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This post was edited by Ninja-Turtles at 2014-11-22 15:14|
Social ‘science’ blasted
A review of:
Richard LYNN & Tatu VANHANEN (2012), Intelligence: a Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences -- London NW10 : Ulster Institute for Social Research. ISBN 978-0-9568811-8-2. Pp. xiv + 530.
By: Chris BRAND (2012), in IQ & PC
By 1985, it was not only known to, but pretty readily demonstrable by differential psychologists that general intelligence (g) was, after sex, the most important variable in human life. It correlated with a wide range of variables including literacy, numeracy, socio-ecomic status (SES), marital choice, musical taste, liberalism, irreligiosity, sense of humour, leadership, interests, voluntary migration, military rank, response to psychotherapy, supermarket shopping ability, talking speed, procreative restraint (Van Court & Bean -- though disputed by a postwar generation of epidemiologists), infant survival and adult longevity.
It correlated substantially with educational and occupational achievement even when parental SES was controlled for (contrary to the fond beliefs of sociologists). It was sometimes predictive of these variables – notably forecasting children’s later rise (or fall) as adults from their fathers’ SES. Wilson & Herrnstein had put the cherry on the cake by showing IQ was a key factor in law-abidingness (formerly doubted by a generation of criminologists).
In Intelligence: a Unifying Construct for the Social Science, Richard Lynn (U.Ulster) and Tatu Vanhanen (U.Tampere) (of 2002 IQ & the Wealth of Nations fame) fortify the thesis of IQ’s importance by putting together their data on national IQs with figures routinely calculated by armies of state-funded statisticians (themselves IQ-disdaining) in modern times on national wealth, creativity, incorruptibility, health, security, democratization and general well-being.
Because group averages bypass the unreliability of data from individuals, correlations zoom impressively from .35 to .65. And the fact that L&V’s IQ data were collected around 1985 mean that they are now plainly predictive of the latest international survey figures from WHO, UNICEF, OECD, UNDP, WDI, Freedom House, Newsweek etc. Whereas the ‘science’ of economics reliably fails to predict or explain anything, IQ can claim a century of success.
Not that L&V are much concerned actually to demonstrate causation – and certainly not to casual readers or critics. They simply take the very reasonable line that national good fortune is largely associated with IQ but that other factors such as mineral wealth, tourism, foreign investment and avoidance of communism have an independent if much smaller statistical role to play.
Yet L&V’s voluminous tables and references and tireless repetitions will enable other scholars to pursue more exotic enquiries – assisted by the book’s helpful scattergrams which would, to attentive scholars, enable pinpointing of the often quite small number of countries that contribute particularly to its .65 correlations.
Yes, there are also discoveries here. The most notable is perhaps that clean water and sanitation are correlated. strongly with national IQ yet not with prosperity or ‘equality,’ leading L&V understandably to the suggestion that IQ is the main causal factor on these variables and that improvements in them will be unlikely to raise IQ. (Any second edition could analyze the correlation between democratization and IQ in view of the failure of the West’s enforced democratization of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.}
Amusingly, L&V also report that national IQ is associated with observed walking speeds and with the speed with which service is delivered at post offices.
Engagingly, the book concludes with a convenient summary of the ‘out of Africa’ thesis as to how racial differences in g arose evolutionarily as escaping Africans encountered cold weather – though rather ignoring that if high IQ had actually developed among Bushmen and South Sea islanders ‘evolutionary psychology’ would promptly have put this down to the fierce selection pressures of finding water twelve feet underground and of navigating the Pacific without a sail.
Finally, the boot is put firmly into the social ‘scientific’ rump – if with insufficient attention to the pathetic inadequacies and frauds of ‘social anthropology.’ Why: the remarkable assiduous work of L&V over a decade might one day persuade the West’s lately pro-mixed-ability-teaching educationists to resume their one-time enthusiastic acknowledgment (in Cyril Burt’s days) of the importance of differentiation according to IQ.