There are other problems as well. Genetic engineering on a large scale is likely to significantly reduce human genetic diversity - if people are tailoring their babies to order, then only a very few gene varients are going to be wanted - whichever ones are considered to be "best" for a given trait at the then-current knowledge. The problem is genes are not simple 1 to 1 relationships - the same section of underlying code is often used for several different things. This means that genes can have side effects, and also that certain combinations of positive genes inserted can have overall negative effects due to other impacts those changes make.
Well, obviously there are lots of potential issues with genetic engineering. I don't think this is actually as big of a deal as people think it might be, though, simply because if we have this level of engineering, we probably can deal with pretty much any disease which comes up and we'd probably have some background level of diversity built into the system - possibly genes which are pretty neutral derived from the parents, and I can see a lot of parents choosing for children who resemble them at least somewhat physically. Some won't, but...
Added to that you also have the other potential applications - at some point, I would be unsurprised if we had the technology to alter human physique to fairly large degree, which might in and of itself create some diversity.
While increased susceptibility to disease is a possible outcome, we'll be able to engineer -in- a lot of resistances as well, so I suspect that overall that would be neutral. And if necessary, with engineering we could always re-increase diversity.
Now while we should in most cases be able to avoid the sort of serious problems you find in most pedigree dog strains (as an example of genetic engineering going badly wrong), there are still potential issues - unlike GM wheat, if some combination of genes proves non-ideal they throw it away and try it again, and in nature the bad combination only occurs once at any time and if it is negative enough in effect, it will disappear over time. If the "Michael Jordan's athleticism" gene combined with "Einstein's intelligence" gene turns out to cause some nasty degenerative disease in the kids teens then millions of children might have been given that combination before this is found out.
This isn't a realistic problem, given that there'd be rigorous testing prior to incorporation, and I suspect mass engineering won't occur until after a good number of superbabies have already been produced, by which point such issues would become evident.
Of course this suggests if our goal was to overall increase human intelligence levels the most, we should concentrate on improving access to education and decent nutrition in developing and third world countries (where most of the population is). Compared to the speed of any measured genetic drift in human intelligence this would probably be able to overwhelm that affect for many generations, and it is far more practical than anything we might to try to control who reproduces with whom and how often.
Given that the effect has already ceased in several European countries, we're already past this.
Except you also note how much it is also affected by nutrition/education. Which suggests heritability isn't as important as that in practical terms.
Yes and no. There have been papers written on this very subject; how can the heritability of intelligence be so high if these other factors are so important?
for a discussion of this.
You are of course arguing against a strawman here, I can't really think of anyone that says that all people have the same cognitive abilities (well there are probably a few cranks to espouse anything on the internet).
Including one in this thread. Its not a strawman; a lot of people actually hold this view. My parents do, for instance, as do many blacks.
What is usually objected to is dividing all humans into 2 or more groups, getting the IQ of a sample of each group, and then claiming this proves Group A is better than Group B, etc.
Well, the problem is that people are stupid and thus when they hear "whites have more intelligence genes than blacks, on average" they instead think they're hearing "All whites are smarter than all blacks." The reality is that there is internal variation and a curve for each population group.
Long before we are capable of mass genetic engineering we'll be capable of mass genetic sequencing; indeed, I've heard 10-20 year estimates for sequencing everyone at birth being very affordable and, thus, standard as it'd be cheaper than testing for every individual disease at some point.
Given how limited IQ testing is, the conclusion is pretty weak and ignores various issues like hybrid vigor - if Group A and B are genetically distinct, then crossbreeding between them should create more exceptional individuals than in-group breeding would (of course it makes for more individuals that are exceptional on the negative side of things as well, and the average doesn't change).
This is wrong. Hybrid vigor only occurs under specific circumstances; interbreeding between human populations probably won't generate the effect, as human populations are far too diverse. You'd see hybrid vigor breeding English royalty with some other inbred royal group they're unrelated to, but you wouldn't see it in breeding a Scandinavian with a Mayan. You might even see outbreeding depression in certain traits which are strongly selected for in one population but not in the other.
You'd only see more outstanding individuals if the second group almost all had some gene that the first group lacked, and vice-versa. There's no evidence that this would be the case, as if it were, then we'd expect the descendents of American slaves, who have heavily interbred with the white population, to have a larger number of exceptional individuals than the population at large. We don't, and an argument could even be made that we've seen outbreeding depression in them - though I don't feel confident in that conclusion at all, as we have no background African population to compare them to.
And IQ testing is only "limited" in the sense that it only correlates so well with g. However, it correlates better than most people know, and it is a strong indicator for a number of things.
A problem being that this "final solution" for "inferior intelligence" seems to come up sooner or later (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization
). Especially seeing as it is a solution looking for a problem - the selection for/against intelligence in humans is not a particularly strong one at this point, so it will take dozens of generations before it would become a problem (and that assumes nothing happens in the future to reverse the trend). Considering how flawed our understanding of the human mind and intelligence is at this point, it is something we can easily leave to future generations to sort out once they have a better handle on the issues.
Thing is that there are people today who have children who shouldn't, including people who had cancer when they were very young. Obviously we couldn't select for intelligence, but there are certain traits (hundreds, really) we could easily select against.
