TCS Daily


Race, IQ and Education

By Arnold Kling - November 20, 2007 12:00 AM

It (g) permeates nearly all complex tasks, and this is allegedly why IQ scores are so highly correlated with all other complex cognitive tests, such as the SATs, Civil Service exams, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batteries, and the GREs. The claim is that they all measure g and they all predict important life outcomes, while being highly heritable. It is but short stone's throw to a genetic meritocracy syllogism:

  • An underlying ability (called g) is needed for all forms of cognitive performance
  • g is manifest in any broad cognitive battery such as IQ
  • g is related to many types of biological markers and is highly heritable
  • Large individual and group differences exist in g
  • Variation in g predicts differential life outcomes
  • Therefore, variation in life outcomes is at least partly rooted in biological differences in g

Putting these pieces together leads some to argue that inequality in the distribution of wealth, prestige, and educational attainment is, in part, a consequence of unequal distribution of the intellectual capacity needed for high levels of functioning.


--Stephen J. Ceci

In the 1990's, when my daughter was in middle school, her principal created a remedial math class for a handful of students. All of them turned out to be African-American. The local chapter of the NAACP took offense, and the principal was dismissed. (This being the public school system, she was not fired. She was given a meaningless job somewhere in the central administration.)

This incident helps to illustrate the three contentious issues caught up in the IQ-race controversy:

1. Is there such a thing as innate cognitive ability?

2. Is there such a thing as race?

3. Is there a difference among races in average cognitive ability?

As I see it, there are four approaches for dealing with these issues. The approaches are: segregationism; denialism; compensationism; and individualism.

Segregationism is the view that differences in average IQ across races justify segregation by race. It disturbs me that anyone would hold such a view, but it is out there and it needs to be confronted. However, I do not think that my daughter's school principal was motivated by segregationism, because the vast majority of African-American children were not put into the remedial math class.

Denialism means answering "no" to one or more of the three questions above. I am not a denialist, although I think that the case for a biological concept of race leaves room for doubt.

What I call compensationism means that members of disadvantaged racial groups should be given extra help or preferences. Affirmative action is an example of what I mean by compensationism. If a school principal decides to give all African-American children additional resources to learn math, that might be another example of compensationism. Compensationism can mean taking wealth from a low-IQ white person and giving it to a high-IQ African-American in order to compensate for the disadvantages of the average African-American. That strikes me as an awkward position to defend.

Individualism means treating everyone as an individual. My guess is that my daughter's middle school principal was motivated by individualism. To me, individualism makes sense, because the variation in cognitive ability within racial groups is quite large. There are people of all races in all percentiles of the IQ distribution. Racial indicators are not very useful as predictors of any individual's IQ. However, as the principal found out, individualism is difficult to practice in a world with strong ethnic group-identity.

The concept of IQ works like this: there are tests that one can give a young child which allow that child to be assigned a percentile relative to other children of the same age. Many of these tests seem explicitly designed to measure intelligence. However, other tests, such as the Stanford Marshmallow experiment or tests of reaction time, are not what we would intuitively think of as intelligence tests, and yet results on these tests correlate well with IQ. The main finding is that a child's performance on one test will correlate with his or her performance on another test.

These tests predict what we intuitively mean by intelligence or cognitive ability. Someone in a high percentile is likely to be perceived by us as smart, is likely to be a good student, and so on. For links to some recent discussion in the media of IQ and genetics, see this blog post.

What's Your FQ?

Imagine that instead of intelligence, what we really cared about in our society was fishing aptitude. At age 10, a child is given tests that involve fishing while wading in a stream, fishing while standing on a bridge, fishing while riding in a boat on a river, and fishing while in a boat on the ocean. Let us suppose that a child's percentile in any one test is highly correlated with that child's percentile on all of the other tests. For example, a child who is in the 85th percentile for catching fish when wading in a stream is likely to be in the 85th percentile for catching fish in the other situations. We could say that this child has a relatively high Fishing Quotient, or FQ.

Common folk wisdom might be that one intuitively identifiable subset of the human race, called Good Ol' Boys, has a higher FQ on average than another subset, called City Fellers. Suppose that results of FQ tests bear out this folk wisdom. In that case, some researchers might try very hard to identify genetic differences between Good Ol' Boys and City Fellers, and they might try very hard to tell "Just-So" stories about how those genetic differences might explain the difference in average FQ. But we should be cautious about concluding that the intuitively identifiable differences reflect fundamental biological differences or that those biological differences are what explain FQ.

Racial differences in average FQ would be one indication that FQ is innate. More powerful evidence would be:

--the fact that someone's FQ as a child is highly correlated with that individual's FQ as an adult, indicating that the environment has relatively little effect on FQ.

--the fact that policy interventions intended to change FQ, including many experiments with fishing education, fail to make a significant difference in FQ.

--the fact that identical twins raised apart tend to have about the same correlation of FQ as identical twins raised together.

One argument against the innateness of FQ would be the Flynn effect, which says that re-norming has occurred over time. In this context, the Flynn Effect is that on two of the tests--say, the boat on the river and the boat on the ocean--the number of fish that you need to catch to be in the 50th percentile has gone up gradually but steadily over the past hundred years.

Some researchers say that this means that the environment affects FQ. Other researchers say that this means that performance on those two tests are not comparable over time, but that FQ is still innate. There are bound to be many indicators of FQ that change over time. For example, fishing income is correlated with FQ, but fishing income can change over time for many environmental reasons. The fact that any one indicator changes over time does not prove that FQ is not innate. In the words of Linda S. Gottfreson "No one would mistake a thermometer for heat."

A theoretical way to rescue environmental determinants of FQ is the Dickens-Flynn hypothesis. This hypothesis is that children with a bit of aptitude for fishing are given lots of opportunity and encouragement for fishing, so that small innate advantages lead to large differences in FQ. Flynn writes,

The best chance of enjoying enhanced cognitive skills is to fall in love with ideas, or intelligent conversation, or intelligent books, or some intellectual pursuit. If I do that, I create within my own mind a stimulating mental environment that accompanies me wherever I go. Then I am relatively free of needing good luck to enjoy a rich cognitive environment. I have constant and instant access to a portable gymnasium that exercises the mind. Books and ideas and analyzing things are possessions easier to access than even the local gym.

If only we who teach could make more of our "subjects" fall in love with ideas. Then we would have truly effective interventions.

