Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Greg Cochran on Human Intelligence

Another liberal dogma is that all human groups are equally intelligent. In typical liberal doublethink, they go on to say that there's no such thing as intelligence. If you press them, they'll tell you that all races are equally intelligent, and races don't exist anyway. When you point out that some human groups, like Germans or Jews or Japanese, certainly seem to be more intelligent than other human groups, the liberals reply that it's all environment, or sunspots, or something. And that you're a bigot.

When you point out that different groups have consistently scored differently on intelligence tests for decades, they'll tell you that the tests are defective and culturally biased, and that you're a racist for even bringing it up.

And to settle the argument once and for all, they'll repeat that there's no such thing as intelligence, and that only stupid people think that there is.

Greg Cochran, whose site HERE I check every day, speculates about what would happen if all human groups suddenly were equally intelligent:

Brain Wave

The standard view is that all human populations have the same average cognitive capabilities.  The world sure doesn’t look as if that’s the case, and that’s part of the reason that people insist that everyone do public obeisance to the notion: if it was obviously true, or even looked plausible,  you wouldn’t need to.
But if it were true? What if it became true at midnight tonight?  To be more specific, what if the IQ of every natural human population was bumped up enough to make their average IQ 100? In a group with an average IQ of 85, every individual would pick up 15 points.
I think the world would change in many ways.  I don’t think that billions of people would wake up tomorrow and immediately say to themselves “I’ve been stupid.”, as people do after eating their fill of tree-of-life root and turning Pak. Inpaktification gives you a lot more than 15 points, enough to be painfully obvious.  That, and your dick drops off.
I do think that a lot of people would feel that something funny was going on, even on the first day.  The crossword puzzle and the Sudoku would be easier.  A question or two that had bugged you for a long time would suddenly become clear – and that would continue to happen.
Kids from groups with low average IQ today would suddenly start doing better in school.  They wouldn’t know any more tomorrow morning than they do today,  but they would be able to do more with what they did know, and pick up new information more easily.  I think they’d immediately begin to catch up academically with kids from groups that already had average IQs of 100: not that it would happen instantly, but there would be lots of convergence in just a year or two. In the US,  the papers would give credit to whatever  useless educational panacea was currently fashionable – quite possibly if it hadn’t even been implemented yet! But some would begin to wonder,  even some of those who were formerly famously clueless. Malcolm Gladwell would suddenly find “igon values” easy to understand. He might even wonder why they hadn’t been before.
A few years after the change, the Ivy League would be utterly saturated with the currently preferred low-achieving minorities, because for a while, they’d get big advantages in admissions without getting low scores.  They’d be in like Flynn!  Probably this would not go on for too long, though:  true liberals would soon find these people unsatisfying.  Clearly, they would no longer be keeping it real.
It doesn’t mean that governments would instantly fall,  or institutions crumble in a moment (although some might).  If you lived in a kakistocracy, there’s no guarantee that government would instantly straighten out. Remember, the jerks at the top would have gotten smarter too.  Execution would improve, though: simple things would get done more efficiently, and you wouldn’t have the feeling that life was one long visit to the DMV.   Sheer friction would decrease. Planes in Africa would, after a few years, crash at rates closer to what we see in developed countries.
People would still hate each other and there would be still be wars, but they would be fought more cleverly.  Fewer machetes, more Enigma decoding. Deterrence might work better..
Violent crime would decline.  Birth rates would plunge, and more people would worry about low birth rates.
Right now, H1Bs work because there are some parts of the world where there are a fair number of people with high human capital and limited local opportunities. That pool would expand greatly, I think.  You’d be getting lots of H1B engineers from Indian scheduled castes -  from Bolivia, and Gabon.  From Egypt and Indonesia.  Even from PNG! For that matter, all sorts of countries that are not very competitive for factory labor today would become so, although that would also depend on the decisions of the local elites – elites that had become somewhat more prone to consider the long run.
In other words, it would in some ways be like the end of Communism in China, when a billion people stopped whopping themselves on the head with ball-peen hammers and sickles.  They ended artificial stupidity, which is easier than inventing artificial intelligence.
To an extent, smart populations today make money by having something that’s not over common.  As smarts became more common, the premium would go down.  On the other hand, if these newly-average populations produce a proportionate number of inventions and discoveries, technological progress would be faster, benefiting everyone.   Being an average country in a highly competent, rapidly advancing world might not be so bad.
Some countries that have historically been spear carriers, or used as footballs, might actually become players.  Nobody thinks much about Indonesia, but if they had German levels of human potential, maybe we would.  Maybe we’d have to.
Little wars against formerly dipshit countries would sometimes turn very unpleasant.  I’m not saying Iraq unpleasant, more like Winter War unpleasant. Embarrassing.
The US would gain relative to Iceland, since the Icelanders don’t even have minorities with low IQs (other than trolls) , but Mozambique would gain relative to both.
Science and technology would go like blazes, but it would be harder to make a living as a scientist.
The number of people capable of coming up with plausible or attractive bullshit would increase as much as eightfold.  More ideas, almost all of them wrong, would be flying around the net.
We’d live in interesting times.
Quibcag: I don't know who the girl is, but she certainly looks brainy.


