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Malcolm Gladwell continues to lose credibility

The backlash against the 10,000-hours myth/rule keeps growing: The 10,000-hour rule is wrong and perpetuates a cruel myth

It’s not surprising why Malcolm Gladwell keeps a low profile these days…his reputation is in tatters, his book Outiers reveled as a travesty of fabrication and fiction that it calls into doubt the veracity of everything else he has ever written or will ever write…

Gladwell did a bait and switch: in his book Outliers ignoring the role of talent, and then when pressed for more details, clarifying that the 10,000 hour rule applies to those who already have talent but then practiced 10,00 hours to hone such talent. I think the amended version of ’10,000 hours’ is closer to being correct, and probably not the one the public wants to hear.

Ericsson’s research isn’t much better either though. His sample size was very small and his research was never replicated. As the ‘how I taught myself physics in one year’ post shows, it’s pretty obvious innate talent exists and can allow people to attain mastery of very complicated concepts in far less than 10,000 hours.

Not sure it is a cruel myth…more like wishful thinking that can have unintended consequences by mismanaging resources (such as having low-IQ kids in prestigious schools, in the hope that environment will overcome a cognitive deficit)…if it were so cruel, it would not have taken the world by storm…’10,000 hours’ succeeds as a meme because it tells people what they want to believe, that with enough practice, anyone can covet the skills of genius. It’s not so much that people want to become world-class musicians or top physicists, but rather that they have the potential to become those things if they want to, by practicing enough.

One of the most common blank-slate arguments is that because no one is born knowing anything, that therefore differences in achievement must be explained entirely by environment. People become ‘good’ at math because they ‘want to’, not because of genes. This argument is debunked in the post Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children, which shows that math aptitude manifests very early in life and is predicted by parents’ aptitude.

Yes, technically, no one is born knowing trig or calculus, but the people with genetic gifts make the transition from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ much faster than those without such endowments, all else being equal. An elementary school environment where all children come from similar backgrounds and are young enough that 1000′s of hours of practice is impossible, teachers can readily identify the gifted from the average–the gifted tend to know so much more and learn so much faster than everyone else (in the classroom environment, where parenting cannot be a factor), and it cannot possibly be explained by parenting or practice, because these children are so young and otherwise are very homogeneous. This is because gifted children learn with fewer repetitions (due to superior working memory and or other factors) and retain what they learn, which is key. People with high IQs learn faster and more efficiently.

From the articles:

The second reason we should not pretend we are endowed with the same abilities is that doing so perpetuates the myth that is at the root of much inaction in society — the myth that people can help themselves to the same degree if they just try hard enough.

You’re not a heart surgeon? That’s your fault for not working hard enough in school! You didn’t make it as a concert pianist? You must not have wanted it that badly.

But the problem is, telling someone who aspires to be doctor or some other high-IQ profession that they shouldn’t try, because they aren’t smart enough, may also seem cruel, so we settle on what we perceive to be lesser of two cruelties.

These delusions seems more pervasive regarding cognitive abilities (math and physics, especially) than physical abilities (running, jumping, basketball, etc.). From Our High-IQ Aristocracy:

Here’s why the basketball example doesn’t give peace of mind to those cognitively self-conscious, nor placates fears of a high-IQ aristocracy. Physical skills, such as running and jumping, are becoming less valuable/pertinent in the competitive-post 2008 economy that seems to increasingly reward intelligence and cleverness, as explained in Liberal Denial of Genetic Determinism

It’s not taboo to profess that genetics play a role in the variance of athletic ability but not intelligence, probably because the later is superseding the former in terms of important things like employment, income, reverence, etc. There are increasingly few jobs where physical ability plays a role in the hiring process, and the jobs that do typically don’t pay well. In the smartist era, people are looking up to scientists and other intellectual professions more so than athletes or actors.

Second, we tend to compare ourselves to people/groups that are similar to us. A person who is cerebral may aspire to understand the world like a famous physicist or to write like a famous author, and thus genius becomes the benchmark of personal self-worth.

The ‘information age’, and especially the post-2008 economy, which has become increasingly financialized and competitive, rewards intellectual prowess more so than physical strength. 100 years ago, when physical labor was more important and revered, things were probably reversed, with physical strength being perceived as more important than cleverness. A person who understands quantum physics–judging by wages and prestige online–by many quantifiable measures, is a superior to a laborer.

But rather than accept the unfair reality that some people are indeed ‘born better’ than others, we explain away these differences in outcomes by retelling these myths and fairy tales about IQ and talent, because the alternative challenges ‘free will’ and egalitarianism–beliefs many Americans hold dear. We explain-away biological reality by creating our own reality for why some are more successful than others: maybe it’s ’10,000 hours of practice’, an ‘unfair environmental advantage’, ‘fraud, cheating, or crony capitalism’, or ‘really, really, really good parenting and schools, and very, very, very early intervention’–never genes. To fulfill these rationalizations often means wasteful pubic policy at taxpayer expense, such as universal pre-k, intended to fix an achievement gap that is actually an IQ gap.

We need to learn to set realistic expectations both for ourselves and our children, even if such expectations aren’t what we want. But given how much emotionally and financially policy makers are vested in continuing theses wrong approaches (the entire multi-billion dollar educational industrial complex that employs thousands of bureaucrats and administrators is at stake here), it’s hard to be too optimistic things will change.

Why it seems like many high-IQ people ‘underachieve’

As if their earlier article How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent In Math wasn’t bad enough, Nauseo.us magazine keeps raising the bar in demonstrating stupidity about all matters pertaining to IQ and intelligence, in their latest article If You Think You’re a Genius, You’re Crazy. We need to raise awareness about Nauseo.us magazine in the hope people will stop taking them seriously and stop reading and sharing their articles. Nauseo.us is just anther version of ‘fake news’, but under the veneer of intellectualism and ‘science’. People read Nauseo.us because they think they are gaining some sort valuable scientific insight, but they’re just stepping in the brain droppings of someone who has no idea what they are talking about.

But cognitive disinhibition has a dark side: It is positively associated with psychopathology. For example, schizophrenics find themselves bombarded with hallucinations and delusions that they would be much better off filtering out.2 So why don’t the two groups become the same group? According to Harvard University psychologist Shelly Carson, the creative geniuses enjoy the asset of superior general intelligence. This intelligence introduces the necessary cognitive control that enables the person to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bizarre fantasies are divorced from realistic possibilities.

According to this conception, high intelligence is essential to creative genius, but only insofar as it collaborates with cognitive disinhibition. Exceptional intelligence alone yields useful but unoriginal and unsurprising ideas. Marilyn vos Savant made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s highest recorded IQ, and yet has not managed to find a cure for cancer or even build a better mousetrap.

Often, ‘brilliance’ is conferred upon by peers, not by absolute merit alone. The Nobel Prize is mostly luck on top of existing skill (skill is a necessary but insufficient condition)…many others are equally skilled, but only a handful of people can win, by making the right discoveries at the right time. Had Einstein not discovered the photoelectric effect, some other German likely would have. Einstein gets most of the credit for general relativity, but a handful of mathematicians who are far less famous discovered the underlying tensor math that made general relativity possible. Using awards and public adulation as criteria for intelligence and brilliance is insufficient. Often, a major discovery involves many people who build the foundation of knowledge, but only maybe two or three people get most of the fame for publishing results that use such knowledge.