In other words, if only I could learn to fall in love with fishing, I could raise my FQ. Perhaps, but it seems unlikely. One of the reasons that I do not love fishing is that my FQ is so low. The fact is, I just might not have it in me to love fishing. Maybe the best you can hope for is that, knowing that my livelihood depends on it, I will struggle through fishing class well enough to acquire some rudimentary skills. But I will never love fishing, nor will I be able to relate to or benefit from teachers who do love fishing.

Group-Identity Amnesia

Earlier, I said that my preferred approach is individualism. To understand this approach, try this thought experiment: imagine if everyone suddenly were afflicted with group-identity amnesia.

Group-identity amnesia would mean that each person would forget his or her own ethnic identity. It also means that we forget how to identify and interpret all of the markers of race or ethnicity. I would meet someone named "Cohen" and not think, "Must be Jewish." I would see someone with black skin and not think, "Ancestors must be from Africa."

It seems to me that a society with group-identity amnesia would have no reason to feel awkward about testing people for aptitude. It would have no reason to feel awkward about identifying individuals with different aptitudes. It would have no reason to feel awkward about placing some people in remedial classes and others in classes for gifted students.

The World Series and the Nobel Prize

Back in the real world, we care intensely about group identity. The government and the media promulgate statistics sorted by race, and we pay close attention. At colleges, and even high schools, some of the most active clubs are ethnocentric--the association of African American students, the association of Asian students, etc.

In the Fall of 2007, the World Series was played and the Nobel Prizes were announced. Consider our group-identity reactions to these events.

We say that "Boston won the World Series." This makes many people from Boston, as well as other Red Sox fans, proud and happy.

We say that "Three Jews shared the Nobel Prize in economics." This makes many Jews proud and happy.

I think there is a difference between these two examples, however. I do not think that anyone believes that the result of the World Series says something about the people of Boston per se. No one thinks that if you replaced Josh Beckett and David Ortiz with citizens selected at random from the Boston phone book you would still have a championship team.

In contrast, I think that people believe that the result of the Nobel Prize in economics says something about Jews per se. And yet, if you were to replace, say, Eric Maskin, with a Jew selected at random, the result would be as absurd from a Nobel Prize perspective as replacing Ortiz or Beckett on the Red Sox with random Bostonians.

The point of this example is to show how important group identity seems to be. Our sense of ethnic group identity is much stronger than our sense of sports-fan identity. Ethnic group-identity amnesia is far easier said than done.

Education Policy

Education policy in the United States is based on a combination of denialism and compensationism. We throw the same instruction techniques at everyone. When we notice different outcomes by race, we look to compensate by using affirmative action.

Education policy based on individualism would work quite differently. Students would be tested as individuals for their aptitudes and for their deficiencies. Each student would be assigned to classes that use instructional methods that are proven to add value for that type of student.

For example, consider a forum on reading instruction held earlier this year at the Manhattan Institute. One of the participants, Dr. Reid Lyon, said,

The biggest impediment to kids' learning to read is not biological or genetic: it's instructional. Instructional casualties account for the majority of that 50-60 percent of our poor kids who can't read.

...Does whole language work better than phonics? That's a dumb dichotomy. That's political. Science asks: For which kids are which instructional strategies most beneficial, at which developmental phases, in what classroom, and by what teachers?

We've pretty much answered those questions. But will anybody use our answers? No.

...People say, "Well, if you teach them too directly, they'll never love reading." I've never met a kid who loves something he cannot do.

Reading programs that have been shown by research to work best in settings with many disadvantaged children, such as Direct Instruction, run very counter to how I learned to read as a child. I can understand why educators would intuitively resist them. However, if the evidence continues to support these methods for some students, then the educational establishment ought to change.

One year ago, I wrote about the attempt to send more children to college, instead of dealing with students as individuals. I will not repeat that rant here. But this is another example of how the education establishment wants more money in reward for its failures.

Overall, I think that to do education properly, we need to take into account individual differences of ability. I do not think we should pay attention to race. Too much of our education policy seems to be driven by the opposite--we focus on outcomes in terms of race and leave the individual children behind.

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90 Comments

A ploy
The race game is a ploy by self serving politicians and bureaucrats to point out differences between Americans and exploit them. Divide and conquer is sadly working in this day and age. It is an elaborate hoax supported by educational institutions, lawyers, and liberals in the media.
Most politicians are lawyers, lawyers make money from race based lawsuits. It has become a billion dollar industry. Many in this country buy into the illusion that keeps us divided and not focused on the real issue which is poverty and what causes it. It is not about race, gender, or sexuality. Don't be fooled.

What you see is what you get
Anyone who views things in terms of race, whether pro or con, is a racist.

intellect
Toqueville wrote, "Intellect proceeds directly from God and man cannot interfere with its unequal distribution." I agree with the author that individualism would be the best path to educating each person to maximize their inborn intellect. I went to school in the '30s and '40s in a steelmill town with a large population of blacks. As with the rest of us, there were outstanding students and some not so bright. Teaching was different then, more dedicated, but the desire of the student and the home enviroment also made a big difference in all of us.

Smart kids and dumb kids
An excellent, well thought out premise. It's rare that I agree so thoroughly with Arnold.

For instance he says that tests "such as the Stanford Marshmallow experiment or tests of reaction time, are not what we would intuitively think of as intelligence tests, and yet results on these tests correlate well with IQ. The main finding is that a child's performance on one test will correlate with his or her performance on another test."

We used to call people either "quick witted" or "slow witted". Yes, I would think the speed at which information travels across the synapses would be a basic indicator of a healthy mind.

He's even right when tiptoing across the treacherous ground of racial inequalities. I've spent a career working in the black ghettos, and have someobservations to share.

In the poorer zip codes you do in fact find a preponderance of slow people. That's why they collect there, while other, more agile minds move away. It's a self selection for intelligence.

The other thing is that you should step back and look at the whole sociological experiment. For 400 years we have created a slave society, where the only virtues being taught were obedience to master and to God. It's this, not any innate racial capacity for awareness, that has dumbed down the slave and ex-slave proportion of the population.

You see the same thing across Georgia and the Carolinas, where large numbers of poor white indentured servants were transported. Dumb as a stump, most of them, because their culture is learning deprived.

Compare free born blacks in the northern cities, many of whose families were free back in the 1700s. Pretty sharp, like urban types everywhere.

The challenge for education is to retool young persons whose parents are dumb. The parents resist this when they see it at work, so it must be delicately performed. A good beginning would be to teach everyone proper, uninflected English.

Environmental factors have been considered
There have been studies done to prove that environmental factors do not have much effect.

On average poor Whites and Asians have higher IQs than wealthy Blacks.