To me a far more pressing issue would be how human intelligence can be captured so easily by vested interests (like oil companies, for example) and how trivial it is for elements in the media to turn people selectively anti-science on issues like climate change. Addressing human susceptibility to advertising and propaganda would seem to be a much more worthwhile endeavour than trying to raise IQ a bit.
Except this is simply wrong in every way. The media isn't "anti climate-change" and oil companies hardly capture intelligence.
Exaggeration like this is unhelpful. Yes, the media isn't as helpful as it should be, but that's not because of oil companies, halliburton, or crazy fundies - that's because the media is sensationalistic. If you look at media which doesn't rely on advertising revenue, you see better coverage - the BBC, NPR, and public broadcasting. What drives it isn't bribery or anything sinister, but ratings. Obviously propaganda networks (lots of totalitarian countries possess them, and Fox News and similar Murdoch companies are first world examples) are bad news sources, but this is hardly shocking. And while MSNBC is obviously highly biased, I don't think they're a propaganda network so much as the aforementioned "sensationalism" combined with bias - I don't think they get memos from Bill Gates telling them what to highlight. That said, I wouldn't rely on them for news either due to their extreme and obvious bias.
Do you have any scientific basis for your saying that being good is genetically driven?
"Good person" traits generally involve intelligence in some way or another, not to mention the inverse correlation between crime and intelligence (and thus being good, because crime is generally defined as "bad"). That said, it wouldn't be much of a paper, because its already fairly obvious and we don't have a specific gene locus - probably because it is a polygenic trait and of course the fact that what a "good person" is an arbitrary definition. We'd have to be able to define whether someone is "good" or "bad" to do any such study. That's why we generally study things which aren't arbitrary or of varying definitions.
In a later post you talked about crime rates in low income areas, but I think your correlations here have nothing to do with causation. Higher crime rates certainly do correlate with poverty. And low IQ scores probably do correlate with poverty. But I think it makes more sense to assume that poverty causes both of those than that intelligence has anything to do with crime, or that a stupid person is more likely to give birth to a stupid person genetically.
You're actually looking at it in entirely the wrong way.
All of these factors feed back on one another. An area with a high crime rate tends to drive away those who have more money, as well as businesses, leaving the area poorer. A poor area is less likely to attract those businesses in the first place, particularly ones which create high-paying jobs; likewise with an area with higher crime rates. People who are less intelligent are more likely to be poor and undereducated, and all of those traits feed back on one another. The dumber you are, the less educated you are, and the poorer you are, the more likely you are to commit crimes. Studies have shown all of these relationships.
So in short, the reason you're looking at it wrong is because you're vastly oversimplifying things. All of these factors cause the other factors. And indeed, it seems that the best way to make an area more prosperous, democratic, ect. is to educate it.
And indeed, some studies indicate that, at least among hispanic immigrants, IQ is a better way to guess their SES than their parents' SES, which would indicate that it intelligence may be a MORE important factor than poverty.
Agree'd that education can help people become better people, but not education of just facts and information.
Actually, facts and information are what we should encourage; rationality is what is needed, not emotion.
Acceptance of a calculus theorem or a scientific hypothesis doesn't make me want to be nice to people.
Ah, but you see, it can. If you understand reciprocal altruism, that is far more likely to make you behave in a certain manner than authority figures telling you to be nice to each other.
How many people who understand reciprocal altruism go on shooting rampages?
Smarter people are not always better. Intelligent people can be jerks. There are bullies in high-class private schools as much as in lower-income schools.
Sure, just like poor people are not always criminals. They are trends, not absolutes.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.
Humility IS, in fact, thinking less of yourself. That is the definition of the word. The word you're looking for is generousity, or perhaps selfless, the opposite of selfish.
However, you then go on to make humble statements, so I think you're just confused about how to define the word.
I can accept that I am better than others in certain places, including intelligence. But that doesn't change the absolute worth of a human life. But that doesn't change the absolute worth of a human life. I am no more important than anyone else. Humility is just recognizing your place in the universe. What "all sorts of problems" does it lead to?
Of course it changes the value of a human life. If given the choice between someone killing some random Joe off the street, or killing Dawkins or Hawking, I'm going to choose Dawkins or Hawking every single time. The other person IS worth less than they are, objectively - they contribute more to society and matter more in the end. Yeah, sucks to be that random Joe, but they are in fact more important.
People like you make terrible decisions. We have limited resources, and we need to invest them properly. Saying "All people are of equal value" is useless, and moreover, wrong - we have invested more as a society in some people than others, and some people contribute more to society than others. These define their value.
People don't LIKE putting a value on human life, but we HAVE to in order to make decisions. How valuable is an endangered species relative to the humans who fish that reef? How valubale are 3 hostages who are in trouble now, versus the countless others who will be kidnapped once we've shown that we're willing to pay the kidnappers for them? Its people like you who pay off the kidnappers in South America, encouraging more kidnapping, and people like you who can't make decisions which negatively impact anyone, even though they always will negatively impact at least one person.
You didn't even try to offer justification for why forthrightness is better than circumspection. What's wrong with trying not to offend?
You just said that lying is better than the truth.
If someone is spouting garbage, you should say as much. Saying "I disagree with you" is wrong. They are -wrong- when they say that the Earth is flat, that God will take care of you, that humans aren't affecting the global climate, or that cutting taxes on the rich will help the poor. "I disagree," is a lie. "You are wrong" is the correct statement to make.
