Posts Tagged ‘IQ’
Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Bryan Caplan finds himself confused by the link between recognizing the importance of IQ and wanting most of humanity dead. He argues for acceptance of fact without rancor, but seems perplexed by the vitriol expressed (h/t Outside In):
My fellow IQ realists are, on average, a scary bunch. People who vocally defend the power of IQ are vastly more likely than normal people to advocate extreme human rights violations. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate a One-Child Policy for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate a No-Child Policy for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate forced sterilization for people with low IQs. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate forcible exile of people with low IQs – fellow citizens, not just immigrants. I’ve heard IQ realists advocate murdering people with low IQs.
…If someone says, “I’m more intelligent than other people, so it’s acceptable for me to murder them,” the sensible response isn’t, “Intelligence is a myth.” The sensible response is, “Are you mad? That doesn’t justify murder.” Advocating brutality in the name of your superior intellect is the mark of a super-villain, not a logician.
Generally, his point is agreeable, but that is mostly because human groups require a span of IQs to cover all of the roles in society. Every general needs soldiers, and every soldier needs a cascade of leaders in order to give him guidance so that he is not left alone and confused to make decisions he has no hope of getting correct.
However, as one of the misanthropes he describes — or as we might call it, a “human quality control advocate” — I can attest to the power of wanting to purge the weak. This comes more from the conditions of our time than an innate will to do harm based on this realization.
Let us look at the factors involved:
- Overpopulation. There are too many of us, and too few good ones, especially in power. The urge to purge the excess and pare away the useless is great because daily, we see many people whose absence would make life better.
- Idiocracy. The herd rules us. When we look at the products available and the decisions made by our leaders, it is clear that mass opinion sways the day, and like a demonic compass it always points toward full retard.
- Stupidity. Our time is stupid. The cities are ugly, the jobs moronic, the culture idiotic. We want a war on stupidity and bad decision-making, and associate it with the stupid people we see among us.
We also live in a time of lies. IQ is denied, as well as most other natural and intelligent things. When people “wake up” from the stupor of egalitarianism, they react as does any consumer who has been defrauded: with injured rage.
The temptation is to make a continental mass grave to remind future humans not to go down this path because it ends badly. This arises as much from the perception that all decency and truth are lost on this world, and that all is futile, which produces a suffocating rage.
A more sensible view is that we could divide the useful from the useless. A janitor who does his job in a conscientious way and does not live like a degenerate is necessary just as a rocket scientist is, but people of any intelligence level who are given to evil merely thwart the realization of the good.
This would be done informally, in a natural method, if applied intelligently. A hierarchy of natural leaders would be set up; they would decide who to retain, and send the others away. Those who could not find a place would have to relocate to easier places to live, like the third world.
Friday, September 9th, 2016
Some years ago, a popular science writer named Malcolm Gladwell penned a book in which he insinuated — short of outright claiming — that what made epic talent was practicing a certain number of hours. In his view, because the greats did this, it meant that it was what made them great.
We call that “blank slate” reasoning because it assumes that people are identical in ability. Our society must assume that, because it is based on the assumption of human equality, and ability serves as a proxy for wealth and power. Therefore, we must pretend that everyone is the same, even though when it is time to choose a doctor we want a smart and naturally talented one.
Gladwell has one massive talent, and that is recognizing the crest of a wave created by a notion that will flatter people that is about to float into public consciousness. What the top ten percent knew twenty years ago will become available to the lower ninety percent today, and the writer who scripts it in an engaging text will get quite rich.
Against the blank slate assumption however have emerged a number of challengers, especially The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. In this view, people are not equal; genes determine abilities, and some people get more of this or more of that than others, in a matter of degree. This explains how some people have genius or talent that can be shaped by those hours of practice.