Studies of Black children with White foster parents, and White children with Black foster parents show little environmental effects on IQ.

Studies of identical twins raised apart have shown little environmental effect on IQ.

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/10/james-watson-tells-inconvenient-truth_296.php

Wow, English, what a concept
Bravo, this PC crap to deny English as the language of choice is detrimental to all. It is a attempt by the political classes to keep people dependent and bitter.

I was in England once and was stunned at the absolute perfect English the dude at Hertz had. It was spotless and highly refined. A real eye opener compared to the ignorant gibberish promoted by todays generation.

I feel sorry for inner city kids, they have been sold down the road by lies and the likes of Jesse Jackson, Sharpton and others whom derive political power from the perpetuation of servitude and failure.


Why won't they wake up? It is a Brave New World.

Race, IQ and Education
Those who have been through the education system realize that if teachers taught to the student & according to the ability the student demonstrates, each student would grow to the best of their own potential regardless of ethnic background, height, hair color, or region of birth. In other words, teach to the kid & forget the other stuff.
English is relevant if we want all of our kids to learn something. Different languages have words that mean different things. If we have a system teaching kids who use multiple languages, we will have multiple results, which will probably be chaotic at best. The real problem is, if we do not establish English as our common language, we will have kids taught at levels according to the ability of the educator to communicate in what may be a language they are ineffective at!
(It should be noted someone very famous once said something along the lines of, "it is truly a shame Americans have completely bastardized a perfectly logical and intelligible language. The truth is, there is the proper King's English as a language, and then their is the colonists American as a language, and never shall the two ever be comparable."
The apparent segregation of those black kids, was a teachers attempt to provide an environment for those kids in her class that needed special attention or remedial help on an issue at this time. Early intervention if something is lacking, can make the ultimate long term difference to kids.
As for college v. "other," that debate has been fostered by those who want to imply there is an intellectual collegiate class and then there are the others. For some, their motives are to create the impression "the others" should be lead by the intellectual, because "they know better."
As a former small technical college trustee, we worked very hard with our state education department to get them to inform high school students across the state there is an alternative to "traditional college" for kids not interested in a traditional academic collegiate education.
The so-called "trades" have long been looked upon as working class, and by some, as less than worthy than they.
Of course when those intellectual giants paid the plumbers bills, they soon realized their opinions were only based on their supposed special intellectual superiority, except what its really based on is condescension. Good plumbers are not dumb. In fact, plumbing requires superior mathematical capabilities, in numerous math disciplines.
Carpenters, auto mechanics, plumbers, draftsmen, etc., are simply folks who solve problems differently than academics do. That does not make them less intelligent, just people who have adapted their learning methodology to accommodate their unique capabilities.
Today, that small technical school was finally evaluated by numerous independent educational accreditation agencies from across the nation & they all found the school should have been issuing Associates level college degrees, since "1953". It took 45 years for the education establishment to be dragged into the real world by demanding trustees who knew the kids coming out of this educational facility were not just trades-workers. They were educated & intelligent individuals who deserved the personal and professional recognition of the academic community as equals in intellect and capabilities.
Long post, but the point is, teach to the kid & forget the other crap. Make accommodations for environmental factors that may be impeding educational growth, but again, forget color, race, ethnic background, etc. And, remember that basics does not mean dumb, it means, basics & they are the foundation of all intellectual growth!

Dendrites
Once again Mr. Kling tiptoes around a hot topic. Mustn’t get too close to politically incorrect truth. Let us divert attention to individualism. As an Ashkenazi Jew, he knows full well the scientific research showing that the AVERAGE Ashkenazi has the highest number of dendrites per neuron (i.e., “branches” on each nerve-cell “tree”), and thus the highest average intelligence, of any other human subgrouping on the planet. (See http://www.journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=JBS&volumeId=38&issueId=05 for more information.) It is the GENETIC basis of this high-dendrite count which enables Ashkenazim (but not Sephardim or Oriental Jews) to hold percentages of high social, professional and economic positions far out of proportion to their numbers in any Western society. It is also the reason for the many nerve-cell and DNA-related afflictions which they suffer. (For a non-Jewish example, cf. Stephen Hawking.) At the opposite end of the spectrum, Negroes, who remained in Africa, Australia or Melanesia after the rest of mankind had migrated to more intellectually demanding territories, faced lower selection pressures for cognitive abilities. Hence the typical African Negro is at the opposite end of the scale from the average Ashkenazi. And no amount of affirmative action, wealth transfer, anti-White equal opportunity programs, or expiation of the guilt feelings of rich and neurotic liberal Whites will change these biological facts. But then, truth is unimportant in modern America. At least until the aftereffects of Peak Oil exhaust the facade of universal equality which makes up the American Dream also known as the Myth of the Free Lunch. - Theedrich

Excellent article
Excellent article! I long ago interviewed your quotee Stephen Ceci in the course of writing about IQ, and while he was very well-spoken his "it's all environment" position was decidedly the minority view among his colleagues, almost all of whom were quick to agree that, based on identical-twins-raised apart studies, adopted-versus biological sibling studies, the likes of reaction-time tests, and so forth all pointed to a significant genetic component.

I would quibble with only one part of your article. To the degree that individual differences are longitudinally transmitted -- whether by genetic inheritance or via familial culture doesn't even make a whole lot of difference -- then it follows that group differences will emerge ON A STATISTICAL BASIS. So that, in the absence of any other meaningful information about an individual's predicted performance, a betting person would be wise to make use of the group-performance data at hand.

Thus, given that Ashkenazi Jews, on average, perform one standard deviation higher than average, on intelligence tests means that, in a Bell-curve distribution, a significantly higher percentage of Ashkenazis will be gifted than would be the case on average -- and substituting a garden-variety Jew for a Nobel-prizewinning economist IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER AVAILABLE PREDICTIVE INFORMATION might be the best available bet. Substituting a garden-variety Boston resident for a World Series-level Redsox player, on the other hand, would produce no correlation because the players themselves are mostly not originally from Boston to begin with. NOTE: If all the players on every team hailed from the same city they represented in uniform, a city's status as a World Series winner WOULD indeed tell you something important about that city's average residents: i.e., these guys really like to play ball here, and they start at an early age and are probably mostly all pretty good by the time they reach Big League age.