Bush's administration tortured people and committed warcrimes. People like you in the Democratic party are the people who aren't prosecuting them because they don't want to offend anyone, they don't want to hurt anyone. But that just allows people like that to hurt others more.
The truth is always better than lies, no matter how much it hurts, because no matter how much you lie it won't change the truth. People can be fooled, but nature cannot.
Are you trying to say that everyone who thinks people should be good and nice is a coward?
No. I'm saying people who say "be humble, be circumspect" are cowards. Humility is to not correctly value your own accomplishments, and is the same as arrogance, but in the opposite direction. It is frustrating and just as unhelpful when the experts won't speak up as when the cranks do, as they have the same effect. Being circumspect means you don't offend people when you need to offend them, not to directly contradict them when you need to directly contradict them. It is cowardice not to put value on people, or not to admit to doing so, when it is necessary and when you almost certainly do so anyway. You aren't doing anything for the Iranians, nor for the people being slain in Darfur, and you could be doing so. Clearly, then, you don't value them as much as other things, but you don't want to admit it, perhaps even to yourself.
It isn't bad to place value on human life; it is bad to do so subconsciously and not admit you're doing so. Humility is a form of self-denial, which is bad. If you understand yourself, you'll come to be a better person and to understand other people better as well.
Is it cowardice to die in a peace protest?
Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. Tank man was no coward, but not every person who dies in a peace protest dies meaningfully.
Is it cowardice to stand up and say, "Hey, maybe we should be nice to people. Maybe that's the answer"?
Sometimes, no, it isn't. And sometimes it is.
At some point, you have to ask the question "Will this work?" It is cowardly to say that everyone can be convinced by peaceful protest, because it is wrong. Not everyone will be. As I said before, some people will happily mow down the hippies until they run out of bullets. Not acknowledging that reality is more complicated, not acknowledging that sometimes, being nice isn't the answer. Its very easy to say "War is never the answer," just as easy as it is to say "War is always the answer." The reality lies in between.
But I'm saying maybe it's a good idea to try to be better than we are, instead of giving up and saying there's no value in being nice to others, in sacrificing my comfort for other people.
I am the strongest believer of all in self-improvement.
Part of that is understanding that reality is complicated. Another part of that is understanding the true value of yourself and others, and to acknowledge why you make the decisions you make. Being honest with yourself is a very important part of being a better person, and the humble is no more honest with himself than the arrogant.
Or Glymour's analysis which suggests looking at the data from The Bell Curve should make you liberal:
Glymour is a professor of philosophy who enjoys large words too much. Anytime you say "The incoherence between practice and methodological theory would do little harm were the methods of searching for casual hypotheses that have developed in social statistics, and that are widely taught to social scientists, and widely used to justify conclusions, reliable under any set of conditions that might reasonably be assumed in the various domains to which the search methods are applied." you're a windbag, and using obsfucating language in order to try to make yourself appear more intelligent than you actually are, while simultaneously saying less than could be stated in half the space. It is ironic that he speaks of "muddle", given the language he himself uses. He also manages to misuse "there" and "their" at least once in the paper.
While it is certainly the case that you can use factor analysis to create a huge number of factors, when you can create very few factors, then you're far more likely to be looking at something real and not overfitting to the data. Occam's razor isn't any sort of law, but rejecting it out of hand, as he does, is not a very valid criticism. He also fails to understand factor analysis on another level, which is that while it is possible to create a large number of factors, you can indeed pick between them with various other methods. And people have, and do so, and make predictions using it, and it turns out those predictions are accurate. So, really, the criticism is pretty baseless as while there are certainly issues with factor analysis, this seems unlikely.
The next part of his paper might charitably be described as "I don't like their conclusions and thus will claim that regression analysis can be confused by cofounding factors which aren't accounted for." While obviously true, this criticism would require him to identify a factor which is unaccounted for. He says that "critics" (who he conveniently doesn't cite) have noted that their SES index is "lame", which is always nice. Oh, those "critics". And yet, after all of his charts and such, he fails to actually identify the factors he claims are important and unaccounted for, instead labelling them with magical letters of doubt. I'm sorry, I don't have a problem with complaining about regression, but on the other hand if you fail to really identify the source of the problem, then I'm going to call you out for whining.
And indeed, throughout his paper he does a great job of complaining about what others haven't done, and yet he doesn't do it himself - a clear sign that he doesn't believe in his analysis nearly enough to do anything about it.
He then goes on to complain about inferring casuality from correlation. Whine whine whine. Yes, we know all this. And? Oh no, the difficulties of inferring causality from correlation! Yes, this is difficult! Yes, this is obvious! Everyone who can actually make their way through your massively excessive verbiage knows this!
And here's where you see the point. His complaining is pretty much exactly that. He isn't actually contributing anything useful, and he isn't even demonstrating anything himself.
Thus, you just made me read twenty-odd pages of a PhD whining without actually saying anything.
Then we get to the policy section, where something interesting might actually happen. He points out that their conclusions are the same as those of many liberals, which he says is "perhaps surprising". Of course this is surprising to HIM, because he doesn't like them and he is surprised that they actually agree about something. So really, what is the controversy here?
The controversy is obviously that he disagrees with them. But throughout this meandering paper, he failed to do anything particularly useful.
