IQ is not just predictive at the low-end

A “psycholophaster,” or in other words, someone who is right. If Taleb calls you a psycholophaster or any one of his other insults, take that as a badge of honor (similar when the left calls you a racist for observing that racial differences exist).

Prima facie, this does not seem right. So a doctorate holder in physics/math and a randomly selected person on the street can be expected to have the same IQ?

I think part of the confusion lies in that the correlation between IQ and income is weak, so one may naively assume that there is little to no relation between the two. But this can be explained by how smarter people tend to have more career options. Some choose creative careers which may not pay as well, such as screen-writing, non-profits, or art. Although there is randomness, people do not choose their professions out of a hat. People will tend to gravitate to that which they are good or competent at, depending on individual preferences and career options available.

Lawyers and doctors tend to be higher IQ and make more money compared to baristas. Less or average intelligent people generally cannot take advantage of such higher-paying professions, so they tend to be over-represented in service sector jobs. Of course, there are plenty of high-IQ people in these jobs too, but in aggerate, higher paying jobs tend to be filled by more intelligent people whereas lower-paying jobs have a more even admixture of IQ. In other words, a high IQ may be necessary but but is still an insufficient condition for the majority of high-paying jobs.

Google and other top firms not only pay well but rank on top in surveys of employee satisfaction, so by Taleb’s logic all those people who work at Chipotle or McDonald’s are doing so voluntarily, not because they cannot do better. If Google and other top firms lowered their bar for hiring, no one with an IQ at this new threshold would bother to apply because the McDonald’s job is obviously superior: it’s only a coincidence that people with high IQs work at these high-paying firms? Taleb’s ‘logic’ does not hold up to empirical scrutiny, and assumes that professions are assigned randomly, which is obviously false. It’s evident that the attributes Google and other top firms seek are correlated with IQ, and not just at the low end.