In summary, there are historical reasons why group-identity perceptions persist. I fully agree that, if you've come up with a better way of predicting an individual's predispositions (e.g., a cheap, accurate genomic scan), that beats group-identification prediction by a country mile. But in the absence of accurate labeling of individuals (and I agree that such more-accurate methods than race certainly exist with respect to a person's educational propensity!), group-level prediction is not as far-fetched or racist as some might maintain. The key points here, though, are: 1) Only use group-predictors when they're the only thing you've got. 2) Use those predictors ONLY when they're accurate. For example, the ***** claim that Jews were an inferior race when Germany's Jews were, right then on the same playing field, outperforming all other Germans at the group level in terms of career outcomes (doctors, lawyers, business, Einsteins, you name it), was preposterous on the face of it. And 3) If you're going to make decisions about individuals based on their group inclusion, be ready to be wrong and to act accordingly as soon as they show any sign of breaking out from under the prediction's constraints.

Many slaves got raped by their slavemasters...
It is sad but true:

Many slaves were raped by their slavemasters.

So if whites really had a superior IQ, then African-Americans should be far better than new African immigrants, because they have at least some white genes. But the truth is that new African Americans are generally outperforming African Americans. I even heard that in some Top-Universities, African immigrants made almost half of the Black students?

... And guess what? Most Blacks in the US were against the war in Iraq, while most whites supported it???

Friends can lift you up or bring you down
I think the number of teachers who don't understand that they have to teach to the students' abilities must be very few indeed. And I know a few teachers. That's the standard starting point.

The problem creeps in when you see that pre-teens and teens do not tend to think as individuals. Most of them are social creatures, and comprehend the world as their group does. Thus potentially bright students are dumbed down if they live in a gang culture or a culture of wasters. And students not academically inclined might even be uplifted a bit, if they grow up with a group of college bound friends.

My comment above went to the fact that in the ghetto, speaking and thinking as regular Americans do is often thought of as "acting white". Those who persist in doing so become social outcasts. Thus group mores enforce a very definite dumbing down-- which can be seen in their ostentatiously ignorant-seeming and misspelled dialect of choice.

It was this that I spoke in my comment above-- not the problems of ESL kids. People picking up English as a second language understand all too well the need for becoming proficient as quickly as possible.

A coda to my comment
I didn't address your conclusion. You said "the point is, teach to the kid & forget the other crap."

If the problem is a social subgroup within the class, or even if it's a majority group such as I've described in the ghetto, you really have to pull the entire problem group into a special class, and find a teacher they will award credibility to.

Otherwise they'll bring down the entire class, by ridiculing anyone who takes the lessons seriously. Everyone will be forced into accepting life on a "Yo, sup, bro" level of experience. And their preparations for failure will be amply reinforced once they begin interviewing for jobs.

Cultural conditioning
I think you've just put your finger on that mysterious process by which many African Americans developed lighter skins than pure Africans have. :)

I've known and done business with quite a lot of recent immigrants from Africa. One thing I find is that they tend to be extremely bright when it comes to social skills, reading people and "street smarts" generally. And they are more often thoughtful (well thought out) by nature, as compared to Americans.

Africans arriving here often come from dangerous, disrupted environments. It would be very surprising if some aspects of their intelligence weren't more highly developed than those of people raised in bland, safe suburban environments where the stakes are low.

They also tend to be as well educated as their personal circumstances permit, and to take education very seriously indeed.

Finally they are articulate in every language they are exposed to. In fact even those "fresh off the boat" generally spoke, in my experience, an accessible form of English. This comes from growing up in multilingual environments.

Americans tend to be monolingual in English, just as Mexicans are usually monolingual in Spanish. If a member of either group is not immersed in a foreign language by their teens, they find it very difficult if not impossible thereafter to master a foreign language. I know I'm that way myself.

I think this is an example of something that looks a lot like innate intelligence-- the mastery of a foreign tongue-- that in reality is more a matter of one's early experience.

"High IQ" - So what!
I have seen people from both ends of the IQ spectrum do exceedingly well and others exceedingly poorly. I do NOT see where IQ is a measure of a man’s ability to apply themselves and do extremely well in their chosen field of endeavor. For example, many professors have a "high IQ" and a huge volume of “book knowledge” stored in their heads, but cannot even apply that knowledge to a classroom setting much less teach others how to properly apply that “knowledge”. To me, it is similar to having a 500hp engine, but no drive shaft to transmit the HP. IQ may speak of potential, but that is where it ends as best I can tell. I would far rather have wisdom than to have a very high potential and have very little ability or ambition to utilize that potential.

Rape?
The raping of the mind and body goes on in many societies. A friend of mine came out of a tenant farmer background. He graduated 8th grade, and that was supposed to be the end of his education. He decided that he could and would get a much better education. He did NOT rely on government or charitable contributions, but worked any job he could get and paid for his high school education, He continued that technique (work for it, don’t look for “hand outs”) when he went to a prestigious technical college and graduated with honors. I knew him in the business setting and made him and his family part of our family group. He was one of the keenest minds I have ever seen in the area of diagnostics. I knew that neither his mom and dad, nor her mom and dad, had ever come to visit them. We were sitting on his front door steps just chatting when I said “George, your mom and dad surely must be proud of your accomplishments” His reply really jarred me. “NO! They won’t even talk to me”. I asked “Why in the world is that?”. George: “They are ashamed of me because I ‘showed them up’”. The modern term for that is “he dissed me”. That conversation is etched deeply into my mind and it still pains me. I have no idea what his IQ is, but he surely applies himself whole heatedly to every task and he is a grand model for ANY race.

Talents and Genius
Our society is hypocritical about intelligence. We have no problem at all allowing people to get an advantage because of physical attributes, like beauty, athleticism, strength, height, and musical talents, but God forbid if we let anyone get an advantage because of intelligence. If intelligence correlated directly with the size of your cranium, then there would be no argument about who is smarter, since it would be obvious, just like who is taller and who is better looking. But intelligence is something that can pop up in people no matter what they look like. Thus, people like to believe they are smarter than they have any justification for. They are jealous of people who have this invisible gift, and ask why they can't have it, or indeed, how do you measure it when it is not obvious the way beauty is.

We defer to people who are taller, stronger, more musical, more graceful, better dancers, and better looking, but we have a hard time deferring to people who are identified as smarter, at least in the subject matter of their intelligence. Part of the problem here is that it is obvious to everyone when we have physical gifts, but to truly appreciate or even confirm another person's intelligence, you have to have a certain amount of intelligence yourself. Thus, those who lack it the most are the most skeptical of its reality.