Yes, you disagree with their policy conclusions. Do you really need those first twenty-six pages? No, you don't. And I never said I do agree with all of their policy recommendations. I don't. Some of them are fine, some aren't, hardly shocking. I actually agree with Glymour that it is worth funding the educational system and instituting national standards.
In short, I'd say his paper might actually be worth reading if it cut out most of the garbage and actually focused on the policy analysis, as that is clearly where he actually is capable of making coherent arguments which aren't basically him blowing smoke to obscure the fact that he has no real point of contention beyond policy analysis, and even there his analysis sucks because he doesn't actually use any real numbers to support his contention. I agree with Glymour in what we need to do (mostly).
Thing is, I think that some of their policy recommendations are overly pessimistic. Others, however, are not. As pointed out by the reason.com article, they advocate treating people as individuals, not as members of racial groups, and their overall policies of doing so are, I think, a very good thing. Yes, obviously I disagree with their position on education and such, and I think their view of us becoming like South America is a bit pessimistic, even if it has come true to some degree in some parts of the country near the border.
The reason.com article criticizes their long droning on about g, which, to be fair, is somewhat fair, though on the other hand I think it isn't. Yes, it isn't necessarily relevant, but I think the purpose of it was basically to justify their use of IQ. They also criticize their discussion of heredity, though I feel it is also relevant to their "bleak future" view, as well as to some of their policy proposals, so it is relevant. And honestly, to some degree this is what the book is about - the science - so I think the article somewhat misses the point as their entire point wasn't JUST the conclusions they drew. Really, they ramble on about it, and honestly, they're wrong. And yes, obviously there is feedback between schooling and IQ, and IQ and schooling; both affect each other. While I do agree that to some degree it is a little incoherent, I think that this is at least in part because the book isn't actually just about what reason.com seems to think it is.
As for Slate, the author obviously has a grudge against Murray, so really, do you trust him? You shouldn't, and not just because of that grudge!
1) g is not nearly as controversial among scientists as he'd like to make you think, and there is good evidence for its existance. Moreover, studies on the heritability of g indicate that it is highly heritable (as the APA acknowledges). Calling this the "mainstream position" in cognitive research is not wrong, and his implication that this is "right wing" indicates some issues with his own understanding of not just this, but of science in general. Hardly surprising, given Slate's slant - it is useful sometimes, but you shouldn't always trust its articles blindly.
2) I do not think it is at all unreasonable to say that the cognitive elite is a relatively new phenomenon. While I agree it is difficult to quantify the change, I do not think it is difficult to state that it has occurred.
3) He complains "What Herrnstein and Murray used to measure IQ is actually a measure of education as well as intelligence." True! However, this is misleading. The reason is simple: education is a factor of intelligence (represented by IQ) and SES, largely. In other words, its not an independent variable. (Of course, none are truly independent variables). The issue with including education is that you're likely to end up with a bad analysis because IQ and SES both correlate strongly with education. While obviously there is flow between them in both directions, omitting it is not nearly as unfair as he makes it out to be. He also complains that they measure something other than intelligence. Had he read the book, he'd understand that they acknowledge this fact; of course, he didn't, so he doesn't. Reality check: they acknowledge that these tests are not g, but simply measures of g with other factors involved as well.
4) His criticism that the book fails to establish a link between IQ and job performance is farcical. The military test is only one part of it. He treats it as the whole thing. Obviously, someone who is trying to mislead you (the reader, who hasn't read the book), and of course it makes all his other statements pretty dubious. Of course, he makes out ALL their conclusions that he criticizes are from single sources, which is, of course, false.
5) Obviously the way you count SES will affect any measure of SES. Some people complained about it, but SES calculations don't really make anyone happy because people calculate them in varying ways. He is correct in stating that if you weigh them differently it can have an effect on your data. However, it does not falsify their hypothesis.
Ect. See also his claim that the heritability is much lower (it isn't; what it is, precisely, is not known, but the consensus on the heritability of IQ is more or less the range in the Bell Curve).
Basically, you can find lots of critics of the Bell Curve, but most of the people who actually attack the data are pretty poor warriors and their "analysis" exists to mislead people who didn't actually read the book.
3. On a more serious note, doesn't this problem already exist? To bring yet another topic into discussion here, religious people generally have more children than non-religious people. Also, strongly religious parents are more likely to bring up their children in their own faith than non-religious parents are. The result is that the religious population rises more quickly than the non-religious population.
The opposite actually occurs, most likely because countervaling trends (increased intelligence, education, and access to the media) outweighs this differential.
Please don't put those adjectives together with 'dark skinned' as if they go together. Thats... well... just.... no. Okay?
Ah yes. "Please don't point out that members of my ethnic group do bad things, because I am unable to differentiate between single individuals and groups of individuals".
Their point was "their parents are idiots, their kids aren't". Of course, one might well point out, again, the fact that these people are uneducated and may have brain damage from drug abuse. Remember, inheritance is genotypic, not phenotypic (though obviously environmental factors can mess them up). That said, getting straight As doesn't necessarily mean you're intelligent; its just a trend. You can be less intelligent and get higher grades if you are highly motivated, and vice versa, though someone who is very intelligent may get high grades and not be very motivated at all.
Disagree entirely, and I'm not religious in the least. Many religions form a socially-acceptable series of guidelines for ethical and moral behavior that when adhered to benefit both the individual and society. I'm even willing to forgive the wonky beliefs (new earth creationism, for example -- provided the person isn't a Senator) as long as the core system are about kindness and generosity towards your fellow man.