Also, Marilyn vos Savant’s IQ ‘score’ of 228 is a hoax, discredited by psychometricians, and was a contributing factor in the Guinness Book of World Records retiring the ‘highest IQ’ category in 1990:

Alan S. Kaufman, a psychology professor and author of IQ tests, writes in IQ Testing 101 that “Miss Savant was given an old version of the Stanford-Binet (Terman & Merrill 1937), which did, indeed, use the antiquated formula of MA/CA × 100. But in the test manual’s norms, the Binet does not permit IQs to rise above 170 at any age, child or adult. And the authors of the old Binet stated: ‘Beyond fifteen the mental ages are entirely artificial and are to be thought of as simply numerical scores.’ (Terman & Merrill 1937). …the psychologist who came up with an IQ of 228 committed an extrapolation of a misconception, thereby violating almost every rule imaginable concerning the meaning of IQs.”[12] Savant has commented on reports mentioning varying IQ scores she was said to have obtained.[13]

Anyone who still believes her IQ is 228 (or anywhere close to that) is unqualified to write about IQ.

The author also perpetuates the common misconception that having a high IQ is mostly a waste or meaningless, except for the handful of people who apply their intelligence, to, in words of the author, ‘cure cancer’. This is an example of binary thinking or false dichotomy: either a high-IQ person makes an earth-shattering discovery, preferably all on his own, or his IQ is useless and possibly even a burden–there is no in between. As part of the left’s denial of IQ, they create a hurdle for intelligence that is so impossibly high (making earthshaking-discoveries) that virtually no one can clear it, including most brilliant people. As it turns out, having a high-IQ is good for many things–not just for making those ‘earth-shattering discoveries’, but rather more mundane things such as publishing a book, publishing a research paper, making more money, living longer, etc. From Beyond the Blank Slate: How Libs Turn High-IQ Into a Handicap;

While the Terman study produced no Nobel Prize winners or technology billionaires, statistically speaking, a higher IQ increases the likelihood of success as measured by academic output, creative output (like punishing a book), income, and other indicators. There is a fascinating TedX talk about how standardized tests, contrary to what the left says about such tests being useless, can predict lifetime outcomes such as wages, being published in a journal, level of academic attainment, and so on.

You look at the most successful web 2.0 companies and all of the people involved – from the investors to the founders to the employees – all have above average IQs. The same goes for Wall St., or the vast majority of high-paying professions, where high intellect is required. The next Bill Gates or Zuckerberg isn’t going to have an average IQ. While there are low-tech ways to get rich such as skilled trades, the vast majority of people in unskilled professions, such as the low-paying service sector, make little money and barely get by. That’s not to say we should try to help these people – we shouldn’t, because that would be a waste of resources that could otherwise benefit more useful members of society, and entitlement spending is already too high.

Regarding the part about curing cancer, again the author demonstrates ignorance on multiple accounts. Cancer is not just a single disease–but one of many. To say cancer is ‘curable’ is a misnomer–cancer can never truly be ‘cured’ in the same way most viruses and bacterial infections can be; instead, doctors try to achieve a NED (no evidence of disease) state for patients, and if the disease does not recur, it is considered cured, but there is no guarantee it won’t recur. Developing cancer treatments, like most advanced technologies, requires large research teams and lots of money…no single high-IQ person will ‘cure cancer’ by his or own own self.

But then why does it seems like so many high-IQ people ‘underachieve’…first, as explained above, the left has created an unreasonably high threshold or standard for what constitutes success for high-IQ people. The archetype of the underachieving high-IQ person is largely a social construct or trope that is perpetuated by the less intelligent (but also some intelligent people do it do) who want to feel better about themselves and or to downplay the importance of IQ. But if it seems like high-IQ people ‘underachieve’, there are two possible reasons why:

A child may learn to read at 3 instead of 5, which suggests an IQ of 167 (using mental age), and is a very impressive feat, but there is no obvious proportionally equivalent achievement for someone who is, say, 40 years old (how do you read at a 67-year-old level?). This is why mental age fails for measuring IQ beyond childhood and why mental age tends to be unreliable for the highest of IQ.

Anther problem is that much of the ‘low handing fruit’ in terms of discoveries has now been picked, a problem compounded by the exponential growth of the world population over the past 100 year and the use of computers to automate the research process. This could explain why the age of Nobel Prize recipients in the sciences is increasing.

Gustav Källstrand, a senior curator at the Nobel Museum, told us that 100 years ago there were only around 1,000 physicists. Today there are an estimated one million in the world.

Now only is there more competition due to larger population size, but there is so much more requisite material to learn. An aspiring 21st-century theoretical physicist must learn quantum theory, string theory, and general relativity, whereas 100 years ago such concepts didn’t exist, and learning this stuff, which is very mathematically intensive, takes time. Due to the aforementioned factors, much of math and physics research over the past half century has been very incremental, often involving a fine-combed search for small adjustments to preexisting ideas–not ‘earth shattering’ breakthroughs. But this applies to all fields–economics, biology, psychology, etc. The average published economics paper is much longer and has many more co-authors than economics papers published half a century ago. Modern papers often run 40-60 pages and involve tons of compiled data and very sophisticated statistical analysis, taking many years and multiple economists to complete, and if that is not hard enough, the rejection rate is very high for prestigious journals due to the oversupply to papers and scarcity of journal space to publish them (as shown below). Like everything else, the market for academic research has become very saturated over the past few decades. Some on the ‘right’ insist the world is dumbing-down, yet all these major prestigious journals are being inundated with more manuscripts than they could ever hope to publish.

Source: Nine facts about top journals in economics

Anyone who is STEM and finance would agree that it’s more competitive and difficult than ever, even for brilliant people hoping to stand out among the ranks of their equally brilliant peers.

Is the World Becoming Smarter or Dumber?

A comment by Greg Cochran is going viral:

There must have been some selection for IQ – without it, our brains would have disintegrated. But that selection can’t have been very strong, or intelligence would have gone up like a rocket. Today it’s going down at a rate of something like three points a century – think what would have happened if it had changed that rapidly, either up or down, over the last couple of millennia.

And also from Reddit: SHOULD WE BE MORE WORRIED ABOUT THE “IDIOCRACY THESIS” – LOWER AND LOWER AVERAGE IQ IN FUTURE – THAN WE ARE

In the past few weeks there has been considerable interest in dysgenics. Many in the NRx-community subscribe to the dumbing-down or ‘idiocracy’ hypothesis that global intelligence is declining. Note: a distinction must be made between biological intelligence and intelligence as measured by an IQ test. Due to re-norming, the average of the latter will always remain at ’100′ even if biological IQ falls or rises. The debate concerns the former.

There are three approaches to testing the the dumbing-down hypothesis: phenotypic (skull measurements), genomic (genetic markers linked to IQ), and empiric (IQ tests and other data).

Genomic:

A handful of studies have shown a decrease in polygenetic markers linked to IQ. A study of Icelanders by Kong et al 2017 showed a .3 point decline/decade of a polygenic measure of IQ:

However, this seems gradual enough that technology should be able to reverse it.

One scientist argues the world is becoming dumber due to the accumulation of various genetic mutations:

Human intelligence may have actually peaked before our ancient predecessors ever left Africa, Gerald Crabtree writes in two new journal articles. Genetic mutations during the past several millennia are causing a decline in overall human intellectual and emotional fitness, he says. Evolutionary pressure no longer favors intellect, so the problem is getting exponentially worse. He is careful to say that this is taking quite a long time, so it’s not like your grandparents are paragons of brilliance while your children will be cavemen rivaling Hartman’s SNL character. But he does posit that an ancient Athenian, plucked from 1000 BC, would be “among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions.”