On the topic of genius studies, a recent article on the innate nature of genius hammers a further nail into the coffin of the blank slate:
“Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,” says Jonathan Wai, a psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program in Durham, North Carolina, which collaborates with the Hopkins centre. Wai combined data from 11 prospective and retrospective longitudinal studies2, including SMPY, to demonstrate the correlation between early cognitive ability and adult achievement. “The kids who test in the top 1% tend to become our eminent scientists and academics, our Fortune 500 CEOs and federal judges, senators and billionaires,” he says.
Such results contradict long-established ideas suggesting that expert performance is built mainly through practice — that anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind. SMPY, by contrast, suggests that early cognitive ability has more effect on achievement than either deliberate practice or environmental factors such as socio-economic status.
Since democracy inevitably mutates from the idea of “political equality,” or treating everyone the same by making them go through a bureaucratic process, to the notion of “actual equality,” or the mistaken thought that people are identical in ability, the notion of democracy — and related notions of class warfare, diversity, sexual equality and pluralism — will die with the blank slate.
For that reason, the Left and the everyday useful idiots who fear change are hanging on with their fingernails to the idea that Gladwell advanced, which is that you can take any human and run him through the right education, instill in him the right opinions, and make him undertake 10,000 hours of practice and he will be a genius. The reality is the opposite: a genius, if not deprived of the ability to practice extensively, will gift us with acts of genius, where the average person will merely occupy space that displaces geniuses in a society based on equality.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
If Plato is the origin of conservative thinking, then we might construe conservatism as the discipline of failure studies: looking at how human groups and ventures fail in order to avoid that path and in fact go the other direction toward not just avoiding failure, but achieving excellence.
To some of us, this study takes precedence over all else because of the historical fact that civilization has a zero percent survival rate over time. Societies fail by succeeding, and this means that we are looking at a counter-intuitive problem, or one for which conventional methods will fail.
Bruce Charlton has been for many years a theorist of this and other issues, and a hidden hero of the post-1990s (“boomerpocalypse”) conservative revolution. When the Left assumed total control after the fall of the Soviet Union, those who were not Leftist found themselves struggling to keep up with a rapidly changing world.
Charlton’s most recent book, written with Adjunct Professor of the Anthropology of Religion and Finnish Culture at Oulu University Edward Dutton, tackles this ancient problem with an entirely new view: that whether as cause or effect of our decline, our civilization is hurtling toward disaster through the elimination of genius.
En route to that explanation, The Genius Famine also convincingly looks into the psychology of genius and corrects several pop culture misconceptions through careful deconstruction and re-assembly of key terms used to describe those of high intelligence, genius and creativity. This part alone makes the book worth reading, since other than Maurice Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness, there are few insightful analyses of the mental state and activity of genius.
Most importantly, the book states the seemingly obvious — geniuses are biologically altruistic, meaning that they help their tribe stay motivated to work together, and their innovations provide a means by which a society (especially Western Civilization) can overcome the challenges thrust at it. Charlton and Dutton establish a unique role for genius.
The benefits yielded by genius are not obtainable in any other way. (229)
This book has been previously reviewed on this site by a highly competent writer who did an excellent job. What follows after the brief introduction above is an exploration of some of the many insightful moments in the book, which is available online as an etext.
Perhaps a favorite moment for readers of this blog can be found in the following savagely accurate analysis of exactly why modernity is so miserable and unbearable for anyone remotely intellectually awake:
In a society of declining intelligence, we would expect: rising crime and corruption; decreasing civic participation and lower voter turn-out; higher rates of illegitimacy; poorer health and greater obesity, an increased interest in the instinctive, especially sex; greater political instability and decline in democracy; higher levels of social conflict; higher levels of selfishness and so a decline in any welfare state; a growing unemployable underclass; falling educational standards; and a lack of intellectualism and thus decreasing interest in education as a good in itself. We would also expect more and more little things to go wrong that we didn’t used to notice: buses running out of petrol, trains delayed, aeroplanes landing badly, roads not being repaired, people arriving late and thinking it’s perfectly okay; several large and lots of little lies . . . (185)
This passage explains the “death by a thousand cuts” of modernity: every day, things get a little worse and less competent. We start seeing the intricate web of inter-reliance by institutions falling apart. And then, we reach third world conditions, where everyone is selfish and foolish and society as a whole falls apart.
