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IQ in Scientific Life

  1. Sep 5, 2004 #1
    Although I think that is a waste of time to discuss about IQ, since the high number of threads dedicated to this topic I pose the following questions:

    1) Is (was) scientific research being directed by people with high IQ?

    2) Does IQ measure creativity?

    And the most interesting (for me)

    3) Was is IQ for?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2004 #2
    Scientists will generally have higher IQs than the national population. Such a mental demanding profession will make sure there is.

    What is your definition of creativity?

    "Who is IQ for?" you mean? IQ is an attempt to measure g. Studies show that IQ tests are for the most part highly g loaded. Matrices IQ tests would be the most g loaded. g has been linked to countless aspects. Most studies tend to focus on academic success and economical success. But it also relates to your probability of going to prison, probability of doing drugs, probability of being an abusive parent, etc.

    Here it a good article on IQ and g.

  4. Sep 5, 2004 #3
    That is only an assumption. Whithout facts, I can also assert that politics is full of high IQ people (or even that all bullfighters/ "toreros" have the highest IQ).
    Since this thread is on scientific life, I express by creativity an ability to original scientific production. Only three examples: Einstein in Physics, S.Brenner in Biology, Galois in Mathematics.
    No. My question in other terms would be What is the usefulness of IQ? If we know the someone's IQ... What?
    And... If the political power knows the everybody's IQ... What ? :uhh:
  5. Sep 5, 2004 #4
    No it is not an assumption. It is well established. The average PhD has an IQ of approximately 130. The average Nobel Prize winner has an IQ of 155. Scientists are part of the cognitive elite.

    IQ would have strong relations in the ability to be creative within academics.

    The usefulness is IQ serves an a predicament of success. There are countless well established links between IQ and a multitute of different factors as mentioned before.

    IQ is used to separate the mentally gifted and the mentally retarded in schools. 130 and 70 respectively. (SD=15)

    A person with an IQ of 80 could not become a doctor no matter how much determination he has.
  6. Sep 5, 2004 #5
    Where? Have you got any bibliographic reference?
    Here too. Where? Have you got any bibliographic reference?
    How scary!!!!
  7. Sep 5, 2004 #6
    Yes. This is a demanding scientific field, when practiced seriously. Most of the researchers display enormous intelligence and academic depth.

    This may be of interest:
    Intelligence Volume 32, Issue 2 , March-April 2004, Pages 145-153

    Do standardized tests penalize deep-thinking, creative, or conscientious students? Some personality correlates of Graduate Record Examinations test scores.

    Donald E. Powers and James C. Kaufman

    Some personality traits have exhibited somewhat puzzling relationships with other traits. For example, creativity and intelligence have been shown to relate to one another, as have conscientiousness and job performance/ability (e.g., Barrick & Mount, 1991 and Hurtz & Donovan, 2000). Yet, creativity in the arts has been found to be negatively associated with conscientiousness for students in creative fields (Dudek, Berneche, Berube, & Royer, 1991). No such relationship has been reported for scientific creativity. If anything, the tendency is in the opposite direction (see Feist, 1999).

    Correlations of depth with GRE scores were near zero (except for a slight positive correlation with GRE verbal scores). Nor was there any indication that more creative students do less well on the GRE General Test than do their less creative counterparts. In fact, GRE scores correlated consistently, although modestly, with creativity. That these correlations were modest may be a function of the generally high level of intellectual ability of GRE test takers, a hypothesis that is consistent with previous research showing a diminishing relationship at high levels of ability.

    I will answer this one in connection with a clarification of the word "was."
  8. Sep 5, 2004 #7
    The problem with the reply you gave is that it assumes that every possible question that can be posted here should be followed by a lengthy academic dissertation. It might be more reasonable to do some reading before presenting such an objection. The fact is that the answer you got was correct. The subject has been discussed in great detail in such books ad The Bell Curve and The _g_ Factor, as well as in scientific journals. There have been numerous links given in this forum to well written material that discusses this and related topics in easy to understand language.

    IQ is useful as a proxy for intelligence. It can be used to predict human success in such areas as school and job performance. More importantly, it is a good indicator of the probability that a person can master tasks (including careers) that have intelligence thresholds. I have posted (several times) the IQ requirements of the United States military services: Army 85, Marines and Air Force 88, and the Navy 91.