His central thesis is that each generation produces deleterious mutations, so down the line of human history, our intelligence is ever more impaired compared to that of our predecessors.

The major problem with this thesis is trying to ascertain the intelligence of ancient humans. Intelligence tests obviously didn’t exist back then, so all we have are ‘proxies’ for intelligence (such as written works, architecture, skull volume, etc.), as well as possible genomic markers.

Phenotypic:

The ‘Encephalization quotient’ seems to be a good proxy for intelligence, in which humans rank the highest.

Studies have also shown a positive correlation between head size and IQ. Studies that show Americans’ heads are getting bigger, could imply Americans are also becoming smarter.

Specifically, the researchers found skull size in white men has grown by 200 cubic centimeters, which is about the volume of a tennis ball. Skull height, from the base to the top of men’s heads, has increased by 8 millimeters—so about 0.3 inches. Among white women, skull size has grown by 180 cubic centimeters and height has increased by 7 millimeters.

Overall, skull height has grown 6.8 percent since the late 1800s. That’s a bigger percentage than the growth of body height, which has increased 5.6 percent. And comparatively, femur length has only increased about 2 percent. The researchers said that skull shape in Europe has also changed, but not as drastically as in the U.S.

However head size is an imperfect measure of intelligence. Although earlier humans may have had larger brains, they may not have been smarter.

Other evidence suggests brain shrinkage, going as far back as the Stone Age: If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?

Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.” If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc. Possibly owing to said shrinkage, it takes me a while to catch on. “Are you saying we’re getting dumber?” I ask.

Empiric:

The Flynn Effect suggests biological intelligence is rising. But other data suggests the Flynn Effect has stalled or is even reversing.

Regarding the reversal or stalling of the Flynn Effect, a possible explanation is that that earlier gains in IQ were attributed to rapid improvement in living conditions due to industrialization, not genetics, from the earlier post Idiocracy in America? Probably not:

Even if the FLynn effect is tapering off, that doesn’t mean it will reverse. Anther possibility is that early gains in IQ are attributable to environment, and now that essentials such as food, shelter, sanitation, clean water, electricity, and literacy are much more common, the ‘low hanging’ fruit has been picked, putting more precedence on genetic factors, which are much slower to evolve than environmental ones, which is why it may seem like the FLynn effect is reversing.

However, some counter that the Flynn Effect is only tenuously related to g, but rather representative of gains in abilities that are the least g-loaded:

Because children attend school longer now and have become much more familiar with the testing of school-related material, one might expect the greatest gains to occur on such school content-related tests as vocabulary, arithmetic or general information. Just the opposite is the case: abilities such as these have experienced relatively small gains and even occasional decreases over the years. Recent meta-analytic findings indicate that Flynn effects occur for tests assessing both fluid and crystallized abilities. For example, Dutch conscripts gained 21 points during only 30 years, or 7 points per decade, between 1952 and 1982.[7] But this rise in IQ test scores is not wholly explained by an increase in general intelligence. Studies have shown that while test scores have improved over time, the improvement is not fully correlated with latent factors related to intelligence.[14] Rushton has shown that the gains in IQ over time (the Lynn-Flynn effect) are unrelated to g.[15][16] Researchers have shown that the IQ gains described by the Flynn effect are due in part to increasing intelligence, and in part to increases in test-specific skills.[17][18][19]

According to a study of reaction times, perhaps Victorians were smarter than their modern-day counterparts, but the study is beset by a lot of possible methodological flaws and is hardly conclusive.

However, fertility and IQ appear to be inversely related, leading to a possible dysgenic effect over many generations:

…intelligence is negatively correlated with fertility rate, and positively correlated with survival rate of offspring.[1] The combined net effect of these two forces on ultimate population intelligence is not well studied and is unclear. It is theorized that if an inverse correlation of IQ with fertility rate were stronger than the correlation of survival rate, and if heritable factors involved in IQ were consistently expressed in populations with different fertility rates, and if this continued over a significant number of generations, it could lead to a decrease in population IQ scores

In 1982, Daniel Vining sought to address these issues in a large study on the fertility of over 10,000 individuals throughout the United States, who were then aged 25 to 34. The average fertility in his study was correlated at −0.86 with IQ for white women and −0.96 for black women. Vining argued that this indicated a drop in the genotypic average IQ of 1.6 points per generation for the white population, and 2.4 points per generation for the black population.

In a 1988 study, Retherford and Sewell examined the association between the measured intelligence and fertility of over 9,000 high school graduates in Wisconsin in 1957, and confirmed the inverse relationship between IQ and fertility for both sexes, but much more so for females. If children had, on average, the same IQ as their parents, IQ would decline by .81 points per generation. Taking .71 for the additive heritability of IQ as given by Jinks and Fulker,[15] they calculated a dysgenic decline of .57 IQ points per generation.[16]

One study investigating fertility and education carried out in 1991 found that high school dropouts in America had the most children (2.5 on average), with high school graduates having fewer children, and college graduates having the fewest children (1.56 on average).[19]

In addition to having fewer children, smarter women tend to have children later in life, increasing the likelihood of complications both in terms of pregnancy and birth defects.

It’s possible in the next 100 years if birth rates for high-IQ regions fall and populations for low-IQ regions surge, average global biological IQ will fall. But paradoxically, total intelligence may still rise, meaning that the ‘smart faction’ will grow in absolute population size but fall in relative population size, as explained in Idiocracy in America? Probably not. As well as other factors, this is due to assortative mating, in which smarter people choose smart companions.

What matters is that more of these people exist now than existed 10 years ago or 100 years ago. Even if fertility rates among high-IQ people are low, just by having 7+ billion people in the world, by virtue of the normal distribution of IQs you will still get many geniuses.

Empirically, I don’t buy the dumbing-down argument. Just skim the Arxiv high-energy physics section to see how far down the high-IQ rabbit hole goes…it’s obvious there are still a lot of intelligent people, many of whom who are producing research of great complexity and depth. The number of research publications in STEM fields, not just on Arxiv but also everywhere else, has surged in the past few decades:

Look at all the research coming out of Silicon Valley: delivery drones, self-driving electric cars, virtual reality, and apps that can almost mimic the intelligence of a human. The ancients produced a substantial body of classic literature, but their math and physics developments were not commensurate, especially given how much time elapsed, whereas in just the past three decades alone two of the hardest math problems ever conceived were proven: Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Poincaré Conjecture. Euclid, Pythagoras, Archimedes and Thales made discoveries, but the rigorous study of complex analysis and calculus eluded Western Civilization until only as recently as the 1700′s. The stagnation of math during antiquity may have been attributed to the cumbersome system of Roman numerals and the difficulty of sharing knowledge, as the printing press had not been invented.

There is also evidence later generations (Millennials and Gen Z) may be smarter than earlier generations, or at least that certain elements of pop culture have become smarter. The Big Bang Theory, which appropriates ‘nerd culture’, is one of the highest rated TV shows. There is a huge outpouring of intellectualism on sites such as Reddit and 4chan, where thousands of smart millennials everyday engage in impassioned debates about finance, political philosophy, futurology, biology, statistics, politics, and economics, whereas generations ago there seemed to be less interest in such complicated topics by the general population and youth. Then there is the rise of ‘esoteric celebrities’, and how people in STEM have become the equivalent of ‘rock stars’ for millennials. Philosopher David Chalmers had a hugely popular AMA on Reddit a few week ago, the success of which goes contrary to the belief by the fake news media that millennials only care about celebrity gossip. When millions of millennials showed up to the polls, they were rejecting the fake news narrative that Trump couldn’t win.