There is a certain amount of intelligence in the refusal to give too much credence to genetic factors in intelligence. After all, genes can be dominant or recessive, can come from father or mother, and when it is not a single gene but several that support intelligence, they may come separately from a child's parents. In such cases, the variation among siblings can also be pronounced.

On the other hand, on the level of species, we have no problem asserting that a member of homo sapiens is almost certainly smarter than a bonobo or a gorilla. And there is no question that this inter-species intelligence gap is due to genetic differences. Since the human level of intelligence is clearly based on species-related genes, any variation in human intelligence must be likewise due to variations in the subset of genes that give us human intelligence.

On the other hand, the variation in human physical abilities does not mean that our legal rights as human beings and citizens are different. We must distinguish between the rights we have within society and the resources we have because of our ability to earn wealth. Whether we earn wealth by physical or mental attributes, the advantages we have are individual, while our rights depend on the society we live in. Having more or less intelligence should not affect our rights in society, but that is different from what we earn with our intelligence. And we should not get confused between our rights and our differential earnings based on our characteristics.

The problem with affirmative action programs that disregard the requirement of earning value for some people but not for all is that the reason for the requirement will reassert itself as soon as the "affirmative action" has been taken. A person thrust into Harvard Law not on the basis of ability is destined to be at the bottom of every competition for grades, for distinction such as the Law Review or Moot Court, and will acquire the marks of failure at graduation. Of course, if the merit ranking is not in fact related to merit, and has no substance, it may make no difference. However, to my knowledge the expectations of the law schools are borne out in most cases. People who start at the bottom 10% stay in the bottom 10% until they drop out or graduate.

On the other hand, I think "race" is too indefinite and fuzzy a concept to assert that it can be paired to race. The difference between the indifferent achievement of many US blacks and their cousins from Jamaica and Bermuda is not due to race, but due to culture. US black culture has a strong strain of anti-intellectualism, while the former British colonies do not. Most of the high-achieving students at Harvard who are of African descent are from outside the US, where the culture of despair and anger has not taken hold.

Japanese and Chinese in the US have done well on IQ tests, yet their ancestors who immigrated were often among the poorest people in their homeland, not a strong indicator that they were among the most intelligent of their old societies. Cultures that put study as a high priority seem to have selected for intelligence, or nurtured it. The greater influence of non-Confucian values on third and fourth generation Asian Americans is, I believe, flattening out their bump on the IQ charts.

IQ
Couple of points. I've worked (coached) plenty of so-called dumb Blacks with grade points in the ones. I coached football and we had a 700 page playbook with play names like "42 special, overload left, three and four split right, 2 back in 7 hole. On two." How can a stupid SOB possibly memorize a 700 page playbook and all the terminology?

I submit to you that there is a difference in how most Blacks learn and how most whites learn. Blacks seem to learn visually. Football is "taught" by symbols--Xs and Os---and visual observation of the opposition on each play. All this is "learned" by boys with very low IQs. Why? You figure it out.

Next, I address the "improvement" argument. I had to take an IQ test in the Navy. Everything was going smoothly except that one of the repeating questions was something called "the counting man." The "Counting Man" was a male figure with numbers on hands and one foot and the test taker was supposed to fill in the number on the blank foot. I wasn't answering any of them because I didn't have a clue. Now, let's backtrack. My job in the Navy was to load aircraft and this was done one way: by the cube of the cargo. All I had to do was keep the cube correct and I could load the plane. Weight meant jack because I figured if the pilot couldn't fly the thing he deserved to crash. Getting back to the Counting Man: on about the fifth or sixth I was hit in the face with numbers that were cubes. Cubes! My specialty. All I had to do was figure the next cube. I went back to all the counting men and looked for either square, square roots, cubes or cube roots, or sequential squares or cubes. I filled all of them in. It turned out that there were ten "Counting Men" questions and I dam well knew that I got them all correct. My IQ as a result of that fucking test came out to 145, a semi-genius. The officers went nuts. Their expectations for me went to the moon, my job complexity went to actually calculating take off and landing distances allowing for fucking wind and aircraft weight. A disaster. I couldn't do it, or at least not quickly. That 145 IQ dogged me for a long time. I recently took another test which had no counting men and my score was 124, a score I think more accurately reflects my dull brain.

What does this mean? I'm too dumb to figure it out. One last observation. My sister has a son with real honest to God ADD. The kid cannot learn effectively without a lot of help. He had a self worth problem compounded by the fact that he is very skinny and cannot hope to play team sports (or remember what base to throw a ball to). My sister and her husband knew the kid needed to succeed at SOMETHING. For some reason her husband thought he might be able to ride a motorcycle and race. Three years later the kid is competing against men (after wiping out every kid in the area) and can remember the course, the changes, and what to do in changing situations. I asked my sister how the hell he could do that and she shrugged and said, "racing is fun."

IQ and hiring-Is this true?
I've heard that it's against the law in the US for companies to hire people based on IQ tests. Does anyone know it that is true?

smart/dumb
Here's something that you said that I finally liked. "For 400 years we have created a slave society, where the only virtues being taught were obedience to master and to God. ked." Of course the first part isn't true at all since the US inhereted a slave system, and they finally got rid of it in those remaining states that still had it till 1865. But I do like the notion of 'obedience to the master', for about the past 100 years or so, and this is why so many americans are so readily grasping for authoritarian statism.

IQ and hiring
I Googled and found this: http://www.stoel.com/showarticle.aspx?Show=957

My reading is that a firm that uses an IQ test has to do some CYA stuff to show that they are using a legitimate test for a legitimate reason. My guess is that even if they dot all the i's and cross all the t's, the risk that a jury will nail them is still a pretty big deterrent.

Ignorance
You're just ignoring statistics. Take IQ vs. wealth (or income if you like). There will be a positive correlation with a large enough sample size. That's why IQ is interesting. This doesn't say that everyone with an IQ proportionate to their weight will be a billionaire. Nor does it say every dull person will be poor.

Funniest post ever
That counting man story is great. I'd say you're closer to that 145 than 125 by your ability to apply what you learned on one to all the others. The test questions can't be assumed to be created in a vacuum.

Yes, odd isn't it.
I think it was Miami I read where black immigrants do exceedingly well but their children do not.

The children are the product of social peers, expectations and public schools. The kids are lazy and unproductive.

Hmmm, I wonder what political class runs public schools??? What political class teaches blacks they are victims???

But hey, as Mr. Jones points out, liberals are all about the individual right?

Complete Agreement
At home, I continually saw the failure of modern educations systems that fail to understand individualism. My girls often were bored and grew to hate school even though they were among the "smart kids" who are supposed to love school.

