivity.ʼ While you would live the longest, your testosterone level would be lowest and thus your penis, the smallest. As a ʻWhiteʼ however, you would have all the required social and physical traits to be the ideal — intelligent enough for high ʻcultural achievementsʼ but with enough testosterone to be normal. You would not have grossly enlarged or shrunken penises. Graham Richards (1997) aptly describes Rushtonʼs central thesis:
His [Rushtonʼs] position may be summed up as a kind of Goldilocks story— Orientals have big brains but small genitalia, Africans have small brains but big genitalia, but Europeans Are Just Right.
Goodman (1996) agrees:
Rushton’s key contribution to science, I suggest, is a thermodynamic theory of evolution. One can either have sexual potency or smarts; it is either a big brain or a big penis.
However Goldman is only partially correct since Rushton also proposes that Europeans have just enough brain to not stunt their genitalia. It is for this reason that Westling has added fuel to the racist debate by publishing a discussion paper for an economic think tank adding legitimacy to Rushtonʼs claims. Westling has thus nuanced Rushtonʼs old claims by connecting penile lengths with GDP growth rates.
Westling states that he began this research article half-heartedly but was surprised to find that there was high correlation between GDP growth rates and penile size. However, this is premised upon his assumptions and data set. I propose to show that both are of questionable status. As per his assumptions, he writes:
The data regarding the physical dimensions of male organs is openly available online and has been compiled [by an unknown party] from an extensive number of sources. Large part of the data has been collected by health authorities but some observations are self-reported. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, self-reported data might be biased, supposedly upwards. However, a moment of reflection with the global penile length distribution map and anecdotal ʻInternet-sourced evidenceʼ reveals that the self-reported figures are in-line with anticipated patterns. Still, measurement errors can not be ruled out. The physical dimension of male organ varies considerably across countries, the average being 14.5 centimetres. For example, South Korea and Zaire [now Dem. Rep. of the Congo] have average sizes of 9.66 and 17.93 centimetres, respectively.
A data source is only as trustworthy as the measurement methodology and source. Penis size studies are scarce and varied in methodology (Promodu et al. 2007) so that it is surprising that a ʻlargeʼ number of data would be collected by health authorities but only ʻsomeʼ self-reported. The use of affirmative ʻInternet-sourced evidenceʼ, which Westling does not list, is almost a sure sign of confirmation bias possibly rendering this work unscientific. The language used is also unscientific. Having one or even ten studies for an average national penile length does not warrant a firm matter-of-fact statement such as “The physical dimension of male organ varies considerably across countries, …” At most, all that could be legitimately stated is that one study found an average value for a specific country. Westling continues:
In many respects male organ can be considered quite convenient a variable. First, it represents a well defined and concrete object. Second, it is relatively easy to measure – erect length is used. Third, it is largely free from cultural connotations that might hound complex institutional variables, in particular. Hence in many ways male organ stands in contrast to other, more contentious variables such as indices of political institutions, IQ, social or economic indicators each of which might be subject to biases and measurement errors of multitude sorts.
The male organ is not a ʻwell definedʼ or ʻconcreteʼ object; it is more flexible (pun intended). There are differences in the methods used such as the conventional stretched method, erection by manual/visual stimulation, and erection by intravenous injection. Others use constant force devices for a stretched value and one French researcher stretched three times which produced a larger than expected value. The stretched length in some studies closely estimates the erect length but not in all. In most cases the stretched length is smaller than the erect length. Some researchers measure from the pubo-pelvic junction to the meatus and others from the pubic bone to the meatus (also called bone pressed) to accommodate the decrement caused by the pubic fat pad. While Westling states that the erect lengths are used (and it is for the U.S. at 12.9 cm), this is not the case for South Korea where the stretched bone pressed length (9.66 cm) is provided. The data are also not free of ʻculturalʼ connotation since the unknown Internet source will be shown to use data conveniently.