    IQ is also a useful tool for investigating why humans behave as they do and for understanding the cognitive process. When IQ is measured, the usual tests are designed to score each of the major categories of intellectual ability. Those categories are known as group factors and emerge as second order factors in a factor analysis. Psychometric _g_ is extracted as the third order factor and is the part of the measurement that correlates to all of the group factors. It turns out that whatever the merits of group factors, they do not contribute much to the validity of IQ tests; the validity is almost entirely due to _g_.

    The government could probably find test data on someone, if they wanted to, but they officially want to take the politically correct position that everyone is equally smart. Consequently, they formulate educational policies that are doomed to failure. The simple application of some common sense by politicians could improve the effectiveness of our schools. It is unlikely to happen.
  9. Sep 5, 2004 #8
    "The Bell Curve" was severely criticized by Stephen J Gould, a man who probably had a high IQ.
    But my question refers to scientists' IQ. Could you give me some references about that?
    That cannot be serious. Is it possible, with statistical significance, to differentiate (and discriminate) people between 88 and 91? Of course, I want to suppose the mean IQ of US military services that stablished these limits, will be high.
    Examples: Galois, Turing or Nash ( I suppose that these three mathematicians had a high IQ)
    Do you suggest that each employment must be associated to an IQ ad hoc?
    I agree.
  10. Sep 5, 2004 #9
    Gould was not a psychometrician. To the best of my knowledge, his only attempt to publish in the area was his book Mismeasure of Man. It was a book that was appreciated only by people who didn't know better. I have a homework assignment for you. Please read this link in its entirity:

    If it is unclear, please read it a second time. Gould played a prominent role in a group called Science for the People and in that group's attack on the theories of Harvard zoologist Edward 0. Wilson, a leader in the development of sociobiology (BioSciences, March, 1976, Vol. 26, No. 3). (Gould was a trouble maker, not a psychological researcher.)

    Reflections on Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man (1981):

    JOHN B. CARROLL, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill A Retrospective Review in Intelligence 21, 121-134 (1995)

    Gould's research on the history of craniometry is interesting and possibly valuable for historians of science. His account of the history of mental testing, however, may be regarded as badly biased, and crafted in such a way as to prejudice the general public and even some scientists against almost any research concerning human cognitive abilities. In this account, he indicts mental testing not only as racially motivated, at least in its beginnings, but more importantly, as ethically and scientifically flawed because it "reifies" the IQ as a single number that places a value on a test result.

    It is indeed odd that Gould continues to place the burden of his critique on factor analysis, the nature and purpose of which, I believe, he still fails to understand. Even if factor analysis had never been invented, we would nonetheless have IQ tests and many other kinds of aptitude tests measuring various cognitive abilities. And there would still be "experts" dealing with the construction, analysis, and interpretation of these tests, and behavioral geneticists (Plomin & McClearn, 1993) concerned with the heritability of the traits measured by these tests.

    'The 'g' Factor'is a book about human intelligence. In particular, it tries to answer social-environmentalists and methodological solipsists such as Professors Leon Kamin, Steve Gould, Steve Rose and Steve Jones -- the self-appointed arch-critics of 'general intelligence' ('g') today (though only Kamin is himself a psychologist). [Christopher Brand, Race, sex, psychology and censorship]

    Stephen Jay Gould (1983) argued that factor analysis is not an appropriate way of defining the variables underlying test scores, because one solution is statistically as a good as another. Gould was wrong. There are statistical methods (which were well known to specialists at the time) that make it possible to compare the goodness of fit of one factor-analytic solution to another. When these methods are applied, investigators virtually always find a highly reliable first factor.
    Gould claimed that psychometricians could not distinguish between alternative factor structures. Today they can.

    [The Role of Intelligence in Modern Society by Earl Hunt]

    Gould is correct in stating that there are alternative methods with the same overall power to account for the correlations among the tests. But he is wrong when he implies that by using an alternative method, an analyst can get rid of g. As Richard Herrnstein liked to say, "You can make g hide, but you can't make it go away."

    Gould's position, then, has been thoroughly discredited among scholars, however dominant it remains in the media. Had he kept quiet about The Bell Curve or attacked it on other grounds, his view might have continued to hold sway there. But when he repeated the same arguments in his New Yorker review - which I am told has been triumphantly circulated by nonpsychologists as the canonical refutation of The Bell Curve -he accomplished something that Herrinstein and I could not have done: he made scholars who know what the evidence shows angry enough to go public.