At work I see students at the distant end of the educational trail: I teach residents and medical students. These students are considered to be among the elite: the most intelligent, the best educated, the strongest study and work ethics, etc. However, nearly all are products of the failed education system described by Arnold Kling, and nearly all of them exhibit symptoms of an inadequate education.

I believe that our public education system fails to adequately teach all students (of all races) at all intelligence levels. This will continue until the individualization approach is adopted.

If not IQ then culture?
If not IQ then culture? In either case, black culture/IQ is inferior to white culture/IQ is inferior to Oriental culture/IQ. Doesn't matter what IQ measures, it is statistically indicative of success in this modern society.

Doesn't matter if we all know a misfit with a high IQ. We should all also know that statisticts never applies to individual cases.

This spring I went to the Washington State math contest playoffs in Spokane. At least half the kids appeared to be Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Kids from the Indian subcontinant were vastly over represented. I didn't see a single person who appeared to be African American. The next generation of leaders in the USofA will NOT be traditional white or black people.

Why not?
"Three Jews shared the Nobel Prize in economics."
Of course.
The Jews and the Gnomes of Zurich control all the money on the planet.
So, of course, Jews win the Nobel prize as the gnomes don't make public appearances.

How about sickle cell anemia?
This is overwhelmingly a black issue. Whites experience this problem at a dramatically lower rate.

Whites have lower melanin levels in their skin. This allows white people to produce more Vitamin D, but leaves us more vulnerable to the effects of large amounts of sun.

Am I a racist for stating two statistical facts about two groups of people?

If not, why is it racist to compare IQ scores?

A few key differences explain the trend:
First, you can't compare African-Americans as a whole with African college students. You would need to measure African-American college students against the African college students who come here. Including all African-Americans in the measurements would be like including all whites in a comparison of all white Americans vs. white British college students who take classes in America. Leaving in the high school dropouts makes a real difference.

Second, you would need to confine your analysis to blacks of mixed ancestry, and you would need to find out approximately what the racial mix is in their system. An African-American that is half-white has a substantially different racial mix than one who had a white great-great-grandfather.

Third, you would have to account for environmental factors like wealth. I know, wealthy Africans? Most of the Africans who come to America to study are not poor kids from Kenya, they are the sons and daughters of wealthy businesspeople or MP's. Nobody else can afford to come here.

Fourth and finally, there is one factor that I cannot think of a way to control for: The effect of culture on African-Americans. There is a widely prevalent anti-education attitude amongst African-Americans. I can remember watching good friends of mine called "Oreos" left and right because they did their homework and got in to college. This sort of attitude, combined with the constant message from "community leaders" like the Rev.'s Al and Jesse that blacks cannot succeed because of white racism leads many blacks to under perform simply because they do not believe that they can succeed.

You know...
For most of my senior year of high school, my weight and my IQ were exactly the same. It stayed more or less equal throughout college. The statistical correlation was amazing!

Once I started working, my weight started increasing steadily. I haven't tested my IQ lately, but judging from my waistline, I'm almost half as smart again as I was in college! Maybe I should take up quantum physics...

Interesting posts so far, so here's my take
On IQ and race, there is a difference, but it is a group thing and not directly individual. As examples, I've known many of African descent who are in the upper end of the spectrum, but the group as a whole tends to be at or below average; I've known a few low IQ people of Asian descent, but the group tends to be above average. Still, there are significant enough percentages in any racial group who are above, at or below average to throw out racial sterotypes on this issue.

One thing is for certain, IQ is a genetic, not environmental, issue. IQ is a measure of intellectual ability, or the ability to learn if you will. It does not pre-determine what grades you will get in school, what job you will have, or how wealthy you will be. I've known many a "C" or below student with a 140+ IQ and many an "A" student with a 120 or lower IQ. Grades are more an issue of culture, environment and personal desire than a measure of IQ. However, over all, kids who get higher grades and do better on ACT/SAT tests will have higher IQs. The correlation exists, but it is not a direct measure.

I went to high school with a kid who had a "C-" GPA (1.8) but had a measured IQ of 140-160 (IQ is usually expressed in a range, not an exact number; the exact number reference is for convenience and is the average of the range; thus his was about 150). He simply had no desire to put any real effort into school.

Personally, I have taken "official" IQ tests four times; once in High School, once in college, once in the military and once for a college group study. For the first I was 15 years old, the second I was 18, the third I was 20 and the last I was 38.

I must have been in the same frame of mind for all four, as the ranges were within 10 points of each other and I scored lowest on the military exam and highest on the final one a few years ago.

Actually, the point is that these tests continue to be fairly accurate and IQ is a measureable part of a person's genetic make-up. In spite of arguements to the contrary, environment has little or nothing to do with IQ.

Now ACT/SAT scores, ASVAB scores and many other standardized tests do. But they have the most to do with the learning environment, at school and at home, not individual IQ or ability, or culture.

BTW, I will not give my IQ numbers, but I scored a 29/1300 on the ACT/SAT.

Sickle cell anemia
is an evolved defense against malaria. It's environmental, race is irrelevant.

Good point
How many times does it need to be said. Correlation is not causation. The only thing ever shown to be a consequence of high IQ is the ability to do well on IQ tests.

If race is irrelevant, why isn't it prevalent in whites from malaria-prone areas?
Greeks? Romans?

How about American-Indians?

Race is a real and detectable thing. It is also a valuable shorthand that can help medical professionals guess what genetic difficulties a person may face.

Noting that a person is of African descent, and has black skin is not racist, it is the observation of facts.

IQ tests and hiring laws
It's OK for a company to base their hiring pratices on say the GMAT test, GSAT, and all those others. But they're not allowed to use IQ tests. If the government think this is discriminatory, and not even accurate, would employers really use a test that is know not to be accurate to base hiring decisions on?

IQ and performance on academic tasks are pretty darn well correlated.
And the fact that IQ tests evaluate your spacial and logical reasoning abilities does provide a powerful explanation of causality.

Of course, it has to be accompanied by things like a willingness to work, and to persist at a task despite setbacks. IQ alone is not enough, but it is a powerful indicator.

Nevertheless, the point about correlation and causation is well made.

Many African Immigrants are very poor
PubliusJr, I have to correct you: In recent years, many African immigrants won green cards. And they are usually not at the top of the society, but rather average: Small business men, craftsmen, medics, taxi drivers, etc. Yet I heard that some of their communites developped so successfully in the US, that they got into trouble with African Americans(Like Liberians, Ethiopians, even Haitians, etc.).