Comparing Data Sets
The table below displays only those nations which have peer-reviewed male organ studies. Granted, the bias here would be studies I could find online. However, it shows that the purported sizes promote a distinct organ size deflation against Asian nations (India and South Korea) while inflating those of South American, North African, and West Asian nations. To aid in analysis, the following terms have been used:
Multiplication Factor (MF) = purported/actual size [a measure of the purported size inaccuracy]
Conventional stretched method (CS)
Conventional stretch three times (CS3)
Erect length (E)
Non-bone pressed erect length (NBPEL)
Non-bone pressed stretched length (NBPSL)
Bone pressed erect length (BPEL)
Bone pressed stretched length (BPSL)
Self measured length (SeM)
Staff measured length (StM)
|COUNTRY||PURPORTED SIZE (cm)||PEER REVIEW SIZE(cm)||SAMPLE SIZE, METHODOLOGY||NOTES||SOURCE(S)|
|Egypt||15.59||12.90||949, CS, BPSL||MF = 1.21||Kamel et al. 2009|
|Nigeria||15.50||13.37||115, CS||MF = 1.16||Orakwe, Ogbuagu & Ebuh 2006, Orakwe & Ebuh 2007|
|India||10.24||10.88||301, CS, NBPEL||MF = 0.94, unreliable source:||Jacobus X, Promodu et al. 2007|
|India||10.24||13.01||93, E, SeM, NBPEL||Biased sample: from sex dysfunction clinic, MF = 0.79, most accurate value, self-reported value only +8 mm, SMP = 84.1%||as above|
|India||10.24||12.93||41, E, StM, NBPEL||as above||as above|
|Israel||14.38||12.50||55, CS, BPEL, StM||Chen et al. 2000|
|Israel||14.38||13.60||55, E, BPEL, SeM||MF = 1.06,
SMP = 91.9%
|South Korea||9.66||9.60||123, CS, NBPSL, StM||NBPSL value is always used (even in peer-reviewed articles) even though BPEL is easily computed from data. Possible bias if samples suffered from urological problems||Son et al.
Son et al.
|South Korea||9.66||10.70||123, CS, BPSL, StM||as above||as above|
|South Korea||9.66||14.06||287, E, BPEL||MF = 0.69||Park et al. 1998|
|South Korea||9.66||13.42||150, E||MF = 0.72||Yoon, Lee & Chang 1998|
|South Korea||9.66||9.60||156, CS, StM, NBPL||Possible bias if samples suffered from urological problems. SMP = 80.67%||Son 1999|
|10.80||156, E, StM, NBPEL|
|11.90||156, E, StM, BPEL|
|South Korea||9.66||11.90||156, E, StM, BPEL||Researchers admit sample bias as all were about to undergo urological surgery||Choi et al. 2011|
|South Korea||9.66||11.70||144, CS, StM, BPL||as above||as above|
|France||16.01||16.74||905, CS3||Large study but method is controversial (Sepowitz 2006)||Bondil et al. 1992 as mentioned in Mondaini 2002|
|Germany||14.48||14.48||111, BPEL, SeM||Samples less than 20 years old, older comparison sample too small (n = 32)||Schneider et al. 2001 and Dillon, Chama & Honig 2008|
|Greece||14.37||12.18||52, CS||MF = 1.21||Spyropoulos
et al. 2002
|Italy||15.74||12.50||3300, CS, StM||MF = 1.26||Ponchietti et al. 2001 and Dillon, Chama & Honig 2008|
|Italy||15.74||16.80||33, E||Sample too small and biased by prostatectomy||Briganti et al. 2007|
|USA||12.90||12.45||80, CS, NBPSL||MF = 1.00||Wessells, Lue & McAninch 1996|
|12.89||80, E, NBPEL|
|15.74||80, E, BPEL|
|USA||12.90||16.74||2770, CS, SeM||Biased sample, measured to nearest 0.25 inch.||Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin 1948|
|Australia||13.31||15.99||156, E, SeM||Richters, Gerofi & Donovan 1995 as mentioned in Mondaini 2002|
|Turkey||14.11||8.98||200, CS||MF = 1.11||Sengezer, Ozturk & Deveci 2002|
|Turkey||14.11||13.44||42, CS||Savas et al.
|Brazil||16.10||14.50||150, E||MF = 1.11||da Ros et al. 1984 as mentioned in Mondaini 2002 and Dillon, Chama & Honig 2008|
|Guatemala||15.67||15.00||50, E||MF = 1.04||Granados-Loarca et al.2005|
|Colombia||17.03||13.90||130||MF = 1.23||Acuna and Villalba 2001|
One point to note is that peer-reviewed only attests to the science in methodology not necessarily the conclusion. The conclusion until replicated, can be considered to be pending validation. For a study to qualify as scientific, it has to be repeated under the same conditions or variables. Another point is that there are differing measuring methodologies so that the MF is an inexact measure of the deviance of the purported value from the peer-reviewed values. Now, excluding biased and small samples (<100) as well as unconventional and self-measured methodologies, the inflated nationalities with MF values are Egypt (1.21), Colombia (1.23), Nigeria (1.16), Brazil (1.11), Italy (1.26), Turkey (1.11), and Israel (1.06). These countries are in South America, West Asia and North Africa. Deflated national organs include India (0.79) and South Korea (0.69), i.e. South and East Asia. A racial bias can be justifiably applied because the data did not include two previous 1998 South Korean studies with larger values. For India, the source (Jacobus X) proposes: “The average size appeared to me to be about 5 inches long, by 1¼ in diameter” which would be 12.70 cm not 10.24 cm as claimed.