    Upstream: Issues: The Bell Curve: The Bell Curve and its Critics
    Charles Murray

    Commentary, May 1995 v99 n5 p23(8)
  11. Sep 5, 2004 #10
    Yes, I gave you The Bell Curve and The _g_ Factor. Have you looked at them yet? There is a very good summary, given in graphical format, in Figure 14.4 on page 566 of Jensen, A. R. (1998). The g factor: The science of mental ability. Westport, CT: Praeger.
    When you get around to reading The Bell Curve, look at page 55 for a list of high IQ careers, which include computer scientists, mathematicians, natural scientists, and social scientists. They add "Theoretical physicists probably average higher than natural scientists in general."

    The Armed Forces Qualification Test is discussed throughly in The Bell Curve in four different places. You can find the page numbers in the index. People wishing to serve in the armed forces must take the test. The scores that allow them to enter correspond to the IQ points I quoted. This requirement is in place because the armed forces have found that training does not work well at lower levels. No exceptions are allowed, even in time of war.

    If you are interested, the IQ cut points that I quoted came from this source:
    Intelligence and Social Policy: A Special Issue of the Multidisciplinary Journal INTELLIGENCE. Edited by Douglas K. Detterman. Jan/Feb 1997 (Vol 24, No.1).

  12. Sep 6, 2004 #11
    Its is clear that there are different people with diverse intelligence levels.
    IQ could serve to "quantify" these differences.
    It is probable that relevant scientists have a high IQ, although it would be interesting to analyze IQ in a random sample (stratified by fields of research, age, socioeconomic birth conditions and so on).

    But, I don't think that the measure of IQ had any positive effect for society or individual. On the contrary, besides a scarce scientific interest, it could serve only as a negative, discriminant value,
  13. Sep 6, 2004 #12
    Why a negative? The SAT is a reasonably _g_ loaded test and, in its initial form, was designed as an IQ test and normed against the Otis. By using the SAT, high ability students were identified and allowed to enter top universities. The lead in this area was taken by James Connant, when he was president of Harvard.

    The SAT was developed by Princeton professor Carl Brigham, who had been one of the Army I.Q. testing team during the first world war. One of its first applications was by Harvard president James Bryant Conant in his establishment of the Harvard national scholarship program. He was looking for a way to find and admit capable students from parts of the U.S. where the university would not otherwise have looked. Newsweek reports: "There was one point about it on which Conant repeatedly demanded reassurance: was it a pure test of intelligence, rather than of the quality of the taker's education? Otherwise he was concerned that bright boys who had been born into modest circumstances and gone to poor schools would be penalized." Only after being convinced that the SAT was a pure intelligence test did Conant implement its use. [Newsweek, September 6, 1999, "Behind the SAT" By Nicholas Lemann]

    I think this is positive. The very concept of IQ testing is positive, in that it objectively identifies people who are likely to succeed in intellectually demanding studies and can open doors for them to do so. It is not a negative that people incapable of such demanding work are also identified, unless one wishes to argue that they are better off seeking unattainable goals.
  14. Sep 6, 2004 #13
    That is very important.
    I agree completely with this paragraph. :approve:
  15. Sep 7, 2004 #14
    I think that defendants' lawyers might disagree. The U.S. legal system also uses IQ when determining whether a convicted murderer gets a death sentence or some other punishment. This use of IQ results was upheld by the Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia


    From the Atkins decision -

    From the notes

  16. Sep 7, 2004 #15

    Herrnstein and Murray were not "psychometricians" (what an ugly neologism) either. From Donald Dorfman's essay on The Bell Curve in Contemporary Psychology, the official review journal of the APA:

    "Who are the authors of The Bell Curve? Are they right? The first author, Richard Herrnstein, was a professor of psychology at Harvard University for 36 years. He died a very short time ago. One would presume that The Bell Curve represents Herrnstein's final summing up of a lifetime of objective scholarly research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals on the genetic basis of IQ. Regrettably, the media seem to be totally unaware of the fact that the deceased Harvard professor never published any scientific research on the genetic basis of IQ and its relation to race, poverty, or social class in peer-reviewed scientific journals in his entire 36-year academic career. Richard Herrnstein's actual area of expertise is the experimental analysis of decision making in pigeons and rats, and he never studied the genetic basis of any behavior in those laboratory animals. The first presentation of his theory on the genetic basis of IQ, social class, and poverty appeared in a magazine article titled "I.Q." published in the September 1971 issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine. As we all know, scientists publish their data and theories in peer-reviewed scientific journals or in peer-reviewed technical books, not in popular magazines or in nontechnical books written for the general reader."