However, there is a caveat: mass immigration may disrupt assortative mating, and it’s possible the global population will stagnate, and coupled with an inexorable decline in genetic IQ, will over many centuries lead to a dysgenic dystopia. But this process may be slow enough that technology may reverse it…given the rate of research being produced, it seems more like likely than not such technologies will be developed. But the questions is, will policy makers implement them or cave in to ‘political correctness’ and ‘slippery slope’ arguments.

A combination of exploding population growth and environmental factors (nutrition, shelter, drugs, etc.) has increased total global intelligence, leading to this explosion in the 20th and 21st century of technologies and STEM research. But now that ‘low hanging fruit’ of environmental factors and modernity may have picked, and if global population stalls at 10 billion people, and if the fertility rate of >100 genetic-IQ populations remains below replacement, and if life extension technology to keep smart people alive longer fails, and if global mean genetic-IQs fall and technology is unable to reverse it, and if IQ not only falls but falls so much that it hits a critical level whereby humanity cannot save itself even if it wanted to, then something resembling ‘idiocracy’ is possible. But that’s a lot of ‘ifs’. I’m optimistic that a combination of both rising life expectancy and genomic technology will keep the total population of smart people unchanged, rather then the entire world plunging into idiocracy.

Let’s assume a genetic IQ of 160 is the minimum required to make significant breakthroughs (to advance the canon of human knowledge). That is the estimated IQ of Newton and Einstein, two of the greatest scientific geniuses who ever lived. A single high-IQ person by himself is useless…you probably need at least 500 to collaborate on scientific research and to have a functioning civilization.

The world population is expected to level off in the year 2100 at 10 billion. The regions that typically produce breakthroughs are Europe, Japan, China, India, Middle East, and North America. The combined projected population for these regions is projected to be 6 billion. Assuming genetic IQ stays at 100, with a SD=15 and mean of 100, there will be 190,000 geniuses (IQ >160), which is quite a lot of people and could explain why there are so many physics publications on Arxiv.

But if we simulate dysgenics, the dysgenic threshold is a genetic IQ of 82-83; any lower and the number of geniuses falls below 500.

Below 65 and there are none.

So to answer the original question, ‘Is the World Becoming Smarter or Dumber,’ the verdict still seems to be out, although the empirical evidence lends itself to optimism (for now at least). Despite this optimism, policy makers should not be complacent…boosting national IQ has many benefits, such as increased economic growth, higher standards of living, less crime, less entitlement spending, and improved overall welfare.

A Skeptic’s View of Fred’s IQ Artilce

From Fred Reed; IQ: A Skeptic’s View

As anyone who has read Fred Reed’s columns knows, he has a soft spot for Mexico, possibly stemming from the fact he lives there with his wife and children, ardently defending the country against so-called ‘IQ-ists’ who insist Mexico only has an IQ of around 85, which Mr. Reed refutes with anecdotal evidence and how Mexico City, developmentally, resembles that of cities of higher IQ populations. His latest article is no different.

Fred is far from being an idiot, having scored in the 99-percentile on the GRE according to his website, implying an IQ of at least 140-150, but I think he deliberately omits obvious counterarguments to generate more discussion for his articles, as commenters below fill the obvious but intended gaps of his logic. It’s almost like a variation of Cunningham’s Law, which states “the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.”

For example, American blacks, the Irish, and Mexicans had IQs accepted by the list as being 85, 86, and 87 respectively—almost identical. It seemed odd to me that identical IQs had produced (a) the on-going academic disaster of American blacks (b) an upper Third World country running the usual infrastructure of telecommunications, medicine, airlines, and so on, and (c) a First World European country. This, though IQist doctrine argued vociferously that IQ correlates closely with achievement. Well, it didn’t.

I think he confused ‘b’ and ‘c’.

I was struck by the perfect acceptance of these numbers even though they made no sense. IQists simply do not question IQ. I pointed out the obvious conclusion, that if Mexicans could run the infrastructure of modern nations, decent if not spectacular universities, and so on, then so, on the basis of IQ, could blacks—none of which they in fact do, or have done.

…Do you really believe that this city was designed and built by people with a mean IQ of 84? That is six points below Mexicans, and below American blacks? As a matter of logic, it follows that if people of IQ 84 can design, build, and operate a city with all the credentials of modernity, so can a population of IQ 85. It’s either both can, or neither can, or something is wrong with the purported IQs. For what it’s worth, my wife and I recently spent a month traveling widely in the country. No sign of stupidity

Here is the global IQ map:

Africa and South America have IQs of around 85-90, almost a full standard deviation below Europeans and Asians. In the case of Africa, this data is corroborated by many tests, in which Africans consistently score even lower than Whites, even for non-culturally biased tests such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices. This is discussed in further detail in IQ Tests Are Not Culturally Biased.

But it’s not just Mexico that has modern-looking cities–so to does Zimbabwe and Uganda, both of which have lower national IQs than Mexico. For example, Kampala, the capital city of Uganda:

…and Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe:

As the examples above show, the existence of modern infrastructure in sub-100 IQ countries is not a refutation ‘IQ-ism’, but rather that scarce cognitive capital is being put to good use. The major flaw in Fred’s logic is that he ignores how national IQ is only an average of a normal distribution of IQ scores. Countries with national IQs of 80-90 will still produce geniuses (albeit at a much lower rate), because of the normal distribution of IQ scores. Maybe instead of, say, thousands of geniuses required to to build and run a modern city, maybe you only need a few hundred geniuses, which is feasible even for a country with a national IQ of 85. Also, low-IQ countries import cognitive capital (doctors, engineers, etc.) as needed.

This is furiously denied in IQist circles. The reason, in my judgement, is that thirteen points is exactly the purported gap between Mexicans and US whites insisted upon by IQists. These, often rabidly anti-immigration, do not want to admit any possibility that the immigrants might not be suitably stupid. Why they want immigrants to their country to be moronic is not clear.

Again, señor Fred continues to misinterpret, ignore, or misconstrue arguments that refute his thesis. How else is it explained that certain immigrants score lower on achivement tests and are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

Source: The Color of Crime, 2016 Revised Edition

If IQ measured intelligence, we would be in the midst of an intellectual explosion. We are not.

To some extent, we are. Look at all the innovation coming out of Silicon Valley (self-driving cars, delivery drones, apps that can do everything you want, etc.), or the surge in physics and mathematics publications on arXiv, or how America leads the world in research papers, Nobel Prizes, and patents.

Then in the IQ brew there is the occasional intrusion of common sense. (Not much of it, I grant.) A country whose purported IQ seems to me to fail the test of common sense is India, mean IQ 81. Here we have a billion people averaging well below borderline-retarded. Say again? Anyone even vaguely familiar with the intellectual, artistic, and musical history of India is going to think, “What are you guys smoking?”

The cut-off for retardation is 70, not 80.

There immediately springs to everyone’s mind that Indian kids dominate the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The IQist response is that only the smartest Indian kids come to the US. Perhaps, but the smartest American kids are already here, aren’t they? And since the kids got their visas based on the brains of their parents, shouldn’t they be regressing to the (dismal) mean?

Yes, I know the IQist explanation, that they are genetically-selected Brahmans, said to have a mean IQ of 96, the rest of the country being wretchedly stupid. Well, maybe. Like so much in IQist thought, it relies on genes posited but not identified, acted upon by selective pressures assumed but not quantifiable, to produce assumed effects that cannot be correlated with the pressures. If that isn’t rock-solid, I can’t imagine what could be.

