Attacking IQ in Foreign Policy Magazine
Print Friendly and PDF

I saw this as a tweet  from Arts And Letters Daily

A certain strain of development economics links nations’ wealth to IQ. Problem is, the data for such a premise are either sparse or phony... more»

If you're familiar with Lynn and Vanhanen's work on IQ and the Wealth of Nations, you probably know that data for African (and other Third World) IQs is sparse, because the inhabitants of many of these countries can't read, don't have a common language, and so on. There is also "phony" data produced by the education ministers of corrupt Third World  countries.(This phenomenon has even been observed in America.) Psychometrists do what they can with non-verbal tests and estimates.

However, I wondered if this were some kind of attack on the methodology, some new's an article from Foreign Policy magazine:

Dumb and Dumber

Are development experts becoming racists?


Columnist John Derbyshire's recent effluvia on the subject of things your white kid should know about black people was met with suitable disdain and a rapid expulsion from the web pages of the National Review. Genetic determinism with regard to racial intelligence — alongside the very idea that intelligence can be meaningfully ranked on a single linear scale of intrinsic worth — has been firmly debunked by Stephen Jay Gould, among others.

Right! At that point my mind snapped shut.  And it was not the first! Charles Kenny's mind must have snapped shut years ago. My position on average race differences in IQ, expressed in 2007, is

[W]e are not dealing here with a "pseudoscientific" belief that blacks have a genetically lower IQ. We are dealing with a fact: blacks do have lower average IQ test scores. It's at least arguable that this fact is connected with another fact—what the United States Congress calls the "Achievement Gap," with reference to K-12 education and the No Child Left Behind Act, and which Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom call the "Racial Gap In Learning".

That part we know for sure—lower average test scores for African-Americans. That's why there has to be affirmative action, and why Jimmy Carter abolished the Civil Service exam in 1981, since they couldn't make African-Americans pass it at the same rates as whites.

In opposition, we also have a theory, an unproven and oft-refuted theory, that this disparity is not genetic, but caused by "white racism," or "stereotype threat," or something of that nature, even when there is no detectable evidence for it.

When a man, usually with a graduate degree himself, refuses to believe that "intelligence can be meaningfully ranked" which is to say that some people are smarter than other people, there's no point in debating him.

Print Friendly and PDF