  1. "Brain Wave," by Poul Anderson, deals with this concept. I thought he was going to mention it from the title.

  2. Cochran has never given any definition of intelligence, and admits he has no theory or opinion about the Flynn effect. Consequently, he has no credibility to comment on intelligence differences between groups., David Marks, on the other hand, points out that you don’t NEED race categories to understand observed IQ differences – what you NEED is literacy rates. Marks (2010) hypothesized that IQ differences across time, race and nationality are all caused by differences in literacy because intelligence test performance requires literacy skills not present in all people to the same extent. In eight different analyses mean full scale IQ and literacy scores yielded correlations ranging from .79 to .99. Kaufmann (2010) explained the significance of Marks’ study as follows. If increasing literacy were really explaining a number of seemingly different IQ trends, then you would expect to see a few different phenomena. First, within a population you should expect increased education of literacy skills to be associated with an increase in the average IQ of that population. Second, IQ gains should be most pronounced in the lower half of the IQ bell curve since this is the section of the population that prior to the education would have obtained relatively lower scores due to their inability to comprehend the intelligence test’s instructions. With increased literacy, you should expect to see a change in the skewness of the IQ distribution from positive to negative as a result of higher rates of literacy in the lower half of the IQ distribution (but very little change in the top half of the distribution). You should also expect to see differences on the particular intelligence test subscales, with increased literacy showing the strongest effects on verbal tests of intelligence and minimal differences on other tests of intelligence. If all these predictions hold up, there would be support for the notion that secular IQ gains and race differences are not different phenomena but have a common origin in literacy.
    Kaufman described how Marks tested these predictions by looking at samples representative of whole populations (rather than individuals), and used ecological methods to compute statistical associations between IQ and literacy rates across different countries. Kaufman’s (2010) review suggested that Marks’ findings were completely consistent with the predictions: (i) The higher the literacy rate of a population, the higher that population’s mean IQ, and the higher that population’s mean IQ, the higher the literacy rate of that population. (ii) When literacy rates declined, mean IQ also declined, a reversed Flynn Effect. (iii) Unequal improvements occurred across the entire IQ spectrum with the greatest increases in the lower half of the IQ distribution. Interestingly, Kaufman pointed out that the evidence suggested that both the Flynn Effect and racial/national IQ differences showed the largest effects of literacy on verbal tests of intelligence, with the perceptual tests of intelligence showing no consistent pattern.
    The alleged association between race and intelligence and also the Flynn effect both have a similar explanation: literacy differences across race and across time are, Marks believes, the cause of both. Racial IQ differences are converging as the literacy skills within two populations become more equal. Thus racial differences have an environmental cause, just like the Flynn effect. Essentially, both the Flynn effect and racial differences in measured IQ are artefacts of literacy differences. As the literacy of Western populations declines, as appears to be the case currently, then Marks’ literacy theory of IQ scores predicts that average IQ test scores is expected to decline, and the Flynn effect will go into reverse, which is exactly what recent studies have found.

    1. If I posted such a collection of nonsense, I'd be 'anonymous,' too!

  3. Ad homenem attack. BTW, what's the difference between "Anonymous" and your CB handle of "Baloo?" Am I missing something? - are you the famous "Baloo," well-known in the one-name celebity ranks along with Madonna, Cher, and Bono?

  4. Yes, I'm the famous one, so that's the difference. I'm telling you who I am, and you're hiding. If this 'literacy' theory is so cool, lend your name to it. In fact, of course this is just an attempt to obfuscate the all-too-evident difference in mental capacity between human races. I rather think intelligence is more likely to lead to literacy than vice-versa.

  5. I suggest that you "rather think" intelligence is more likely to lead to literacy than vice versa for two reasons: 1. You haven't looked into it and 2. You "rather think": it in the sense of preferring to think it. Stuart Ritchie, Tim Bates, and Robert analysed data from 1,890 pairs of identical twins who were part of the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). The twins had their reading ability and intelligence tested on multiple measures (averaged into a composite) at ages 7, 9, 10, 12, and 16. For each twin pair at each age, they calculated the difference between one twin and the other on both variables. Since each pair was near-100 per cent identical genetically, and was brought up in the same family, these differences must have been caused purely by the ‘non-shared environment’ (that is, environmental influences experienced by one twin but not the other). They found that twins who had an advantage over their co-twin on reading at earlier points in their development had higher intelligence test scores later on. Their method controlled for initial IQ differences, as well as genetics and socioeconomic circumstances. BTW, Portugal was the first global empire and now they're broke. I guess their IQ went down, huh?