Charlton has described “the now,” or at least the time since about 1990, perfectly. We are in a declining society which will end up a third-world state, in which people are selfish and few are competent. The voices we relied on to give us direction and reveal the meaning in life — the geniuses — are gone.
How we got here, in his view, was through a process of dysgenics:
In other words, until about 1800 only the minority of people with (on average) the ‘best genes’ (i.e. the lowest mutation load) would be able to survive and reproduce; and among the great majority of the population only a very small proportion of their offspring (averaging much less than two, probably less than one, per woman) would survive to a healthy adulthood, reproduce and raise children of their own. In this context, which was for almost all of human history until about two hundred years ago; both new and inherited deleterious mutations were filtered-out, or purged, from the population every generation by this very harsh form of natural selection. (39)
He covers both sides of the equation: first, deleterious mutations accumulated through a lack of natural selection process based on competence and second, owing to the misery and bureaucratic nature of modernity, the intelligent ceased to reproduce at high numbers. This reversed the gains of previous centuries in which the lower intelligence portions of the population had few children survive to breeding age.
This view presents a new spin on ancient wisdom. As societies grow more powerful, they save everyone from natural selection, and in doing so impose their own form of unnatural selection, which rewards those who breed recklessly. This leads to a population in which intelligence declines, and soon, the intelligent become marginalized.
Even more importantly, and more relevant to the “It’s a trap!” perspective on civilization and progress, Charlton and Dutton identify the bureaucratic nature of an advanced society as responsible for elimination of genius. It replaces those with Head Girls, who are sort of like British honor students and over-achievers, who are good at everything on the surface back lack depth in their approach.
According to these authors, what distinguishes genius is its Endogenous approach, or a self-starting mentality that finds fulfillment in beating difficult tasks and by doing so, increasing the health and prospects of the civilization around them. Head Girls do not do this; they act in self-interest alone, and conform to what others expect of them, which is exactly what bureaucracies and commerce desire:
Indeed modern institutions are not even trying to select primarily by intelligence – the reality of which they often deny; but instead are implicitly – by the nature of their evaluations – and also by explicitly-stated policies – selecting on other grounds, especially for the ‘Head Girl’ personality – the conscientious, empathic, socially integrated all-rounders. Modern society is, of course, run by Head Girls, of both sexes (plus a smattering of charming or charismatic psychopaths), hence there is no assigned place for the creative genius. Modern colleges aim at recruiting Head Girls, so do universities, so does science, so do the arts, so does the mass media, so does the legal profession, so does medicine, so does the military. And in doing so, except insofar as they make errors; they filter-out and exclude even the possibility of creative genius. (189)
The civilization that has succeeded moves from being a cooperative venture to an inclusive one. At that point, it begins to focus on control, or making people follow a centralized agenda rather than interpreting general principles in specific ways. With this, society finds it more useful to have obedient people than genius ones.
This not only deprives society of an essential function, that of genius, but also puts it into a tailspin as intelligence declines and consequently, it begins to approximate a third-world state:
Working with Charlton, Michael Woodley discovered an already-published survey of historical reaction time data that demonstrated a striking slowing of sRTs from the time of Francis Galton in the late nineteenth century until the late 20th century.
This data carried the strong implication that there had been a rapid and substantial decline in intelligence over the past hundred-plus years – and opened-up a new field of research which Woodley has been actively pursuing ever since. (167)
These researchers have used reaction time as a proxy for intelligence, since faster nerve response correlates with higher intelligence. Through that lens, they can see what IQ tests — which are normalized to a control group — cannot, namely that over time, Europeans have been declining in ability exactly as the eugenicists predicted.