One reason they don’t regress is because of assortative mating. It’s funny how Fred dismisses such counterarguments as ‘maybe’, when it’s the most obvious explanation and also pretty much destroys his thesis. Also, a spelling bee is not an IQ test.

Having spent twelve years in Mexico, I can see no difference in intelligence between Mexicans and Americans. Nor when I lived in Taiwan, Vietnam, or Thailand. This raises the question: How great would the difference have to be to be noticeable? Clearly, greater than thirteen points (OK, now reduced, sometimes, to ten points), since that is the Mexi-American gap measured by IQists. The response will be that I am reasonably intelligent and so spend my time with the reasonably intelligent, but that is equally true in the US, and of course I am in frequent contact with ordinary citizens.

Depends on how you define ‘intelligent’ or how you measure it. Merely conversing with someone in casual setting about simple day-to-today stuff is too imprecise to be of any use in ascertaining intelligence. There’s a reason why IQ tests are designed the way they are, and have specific questions that measure quantifiable attributes of intelligence.

Idiocracy in America? Probably not

Anatoly Karlin’s article A Short History of the Third Millennium went massively viral, being read by thousands and getting almost 200 comments. Online, especially, there is considerable interest in ‘weird’, speculative topics such as futurology and existentialism, and these are issues that may have dramatic ramifications for the future of humanity: is radical life extension possible? How about whole brain emulation? Or creating super-human intelligence through gene modification and embryo selection? Will artificial intelligence render all jobs obsolete, or possibly even threaten to enslave us? Will humanity see the singularity and the transition to a type-1 and beyond civilization, or will it kill itself first? Are we destined for greatness or doomed to perish under a dysgenic dystopia?

Human genetic editing is banned by government edict around the world, to “protect human dignity” in the religious countries and “prevent inequality” in the religiously progressive ones. The 1% predictably flout these regulations at will, improving their progeny while keeping the rest of the human biomass down where they believe it belongs, but the elites do not have the demographic weight to compensate for plummeting average IQs as dysgenics decisively overtakes the FLynn Effect.

The good news is, historically, the trend has been towards towards the expanded use and adoption of new technologies, not restrictions. It cost $3 billion and over a decade just to sequence the human genome, let alone do much with it. It doesn’t make any economic sense for companies to spend so much money and time developing technologies, only to intentionally restrict the usage of such technologies to only an ‘elite’. By making technology readily available, it lowers costs and spurs further innovation. Now it only costs $1,000 to sequence a human genome.

It’s like the belief that elites have secret cancer cures that they are keeping themselves. Again, this is bad economics considering that there is huge demand (millions of people get cancer) and cancer drugs cost hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars to develop, creating an economic need to make these treatments available to as many people as possible, in order to recoup the costs. In a free market economy, if a company or entity were to a hoard a technology, another entity will eventually develop a cheaper and better version and make it available to more people, likely putting the first entity out of business.

An obvious counter-example are sports cars and private planes, which are still only available to elites. This is because the technology doesn’t exist to make private planes as cheap as a Honda. Another factor is branding, which is why Nike shoes and Rolex watches are so expensive even though their underlying technologies are not revolutionary. The reason why cancer treatments, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, are made available regardless of ability to pay is because the government has deemed it a ‘public good’. It’s possible genomic modification will become another luxury item and not a pubic good. It’s possible offshore embryo modification labs will be created for ultra-high-worth clientele who want their children to be endowed with traits that auger well for socioeconomic success, such as having a high IQ.

FLynn effect of environmental IQ increases is petering out across the world, especially in the high IQ nations responsible for most technological progress in the first place (Dutton, Van Der Linden, & Lynn, 2016). In the longterm “business as usual” scenario, this will result in an Idiocracy incapable of any further technological progress and at permanent risk of a Malthusian population crash should average IQ fall below the level necessary to sustain technological civilization.

However, even if current trends persist, the movie Idiocracy becoming reality is unlikely, as I discus in more detail here.

Even if the FLynn effect is tapering off, that doesn’t mean it will reverse. Anther possibility is that early gains in IQ are attributable to environment, and now that essentials such as food, shelter, sanitation, clean water, electricity, and literacy are much more common, the ‘low hanging’ fruit has been picked, putting more precedence on genetic factors, which are much slower to evolve than environmental ones, which is why it may seem like the FLynn effect is reversing.

For global IQs to keep falling without a bottom, there has to be some sort of environmental selection pressure to favor increasingly low IQs.

Just as the human population rose tenfold from 1 billion in 1800 to 10 billion by 2100, so it will rise by yet another order of magnitude in the next two or three centuries. But this demographic expansion is highly dysgenic, so global average IQ falls by a standard deviation and technology stagnates.

Even if this happens, the growing world population will mean more total smart people, which seems to be the case right now. Russia, Europe, and East and South Asia have billions of people and produce thousands, if not millions, of geniuses each year by virtue of the normal distribution of IQs. Even populations with a mean IQ of less than 100 still produce geniuses. Furthermore, smart people are more likely to procreate with other smart people (assortative mating), resulting in ‘enclaves’ of high-IQ, even as the rest off the world regresses.

The best and brightest from all over the world flock to America’s most prestigious universities and companies, which is why I’m skeptical of the America ‘Idiocracy’ scenario. As further evidence against ‘dumbing-down’, the number of research publications on Arxiv, a pre-print repository that specializes in physics and math papers, has surged in recent years. There is also no evidence yet of technological stagnation either (for example, genome sequencing is becoming cheaper). Like a fantasy sports team that gets the best players from all the teams, America is getting the best and brightest from all over the world. This is a major reason why the US economy has proven so resilient and strong in recent years whereas other economies have struggled with falling currencies, high inflation, falling stock markets, corruption, and slow growth. It’s a testament to these smart people that America is as functional as it is given all the forces of decay by leftism.

What matters most, however, are the total number of genetically ‘smart people’, not the proportion of smart people relative to the overall population size. Similar to how only a single human can oversee an entire ant colony, you don’t need many smart people to manage large populations.

By ‘genetically smart’, I mean people who have non-adjusted IQs above 130 or so. If the world were to become less intelligent, IQ tests would be adjusted to be easier, in order to keep the ‘mean’ IQ score still at 100. A century from now, an IQ of 130 may only be the same as a score of 115 today. But it’s still possible to have many people with biological IQs still at 130.

As the world population swells, it’s imperative that the population of smart people at least remain constant and undiluted. As far as America is concerned, the obvious answer is eugenics and restricting immigration by IQ and country, to keep such enclaves from becoming contaminated. Silicon Valley, perhaps the greatest IQ enclave ever, needs to be made aware of the threat of low-IQs to it homogeneity and stability. But if not for the sake of boosting IQ, we need restrictions for the sake of preserving civilization and civility against the hordes that threaten it, for without civilization, high IQ is useless.

Maths and reading skills found to be 75 per cent genetic

no kidding

Maths and reading skills found to be 75 per cent genetic

Individual differences in cognitive ability manifest very early in life, long before thousands of hours of ‘practice’ can kick in. Even as early as kindergarten, teachers can readily identify the ‘slow’ students, who are often doomed to failure and or mediocrity in life, and ‘smart’ ones, who have much better odds for socioeconomic success. That’s kinda the depressing reality, that our futures are largely determined long before we even develop the conscious ability to try to change it.

