Political Implications of IQ Tests [Split from Topic "First time to the U.K. Strange...']


It’s not an explanation, it’s an observation. Gain was offering explanations. Perfectly valid ones, mostly. However, if you take any group A and any group B that are notably different in culture, history, genetics, etc., you will see differences in all sorts of characteristics other than the ones you used to define your groups. If I take 1000 people and sort them into a black-haired group and a blond-haired group, I’m willing to bet you’d see a statistically-significant IQ difference between the groups (although I wouldn’t like to guess in which direction). I wonder if anyone has actually done that experiment?

There’s nothing racist about observing that kids growing up in the Central African Republic are, at this particular point in history, scoring lower on IQ tests than kids in Singapore. Racist would be offering this explanation for the observation: “it’s because the CAR kids are black and related to monkeys, and the Singaporeans have yellow skin and slanty eyes”.


Absolutely. To be clear I wasn’t directing my comment at that kind of observation. However there is a slant in some comments above - not yours - towards using race as an explanation.


Peer reviewed evidence for this statement?


Interesting fact, there’s more human genetic diversity within Africa than anywhere else.

Scores on IQ tests also are largely a result of education and teaching to tests.

Hence any blanket statements on here are just going to make people look really foolish.


No wonder why the left doesn’t make it to the power… with this kind of worries and lack of common sense. This discussion reminds me of something different but not much different:

And it’s a pity that the left doesn’t focus on real, important problems, instead of retarded fights about gender, freedom of speech only for me, (their) political correctness, and things of the kind.


No, they aren’t. For example, you cannot ‘educate’ someone to perform mental rotations. I did my final-year psychology project on that exact topic. It’s a really, really low-level processing function.

IQ tests are among the most well-honed tests in psychology (in contrast, others come and go and are often a bit crap). They’ve been developed and refined over a period of 50 years or so to specifically eliminate things that people might be able to practice at; after all, any such effects would massively reduce their utility to (for example) employers who use them for candidate screening.

Have you naysayers ever even seen an IQ test? I’m still waiting for a specific example of a question that would be “racially biased” in favour of Anglo-Saxons or Japanese people.


I agree with this.

One thing I noticed on IQ tests is that there are lots of questions that look at your ability to visualize things in three dimensions, and to think using mathematical logic. Having studied science in college I had to exercise those abilities a lot and not surprisingly then I get a higher IQ score. Had I not ever studied science I would not have gotten them correct. Heck if I had never gone to school at all I would be illiterate and would be getting a really low score: would I be inherently any less intelligent? I think not.

So if you see intelligence as progress or aptitude for learning in school, then OK, IQ tests are a measure of intelligence.


I mean it’s fairly obvious when you can actually practice doing tests and get higher scores over time!
Also many countries show a steadily increasing score for IQ tests over decades. People aren’t suddenly getting enhanced brains are they?

The Flynn Effect


Are you suggesting a persons IQ can’t change over time?

Lets say for example 2 kids aged 4 are deemed for arguments sake to have the same IQ. Then for the next 20 years one of these kids has the best education, using their brain on all the wide range of subjects we learn while the other kid is in a fishing village (lets say) never learns to read or write, but learns to fish pretty well.

Would you expect the two boys to still have the same IQ if tested again? I type “Does an IQ change over time” and this came up as the top result.

Stephen Ceci, professor of developmental psychology at Cornell University would seem to agree.

An article in November in the journal Nature by Price and her colleagues is one example. It had 33 adolescents, who were 12- to 16-years-old when the study started. Price and her team gave them IQ tests, tracked them for four years, and then gave them IQ tests again.

The fluctuations in IQ were enormous. I’m not talking about a couple points, but 20-plus IQ points, one way or another.

If you put it all together, and the evidence is quite compelling, that life experiences and school-related experiences change both the brain and IQ. This is true of adults and children.


I have to disagree: take the example of questions that look at spatial imagination. You can ace those skills by using your spatial imagination. For example: study organic or solid state chemistry intensively; boom your ability to visualize things in three dimensions is called into play: boom your IQ goes up.

Example: http://www.iqtestexperts.com/spatial-skills-sample.php

all of the questions there can be aced by studying chemistry


Check out these guys, they don’t even bother with numbers bigger than 5!

But we’d probably last a week in the Amazon, they’ve been happily living there probably 1000s of years with their intelligence applied to things that matter in their world.



Even if that’s really the case in Haiti, the reason wouldn’t be “the locals there have lower IQ scores”. It’s their messed-up institution, poverty, and overall terrible environment’s fault.


It sounds like the 19th century. I wonder why it didn’t last… :ponder:

The thing about tests is, like Mr. Jones and Mr. Og said, they tend to measure skills rather than overall brain power.

They can still be useful. For example, if you know one Romance language, you’ll have a much easier time learning another one, whereas a Germanic language would be more challenging (we’ll leave English out of this), to say nothing of Chinese or Basque. That doesn’t necessarily make speakers of any particular language more intelligent, but it certainly makes them more suitable students, on average, of certain other languages. :2cents:


The reason could be IQ scores but it seems very unlikely given the chronic political, economic , resource and cultural issues they have faced since the founding of their small state.

As I mentioned earlier, Africans have very high genetic diversity . Haiti is populated by descendants of different African populations and should have a reasonably high genetic diversity (or not be inbred…which will definitely affect general health over the long term ).
What will affeCt the population over generations is poor nutrition which will fingerprint the genes and hold back potential such as height.


Of course that’s not the reason. Good grief, why on earth would it be? Let’s write that out in full:

“Haitians have a low level of cognitive performance because they have low IQ scores”.