Except they're bad for society. See also: young earth creationism and fighting science standards and not giving children adequete science educations.
Also, they don't adhere to them. Atheists are much less likely to be in jail than, say, Christians, though its probably not because of religion but rather because atheists are wealthier, more intelligent, and better educated and thus less likely to commit crimes. Religion obviously doesn't stop these people, and often incites criminal activity - see also: The Middle East.
There's a thick line between cults and religions, and that line is essentially whether or not you're allowed to leave of your own free will.
So Mormons are a cult?
There isn't actually a line at all. They're the same thing. We just call small religions cults. The reality is that there is no clear demarcation. If you leave many "mainstream" religions you will be socially ostracized by your friends, family, ect., whereas some of the more New Agey "cults" don't really do much at all to hang onto their membership.
If there is a correlation between intelligence and wealth, it is a weak one. Considering this is a nerd webcomic and thus a nerd forum, I'm surprised not to see a greater vocal backlash against claims that smarter people are more often than not richer - technicians, engineers and teachers would certainly like to weigh in on their high-education low-remunerative professions.
I think a lot of people don't have an understanding of what "average" income is in the United States. ESPECIALLY smart people. Engineers make above-average amounts of money.
And even after all this, the overarching problem - there are too many people and resources are being wasted / used inefficiently - is not a question of intelligence but of wealth and consumerist societies. The solution, at its very basic, is not a eugenics program but a economic revolution - one that wholly restructures the economic model we've been working on. After all, we're not out to tie the tubes of every African and Chinese mother; we're trying to find an efficient production/distribution/conservation system that keeps Ohio from turning into a dustbowl.
Except, of course, not. People who say this are consistantly wrong.
Capitalism, for all the complaints about it, works and is fairly meritocratic. It is the job of government to ensure that we observe certain standards which 1) preserve basic human dignity and 2) preserve the meritocracy. As they say, it sucks but its the best we've got. Certainly some level of socialized healthcare and similar is helpful, but non-capitalistic societies simply do not function as well as capitalistic ones do.
I'm not stupid. I'm not ignorant. I'm not brainwashed. I don't present a danger to the free-thinking world.
Of course, isn't that what any brainwashed cult member would say?
Stupid people don't reproduce more. Poor people reproduce more. Stupid rich people like saying that's the same thing.
They are to some degree.
Actually, the problem is that many people (on the Internet) think they're superior to others because they believe they're more intelligent than them based on select criteria (for example, "I don't watch American Idol" or "I read Umberto Eco" or "I vote Democrat") of their own devising
I would wager that the last one actually has a negative corellation with IQ due to the concentration of minorities in the Democratic party and their poor performance on IQ tests.
As a result, breadth and depth of knowledge is no longer as effective as a hallmark of intelligence; Wikipedia as brain extension makes us all "equal". As technology continues to expand, what ultimately will distinguish the intelligentsia (for lack of a better word) will be problem-solving and application skills. And many people that have what most would consider an "average" intelligence may have killer problem-solving skills, and they will be the ones in high demand, not those who know which month a beetle lays its eggs.
Except this is in fact wrong.
You see, knowledge actually translates into intelligence. Learning makes you smarter. This shocks a lot of people, who dichotomize "learning" and "intelligence", but it is so - education actually makes us smarter (some studies indicate as much as 2.5 IQ per year). That said, not all of that is DUE TO learning; people who are more intelligent are more likely to educate themselves more, so it is a more complicated feedback loop and the gains are probably much smaller than 2.5 per year.
Instant recall WITHOUT using a computer is very helpful, and moreover, this ability makes you smarter anyway as you are more capable of drawing conclusions from varied areas. It doesn't matter that you can look up where the clay is from, if it doesn't tell you what you really need to know. Maybe that clay is found in a certain part of the UK, which means obviously the killer is from there! But someone who actually has knowledge might know that the clay is used by a certain group of potters, which means that really, the killer was a potter, or was in a potter's shop, or delivered their clay. The ability to look up anything SOUNDS awesome, but in actuality one of the great skills of problem solving is the ability to incorporate diverse knowledge and bring it together.
Moreover, the people with this ability tend to be the people with lots of esoteric knowledge in the first place due to their increased intelligence (or vice-versa), so realistically, while Wikipedia is useful as a brain extension, it is only useful in a somewhat limited way, and actually learning from Wikipedia is probably a far better use of it as it allows you to make those cognitive leaps.
Intelligence more or less IS problem solving skills, so saying "people of average intelligence with killer problem solving skills" is an oxymoron; by definition people with killer problem solving skills are intelligent. IQ tests, like the Raven test, basically are tests of problem solving skills.
This same concept goes deep into the internet, where the resources are there, but few people actively utilize them, (keeping in mind again that this is merely the people I see in my personal daily experience) instead heading towards the networking, gaming sites, and the like.
Not true, though. Wikipedia is the eighth most popular site on the internet, and search engines (Google and Yahoo) are #1 and 2. This indicates that people are in fact using the internet well. I suspect the reason is simple: You're looking at people in certain situations wherein they are more likely to be doing things you deem less intelligent.