Charlton and Dutton take a nuanced view of IQ testing and other intelligence proxies. They explain the utility of these assessments, but also, how genius is measured differently: a collection of traits, explained in greater specificity than the usual modern methods, that make a self-directed, highly creative individual who is focused on abstract thinking in lieu of the social thinking with which most of us burn our time and energy.
These unconventional creative geniuses offer more to society than mere innovation. The Genius Famine theorizes that artistical/cultural geniuses serve to unify the tribe, giving society a leg up in endurance and depth, while technical geniuses are responsible for the big breakthroughs that later are explored through “micro-innovations” by those who expand upon the original notion.
Without these contributions, society self-destructs:
But as intelligence continues to decline, then growth in productivity will reverse into decline and inefficiency, as the ability of people to sustain, repair, even to maintain, the highly technical, specialized and coordinated world civilization will be lost, just as occurred with the fall of Western Roman civilization; when agricultural and industrial production and trade all collapsed, the standard of living and population plummeted, and general technical and organizational levels took more than a millennium to recover. (181-182)
The Genius Famine ranks as essential reading for anyone concerned with the fall of civilization and how to resurrect it. Expertly written, in a seemingly offhand but intensely analytical style, it does not grow old or slow as a reading experience but instead offers new revelations on nearly every page. This makes it an exhausting read, best sampled in small doses, but a highly rewarding one.
As Western civilization awakens from its slumber, the postmortem on its failure will be vast. The Genius Famine offers an important part of the picture, although as others have written, there are non-biological causes as well. In any case, it shows us how progress leads us away from the organic power of intelligence and in that choice, to our doom.
Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
I admire your writing and eagerly read it whenever I can. You are the writer I wish I could be: clear, crisp, succinct and hard-hitting. Your insights are many and I have re-read them over the years to not only great appreciation but greater enjoyment.
I fear, however, that you are off-course on the following statement:
Perhaps if the media had not shrunk from reporting on the flash mob phenomenon and the related “knockout game”—in which teenagers tried to knock out unsuspecting bystanders with a single sucker punch—we might have made a modicum of progress in addressing or at least acknowledging the real cause of black violence: the breakdown of the family. A widely circulated video from yesterday’s mayhem shows a furious mother whacking her hoodie-encased son to prevent him from joining the mob. This tiger mom may well have the capacity to rein in her would-be vandal son. But the odds are against her. Try as they might, single mothers are generally overmatched in raising males. Boys need their fathers. But over 72 percent of black children are born to single-mother households today, three times the black illegitimacy rate when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his prescient analysis of black family breakdown in 1965.
You are wrong in the best way, which is that you get so much right. Everything you say is true, but it is not the whole truth.
I was a witness to the LA riots in the 1990s. The behavior there was the same as in Baltimore: a half-hearted protest that quickly devolved into the dream of every liberal, which is a time when the rules do not apply and everything is free for the taking. Solipsistic people, of which liberals are a subset, do not realize that when the rules go away, they too are likely to be victims and stop enjoying the effects that rules are the causes of. They think it will be anarchy with grocery stores, with themselves at the top; in reality, it will be anarchy among burnt ruins, with liberals serving as tasty Eloi for the munching.
In those riots, the beating of Rodney King — who needed to be beaten to restrain him from continuing his trail of destruction across 50 miles of LA and two black-eyed ex-wives — served as the touchstone for days of rioting culminating mostly in the destruction of the neighborhoods in which predominantly African-Americans lived, much as the Baltimore riots will deprive the poorer residents of shoe stores, drug stores and liquor stores. A touchstone however is not a cause; it is a symbolic event that allows a crowd to organize and finalize its simplistic plan. The actual causes lay much deeper.
Before the IQ and HBD types hit me with a spittoon here let me say that yes, your facts are also true, but like Heather, you have missed the point. I do not deny you but I see your arguments as tangential.