But don’t people have free will? To some extent, yes. I can consciously choose what to eat for dinner, but I cannot will myself to do a three-foot vertical jump–the latter is beyond by biological abilities. Free will is an interesting topics…a deterministic universe may refute free will, but the many-worlds hypothesis may allow each choice to be enumerated through discrete universes.

The left chooses ‘environment’ over genes, because the former justifies the state’s expanded role to promote equality through useless social programs at taxpayer expense, and intrinsic individual cognitive exceptionalism is an affront to the left’s pursuit and belief in equality. The left champions ‘neurological diversity‘ – the autistic kid banging his head against the wall is acting out his own form of ‘diversity’ and is not retarded – but such diversity apparently doesn’t apply to innate intelligence.

But some argue that biological determinism gives a ‘cover’ for bad behavior, as a way of avoiding personal responsibility and accountability. Even so, that doesn’t mean society has to suffer the consequences and perpetuation of socially undesirable behavior that arises from defective genes…

From The Atlantic: No Such Thing as Free Will

According to Harris, we should acknowledge that even the worst criminals—murderous psychopaths, for example—are in a sense unlucky. “They didn’t pick their genes. They didn’t pick their parents. They didn’t make their brains, yet their brains are the source of their intentions and actions.” In a deep sense, their crimes are not their fault. Recognizing this, we can dispassionately consider how to manage offenders in order to rehabilitate them, protect society, and reduce future offending. Harris thinks that, in time, “it might be possible to cure something like psychopathy,” but only if we accept that the brain, and not some airy-fairy free will, is the source of the deviancy.

maybe eugenics is the solution but no one of any importance will acknowledge this, for fear of the social repercussions.

If you compare the book sales and speaking fees of Charles Murray and Steven Pinker versus Gladwell or Cialdini, it’s obvious and not too surprising, in an era of participation trophies and where everyone is ‘above average’, which of course is mathematically impossible, that more people than not seek solace in comforting lies and delusions than to confront the harshness and occasional unfairness of reality. The left constantly says America needs an honest, open discussion about race relations. Why not one about IQ and education, too.

Was Charles Darwin Slow-Witted?

This story went viral: The Darwinian Guide to Overachieving your IQ

Darwin, however, was not a man of pure intellect. He was not Issac Newton, or Richard Feynman, or Albert Einstein — breezing through complex mathematical physics at a young age.

Darwin and the aforementioned names were in totally different fields, Darwin being biology/anthropology and the others in physics. Whether anthropology can be considered less intellectually ‘rigorous’ than physics is subjective, because at the time both fields were quite speculative (more so than they are now). Also, it’s not like Darwin tried physics as a young adult, realized he wasn’t smart enough, and then switched to biology. Although the vast majority of physicists and mathematician have high IQs, not all high-IQ people are physicists or mathematicians. This is below logic 101…it’s just common sense. The author just pulls his reasoning out of his butt, that the intellectual worth of individual is how they measure to Einstein and Newton, disregarding intellectual accomplishments in fields as diverse as philosophy, architecture, classical composition, art, and literature, as well as other sciences and scientists.

Charlie Munger, the billionaire business partner to Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, thinks Darwin would have been in the middle of the class. He had notoriously bad health and really only worked a few hours a day in the many years leading up to the Origin of Species.

What does his health have do with IQ? Ramanujan, one of the most brilliant mathematicians who ever lived, had poor health.

Yet Darwin’s “thinking work” outclassed almost everyone, even those who started with a higher IQ.

Darwin was born in 1809, well before IQ tests were invented and widely administered. Same for Newton and Einstein. The only recorded IQ is for Feynman, which was supposedly only 125, although this may be apocryphal. Again, you cannot hold them to the same intellectual ‘yardstick’, as they were different scientists in different fields, living in different times. Even nowadays it’s hard to find IQ records for people – it’s not like people just go around boasting about their IQ. But, again, there are surprisingly many high-IQ people who are not physicists, and many professions that may seem ‘unintelligent’ are actually full of geniuses…look at all those Hollywood ‘high IQ’ lists…it’s almost as if having a high IQ is a prerequisite to being in the entertainment industry.

Even without IQ tests, because of the standardized and factory-style of post-WW1 education (Prussian education system), one can estimate someone’s ‘general intelligence’ by the age they graduate high school and or finish college. The usual age range is 17-18 for the former and 21-22 for the latter. Early graduation may suggest superior intelligence. SAT scores are more accurate, but like IQ scores, can be hard to obtain. High school GPA however is useless due to grade inflation.

But what was Darwin’s IQ? It’s hard to know. Back in the 19th century, such standardization didn’t exist. Environmental factors tended to play a bigger role than they do now because, during the Victorian Era, wealthy parents had access to tutors, and poorer families had far fewer opportunities, whereas nowadays education is available to all socioeconomic levels (although quality may vary).

There is evidence Einstein may have been a child prodigy, and Feynman mastered advanced math at a young ago, too. Assuming math ability is a perfect proxy for IQ (ignoring verbal and all other aspects of intelligence), then, yes, it’s reasonable to assume Darwin was less intelligent than Einstein, Newton, or Feynman. But it doesn’t matter, because we’re comparing different fields of study. It would only matter if someone with a low IQ relative to his or her peers in the same field of study was able to excel, because then it would be worthwhile to learn how this less intelligent person was able to compensate, controlling for all other variables, but otherwise it’s not a valid comparison.

1. Darwin did not think he had a quick intellect or an ability to follow long, complex, or mathematical reasoning. Darwin’s life also proves how little that trait matters if you’re aware of it and counter-weight it with other methods. Primarily, that meant developing extreme objectivity, extreme diligence, and taking time to think through his ideas. He was very intellectually humble and open to being wrong.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t have the ability to grasp complicated stuff. The author is equating humbleness with being less intelligent, when the evidence suggests smarter, more competent people tend to be more humble about their abilities (Dunning-Kruger effect).

The Gender Gap in Extreme Math Intelligence

In tests of extreme math intelligence, boys still outscore girls in the US but the gap is closing fast

Whether this is because boys are innately better at math or if girls are socially conditioned not to be math superstars remains an open question. But the latest round of test data strongly suggests the difference rests with the latter.

And which data strongly suggests this? If the gap has narrowed, maybe it’s due to revisions of the SAT, with the trend towards newer tests being easier, lowering the effective math ceiling for high-scoring boys. It’s not that girls are getting better, but the test has become easier, allowing more women to score in the top .1%. The pre-1995 version is regarded as harder than the 2005 revision.

But second, why is the gender gap, whether it’s IQ, math, science, or technology, a problem that merits so much attention? No one complains that tall people are over-represented in the NBA, but everyone gets all worked up about women being underrepresented in the sciences or about there not being enough minorities in Silicon Valley tech companies (apparently Indians and Asians don’t count as diversity according to the left though). Now imagine in order to accommodate players of all heights and to ‘narrow the height gap’, the NBA were required to make the baskets only 4-feet high. Attendance, ratings, and profits would suffer considerably, but at least vertical equality could be achieved. It sounds sounds pretty absurd when you frame it that way, but it’s no different than how the left puts equality ahead of results. When the left bemoans how Silicon Valley is not diverse enough, they want successful companies to ‘lower their baskets’ at the expense of shareholders, company culture, and overall corporate well-being.

Hooey and Phooey from John C. Wright

Hooey and Phooey by John C Wright in which he criticizes the alt-right.

And a response by Vox Day Safe as houses in which he defends Wright’s competence as an author despite their political differences.

