Friday, May 20, 2016

John Stossel's Little Experiment Again

Yesterday I blogged about a number of things, including a smarmy John Stossel video [link], that purported to prove, one more damn time, that IQ tests are inaccurate or evil or something. The only reason anybody tries doing that is because the want to force the idiotic idea down our throats that all human groups are equal in intellectual potential. Since they can't actually come up with a test that shows that, and tests always show a hierarchy that maps onto racial categories, the only thing left to do is stunts like stossel's, where you jog everybody's mental elbow enough to cause variations in test scores, and then announce that, therefore, everybody is equal.

Actual science doesn't work that way. Actual science comes up with a hypothesis that seems to fit the facts obtained by observation, and proceeds to test that hypothesis with experiments. The Stossel method is not an experiment to test a hypothesis, but a trick to cast doubt on IQ test and make them look inaccurate.

So Stossel doesn't prove anything, and doesn't disprove anything.

Jeff Colonnesi explains this better than I can:

Stossel’s test doesn’t prove that there is no difference between groups. It proves that you can affect how a group performs if you can affect how they perceive themselves. That’s a known fact. But it can only affect the performance within the hard limits set by the person’s physiology.

Take a person learning to compete in track and field. You can teach them what to do and convince them they have the ability to win. Do it well enough, and they will practice till they drop of exhaustion. They will improve and perform well beyond what they ever could have when they started. But if they are of average physical structure (genetic disposition to musculature, bone strength, height, and reflexes), they will still never beat a world class athlete. On the other hand, take a person with the potential to be a world class runner, convince them they are slow & uncoordinated, and they will seldom win races. They likely won’t even practice and compete.

IQ is like physical prowess. The human race has an overall statistical curve. Sub groups have the same statistical curve, provided the group is large enough and has the same make-up as the whole. If the sub group is only of one particular genetic background, its statistical curve will differ. It’s no different than looking at how many people have blue eyes. Its X% for humanity as a whole. The percentage is higher if you only look as a subgroup of Scandinavian descent. It’s lower if you only look at a subgroup of native south American descent. You can look at ANY human characteristic – height, hair color, body hair, eye color, lifespan, reaction time, coordination, musculature, visual acuity, auditory acuity or IQ – and see differences between groups divided by genetic background.

The question becomes then – How different? And how much of that difference is due to environmental influences on a given population at a given time (access to nutrition, religious, cultural or political pressure to conform, medical access, knowledge base and time available to spend learning)? Would Einstein have been as brilliant had he been born in the stone age? Would Steven Hawking?
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Quibcag: This has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but I really couldn't think of one that fits it much better. The girl is from: Strike Witches (ストライクウィッチーズ Sutoraiku Witchīzu).

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