The data for India is NBPEL (12.93 cm) indicating (slightly) longer penises than Americans (12.89 cm NBPEL). The Indian sample was chosen from a sexual dysfunction clinic. In said article, the authors state: “Previous studies on phallic dimensions (Table 1) are limited and there is a wide difference in methodology. So far no study has been reported on this topic from India.” Since this 2007 study is the most recent, why is the Jacobus data given? Jacob Sutor (also known as Jacobus X) was a supposed French army surgeon, claiming to have traveled extensively measuring both male and female ethnic genitalia. Cernovsky (1995) refers to this book as a “nonscientific semipornographic book.” Brace (1996) and MacEachern (2006) also question its validity. The bookʼs most famous proponent is J. P. Rushton whose claims are routinely used on non-scientific websites (e.g. penis size surveys and forums).
The American study (Wessells, Lue & McAninch 1996) only consisted of 10 Asians in the sample of 80 (Mondaini & Gontero 2005). This means that if Americans have Kinseyʼs purported 16.74 cm NBPEL penises, the Asians in the Wessel study would have negative 14.06 cm organs when stretched (assuming erect = stretched which is not necessarily valid, see entry at 2012-08-17 below). Clearly, the data from the two U.S. studies do not match. Not surprisingly, the self-reported data collated by a psychologist offered greater lengths than the measured study performed by urologists. South Korea has the smallest correlation with actual measured values. If one argues that this is cherry picking of data because there are three sources with possibly unbiased values for South Korea (Park et al. 1998, Yoon, Lee & Chang 1998, Son 1999), the value for the average of these studies (n = 593) is 13.33cm for an MF of 0.72, still less than India. Using all five South Korean studies changes the MF to 0.76 (n = 860).
The purported value of 9.66 cm is actually close to the value of 9.60 cm found in one infamous study. This study (Son et al. 2003) is routinely used to show how South Koreans and all East Asians by stereotypical extension (all [East] Asians are the same [even down there]). Son et al. (2003) is a replica of Son et al. (2000), which is a continuation of Son (1999). In both the 2003 and 1999 studies, the stretched length remains the same (9.60 cm). However, this is the non-bone pressed stretched length and not the non-bone pressed erect length, which would be closer to 11.70 cm (Son et al. 2003) or 10.80 cm (Son 1999). Given that there were studies with larger values, why was an average not used? Perhaps the ʻunknown partyʼ who collected the results did not know of their existence. In looking at peer-reviewed urological studies (e.g. Wylie & Eardley 2006, Mehraban, Salehi & Zayeri 2007, Promodu et al. 2007) however, the same 9.6 cm value study is consistently used as the sole representative of South Korea studies. Additionally, some peer-reviewed studies used Internet Surveys (Awwad et al. 2005, Granados-Loarca et al. 2005) and Rushtonʼs data (Granados-Loarca et al. 2005). Thus, one cannot expect that peer review would adequately filter out questionable and unscientific sources even when ethnic genitalia is involved.
The South Korean sample descriptions would indicate that the men were suffering from poor self-image due to their perceived size. For instance, 25% of the sample in Son (1999) considered themselves “small” or “very small” while over 24% considered themselves similarly in Son et al. (2003). Thus, Son (1999) is named Normal Penile Size and Self Esteem about Penile Size of the Third Decade Men in Korea, Son et al. (2000) is The Psychological Study on the Self Esteem about Penile Size of the Third Decade Men in Korea and Son (2003) is Studies on self-esteem of penile size in young Korean military men. All three studies were focused on self-esteem and this could have skewed the data. This is likely since Choi et al. (2011) is said to be sample biased but recorded CS lengths some 2.1 cm longer than Son (2003). Park et al. (1998) also found stretched lengths of 12.30 cm with a range of 8.5 to 17 cm.
