Psychologist Dr. Patrick Lockwood wonders why there is so much discussion about IQ, when other factors such as the “big 5” and emotional intelligence are (according to him) more important.
I disagree that the “big 5” is important or useful. The reason is, unlike IQ, personality scores can be faked by any reasonably competent person (that is what actors do…they literally pretend to assume a different identity and personality depending on the demands of the director) by answering the questions in such a manner as to convey the desired personality type. I discuss further criticisms of five-factor personality model here. I’m obviously not a big fan of it. Regarding Dr. Peterson, although he says conscientiousness is important, he says it is still of secondary importance to IQ.
Why do people keep making videos, podcasts, and blog posts about IQ? Because it’s a subject that is both interesting and a lot of people care about it. Consider the video above, which as of 1/1/18/2019 only has 574 views, and its creator Dr. Patrick Lockwood only has 45 subscribers, yet it garnered 64 comments. That is a 11% comment-to-view ratio, which is huge. The typical ratio is only 1% according to analysis of blog posts, and most videos–even videos that get thousands of views–only get maybe a few comments. So this is evidence that people care about IQ greatly and want to debate it. I myself became interested in IQ in 2001. This was long before HBD blogging was even a ‘thing’. There were far fewer resources online than there are today, and few communities for discussing topics related to IQ and human biodiversity. It’s pretty fascinating how a single number, an IQ score, is so predictive of success–not just at academia but also in terms of wealth of nations, job success, trading success, and so many other things. The so-called ‘American dream’ is the American high-IQ dream, as shown by the strong correlation between lifetime success (such as income, wealth, professional success, creative output, academic attainment, social media following, etc.) and IQ.
It’s funny how the left is so adamant about IQ not being important, because if it as self-evidently unimportant as the left insists it is, why do so many people care? Why does the left devote so much energy to trying to disprove something that is supposed to be meaningless. As shown by the huge popularity of “celebrity IQ lists”, it’s obvious that people know IQ is important despite the best efforts by the liberal media to say otherwise.
Who started this debate? The reason why IQ is so hotly debated is not because the ‘right’ (such as Stefan Molyneux) started it, but rather the left did. IQ tests have been used in the United States since the early 1900’s, without much conservatory. Although there was controversy over school segregation and the inferiority of negro intelligence in comparison to white intelligence, this had less to do with the validity of IQ testing per say. As Dr. Patrick correctly notes, IQ testing helped boost productivity by being an effective diagnostic tool for sorting students by ability. The controversy over IQ testing began in the 80’s with publication of two influential books by leftist academics: Not in Our Genes (1984) by Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon Kamin; and The Mismeasure of Man (1981) by Stephen Jay Gould. These books generated significant debate about IQ and lead to the publication of rebuttals in the 90’s and 2000’s, such as: IQ and the Wealth of Nations (2002) by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, The Bell Curve (1994) by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein, and The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (1998) by Arthur Jensen. The left, inspired by Marxist ideology, opposed the concept of some groups, individuals, and nations being intrinsically superior to others, and attributed such disparities so social instead of biological factors. Second, many opposed the concept of a g-factor of intelligence, that IQ tests measure intelligence, or that intelligence is something that can be quantified, and they believe that IQ tests are too biased to be of any use.
A common misconception is that IQ tests hold people back. This is false. I was wrong when I said a few days ago that IQ determines one’s position in society; rather, it predicts it. There is nothing to stop someone with an IQ of 70 from trying to learn advanced math, nor does a low IQ score stop someone who somehow has exceptional math or verbal aptitude from advancing in school, although this is very rare, and despite the occasional outlier IQ is highly predictive of academic success and learning ability. IQ is a useful diagnostic tool. IQ explains why some kids struggle in school and others excel; yes, there are other factors, but IQ is a major one.