Monday, March 10, 2014

Cleanliness Causes Soap

We've gone through racism and all the other excuses the MAG can think of for "disparity of outcomes" (currently Obamafied as "income inequality"), and now it's trendy to say that people are unintelligent because they're poor, instead of vice-versa. This is on a par with the notion that people don't eat much because they're skinny, or that people are tall because they play basketball. Or Dubya's reasoning that being given a house will cause people to develop middle-class morality and behavior.

I think our common sense should be enough to show that such theorizing is bassackwards, but just in case it's not, here are some thoughts from an actual scientist, Greg Cochran, from Westhunt.

The Great IQ Depression

We hear that poverty can sap brainpower,  reduce frontal lobe function,  induce the  fantods, etc.  But exactly what do we mean by ‘poverty’?  If we’re talking about an absolute, rather than relative, standard of living,  most of the world today must be in poverty, as well as almost everyone who lived much before the present.  Most Chinese are poorer than the official US poverty level, right?  The US had fairly rapid economic growth until the last generation or so, so if you go very far back in time, almost everyone was poor, by modern standards. Even those who were considered rich at the time suffered from zero prenatal care, largely useless medicine, tabletless high schools,  and slow Internet connections.  They had to ride horses that had lousy acceleration and pooped all over the place.
In particular, if all this poverty-gives-you-emerods stuff is true, scholastic achievement should have collapsed in the Great Depression – and with the miracle of epigenetics, most of us should still be suffering those bad effects.
But somehow none of this seems to have gone through the formality of actually happening.
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Quibcag: The poor girl is Marii Buratei (蕪羅亭 魔梨威) from Joshiraku (じょしらく)

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