The problem is Mr. Wright puts himself on a moral high ground of infallibility…by not taking stance, he can avoid being wrong, but at the same time from his perch accuse others else of being ‘too extreme’ or ‘taking him out of context’, with an air of pretentiousness on his part.

Going through his post…

From the axiom that different population groups have different heritable traits, it does not follow that the traits are genetic rather than cultural, are natural rather than produced deliberately by enemies of the union, or that the differences are of such a magnitude that they cause inevitable conflicts, or that such conflicts are or are not to be tolerated for the sake of the greater good that comes from the blessings of liberty.

Seems like he’s really entrenched in this Pollyanna concept of ‘liberty’, and even the cynical left understands that liberty is a construct and hence revocable, not an unalienable ‘natural right’. Second, your personal liberty does not include the right to impose externalities on others, and for society to not respond, including but not limited to, sequestration of said individuals from society. Although Wright invokes a utilitarian/consequentialist argument (‘greater good’), this can be reversed by arguing that a ‘greater good’ is achieved by having less tolerance, not more.

In the example of two groups who grow wrathful at different rates, for example, putting more police in the more violent neighborhood might be a more cost effective solution than isolating the evil gene responsible for their evil and exiling those who possess it.

…and that’s why he have a possible entitlement spending problem, because policy makers keep throwing money at these social problem, with the same ineffective programs and piss-poor results, instead of, figuratively speaking, nipping it in the bud.

It doesn’t have to be exile – eugenics, including offering financial incentives for certain individuals to not reproduce, could be a viable long-term solution that does not impugn on individual rights (in fact, many people would probably choose moeny to forgo reproduction). At the same time, offer incentives for the intelligent to spread their genes.

I have heard partisans of the Alt-Right make outrageous statements such as, for example, Spaniards and Jews and Irish and Germans are not now and never can become American: that no one not of Anglo-Saxon blood can ever become American. This, even for Spaniards and Jews who have served in the military, bled in the wars, and made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the liberties we Americans enjoy.

But Wright provides no links to support this supposition. Rather, the alt-right believes culture and government is downstream from ethnicity. Shared ethnicity leads to shared values.

Even granting that there are genetic and noncultural characteristics creating a different threshold of anger between, say, hot-blooded Spaniards and aloof Germans, it would not follow from this that no community of mixed races is possible or desirable, and that a community based on shared values, such as an agreement to respect the civic rights of other in return for being respected, cannot exist and should not be tried.

Hot-blooded Spaniards and aloof Germans are tolerable but not Islamists, who have a proclivity to terrorism, and, of course, the rape. Part of the rise of the alt-right is in response to the ‘rapefugee’ crisis in Europe right now, as well as concerns over immigration in America. The alt-right understands that Trump is the only major American politician addressing these issues.

More than one partisan of the Alt-Right mentions a naturalization law from the Eighteenth Century excluding non-White immigrants, and uses this a lonely proof that the Founding Fathers intended America to be, not a Christian nation supporting the Rights of Man, as they repeatedly said, but intended America to be a White nation supporting the Rights of Whites, something they never said.

It may have been implied…

Unfortunately, the wording of the law does not extend beyond the express purpose of the law. Since the only non-Europeans in North America at that time were Red Indians and Black slaves, with free Blacks as rare as Jews or Turks, the word “White” at that time referred to the same group as the words “Civilized Christians”. A newborn nation in the midst of the first steps of its experiment with a disestablishment form of government would prefer not to use the word ‘Christian’ in its laws.

It may have also been implied

But even supposing the argument to hold, in what sense is this early law to be accorded more respect than the laws which superseded it? Supposing that preserving America for Anglo-Saxons alone was the intent of the Act, why should we accord it more honor than we do the Dred Scott decision or the Alien and Sedition Acts? Why not regard this law as an aberration alien to the general character of the American spirit?

It doesn’t mean the ‘American spirit’ cannot be fixed, in order to to exclude those who are a threat or undesirable to society and or a drain on public resources. Early American history had zero-tolerance, and only through revisionism has such tolerance has been appended to the ‘American spirit’, which has been bastardized to such an extent to be unrecognizable from its antecedent.

Even granting this argument (which I do not) that the Constitutional order before the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments was the only true America, and the post-Lincoln America is a false and corrupt Whore of Babylon, what grounds are there for preferring Antebellum America to Postbellum America?

It doesn’t matter where you draw the demarcation (Antebellum vs. Postbellum). Wright is trying to frame it as a civil rights issue, with the implication being those who disagree are ‘racist’; rather, it’s an issue of how society deals with its undesirable elements.

The historical fact is that America is not now and never has been a racial nation like the Irish or Japanese. It America is a union of what were once sovereign states of different cultures, denominations, and characters: fortunately, all the denominations were Christian, and the shared language and law was English. This allowed for sufficient organic unity (such as we conservatives says is the core of a country) for the union to be formed.

Some groups assimilate better then others. Germans and Irish assimilate well. So do Japanese and Chinese. Muslims assimilate the worst. The alt-right’s primary concern is immigration, particularly by poorly assimilating groups.

Racism, however disguised, is alien to that organic core which makes America what it is. It is alien, in fact, to European law and custom following the edicts of Justinian outlawing slavery, since it is alien to Christendom. It is, however, endemic to the human species: and the Alt-Right wishes to argue that this is a universal human characteristic that should be incorporated into our laws. They also argue that the idea of natural rights, rights innate to all men, individual rights, and all men being made in the image and likeness of God are recently coined, alien to Christianity, and alien to the legal traditions of Europe. Time does not permit a point by point refutation of this wingnuttery: I will say only that the crackpot arguing in favor of geocentrism has a more coherent argument with more evidence on his side.

Like in response to ‘Gnossoss’, dismissive labels such as ‘wingnuttery’ are not an argument either.

The idea that Americanism is granted by birth rather than by dedication to the proposition for which America stands is now and always has been unamerican.

Do we want a nation of productive people who contribute to society, or a nation of those who are a drain.

That is, in fact, the one thing that makes American different from other countries: the fact that you can become one of us by dedicating yourself to our ideals and asking to join. As GK Chesterton famously never said, America is the only nation with the soul of a Church.

But the problem is these ‘ideals’ keep moving to the left.

Even if the Alt-Right wanted to make the humbler argument that Americans in the past were a nation formed by shared ideals rather than shared bloodline, but should halt the practice in the near future, and should hereafter all themselves to be a race like the Irish, the fact of it is that in order to be an American, you have to agree with the American ideas, the foremost of which is that America is an idea, not a bloodline.

But it was largely implied from the beginning that America would be WASP nation. It didn’t have to be codified but it was implied to be so, and then gradually the conditions were relaxed to include Catholics and then, not soon after, pretty much anyone. But HBD 101: Irish are not a race; rather, they are an ethnicity of the ‘white race’. ‘Whiteness’, which is biological instead of territorial, encompass much of Europe, and these biological similarities could explain why the assimilation of Irish and Germans in America was successful…

But in the 1950s, before the welfare state, the marriage rate and divorce rate among blacks in America were better than among whites. It was not until the federal government began bribing the blacks to have bastards, and giving them money in return for votes, that the rates among black poor turned toxic.

This is debunked here. Although Wright is correct about politicians bribing voters, eliminating such disincentives won’t magically make everything better. That’s the problem with the ‘mainstream right’, and how like the ‘left’, they ignore the role of biology. The left says ‘we need more govt.’ the right says ‘we need less’ but both these ignore biological realities.