And then I don't think that it makes much sens to find out how strongly they are "racially mixed". Because not only "pure" African immigrants tend to do better, but also Black immigrants from Europe or from the West Indies.

I guess, due to so much racism, many African-Americans simply lost confidence and don't think that it might pay off to work, espescially with their brains.

Deracination
The process you allude to has been very well described-- the name for it is deracination. And attending schools in poor districts has a bit to do with it, but not that much.

The problem arises when fresh immigrants come here to take part in the American Dream. The parents are hard working and goal oriented. They play the game, hoping to become full Americans by so doing. Our myth leads them to believe this will happen.

Only for most, the dream recedes over the years. They end up in a cheap home in a cheap neighborhood, working a cheap job and living in debt. The child, hoping to do better, finds the task to be no easier than his or her parents found it. And by then the child notices that they are cut off culturally from their roots (they no longer speak their original tongue) and cut off from full membership in the United States club.

The other kids don't accept them, as they're not quite "American". They can't get good jobs because they somehow don't make the grade. And so for protection they join one another in gangs.

Not just MS-13 either, although that's about the worst of the gangs. We've got Vietnamese gangs and even Korean gangs, just like 50 and 100 years ago we had Jewish, Irish and Italian gangs.

The first of their problems is failed expectations, when the kids have tried their best and still failed at life in America.

Early conditioning
I find a lot to agree with in your comment. But my experience has led me to believe the opposite from your conclusion: "One thing is for certain, IQ is a genetic, not environmental, issue."

In a career of working in the ghetto I puzzled myself about the same question. Why was it that individual blacks often displayed an intelligence that were often as high as anyone's, while the average for kids from poor families was crippled-- intellectually stunted at a very early age.

It was because of the mothers. Mothers of smart kids engage with them, and teach them intelligent responses to the world through eye contact and speech. Interactions during the first year determine how rapidly neurons grow and conect in the brain.

Mothers of dumb kids don't have much to talk about because their own intelligences are limited. They treat their children like dolls when they're babies, dressing them up and so forth. But they don't talk with them much. Then by the toddler stage they start ignoring them, except to chastise them.

It can be heartbreaking to see a good kid being ignored by the mother until he gets noisy about his unmet needs. Then she gives him a whack. Such treatment conditions him into becoming a nobody. He learns to take nothing from his environment and give nothing back.

Such sullen kids are common in the ghetto, and by age eight or nine are totally lost to society. By contrast my grandkids, with intelligent parents, are surrounded with interesting stimuli from their earliest months. They interact constantly with bright adults.

BTW you scored only a 29 out of 1300? That sounds kind of low to me. :)

What or who is a full American? What is full membership in the US club?
And what is the myth you are referring to?

Membership in the club
I believe I made this all very clear. The children of new immigrants become full Americans when they are accepted by their peers as regular people. And communities where this does not happen display pathologies. One such is teenage gangs.

Our myth is that all one has to do is to play the game, and he or she will be accepted as a real American. Often this happens, but again, often not. Ask the children of Haitian immigrants in Florida, for instance, whether they feel like they have made the grade in the eyes of the other kids.

More specifically the second generation is often caught in a condition of anomie, where they feel no longer Haitian but not yet American.

Your query displays a certain defensiveness. IMO the American Dream is a very nice dream. I think we long-time Americans could do more to make newcomers feel more at home. Our own grandparents came from somewhere else, and that's nothing anyone should feel ashamed of. No one here is truly a local, except for the American Indian.

If it helps any, I was not trying to induce guilt.

Ghetto life
Your friend's story struck a responsive chord in me. A friend became a public school teacher, some years ago, and found the same thing in the poor, rural South Carolina county to which she was assigned.

She was supposed to teach second and third graders art, but found what they really needed first was basic English. Their language skills were so stunted it was apparent they would be unlikely to ever get a job outside the county they were born in.

By the time she got them speaking intelligible English, the parents had complained about her to the school board. According to them, she was teaching them to disrespect their betters, and act like "they was better they own mommas".

The school board, in its infinite wisdom, told her to stop teaching English and get back to the finger painting.

I found the same to be the case in blighted neighborhoods where I worked. Hardly anyone ever graduated from these urban ghettos and built solid careers, because if they tried to get out the neighbors would reach out and pull them back in.

Why? Because any time someone graduates from such a place he makes everyone who didn't, look bad. They would not permit it.

Personal experience
I strongly agree with your comment. In the poor end of Washington, DC it was very much the case that people considered racism to ONLY be a product of bad white attitudes about black people. There was in their minds no such thing as black racism. Therefore with no sense of irony they felt free to display the most bigoted attitudes toward the Koreans (who they called "Chinese"), the Africans (all were "Ethiopian"), Caribbean Islanders, East Indians, or anyone who was doing better than they were through their own personal efforts and ambitions.

It was felt that anyone who just came here and did well was somehow enjoying a hidden advantage... where their own people had been around for 400 years and were still on the bottom, with newcomers passing them every day. It was just more proof of The Plot.

What annoyed them most was that these recently arrived American success stories weren't even white.

Finally, something you liked
What happened was that you fixed on a portion of my comment you could twist around to suit your ignorant biases. But to do that, you had to ignore what I was actually saying. Which was this:

"For 400 years we have created a slave society, where the only virtues being taught were obedience to master and to God. It's this, not any innate racial capacity for awareness, that has dumbed down the slave and ex-slave proportion of the population."

You must have missed the part where I was referring to the black portion of the population, and particularly the ex-slave portion. When you include that back in, your idiotic comment about "authoritarian statism" makes no sense.

There still exist many people in America who haven't made a successful transition from the slave mentality to a productive work ethic-- even though it's been gone for 140 years. It's a legacy we have to deal with in our society.

And BTW it no longer manifests itself in obedience. Rather we see it in lack of confidence in self-directed outcomes and a consequent lack of initiative.

That area is officially grey!
I was prepared to be skeptical, but find much of interest in your reference.

For instance in relation to low IQ test scores in African nations: "We are not asking whether or not various national populations have the ability to compete in their own societies, we are asking about their ability to compete in the Western-defined international marketplace. The tests are appropriately designed to address this question."

Such findings are definitely non-PC, but need follow up studies. Also obvious they are unlikely to get such studies, given the unscientific reaction to Watson's rude but possibly accurate comments. Questions of race and innate intelligence are off limits in our world.

Insistance on Acceptance
You know Roy, you once took me to task, saying that I inculcate - in the children I interact with - a sterile (and macho, though I am not sure you used that exact word) physical, emotional and financial self-reliance.