Let me portray for you how it appears to be a minority in society:
You are a captured and defeated people. The wealth here and the laws that protect you are things you could not invent for yourselves. The leaders who do well are not of your people. You are protected by laws that are inherently condescending, and you face a Damoclean choice with police: either they treat you like children and let you get away with murder, which is infuriating, or they force you to obey the rules of the majority, which is humiliating. You face the same choice with personal behavior. You can have your culture and identity but forever be an outsider, a freak to the majority, or you can assimilate and appear to be something exactly as nasty as the term “oreo” implies, someone who gave up who they were to be an Uncle Tom. This applies to every minority in every country and it is why throughout history diversity has been a red flag of the failure of an empire, not its “strength” as our zombie-robot politicians claim.
There is no solution for this situation.
Yes, Heather and HBD types, you can chip away at the edges and talk about the black family and moving people into the middle class. But they will still be a conquered and defeated people, and they will still be seen as collaborators with the regime. In a diverse society, one group must be on top. If a majority decides to cede control, it must do so fully, and then will find itself resenting the other groups. Diversity is a mental trap, a quagmire of policy from which there is no escape. That is: there is no way to make it work, even if we implemented all of your ideas tomorrow with 100% efficiency.
I refer to this as a “second layer” of denial. The first layer of denial is what is publicly acceptable to say. The second layer is what becomes uncovered once one throws away the first layer. For American conservatives, the first layer has been the illusion that we are all the same and the only reason for disproportionate arrests is “racist” policing. We have now done away with that, and admitted a behavioral problem in many communities. But that layer may be denial too, where we are blaming an intermediate for a cause much removed. That cause is diversity itself.
As I have said for decades now, the problem with “race relations” in America is not African-Americans. Even if they do everything right and ascend to the average IQ and behavior of the Japanese or Finns, they will still be outsiders or cuckolds, depending on which of the Damoclean two paths diverging in a yellow wood that they take. There is no way for diversity to work. The only solution is separation, which I believe requires reparations and repatriation to native continents.
I realize that all of what I have said above cannot be said in your columns. You would lose your job. This is one of the reasons — other than the fact that you are the better writer — that I remain an underground blogger and you are in the headlines. I write this merely for your consideration because I know that you, like most who seek truth, will acknowledge it on some level and may be able to use it to see a brighter path for an otherwise moribund policy.
Monday, March 9th, 2009
Mike Judge, director.
20th Century Fox, $8
At the urging of a friend, I checked out this movie. When it was first described to me, what shocked me was how predictable it was: in the scene being explained to me by others, I could tell exactly what was going to happen and couldn’t believe the absurdity of it. Now I see how this is the strength of this movie.
This film is somewhat of an exercise in sadomasochism. There is delight in the stupidity of others, and a “2 minutes hate” style mentality toward them for being idiots. There is also a sense of predictability in the consistent stupidity of these characters, and it shocks us because we’re accustomed to ignoring stupidity even after someone does a blatantly stupid thing, and then being surprised when they do another, because that’s sociable. At the same time, even the predictable is made hilarious with over-the-top absurdity, and so there’s a delight in seeing what many of us believe will be the downfall of humanity: because we’re all socially equal, we cannot attack stupid behaviors and stupid people or we face the wrath of the crowd, thus over time our civilization itself becomes dumb as bricks.
Plotline summaries are easy to find, but for a quick rundown, this movie takes place when an average Joe and a below-average Jospephine find themselves in the future, where everyone is brick stupid. There’s a bizarre caricature of Barack Obama meets Hulk Hogan for the president; the average people resemble Beavis and Butthead, but worse; all functions of society have decayed according to the whims of a population that is too easily convinced of lies. And that is the first task for anyone in the land of the stupid: to lie simply and convincingly.
Although movies are so obvious by the nature of the medium that we’ve all become accustomed to sitting through the obvious in case the special effects are good, this movie is a drubbing with the obvious. It’s not about the future, or rather, the future isn’t a distant binary state — it’s a gradient, and we’re on the part that is steadily darkening with stupidity (there are strong undertones of Platonic eugenics to this film). That is why while I would not leap to see this again, I might purchase it for friends because it’s as valuable a container of truth as many works of literature.