    The second author of The Bell Curve, Charles Murray, has a doctorate in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently a Bradley Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group in Washington, DC. Murray often publishes his research and theories in The Public Interest (e.g., Murray, 1994), a neoconservative magazine edited by Irving Kristol, also a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and sometimes considered the founding father of neoconservatism (Atlas, 1995). In an article recently published in The Public Interest, Murray listed the first priority of his political agenda: "And so I want to end welfare" (1994, p. 18). Inasmuch as the media sometimes refer to The Bell Curve as Murray's book, perhaps the book represents Murray's summing up of a body of objective scholarly research that he had published in scientific journals on the genetic basis of IQ and poverty. But like his coauthor Richard Herrnstein, Murray has never conducted or published any research in scientific journals on the genetic basis of IQ and poverty in his entire career.

    The Bell Curve is not a scientific work. It was not written by experts, and it has a specific political agenda. Still, it is possible that the major scientific premises of the book may be correct. If two monkeys were put before a typewriter, it is theoretically possible for those two monkeys to produce a Shakespearean sonnet. Perhaps Herrnstein and Murray produced a valid scientific work. I will now evaluate the major premises of The Bell Curve."

    etc, the rest is available at:


    It seems that Mandrake applies different standards to those on different sides of the issue. Gould's opinions cannot be trusted because he has an "agenda" and is not a "psychometrician" (even though he is a renowned evolutionary biologist), whereas Murray is for some reason a credible authority even though he is a political scientist and well-known conservative ideologue. Huh.

    Here is an abstract for a more recent analysis of The Bell Curve from a peer reviewed journal:

    Accession Number
    Peer Reviewed Journal: 2000-02997-001.

    Reifman, Alan.

    Revisiting The Bell Curve.

    Psycoloquy. Vol 11 Oct 2000, np.
    Princeton Univ, United Kingdom

    Posted: 10/22/2000. Charles Murray, one of the authors of "The Bell Curve" (R. J. Herrnstein and C. Murray, 1994), predicted that, even with further scholarly inquiry into the issues raised by the book, none of its conclusions would be overturned. Now, roughly 5 yrs after the publication of "The Bell Curve," this target article reviews pertinent research published during the intervening time to assess Murray's prediction. Three primary areas are reviewed: the genetic contribution to intelligence, the relative contributions of intelligence and social factors to success in life, and the potential of educational experience to improve cognitive ability. The issue of genes and racial/ethnic differences in IQ is also examined. The author concludes that, contrary to Murray's prediction, many of "The Bell Curve's" arguments have been weakened. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2003 APA, all rights reserved)
  17. Sep 7, 2004 #16
    Waterdog – I think YOU see this as a political question and it doesn’t have to be. But alas, to ask the question is to be politically incorrect in some circles. Anyway, I believe this book (Bell Curve) was written for the public. Hence the section of the book titled "Statistics for people who think they can't learn statistics."

    Herrnstein and Murray USE an estimate that states IQ is 60 percent heritable - with a range from 40 to 80 percent. This isn’t NEW data. This is based on already completed results of studies of twin, sibling and unrelated subjects - both raised together and apart. These numbers, as I understand, are typical -- not unique to Herrnstein / Murray. Others have published similar results. So, is it actually more a factor of Herrnstein / Murray publishing outside of the scientific commuunity that seems to bring most of the criticism? Or is there a political motivation?

    But back to the political aspects of issues like this one --- as Noam Chomsky said –
    Here (linked below) is a statement signed by a number scientists in support of Herrnstein and Murray. These signatories are described as “experts in intelligence and allied fields.”

  18. Sep 7, 2004 #17
    The Bell Curve stands on its own merits and the highly supportive reviews of it by well known psychometricians from around the world.

    Let's see, you claim that the authors of The Bell Curve are not psychometricians, then you quote the late Dorfman. Do you think he is a psychometrician? If so, why?
    In making these assertions, one must ask for examples of scientific errors. The book was reviewed extensively and favorably by high profile psychometricians. As we all know 52 of them signed Gottfredson's letter, which listed the 25 salient points made by The Bell Curve. In order to discredit The Bell Curve, one must take on the full list of items she covered and the full list of scholars who signed the letter.

