• Vinson
    5
    I saw this comment by Carl Bereiter.

    IQ is like money... Publicly you proclaim that those individuals who have a lot are no better than those who have a little. But privately you wish you had a lot.

    I agree with Mr. Bereiter even though IQ has nothing to do with dignity, friendliness, compassion, honesty and a host of other positive human attributes.

    A lot of people are very uncomfortable thinking of intelligence as a single dimension, or as inherent. To the extent that by "intelligence" we mean a set of core analytical and verbal abilities largely determined via genetics and early childhood, I agree that it's an unearned gift that they should be thankful for and use to improve the world.

    It’s no wonder people hate IQ and intelligence research because it reveals a set of seriously dismal facts about the incredible range of ability among human beings.
  • T Clark
    3k
    It’s no wonder people hate IQ and intelligence research because it reveals a set of seriously dismal facts about the incredible range of ability among human beings.Vinson

    The problem with research into IQ is that people are mostly interested in using it as justification for drawing conclusions about differences in intelligence between races. Is that where this discussion is going?
  • MindForged
    269
    Probably, though the phrasing of the OP was charmingly circumspect (or maybe I'm just cynical and being mean).
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Exactly. I recommend that anyone who wants to start making claims about what IQ can tell us about anybody or anything should first of all read Stephen J Gould's The Mismeasure of Man to see exactly its basis in, quite frankly, racial and gender bias. As Gould points out right at the beginning, the whole IQ idea is based on a fundamental category error that intelligence is something that can be measured.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    And the only thing that IQ tests have ever been able to tell about anyone is how good or bad they are at taking IQ tests.
  • tom
    1.5k
    The problem with research into IQ is that people are mostly interested in using it as justification for drawing conclusions about differences in intelligence between races. Is that where this discussion is going?T Clark

    Is there such a difference, or is it a social construct?
  • tom
    1.5k
    And the only thing that IQ tests have ever been able to tell about anyone is how good or bad they are at taking IQ tests.MetaphysicsNow

    And how likely or not someone is to die from all causes.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616302331

    And rates of mental illness.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4170757/

    And propensity to violent crime.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404054/

    ...
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Well, point taken to some extent, but only to the extent of my clumsy expression. Correlations have been made between results in IQ examinations and other phenomena. This does not, though, entail that IQ tests are measuring anything other than an ability to take an IQ test. The question that these studies is often supposed to raise is "why are less intelligent people less/more likely to x/y" whereas the question they in fact raise is "why are people who are better/worse at taking IQ tests less/more likely to x/y".
  • Posty McPostface
    3.9k
    A case in point to the above sentiments is The Bell Curve by Charles Murray, which has been charged with scientific racism of sorts.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Probably, though the phrasing of the OP was charmingly circumspect (or maybe I'm just cynical and being mean).MindForged

    "Charming" is probably not the word I would use. If the intention all along was to start a discussion about racial differences in intelligence, then "misleading" is more appropriate.

    Assuming that is where you intended this discussion to go, it brings up a question I often ask in situations like this. Why does it matter if there are differences between races? Typically, there is a political agenda hiding behind these apparently innocuous discussions. Is that true here?

    Sometimes, the question that is asked is more illuminating than the answer to the question. That is generally true for this particular subject.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Exactly. I recommend that anyone who wants to start making claims about what IQ can tell us about anybody or anything should first of all read Stephen J Gould's The Mismeasure of Man to see exactly its basis in, quite frankly, racial and gender bias. As Gould points out right at the beginning, the whole IQ idea is based on a fundamental category error that intelligence is something that can be measured.MetaphysicsNow

    I am a big admirer of Gould and I've read the book. To be clear, it's controversial and Gould has been vilified for what he wrote. Which has always brought up my previous question - why is it so important to people that he's wrong?
  • T Clark
    3k
    Is there such a difference, or is it a social construct?tom

    I've read "The Mismeasure of Man." I haven't read "The Bell Curve." I've read a little bit of the discussion about the controversy. My understanding of statistics is not sophisticated enough for me to figure it out. Also, I don't really care except to the extent the discussion hides a political agenda.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    I guess it depends on the people who insist that he's wrong. There is an IQ testing industry of sorts, and other occupations (human resources for one) that depend on it to some extent, so there are economic pressures on the people involved to insist that there genuinely is something being tested other than the ability to take a specific kind of test. There may be some people with an interest in IQ who truly are aiming to find some legitimacy for their racial or gender bias, but the few people I've met of that sort are not scientists or other professionals working in the field of IQ testing, but racists and sexists looking for reasons for an irrational belief.
  • Baden
    5.7k


    So, many people hate the idea of IQ testing and research. OK, so other than that observation, do you have a point to make? Usually an OP should have a thesis of some sort for debate in order to focus the discussion. Nobody seems to know exactly what to talk about here.
  • MindForged
    269
    Charming" is probably not the word I would use. If the intention all along was to start a discussion about racial differences in intelligence, then "misleading" is more appropriate.T Clark

    It was intended to be a bit tongue in cheek. As I said, OP seems circumspect about their intent here so I more or less agree with you.
  • tom
    1.5k
    I've read "The Mismeasure of Man." I haven't read "The Bell Curve." I've read a little bit of the discussion about the controversy. My understanding of statistics is not sophisticated enough for me to figure it out. Also, I don't really care except to the extent the discussion hides a political agenda.T Clark

    How about the sex difference in IQ?
  • T Clark
    3k
    It was intended to be a bit tongue in cheek. As I said, OP seems circumspect about their intent here so I more or less agree with you.MindForged

    Sorry. I was answering you as if you are the original poster. My mistake.
  • T Clark
    3k
    How about the sex difference in IQ?tom

    I don't know.
  • tom
    1.5k
    I don't know.T Clark

    Science knows.
  • Maw
    764
    It's very much worth noting, as others have pointed out, that Charles Murray has been a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute since 1990, a think tank (which as David Koch as a member of its National Council, and who, along with his older brother Charles, have donated considerably to the organization), which is dedicated to research pertaining to scaling back Government and promoting laissez-faire ideas. Part of Charles Murray's broader argument is that IQ disparity is biologically fixed among races, therefore, it is a financial waste for Government to spend money to support Black Americans to mitigate or eradicate inequality, because it's fixed biologically. There is absolutely a nefarious political agenda.

    There is also a market for selling IQ tests (Jordan Peterson does it), so there is, for a some, a business incentive to sell it to suckers.
  • John Doe
    79
    The problem with research into IQ is that people are mostly interested in using it as justification for drawing conclusions about differences in intelligence between races.T Clark

    I mean, surely sensible people understand that those are all cases in which the purported evidence of IQ is being used to justify existing racist sentiments. None of these guys is led to racism by merely following the science or some other such stupid nonsense.

    But I would suggest that's just a species of a genus of stupidity. The wider problem, which you're alluding to, is that people use IQ in general as a justification for drawing conclusions about differences in general. This stupidity no doubt feeds on a sort of 'scientism' mindset, and it's absolute philosophical malpractice. The concept of intelligence -- a multi-layered concept with a variety of uses and applications within a variety of contexts -- is quantified, and then essentialized (to individuals or groups), and then re-deployed in predictive or explanatory theorizing. It's plain dumb.

    It's then this same pseudo-science impulse that led to the truly foolish notion (properly crushed by MacIntyre in After Virtue) that social sciences hadn't caught up to the natural sciences because the average IQ of social scientists was less than those of natural scientists.

    Not to mention -- I can't be the only one -- all those people one meets who discuss their purported IQ scores as a justification of superiority and entitlement across, like, every spectrum of life.
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