I might also add that gaming is probably good for cognitive development and problem solving skills, so whereas you decry it as non-intellectual, it in fact is far MORE intellectual than most other pasttimes. Indeed, it is a far more mentally stimulating thing than watching TV, what the last generation did, and the internet in general is a far more interactive place. And social networking sites develop social skills to some degree, as well as increase knowledge of the lives of others.
The prior system set since the 1920s generally worked for the situation, but that has changed if only very slightly, but enough to cause problems for this generation in terms of meeting the expectations of teachers, employers, and those who will generally be above them on the business ladder.
This is what is known as "Those kids and their music". No sign whatsoever of this exists. The people who spread this myth are the baby boomers and their ilk, little realizing the irony. It certainly isn't a realistic view. Quit spreading this falsehood. I know its difficult for people to accept that the next generation is even better than the last, but it is so. We've adopted technology and are integrated into it in ways the previous generation wasn't.
First of all, I see the whole Idea of measuring "intellegence" as being somewhat ethnocentric. Who decides what "intellegence" is?
Ah yes. "Intelligence doesn't exist, its just a way of justifying white supremacy!"
It correlates well with success. It is basically a measure of cognition, problem solving skills, ect.
Its a word describing something which does, in fact, exist and has been found, measured, and pointed at. We do not know its cause and we have no perfect means of measuring it, but we can measure it and look at how well our measures correlate with reality.
According to Anthropological research (including both archaeological research, and older research of hunter gatherers back when there were more hunter-gatherers left, such as the !kung people of Africa, who are nowadays not really that much of hunter-gatherers anymore) hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be more healthy, more egalitarian and have more leisure time than industrial and agricultural cultures
Ah yes, the golden age myth.
Its not true.
They weren't hunter-gatherers (they worked for wages sometimes and were accustomed to picking up food from mission stations), what "leisure time" was was badly defined (by that definition, virtually all of a Westerner's time would be "leisure time"), and it only lasted a few weeks to boot.
Sorry to burst your anarcho-primitivist bubble, but the life of a hunter-gatherer sucked.
halplm wrote:wow, and statistics show that people who know how to read other people's posts can actually talk intelligently about them.
The fact you call others ignorant, racist, and classist assholes without actually presenting any idea of why you think such a thing is an ad hominem attack of the worst (and most common) form.
Wow! And incidentally, reading people's posts is exactly what gave me that impression! Take a look:
halplm wrote:Then to flat out state that we've screwed up the climate is beyond absurd in its idiocy.
Esn wrote:I registered just to reply to this... it seems that the comic, at least as it relates to Britain, is actually wrong, as British IQ levels have been declining for 30 years: (link to BNP -- apparently the British version of the U.S. Republican Party)
Titanium Dragon wrote:That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial. Many people claim this is due to racism in the IQ tests. These people are wrong. This is because the IQ tests are meant to act as predictors, and as it turns out, the IQ test results of blacks predicts their success as well as it does for whites, indicating it is actually working properly.
Classist (and delusional):
Titanium Dragon wrote:Indeed, the more intelligent you are, the fewer crimes you commit, and the #1 way to make people "better people" is to educate them, which increases their intelligence (and wealth).
The problem is, of course, that you didn't actually understand those posts (or, perhaps, reality in general).
1) Yes, halp is ignorant.
2) Esn is somewhat ignorant, though he's not entirely wrong that there is evidence that the IQ in Britain has fallen over the last 30 years. However, it isn't clear exactly when it peaked, so really it was probably less than 30 years of decline, and the cause of the decline is unknown.
3) I'm sorry, you just said that reality is racist, that everyone in the APA is racist. That blacks in the US have lower IQs than whites in the US is fact. I'm sorry, read papers on IQ differences between races. Read any paper which talks about it by anyone credible. They will ALL tell you about this gap. Every single one of them. The CAUSE of the gap is more controversial, though, contrary to what some people say, IQ tests themselves are not, in fact, racist - they are equal at predicting the success of blacks and whites, which indicates that what they are measuring is in fact really the same thing within and between both groups. Some portion of this gap is due to environmental factors - inferior/less education and SES. Some people believe there is a genetic component to it as well, which is not unreasonable - there are known genetic differences between population groups, and there is no particular reason to believe intelligence couldn't be one of them. No one has confirmed this yet, and it won't be confirmed until the genetic basis for intelligence is better understood, most likely. That blacks score lower on IQ tests is reality, and reality is not racist any more than it is sexist, classist, or anything else ist.
4) Again, reality isn't classist any more than it is racist, and that poor people are more likely to commit crimes than wealthy people is not only uncontroversial, but something we actively try to deal with continually by bringing people out of poverty.
Does it help that I created an account to praise the author for this comic? Though the proportion of posters who accept the eugenics idiocy is disheartening.
The problem is that you don't actually understand eugenics, and have fallen prey to "Hitler liked eugenics, Hitler was bad, therefore eugenics was bad" logic (which is, of course, nonsense).
Eugenics is basically artifical selection on humans. We perform "eugenics" on animals all the time via selective breeding programs, and there is no reason why we couldn't apply them to humans, nor is there any reason why it would be pseudoscientific.
In the past, eugenics programs were based on very primitive science and in many cases pseudoscience. I might add that it wasn't actually always wrong - many forms of mental retardation, for instance, are genetic in nature - but it was also phenotypically driven because there was no other metric they could use. Now we have the ability to genotype, and thus we could implement a sound, scientific eugenics program.