    My standard involves consensus among recognized scholars. People who wish to rail against psychometrics do so for philosophical and political reasons and are inevitably forced to quote from unknown critics, who have no scientific standing, no citations, no important publications, and no affiliation with psychometric groups, such as ISIR.

    Gould's comments were directly addressed by real experts and shown to be unsupportable. His reputation is a matter of record (as a spiteful person with a political agenda). If you don't understand that comment, I suggest that you do a bit of research. One forum in which you can find people who actually knew him is Evolutionary Psychology (a Yahoo Group). Some months ago, those people (direct associates) exposed him as what he was.

    Did you read the link to Jensen's analysis of Mismeasure of Man? If so, do you find fault with Jensen's comments? If you didn't read it, can we safely assume that you desire to argue from the perspective of ignorance?
    You need not accept Murray or Herrnstein as expert in anything. On the basis of what they have written, what factual errors do you find? Please don't quote snipes by journalists and people who have no scientific standing.

    And... Speaking of people who have no scientific standing, you begin with one. His qualifications:
    Alan Reifman
    University of Michigan, 1989
    Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
    Adolescent and young adult drinking; social networks; peer/parent influences; structural equation modeling; meta-analysis.

    The guy is not a member of ISIR, nor has he published anything that qualifies him as having the slightest standing in the areas addressed by The Bell Curve.

    You didn't explain to the people here who are not familiar with Psycoloquy that it works by statement and response. Why did you forget to quote from the replies to Reifman? Since you forgot, I will do it for you. I suggest that you and anyone else who is inclined to take Reifman seriously should read the following replies from start to finish. I will also quote a few excerpts from two of them.

    Murray replies to Reifman

    Jensen replies

    Reifman's (2000) review provides a rather lopsided impression of the scientific, as opposed to the ideological, reactions during the years since the publication of Herrnstein & Murray's (1994) "The Bell Curve" (TBC). Searching the literature by using little more than the keyword Bell Curve, as Reifman did, was bound to turn up a preponderance of negative criticisms of TBC and to overlook researches published in scholarly and scientific journals and books that are more relevant to understanding the scientific issues at the basis of TBC. Most empirical researchers in the relevant fields, as contrasted with a good many social philosophers, commentators, and ideological critics, have found little to disagree with scientifically in TBC and therefore have not had any incentive to write critical commentaries with an aim of putting down this important feature of TBC. However, specialized journals concerned with human variability in mental abilities, intelligence, and individual differences, such as INTELLIGENCE and PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, have published many studies since the appearance of TBC that extend and strengthen the body of evidence that supports the arguments of TBC. Those concerned with the issues raised by TBC will appreciate knowing of some of these recent additions to the literature. I will cite a few of them that seem to have the most far-reaching significance and are worthy of critical examination and further empirical research.

    2. Reifman's most conspicuous omission is the research monograph by Charles Murray (1998), which I trust will be described in Murray's (2000) reply to Reifman's review. How could this important study have been overlooked? A follow-up analysis of the NLSY data, based on within-family measures of mental abilities and achievements, it deepens and amplifies the social concerns associated with the wide range of variation in these variables in the population. For one thing, it empirically opposes sociologists' long-favored theory that socio-economic status (SES) is a chief causal factor in individual and group differences in IQ and its important real-life correlates such as scholastic performance, job status, and income. It is surely an eye-opener and a 'must read' for all those who are concerned with the central issues of TBC.

    Buckhalt replies

    Reifman (2000, Paragraph 3) claims that the major ideas of Herrnstein & Murray's (1994) "The Bell Curve" (TBC) deserve to be overturned. He appears to be appealing for a new election, or rather he claims that a new election has been held and the incumbent ideas have been voted out. For conclusions to be "overturned", though, the implication seems to be that consensus was reached on the original questions posed, and that is surely not the case as the numerous and often strident critiques have shown. I doubt that a mountain of data would convince the most devout skeptics of TBC's conclusions, and the same might be said, I might hasten to add, for true believers.
  19. Sep 8, 2004 #18
    Oh for gosh sakes, the Wall Street Journal letter again? I really wish you people would read your own sources. Here is what that infamousletter says about race, IQ, and genetics:

    "There is no definitive answer to why IQ bell curves differ across racial-ethnic groups. The reasons for these IQ differences between groups may be markedly different from the reasons for why individuals differ among themselves within any particular group (whites or blacks orAsians). In fact, it is wrong to assume, as many do, that the reason why some individuals in a population have high IQs but others have low IQs must be the same reason why some populations contain more such high (or low) IQ individuals than others. Most experts believe that environment is important in pushing the bell curves apart, but that genetics could be involved too."