Don't you think this Insistance on Acceptance is the root cause of so much misery as it (Acceptance) is so nebulous?

So, once again, what exactly you mean by Acceptance?

I agree totally, but that has nothing to do with IQ
That is exactly the point I was making concerning standardized testing and education. Your ghetto kids might all score high or low on an IQ test, but would do poorly on SAT/ACT tests (if they went far enough in school to even get the opportunity to take them). They appear dumb, but many of them are not; they've just given up.

In very general terms, high IQ does relate to better grades and test scores, but learning environment is just as important, even more important to those who have the high IQ, as IQ.

Many "dumb" kids are not "low IQ" kids. IQ is genetic, it is your base ability to work out higher thought problems, regardless of education. Being "Smart" or "Dumb" is genetic; acting "Smart" or "Dumb" is often developed through your environment; school, home, living conditions, group you hang out with, etc.

Another note: in our high-tech world a 100 I.Q. (dead average) and average gumption don't cut it like it did even 25-years ago. By the 6th grade many schools write off these kids as "dumb" or "learning impaired". They can probably graduate high school but that is about their general limit. Raise either the IQ or the attitude 10% and you have a college student. Most people would be surprised that they family doctor is probably in the 100-120 IQ range, they just had above average desire. Most people would also be surprised at the number of 120+ IQs working in construction or flipping burgers.

The fact is, IQ measures nothing but potential to learn and the ability to grasp higher and higher level concepts.

I will take it you are joking about the ACT/SAT scores. I will answer anyway - ACT is measured in a gradient from 11-36 and SAT from 500 to 1600. My ACTs were 29 (of a possible 36), my SATs were 1300 (of a possible 1600). That is not great by any means, but above average for college bound students and notably above the over all average (or so my old college aceptance papers claimed). Still, they are just high average range scores.

I guess the things they tried to teach me in high school stuck a little. That is what college entrance exams are all about, finding out what you have learned to this point as you head into college. My ACT/SAT scores would have gotten me into any school except, perhaps, the most exclusive.

IQ tests and hiring laws
You are being willfuly ignorant. It is quite well known that IQ is a good predictor of job performance. Read "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murry.

Fitting in
Let's see whether I can remember the context of that old comment. As I recall, we were talking about how to raise kids.

Children are naturally dependent on their parents: financially, physically and emotionally. Parents can define this relationship any way they please. Some present it as a partnership, between adult and dependent child, where they are cooperatively engaged in keeping the family healthy and whole. Children feel they are part of the team.

Others have a more top-down view. The child is to obey unquestioningly. Meaning "not ask why". This is okay for keeping the household quiet and tidy. But years later, the parent finds he has created an incurious dumbbell, useful only for filling some desk in the civil service or other bureaucracy. He has no original thoughts, but is very good at following orders. And he spends all his spare time figuring out the politics of the organization he is in, so he can one day ascend to the heights where he can finally give dumb orders, rather than have to obey them. These kids never grow up, emotionally.

Then they raise their own kids the same way. If I accused you of this, I misspoke. I have no idea how you were raised, or how you raise your own children.

2. What do I mean by Acceptance?

Acceptance by one's peers, one's cohort, one's age group. Let's say you're a ten year old Bosnian refugee, and you've come to Philadelphia to start a new life. You want those kids to like you so you're not just the quiet geek in the corner who doesn't even speak English.

So you're motivated to learn good English and to succeed in whatever area the other kids think is worth succeeding in. It's the least nebulous thing in life, I think. It's what all kids do... fit in.

When you're one kid in a sea of Americans, the usual response is to excel. That's why these first generation Americans notoriously succeed in business or whatever they put their hand to. They're used to working hard.

It's different when they live in a barrio-- a neighborhood of failing or failed Americans. Then they learn all the bad habits and resentments before they even reach their teens. It's damage that can hardly be repaired from inside. The community itself has to grow up. Otherwise the kids succumb to anomie and futility.

Learning excellence
With all due respect, we are talking about two totally different views.

If I can summarize yours, there is a mysterious and innate "g" factor that determines how well a child can process his world intelligently. This factor, measurable in standardised tests, is inherited from genes donated by the parent. And the kinds of children who are good at taking tests are deemed to be "more intelligent" than those that are not.

To me, that's an unnecessary deus ex machina to put onto the model. Try this model instead: all children at birth have approximately the same potential for learning, other than limits caused by organic brain damage, injury, malnutrition or toxic poisoning (lead or mercury, say). But they have, or very quickly develop, different personalities.

Some are kinetic, and love sports, dance and movement. Others have a numeric flair, others are thoughtful and good readers, others are "people" persons, others are manipulative sociopaths, still others followers, and others leaders... according to their preferences and interests. Each of these styles are manifestations of something we can call intelligence.

Early exposure is key. And by early, I mean the first three months, or the first year on earth. The brain is undeveloped at birth, as the head must pass through the birth canal. Upon the infant's first breath it starts rapidly expanding, becoming the brain-- and the mind-- the person will carry through life.

Physical development of this new brain, and also of basic personality, is completed around age seven. Those are the years the child becomes who he is. And if those seven years are spent fumbling with a stupid mother over emotional issues that should be trivial and easily disposed of, the child will be intellectually stunted throughout life.

But if there is early child-parent interaction on an intelligent level, consciousness is enhanced so the child is fast tracked into an intelligent life. He quickly picks up a palette of better responses to life's stimuli.

To take my own example, my father was a musician, as were his friends. From infancy I was surrounded by good music and intelligent listeners. I developed a different kind of intelligence than did many people, from attending better conversations and exploring abstract sound analytically.

But it's complex. You might think that nonliterate cultures produced dumber people, somehow, than literate cultures. My experience has been, though, that non-readers are often better at picking up signals from reality itself... while readers often tend to get misled and sidetracked by words and ideas.

We're all human. But those born into stupid lives grow up stupid, and those born in challenging circumstances tend to be able to meet challenges. American kids, on the other hand, are very good at electronic games.

hiring laws
Yes, I read that book too, and I guess it's because it's true, but not PC, that's why it's against the law to hire based on IQ. In fact I've read that many companies would prefer to hire ONLY on IQ instead of even higher training or credentials in some fields, but just get a really bright guy right out of high school, and train them themselves. But if it's not a free country, you can't do such things. That means it's another way for the US to hobble itself in the international skills market. But hey, that's the US style, do everything with one arm tied behind its back; too bad.

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