Now, since England has a similar urban poor problem caused by similar Leftist policies, the argument that the racial and genetic inferiority of the blacks in America causes them to be suckered by the Leftists into living like savage evaporates. Whites living under similar welfare state circumstances act similarly.

Yes, there are many poor whites, but the poverty and crime rate among blacks is still higher than for whites, for all age groups, as well as an achievement gap that persists despite billions of taxpayer dollars, civil rights and full integration, and decades of government programs.

The Alt-Right makes much ado about the IQ differences between blacks and whites. Hooey and phooey.

‘Hooey and phooey’ is not an argument. Here is one.

It is hooey in that it is junk science: the differences between where the peak of the racial bellcurve falls are less than is found between twin brothers. Since IQ tests differ by ten and twenty points depending on whether the man taking the test was read bedtime stories as a child, it is hardly what one expects for a genetic difference.

Wright may be confusing cause and effect. It’s not that reading to children boosts IQ scores, rather it’s that smarter parents, who pass their genes for high IQ to their children, are more inclined to read to their children. Differences in intelligence manifest so early in life that they cannot be attributed to environment.

It is phooey in that having a high IQ is not a necessity for being an honest, productive, chaste and decent member of a democratic republic. Indeed, very few high IQ people avoid the trap of intellectual pride which renders them unfit for society: nearly all college professors are high IQ types, and they are enemies of everything in Western Society. The devil was the brightest of the archangels.

Speaking as a genius myself (or, at least, so I am rated by my IQ test — one main reason why I regard them as hooey) I can tell you the genius is overrated. Honesty is a better trait to have for civic stability. Far, far too many people with high IQ regard themselves as being allowed to lie and deceive the unintelligent, whom they regard as inferiors, or as subhumans, and all the main antichristian and antiwestern attacks these days come from the fever swamps of the intellectuals.

For some reason, the very utterance of IQ triggers a switch in many people’s brains that flicks off reality. No one denies that some people are taller or fatter than others. No one denies Shaq is very tall or that Usain Bolt is very fast, so what is so hard about accepting that some people are more intelligent than others, too. Yet everyone has to dance around the issue of IQ. It’s not racist that some groups score lower in IQ tests than others – it’s just reality. The left keeps chanting that ‘IQ is not everything’, but no on ever said it was, but it’s pretty important, and if it weren’t important the left wouldn’t have to make such a big deal to try to prove otherwise.

Wright also falls into the leftist trap of treating high-IQ as a handicap, that superior intellect must come at the cost of another trait, such as honesty. The data suggests that smarter people are more ethical and moral.

The Alt-Right uses all the same rhetorical tactics as the Alt-Left (otherwise known as SJWs) to promote the cause: the motte-and-bailey tactic of making extraordinary claims, and then, when challenged, pretending to have made a smaller, noncontroversial claim; outrageous personal attacks; endless boasts and flaunting of one’s self as a paragon and one’s opponents as devils and fools, with almost no word spared on the actual dispute itself. The virtue-signaling, the screech-mobs, the empty victory parades the self-pity of the crybaby combined with the cruel vindictiveness of the bully: the Alt-Right is as intellectually bankrupt as the Alt-Left, or otherwise they would not be using their tactics.

Unfortunately Wright uses the same tactics against the alt-right that he ascribes to the left. Wright is virtue signaling by wrapping himself in ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ but castigating the alt-right as ‘racist’ and ‘un-American’, making himself look holier than thou in the process.

How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math (response)

How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math

They should just call it nauseo.us magazine because some of these articles are so wrong as to induce vomiting.

There is no disagreement about the absurdity that playing basketball will make you taller but many people willingly believe ‘brain puzzles’ or ‘rewiring’ will make them smarter. [1] Many want to hold on to the cherished belief instilled by culture that they have ‘free will’, and that their potential, particularly as it pertains to intellectual endeavors such as math or coding, is not limited by genes.

Interestingly though, intelligence is treated as malleable whereas physical traits less so. We’re more apt to believe we can ‘rewire our brains’ to become good at math, than become a marathoner. Part of this has to do with how society has evolved economically, from an economy and society that prized physical labor, to presently, the ‘information age’, where intellectualism is more important than physical strength. A couple hundred years it would have been the opposite: people believing that physical ability and traits are malleable but intelligence less so. High intelligence confers with a greater self-worth, as well as being a more valuable person to society in terms of economic value and creative output.

Nowadays it’s not as politically incorrect (or at least not as much as it was decades ago) to point out that perhaps some groups, due to certain biological traits, are better at basketball or sprinting than others. But to suggest that some groups are less intelligent? Well then it’s off to the unemployment line for you.

I was a wayward kid who grew up on the literary side of life, treating math and science as if they were pustules from the plague. So it’s a little strange how I’ve ended up now—someone who dances daily with triple integrals, Fourier transforms, and that crown jewel of mathematics, Euler’s equation. It’s hard to believe I’ve flipped from a virtually congenital math-phobe to a professor of engineering.

One day, one of my students asked me how I did it—how I changed my brain. I wanted to answer Hell—with lots of difficulty! After all, I’d flunked my way through elementary, middle, and high school math and science. In fact, I didn’t start studying remedial math until I left the Army at age 26. If there were a textbook example of the potential for adult neural plasticity, I’d be Exhibit A

We’ll it’s fairly obvious the author has a high IQ, and this helped her make the transition from a ‘mathphobe’ to a ‘numerophile’. HBD explains what others attribute to ‘magic’, ‘rewiring’, or ‘tons of practice’. This also douses water on the multiple intelligences theory, as opposed to the Spearman ‘general g’ theory of intelligence. The creation of these multiples types of ‘intelligence’ (‘street smarts’, EQ, ‘multiple intelligences’) seems to be part of a trend in political correctness in not wanting to face the unpleasant reality that some people are perhaps smarter than others, so by creating many types of intelligences, everyone can be smart at ‘something’. As it turns out, people who are smart at writing can often make the transition to other high-IQ endeavors such as math or coding, whereas those who are less intelligent tend to not be very good at anything intellectual-related.

[1] A refutation is that exercise can improve physical ability, and that if people improve at basketball by practicing then one can become smarter by doing ‘brain puzzles’ and ‘rewiring’. In general, physical ability tends more plastic than mental ability, but improvement in ability should not be confused for modification of ‘traits’. People know that height is a fixed trait, which (after the bones stop growing) is correct, but they are also inclined to believe intelligence is malleable, but this is just as absurd as thinking you can modify your height (short of surgery). As for ‘brain training’, brain puzzles do not boost IQ to any high degree of significance.

But how about studying? Don’t people who study math become better at it. To some extent, yes, but improvement at a task should not be conflated with modification of an underlying trait (like height, IQ, etc.). Studying is like doing a single Sudoku puzzle over and over and being really good at the one Sudoku configuration. IQ is what allows you to be good at any puzzle, and to master puzzles quickly. IQ involves making inferences, separating noise from signal. It’s the reason why ‘plug and chug’ is much easier for students than word problems; the latter requires making inferences. It’s more mentally demanding. As for learning, smarter people get better faster (which is also why IQ is strongly correlated with job performance). The less intelligent may see improvement, but they may never make the fundamental connections necessary for mastery (it never ‘clicks’), and they are less adept at filtering noise. IQ is analogous to the hardware on a computer whereas ‘brain boosters’ and ‘studying’ are like the ‘software’…no matter how good the software is, it will run against the physical limitations imposed by the number of transistors on the chip, as well as the RAM.