    Okay, so there you have it: if you still believe what you said above, then in order to continue arguing for the position that you have been arguing, you are going to have to explain why all those experts disagree with it.

    Mandrake, I have noticed that all of your responses seem to (intentionally?) miss the point of my posts. I wonder what the correlation is between reading comprehension and g. In my last post re/ Gould and The Bell Curve, the main point, clearly stated, was to demonstrate your inconsistency. You tried to bully another poster into believing that Gould has no credibility because he is not a "psychometrician," then you offered as a more authoritative source The Bell Curve, which is a book written by two non-psychometricians. So your own position is inconsistent. If you now wish to claim that ideas should be evaluated on their own merits, without reference to the identity of the author of those ideas, then, I suggest you stick with that instead of attacking Gould ad hominem.

    I have never suggested that one must be a "psychometrician" to comment on these matters, since that would be akin to claiming that only Catholic priests have the necessary expertise to comment on whether Catholic church dogma is objectively correct. As far as I am concerned, anyone should be able to comment on scientific matters, and if their ideas lack validity this will be demonstrated by the subsequent discussion.

    There are publications in the peer-reviewed literature that are both in support of and critical of the genetic determinist position. In offering examples of anti-genetic determinist articles in the peer reviewed literature, I am countering your contention that these matters are settled. They are not settled, and your selective citations of sources that support only your own positions are helpfully contextualized by the citation of sources that are critical of positions such as yours. Your claim that there are no "experts" who disagree with your racist, genetic determinist positions is laughable. For example, here is what the American Psychological Association task force had to say about race and IQ:

    "It is sometimes suggested that the Black/White differential in psychometric intelligence is partly due to genetic differences (Jensen, 1972). There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis.
    It is clear (section 3) that genes make a substantial contribution to individual differences in intelligence test scores, at least in the White population. The fact is, however, that the high heritability of a trait within a given group has no necessary implications for the source of a difference between groups (Loehlin, et al, 1975)."

    American Psychologist, February, 1996, p. 95.

    Meanwhile, Lynn's IQ and the Wealth of Nations is reviewed in the current issue of Contemporary Psychology, the APA's official review journal. The authors of the review state:

    "In sum, we see an edifice built on layer upon layer of arbitrary assumptions and selective data manipulation. The data on which the entire book is based are of questionably validity and are used in ways that cannot be justified." etc. etc. Contemporary Psychology 49.4 (2004): 389.

    Now you are going to say that I ignored the positive reviews of The Bell Curve and Lynn's book. You are missing the point. You are doing a fine job on your own of bombarding physics forums with pro-genetic determinist propaganda, and I don't think you need any help from me in your efforts. I am simply trying to demonstrate that the positions you claim are "consensus among recognized scholars" are in fact highly controversial. The degree of controversy varies (Jensen's ideas are usually treated with respectful disagreement, while Lynn is widely reviled), but the main point, let me repeat it again, is that you have claimed that certain matters are settled by experts on human cognition, and these matters are, in reality, not only unsettled but highly controversial, and the positions you have staked out in regard to genetics and race are held by only a small minority of psychologists, biologists, and anthropologists.

    I am not really trying to convince you to change your mind, Mandrake. I know that the True Believers in genetic determinism, racial hierarchies, and the other associated ideas, will never deviate from their faith. When the Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door, I don't try to convince them of the error of their ways, either. I simply want to make it know to others reading this message board that the theories you are describing are just that, theories, unproven, and disputed by experts in the relevant fields. For those wanting more information on this topic, I commend the exhibit "Deadly Medicine," on eugenic "science," at the National Holocaust Museum:


    I invite everyone to compare the statements made by eugenics advocates in the 1930s with the statements made by genetic determinists on these message boards and draw their own conclusions. And now, having invoked Godwin's Law, I bid you adieu.
  20. Sep 8, 2004 #19
    Wow – I really wonder if it is possible for Waterdog to make a more emotional statement than the one just made. Notice the language used while he attempts to sum up (i.e. misrepresent) another's position – with words like "genetic determinism" "pro-genetic determinist propaganda" "racist" "racial hierarchies" "eugenics"; and even "eugenics advocates in the 1930s." No one has even come close to expressing those ridiculous beliefs. Is evolutionary psychology really THAT dangerous --- W Dog??