That would be like asserting that your car’s high fuel consumption is caused by the high numbers appearing on the fuel-consumption readout.

We all know (or can take a good guess at) what the reasons are. It does not alter the fact that, on average, they aren’t the sharpest tools in the box. There are two really serious implications of this:

  • A lot of people are functionally retarded. That’s going to make them virtually unemployable.
  • There will be very few - very few - people with intelligence high enough to be teachers. The whole thing is going to perpetuate itself, with the dumb leading the dumb.

@Liam_Og and @Brianjones actually raise some good points - I need to go and do some research before I answer them. I’m aware of the Flynn effect, and I’m just wondering if it’s a mathematical consequence of normalization. I need to check.


Not even remotely like. They didn’t have access to instant streams of knowledge like we do today (Ivan Illich, back in the 1970’s, made a similar suggestion about directed learning based on what he conceived as Wikipedia … long before computers were commonplace). Bear in mind, though, the 19th century produced a fair number of geniuses who are still remembered today, so they must have been doing something right.

I could read and write before I went to school - not because I was some sort of prodigy but because my parents taught me to read and write. The only thing school did for me was give me access to books, and make me write more things. You don’t need teachers paid $50K a year to read a kid a story, or ask him to write one. I know we all have the occasional dig at the Taiwanese rote system, but getting good at reading and writing, like many other skills, just involves lots of reading and writing.

Yes, that’s a fair way to describe it. Brianjones is correct about the mathematical and verbal tests - culture-neutral tests don’t have them, or do them in different ways. Nevertheless, the utility of being able to count and communicate is immense, and it’s something children pick up very naturally. It’s fair to say it’s the foundation of big civilisations. No society without written language and arithmetic has ever grown bigger than a village.


I do look forward to the day when people in general will be able to find work based on what they actually know, not what certificates they have. :rainbow:

The part that sounds retro is treating education as a privilege instead of a right, trusting the rich (i.e. those can afford to fund the scholarships) to know who’s worthy of it and who isn’t. It always amuses me the way Brits moan about how educating the peasants spells the end of civilization, but hey I’m a colonist, so what do I know? :idunno:


You’re quite right that my method would make education slightly harder to access. That is the whole point. State-funded education is not valued. Free things rarely are. Things that one must work for tend to be more desirable because they must be worked for.

I honestly don’t understand why people think education is a “right” - and even if it is, that doesn’t imply it should be tax-funded. As per previous threads, I treat the idea of “rights” with deep suspicion, mainly because they’re subject to precisely the objection you raise: rights can only be granted by the rich and powerful, at their whim. It is physically impossible for people without “rights” to assert them. Try telling a third-world despot that you have a “right” to not be imprisoned arbitrarily and he’ll probably have your lips removed, just to ensure you understand how things work in the real world.

And yet education isn’t a privilege either. As I said, I learned perhaps 5% of what I know today at school. I imagine the same is true of most professionals, including you. Education is something you do to yourself, or in the company of your peers. Today, in theory, despots would find it hard to deny education to the masses, but the masses are content to wallow in their own ignorance and ineptitude. Most third-world countries have internet access, sometimes more-or-less uncensored. The peasants use it for Facebook and porn. Wikipedia is available on a DVD, complete with an offline browser. You can find out how to do all sorts of stuff on YouTube. Books are cheap and accessible, but most poor households - in any country, any culture - are conspicuously devoid of books.

The defining characteristic of poverty, in my view, is that the poor person doesn’t know what he already has, doesn’t care what it might do for him, and can’t imagine where he might go from there.

So we’re left with the conclusion, I suppose, that the government should herd the peasants into concrete boxes and forcibly educate them, “for their own good”?

I don’t think anybody actually objects to giving the peasants access to education. What I object to, personally, is spending money on something that has the superficial appearance of education, but in reality is nothing of the sort.


You and your third world countries… :roll: :roll: :roll:

People in first world countries tend to think education is a right because they look at third world countries and also at their own history and do the math.

Try this. You have a child. Shortly after Finley Jr.'s birth, you and the whole rest of your friends and relatives are wiped out. Little F is the only survivor and will be a ward of the state, whichever state that is. What sort of state do you want him to grow up in? (Or would you prefer the jungle, so he can count logarithmically like Brian’s Amazon tribe and fail miserably when city folk give him an IQ test?)


Sorry, I don’t understand what your point is. To answer your question:

a) This is an extremely unlikely scenario. Although one must consider such things in public policy, one shouldn’t construct policy around outliers. The aim, surely, is to provide the most benefit for the most people? While I might be troubled by little Finley’s fate (although I wouldn’t, because I’d be dead), the entire population of whatever country would not be, much.

b) You’re setting up a false dichotomy. A non-state-funded education system does not imply a society that looks like backward Amazonian village. The most dynamic economy on the planet (late 19th-century America) did not have free access to education; at least, not to all as a ‘right’, and not generally beyond primary level. Incidentally, contemporary writers commented on a conspicuous social equality: broadly speaking, the rich were not exceedingly rich and the poor were not exceedingly poor. The one-percenters were more like the 0.01-percenters.

c) I never implied that people should not be allowed to offer education assistance to those who might need it. In fact I suggested above that there are many simple ways this could be done at low cost.

Then their logic is horribly flawed. The state of math education is clearly far worse than I thought.

My personal observation is that third-world education is shite because the teachers are dumb and lazy. No need to invoke history or evil Whitey.

So you reject the idea that rights are granted - and can be taken away - by those in power?