17 July 2012

Leftists and Intelligence

Who is smarter, blacks or whites? It's a perennial battle of the races that rages in schoolyards and over dinner tables across the nation. According new research by James Flynn, a world-renowned expert on IQ testing, the answer is that whites completely edge out their black counterparts in the brains department.

Flynn examined data from western European countries, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and Estonia and found that whites are scoring higher than blacks on IQ examinations. Until recently, black’s scores lagged behind white’s by as much as five percent leading some scientists to claim that whites were inherently more intelligent than blacks. Over the decades, black’s and white’s scores have both improved, but white’s have surged more dramatically. "The full effect of modernity on whites is only just emerging," Flynn told the Sunday Times of London.  [Original story here.  Some parts edited for satire. —Ed.]

It’s funny how presenting IQ in terms of race instead of gender changes the timbre of the argument that liberals use when arguing about intelligence.  Women, for the first time in a century, have better average test scores on IQ tests the men, and somehow this becomes proof positive that women are more intelligent than men.  Yet, at the same time, it doesn’t matter that the gap between blacks and whites is greater, and better established; somehow, the racial intelligence gap doesn’t mean anything.

Of course, the realistic view of intelligence, and of IQ tests in particular, is that a) intelligence is dynamic and relative (and relativity is built into IQ scores), b) raw intelligence is worthless if the one who possesses it refuses to use it, c) intelligence has limited applications, and d) intelligence isn’t destiny, at least on a micro level.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that intelligence is worthless, or that attempts to quantify it are worthless.

However, ignoring the dynamism of intelligence, and its applicability is incredibly foolish, in that one might be tempted to think that someone who is generally intelligent can be trusted to, say, run a business.  While intelligence is helpful for running a business, so too is specific knowledge, motivation, social connections, and many other tangible and intangible qualities.  One can be highly intelligent while also being highly dysfunctional, like John Nash.

Furthermore, one is not trapped in a hellish life if one is not highly intelligent.  Motivation, charm, and knowledge can all contribute to success in lieu of intelligence, although there are limits to what they can do.  Conversely, intelligence by itself is no guarantee of success.  Intelligence without knowledge, or intelligence without motivation, can preclude success.  Thus, there is no reason to think that intelligence is the final measure of things.

To put it simply, IQ—and intelligence—has its role.  Intelligence without knowledge and unmodified by morality can lead to great evil.  Intelligence without motivation is simply waste.  And intelligence that is used solely for self-benefit, with a sociopathic lack of concern for others, is the stuff tyrants are made of.  So does intelligence matter?  Yes, but only to a limited extent.  Now let’s go remind the feminists.

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