J.Q. Wilson on S. Pinker
October 03, 2011, 12:21 AM
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In the WSJ, James Q. Wilson reviews Steven Pinker`s upcoming The Better Angels of Our Nature: On the Decline of Violence. Wilson gives it a thumbs up, but reminds Pinker not to forget his Sailerisms. :
Alas, when Mr. Pinker departs from his customary close attention to facts, he writes some strange things. ... Mr. Pinker dislikes Mr. Bush because he is "unintellectual." In fact, Mr. Bush never took an IQ test, but he did take the SAT and the armed-forces qualification test. Converting those scores to IQ, Mr. Bush turns out to be brighter than Mr. Kerry, whom Mr. Pinker admires though he got lower grades in college than did Mr. Bush. [Links added.]
When discussing the IQs of American Presidents (Kennedy was smarter than Nixon? Really? That news would have come as a surprise to Joe Kennedy Sr., who paid a lot of money to Ted Sorensen to ghostwrite Profiles in Courage for his son, and to Pulitzer juror Arthur Krock), Pinker can sound a bit Canadian.
Here`s Pinker`s summary of his argument, with lots of graphs.