The issue is that we can only select for traits we understand, which really means mostly we can only select -against- traits, particularly disease traits, of which we know several hundred. Indeed, we already practice a form of voluntary eugenics, genotyping people and telling them whether or not they're carriers of certain genes - if both parents carry a gene which, when homogenous, will cause a nasty trait, they may choose not to breed or to abort children who will have these issues. There is nothing immoral or unethical about this.
A more formal program at this juncture in time is probably premature because we don't understand enough to really select for positive traits. Thus, we can only engage in negative eugenics, and we already do so on a voluntary basis, with some degree of success. With socialized healthcare, this will probably increase, and that's not a bad thing, though I doubt it will become mandatory for a long time, if ever, even if it is probably more humane and economically efficient to abort these fetuses.
Positive eugenics (that is to say, selecting for positive traits) occurs to some degree already, but we cannot really select for it in non-phenotypic ways, which limits its value and means that implementing such a program mandatorially at the moment would be inadvisable for scientific reasons, let alone social ones.
You can trace it back to Malthus, at least, with his silly argument that poverty is inevitable because population expands "geometrically" but food supply expands only "arithmetically," so improving conditions for the poor would just make things worse. (Malthus was just pulling this out of his ass. People produce more than they consume, so food supply expands more rapidly than population -- and that's before considering improvements in agricultural technology.)
This is wrong, actually. Malthus was absolutely correct that resources are limited whereas population growth is exponential, and ergo eventually food (or some other resource) will become the limiting factor. He was wrong about WHEN it would occur, but that it WILL occur is inevitable as there are only finite resources in the universe, which will eventually constrain human population growth - and Earth is a likelier constraint. Of course, human population growth itself will probably cease in the late 21st century, only to level off and decline due to increasing affluence, without us hitting that barrier. If we were to continue to expand indefinitely, we'd run out of arable land, fresh water, breathable air, energy, or some other resource. Indeed, we're already close to peak oil, if we haven't already passed it.
The pseudoscientific nature of eugenics theory needs emphasis.
Of course it does, because that's your entire argument against it. Well, that and Nazis and racism. Unfortunately, you are wrong
. There is nothing inherently pseudoscientific about it.
It's generally based on a fallacious analogy with animal husbandry.
Its not, actually. Its based on a correct
You see, humans are animals, and therefore, anything we do to animals, we can, in theory, do to humans as well.
And on the class issue: workers are not less intelligent than other social classes, in general. Most labor, even "unskilled" labor, requires extensive training and complex decision making. In most of the working class jobs I've had, it was a perpetual problem that managers simply had no idea how their workplaces operate, and would refuse to listen to workers who tried to explain that their workplace procedures were more complicated than the managers knew.
False, actually. Menial laborers have lower average IQs, and thus are less intelligent.
And of course, it is easy for the worker to complain, but if you have to explain, time and again, that things are more complicated than they seem... maybe they only seem complicated to you, or maybe you just aren't capable of explaining it well enough to your boss.
Most managers are not raging incompetants.
I beg to differ. It is a well-known fact that the IQ test is culturally biased because it tests for abilities and skills that do not necessarily equate to intelligence, but are merely valued by Western, Anglo-Saxon culture
Except, of course, that you are absolutely, 100% wrong.
It is a well-known fact that people who are very Basically Decent, as well as many members of minorities who do poorly on IQ tests, make these claims.
It is much less well-known among anyone but the competent that this is, of course, wrong.
You see, the APA, as well as everyone competent in the field, says that this is all bullhonkey.
You see, the IQ test is meant to be a predictor. As it turns out, it is a good predictor, by the APA's own admission, which means that what it measures is a real phenomenon. It is equally predictive regardless of race, which means that it isn't racially sensitive.
You have fallen prey to listening to idiots.
Modern IQ tests are culture neutral and measure g, the general intelligence factor, fairly well.
This is such common knowledge that it is taught to undergrads in Psych 101
Ah yes. "I learned it in school, thus it must be true!" Never believe idiots.
They may teach it in Psych 101, but I'll tell you this: they're wrong. Every competent researcher knows this.
The argument that the test is merely a "predictor of future success" also tacitly assumes a definition of success that is culturally biased and fails to acknowledge its own role in instigating what is most likely a self-fulfilling prophecy. The above paragraph reads like any bigoted, apologist propaganda posing as a proof that this or that oppressed group really is "dumber" than the privileged minority (which is a great reason to continue oppressing them). It's racist bullshit.
You are assuming, without prior knowledge, that the races ARE equal, so any test which shows a difference is biased.
Of course, what if there was a difference? Then the tests SHOULD show a difference. But you reject that possiblity out of hand, despite it being what ALL evidence points towards. ALL of it. Is everyone in the APA a racist? I don't think so.
Which indicates you aren't a scientist at all, but rather a zealot. You have created your conclusion, then interpreted everything to match it.
Its a conspiracy man!
Or its how things really are.
We aren't all conspiring against black people. There really is a difference.
The cause of the difference is controversial, but it isn't that IQ tests and standardized tests are racially biased. There would be indicators of that bias in their predictions of success, but there aren't, and we'd expect a difference between people with the same IQ of different races, because there's no way to tell someone's IQ by looking at them. But we don't see that; we instead see whites with an IQ of 85 performing the same as blacks with an IQ of 85.