Turkish studies also present a South Korean type problem in that one study finds a smaller value for average stretched length than another. Sengezer, Ozturk & Deveci (2002) found an average of 8.68 cm for stretched and 12.70 cm for erect length (n = 200) while Savas et al. (2009) found a stretched average of 13.44 cm (n = 34) even though all had erectile dysfunction. It is thus better to use larger studies with unbiased samples. Yet another problem is the flat values given for different male organs. Instead of the average erect value, penile dimensions should be given in the following format: The average effective (i.e. BPL) erect (not stretched) penile length is x ± a cm with a median of y ± b cm with a range of c to d cm for a sample of n normal healthy randomly sampled males using the intravenous injection (most accurate) measurement method. Only when a study can offer this level of detail (and none has yet), can science make proper pronouncements about the penis from which Westling can then perform his analysis.
Using Internet data can be useful but the sources need to be verified and the data normalized. In the case of the male organ, some studies have sample bias (samples have urological issues), others are self-reported (inflated), and some are measured differently so that extrapolations on the GDP growth rate would not be possible unless only scientific sources are available. Care must also be taken to not use peer-reviewed referenced data that has similarly been sourced from an Internet poll or survey. Westling (2011) has not done this but has explained away the problematic and contentious racial/ethnic issues using unscientific Internet anecdotes. Clearly there is a data bias (perhaps unintentional) against South and East Asians. However, the use of Rushton-like commentary by Westling does not bode well for the masses looking to validate their ethnic hegemonic masculinities through loose scientific veneers.
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2012-04-26: Tatu Westling states that his paper is “humorous” and that he is “not too serious about the causality part.” Yet he publishes this in an Economics Research Archive IDEAS and they allow him to do so. On a blog he states that ” a healthy dose of sarcasm is always good” and then continues: “One interesting, dare I say sociological, blogosphere-observation has been the strong confidence in economic data contra the ‘less-formal’ male organ variable. The latter evidently suffers from questionable quality but by biological factors the figures are likely to be in the right ballpark.” He does not list said biological factors or where he sourced them. Emails sent to Westling and the Helsinki Center of Economic Research (his employer) protesting this ‘research’ remain unanswered. His original paper published in July 2011 was followed in September 2011 by an analysis of its spillover effect. So he has two ‘research’ papers to his name on faulty evidence which he thinks is correct nonetheless and of course, he never mentions the word “racism”.
In his latest version, Westling states:
Male organ can be considered quite convenient a variable for two particular reasons. First, body parts are well defined and relatively easy to measure. Regarding the latter point, the erect length of male organ is used. Second, as is explained in Wylie & Eardley (2007), unarguably penile length might entail certain cultural connotations. However, they might be less severe than those pertaining to, for example, economic freedom or corruption. Hence male organ has many advantages over more contentious variables such as political regime types, IQ, social or economic indicators each of which might be subject to biases of various sorts. It is not unreasonable to conclude that, even allowing for some measurement errors, of all variables used in the study the male organ is actually one of the least problematic.
Now the same Wylie & Eardley (2007) lists many studies and their findings on penile lengths for different countries. Westling could not be bothered to check this against his Internet source.
|Country||Westling’s Internet Source||Wylie & Eardley (2007)||% difference|
|Italy||15.74 cm||12.50 cm||25.92|
|Turkey||14.11 cm||8.98 cm||57.13|
|UK||13.97 cm||13.00 (median)||7.46|
The data Westling uses was created by a Spaniard male from Barcelona. TargetMap, the company which generated his map, is also Spanish. Psychologist Richard Lynn has also used this data to publish a peer-reviewed article to validate J.P. Rushton’s ethnic penile length gradation thesis.
2012-08-17: Correction made to data for Wessells, Lue & McAninch 1996 to include correct BPEL of 15.74cm. Also, for the following:
This means that if Americans have Kinseyʼs purported 16.74 cm NBPEL penises, the Asians in the Wessel study would have negative 14.06 cm organs when stretched.
There is an unfortunate calculation error in that the Kinsey study would ask for erect and the South Korean study would provide stretched lengths. Thus, the calculations would be based on the invalid assumption that erect and stretched were fully correlated. [Thanks Mark Lee].
2012-11-28: Correction made to comparison of Indian and US data, both are NBPEL. The conclusion remains unaltered i.e. Indians may have slightly longer erect penises than Americans [Thanks Sindian Tadka].
2013-01-20: Schneider study is BPEL, SeM as per measurement diagram here