    Granted, for social politicos on both the left AND the right this is a hot button issue – but please. The religious right hates anything 'evolution' for obvious reasons. The radicals on the left fear that the findings of evolutionary psychology will provide justification for all sorts of social evils – and as such, certain theories of evolutionary psychology cannot be allowed a foothold. Hence the use of emotional and misrepresenting words. However, contrary to the philippic displayed above, no one preaches 'determinism.' We are still a "human animal" and as such have an awareness of who we are, others, our surroundings, and can even consider the consequences of an action that has yet to occur. Simply because the desires like social status, or the need for retribution, or an inclination toward aggression, or the desire to acquire beyond our needs, may be a product of evolution, DOES NOT mean that "human animals," once they reflect on themselves and the situation, can't make decisions contrary to their 'natural inclinations.' That's right --- no determinism, no eugenics, no racial hierarchies ---- And nothing changes when the Earth is no longer the center of the Universe.

    Why is this important? I truly believe that evolutionary psychology is the gateway to self-understanding. It's also important to our uunderstanding of others and of our social frameworks. Oh, and I really have a problem with those who are attempting slander this way of understanding out of existence.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2004
  21. Sep 8, 2004 #20
    Waterdog resorts to name-calling

    Precisely what do you think the above words contradict in my comments? It is amusing to me to see you and a few others here so fixated on The Bell Curve, while simultaneously ignoring the various other heavy weight text books and the vast quantities of material published in scientific journals in the past decade. The heritability of intelligence is now so well documented that it is has been dropped from most scientific discussions. Today, the focus is on determining the mechanistic details.

    You haven't commented here, but I think you should tell us if you have read The Bell Curve. Did you? Have you read every word of it, including all of the footnotes and appendixes? The last person who expressed strong opinions about the book was Evo, who eventually admitted that she had not read it. I would also be interested to know if you have read The _g_ Factor. Did you? It is incomprehensible that anyone would bother discussing The Bell Curve instead of such books as Bias in Mental Testing and The _g_ Factor. Have you read The _g_ Factor: General Intelligence and Its Implications?
    My impression with your posts is that they are designed to be confrontational, but reflect a very high degree of ignorance of the subject matter. Perhaps you think you are making points that are not there?

    I elected to respond to your reference to Gould by presenting the responses to his nonsense from scientists who have devoted their entire careers to the understanding of the subject that he didn't understand. Gould never demonstrated that he even had an understanding of factor analysis.

    The example you presented was a lame entry that generated informed responses by real experts. You hid the fact that these replies appeared and that they discredited the assertions. I consider that to be an attempt to intentionally distort the truth in order to try to win an argument.

    As is usual, people who argue from the perspective of ignorance immediately resort to name calling in order to silence the other party. Calling someone a racist is a vile and aggressive act. Do you discuss science in this way when you face other people, or do you reserve such cowardice for posting under the name Waterdog?

    There has not been any claim that intelligence is 100% determined by genetics. The variance in heritability is well documented, and as I have pointed out repeatedly, has been determined by various independent methods. You may believe whatever you like. Who would care? What is the point of citing 1975 data in 2004, given the significant findings of the past decade? Doing so is quite similar to Gould's pulling out early 20th Century data to imply that it represents contemporary science.

    You are doing that by calling me a racist? I don't think you are adding knowledge to the discussion, but that you are exercising a the well known ad hominem fallacy. You have exposed yourself as interested in churlish name calling.

    If you should decide to take on that task, I would like to suggest that you do a good deal of homework first. At present, you are not coming across as having a good grip on the positions you are trying to argue against and you are clearly looking to weak sources and hiding the material that exposes them as such.
    This is the typical approach taken by people who cannot argue with facts. The idea is to cast scientific findings as if they were not measurements and to hide the often broad confirmations of those findings. Instead they are portrayed as a form of religions faith, taken from a god, without sound support. Someone who is unfamiliar with the depth of the findings might go for such a distortion as you have attempted. Count me out.

    Good play. Just as I described. You are painting science as the foolishness of religion and implying some kind of similar baselessness. This is an intellectually repugnant ploy. But, I must admit, it is much easier than aligning scientific findings.

    Is that another attempt to insult me, and indirectly call me a racist again? Easy, isn't it? Just keep calling names, associating the science you wish to discredit with evil and religion...
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