I highly doubt that intelligent people commit fewer crimes (and I'm not the first person to call him out on that).
You can "highly doubt" it all you want. That doesn't mean its not true. As it turns out, it is true, as revealed by numerous studies. However, whether this is the direct result of intelligence is more questionable, as it is more likely the result of what intelligence causes (SES, education) than of intelligence directly. There may be some correlation, but it is probably small.
Why would you "highly doubt" it? Because you don't consider yourself to be in the in group?
Bah, the 100 year outlook for climate isn't nearly as bad as Randall thinks. Life flourished thousands of years ago when the planet was five or so degrees hotter than it is today. I've seen environmentalists write absurd things such as "bird migration patterns changing are proof of warming" move to a different topic and then sometime later say "all the birds are going to die." I hope you can see the contradiction here.
Actually, the real issue with climate change is weather issues, as well as coastal flooding. A huge portion of the world's population lives in coastal areas, and if New Orleans is any indication of how people will react to being flooded out, we're going to have an exponentially larger issue on our hands in a hundred years when sea levels rise enough to flood a number of these areas. Weather becoming more random could cause more droughts, and many new "arable lands" probably won't be arable because their soil is poor, whereas prior arable lands will become less suitable for farming due to changing climactic conditions. The possibility of another ice age being triggered (obviously not The Day After Tommorrow style, but a shift into another one could possibly be triggered according to some scientists) or of changing oceanic pH (due to additional atmospheric CO2) are probably more problematic, but none of this will cause humanity to go extinct (unless they trigger a world war over resources, anyway), just be a major inconvenience.
Also these so called "smart people" are too stupid to realize that family is more important than wealth.
Except we are programmed to protect our family, so they're actually capable of overcoming their instincts.
There's no reason we should value family members over random members of society objectively, though of course objectively, morality is a construct anyway.
And there are many cases wherein it is good to value non-family members over family members.
Finally I haven't read the previous posts and don't plan to, but I'd like to say that if anyone is making an argument for eugenics, they should look at the arguments people made for eugenics around the turn of the century or so, and make sure that they're making different arguments.
You mean back when they didn't even know what DNA was, and Mendel's paper was in an obscure publication?
In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...
...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.
Oh, I agree that skepticism is always required.
Thing is, though, modern research on IQ, at least, isn't putting white males on top in the US. We see:
And this isn't some inconsistant, random stuff that racist hacks put out; we see this pattern in IQ, SATs, military tests, tests for rescue workers, ect. across many studies. One has to question the "white supremacy" of people who put asians ahead of their own race (though by only a small amount), and many people suspect that once Hispanics become an integrated indiginous population that they, too, will have their difference disappear (as when the Chinese and Irish first came in, they, too, scored lower on IQ tests; they don't anymore, and IIRC they're actually both above the national average).
This isn't to say that only non-racists work on this stuff, but I think citing racism as the reasoning behind it is, at this point, misguided. Moreover, accusing the authors of the Bell Curve of being racists when they are actually worried about this societal stratification and its potential negative consequences is, again, I think trying to turn scientists who produce results people aren't comfortable with into moustache-twirling villains. I don't think they're racist, and even many of their critics who actually read and understood the book agree with me on that point.
Now, while we have a good way of measuring IQ, we can't directly measure g and we don't know what genes are responsible for intelligence (at least, for making people smarter; we do know some which can make people developmentally disabled).
It is not unfair to ask why it is that blacks have stayed down at the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak, when Asians, who were also heavily discriminated against, have since risen up and become the equals (and in some way, superiors) of whites in the United States. Some people think that genetics are to blame, and this is not an unreasonable hypothesis. However, I do agree that it is far from certain that it is so, and it is also far from certain that American blacks are reprsentative of all blacks - maybe being white/black mixes, or being the descendants of slaves, or being a nonrandom selection of Africans is the cause. Maybe it has nothing to do with genetics, and is instead a cultural thing - probably including the culture of many blacks. When you accuse successful blacks of "selling out" or of being "Uncle Toms", are you really promoting your people's success as a culture? Is cutting off professional blacks wise? Now this is to some degree exaggerated, but it is also a real phenomenon to some degree - I heard some blacks, early on, accuse Barack Obama of not really being black at all because he wasn't the descendant of a slave!
I don't think that we can close the book on "American descendants of slaves have lower IQ due to their genetics" either way. But that people refuse to even contemplate the notion is bad, and when people's knee jerk reaction is "You're racist!", that's throughly unhelpful. It also leads some to believe it is justified. People have pointed out, correctly I think, that affirmative action and equal rights programs which discriminate for blacks (and sometimes hispanics) on the basis of race create resentment among members of "non-favored races", and I think rightly so - when we are taught so well these days that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of someone's skin color, and then we do so, that sends an inconsistant message and encourages tribalism, as well as resentment towards the very groups these policies are meant to aid. This in turn probably increases rather than decreases racist sentiments, though I feel that racism in the United States is actually far lower than many blacks like to think it is - it is far easier to blame the culture at large than it is to blame yourself for failure.
This is not to say it doesn't still exist - white on black racism still occurs, and obviously some people who promote eugenics are nothing but neonazis.
But lumping them all together is the same as lumping all blacks into one group, and that's wrong.
Science should not be politicized, and the APA itself notes with great sadness that oftentimes people look at the various IQ studies not for their science, but for their politics. And that's a bad thing.