Jordan Peterson’s IQ…estimate and Vox Day may be wrong

Vox Day put out a really interesting video purporting to give the ‘true’ value of of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s IQ, which he puts at only 115-120. He bases this on Dr. Peterson failing to get into law school, which suggests an unimpressive LSAT score, and on Dr. Peterson’s own GRE scores. For reference, here is the video in which Dr. Peterson claims he has a 150 IQ.

If you listen to the video carefully, 2 minutes into the video Vox says:

…very highly intelligent people have occasionally expressed some surprise at my IQ being a bit lower than they anticipated, and it makes sense to them when they find out that I am quite
literally retarded when it comes to spatial relations. I’m not even allowed to try to pack the car, and my best friend’s favorite game is to give me these wooden blocks that come with cards that show you what pattern to put them in. I can’t do it. I mean it’s you know…

Hmm..the mistake Vox makes is he’s says that GRE and LSAT scores are isomorphic to IQ. Although they are highly correlated, they are not, but rather a full IQ test has many sub-tests, of which quantitative and verbal are only two. Vox derives Dr Peterson’s 117 IQ based on his GRE score and an LSAT approximation, which are quantitative and verbal, but ignores that DR. Peterson may have scored much higher on other sub-tests, such as spatial or working memory. If we estimate Vox’s own IQ by averaging only two components, in this case his verbal (a score of 150 based on GRE) and spatial (a score 70, which is borderline retarded), we get an IQ score of 110. Vox would object to this and rightfully so.

I remember hearing in one of Dr. Peterson’s live streams that he skipped a grade. This is corroborated by his Wikipedia entry that shows he graduated from high school at 17, and also impressively, finished his BA in just three years too. To skip a grade often requires one score high enough on an IQ test. So I think based on that and the above reasons, 117 is too low. The question to ask Dr. Peterson is, did he take an IQ test as a child, and if so, his score and the type of IQ test used. This would give the best estimate and answer the question definitely.

I find it more fascinating, rather than his IQ, how Dr. Peterson became so successful so quickly. The media played a role as Vox points out, but he surpassed in 1.5 years in terms of popularity what took Harris and Dawkins decades to do. And he has not fizzled out, but shows great staying power. And his fan base is huge, encompassing ‘greys’ and young people alike, as well as atheists and Christians. Dawkins and Harris get a lot of media coverage but they don’t have the sort of rockstar fame that Dr. Peterson has. Jordan Peterson’s official sub-Reddit, /r/JordanPeterson is the second-most popular of any sub devoted to a specific person, bested only by /r/The_Donald. That cannot be attributed only to media coverage but rather his message resonating with a ton of people, which is somewhat of a surprise considering Peterson’s centrism and rejection ideology conflicts with the hyper-partisanship of contemporary American politics. Right now, we’re 10 days or so into this partial shut-down with no end in sight. Yet Peterson also has tremendous overlap of support from many on the ‘right’ including the /r/The_Donald, because he touches on issues that others on the mainstream-right ignore or sidestep, such as gender roles and IQ, but also because he conveys much more intellectual credibility than the typical political pundit and such credibility is lacking among the right. The self-improvement angle and quasi-Christianity plays a role too in his popularity. There are a lot of people–both on the ‘left’ and a growing number on the ‘right’–who can be described as so-called ‘secular Christians’–they understand the virtues and value of religion but don’t believe. Perhaps Dr. Peterson fills that void that in the past would have been occupied by organized religion.