- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 0 Hour
- Reading permission
Various theories have been proposed to explain this. One was that children have become “test wise,” that is, they have simply got better at taking tests even if they are actually less intelligent. This is unlikely, though, because two- to six-year-olds, who have not had time to become “test wise,” get higher scores, too. Another theory was that children were maturing more rapidly, showing an IQ gain over children of earlier decades, but that their adult IQ scores were no higher. Wrong again. Adults get higher scores, too. |
Prof. Lynn believes that improved nutrition accounts for the rise, and that this masks the genetic deterioration that must be taking place. Genetic intelligence has been declining, but phenotypic intelligence — its expression in human beings — has been rising. Prof. Lynn likens this to planting worse and worse seeds but getting ever-larger harvests by pouring on more and more fertilizer.
Nutrition has diminishing returns, however, and can raise IQ by only so much; Prof. Lynn points out that Flynn-Effect gains have stopped in most developed countries. Denmark, for example, which tests all young men for military conscription, is typical: It found that average IQ peaked in 1998, with a gentle decline since then. Prof. Lynn believes further declines are inevitable as the effects of dysgenic fertility begin to bite. Poor countries, on the other hand, can look forward to Flynn-Effect increases as their diets improve.
Galton considered crime a manifestation of
The early eugenicists recognized that high achievement requires not just intelligence but also persistence and self-discipline, which they called “character.” Again, they had no tools for measuring character but were convinced that the upper classes had more of it than the lower classes, and that dysgenic fertility meant deterioration in character.
Today, there are various ways to measure what psychologists call “conscientiousness.” One is by using pencil-and-paper tests, which give surprisingly consistent and reliable results. Conscientiousness is, indeed, correlated with social class and is highly heritable, just like intelligence. Twin studies and adoption studies of the kind that measure the heritability of intelligence suggest that about two-thirds of the variation in conscientiousness is due to genes, and one-third to environment. For example, one adoption study found that the level of psychopathic personality — considered the opposite of conscientiousness — of the biological mother was a three-times better predictor of psychopathic personality in a child than was the level of psychopathy of the adopting mother.
Smoking, alcoholism, obesity, sexually transmitted disease, and illegitimate childbearing are also considered signs of low conscientiousness because people with strong wills usually avoid these things. Not surprisingly, they are found more often in the lower and working classes. In like manner, it is typical to find that working-class children prefer a small reward now rather than a large reward later, whereas upper-class children have the discipline to forego a small reward now for a bigger one later.
The famous Terman Study of the Gifted that identified 1,400 highly intelligent young Californians in 1921 and has tracked them ever since, found that those who did not achieve at high levels lacked conscientiousness. As Terman himself noted, “intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated.”
Criminality is another example of “bad character” and is likewise heritable. In one study, researchers found 41 female criminals who had given 52 babies up for adoption. They also found another sample of 52 adopted children from mothers of non-criminal but otherwise comparable women. All the children were adopted by non-criminal families. Seventeen of the children of criminals ended up with criminal records whereas none of the other children did. Prof. Lynn examines several similar studies and concludes that criminality is .68 heritable for men and .58 for women.
Eugenicists, of course, are curious to know whether criminals have more children than non-criminals, but Prof. Lynn was surprised to find that no one has ever researched this question. From the 1950s to the 1990s, when crime rates were rising quickly, this would have been an obvious area of study, but political considerations no doubt ruled it out. Prof. Lynn did find that criminals have more siblings than non-criminals, and has little doubt that crime-related genes have been spreading for many decades. Nor has there been a Flynn effect to counter genetic decline; during the 20th century crime rates soared in the developed world, just as eugenicists would have predicted.
Egalitarians are repelled by the thought, but social classes are genetically stratified. Egalitarians would rather believe that if upper-class children do better in life, it is because they got unfair advantages from their upper-class parents. However, as Prof. Lynn points out, one third of all children end up in a different social class from that of their parents — either up or down. A child’s IQ is a better predictor of where he will end up than is the social class of his parents.
Adoption studies support the importance of IQ: There is hardly any correlation between an adopted child’s eventual social level and that of his adoptive parents. There is a strong correlation with that of his biological parents.
Education has a high correlation with intelligence and social class, and Prof. Lynn offers eye-opening data on education and unplanned births. In 1998, American mothers who were high school dropouts admitted that no fewer than 58 percent of their births had been unplanned. The figures for high school graduates was 46 percent; for mothers with some college 39 percent; for college graduates 27 percent. It is likely always to be the case that the least educated will practice contraception least competently.
As the table on this page shows, Latin America has sharply dysgenic fertility. The “dysgenic ratio” is calculated by dividing the fertility of the group with the least education by the fertility of the group with the most. According to polls, Latin American mothers with little education are not having more children because they want them. Like their North American counterparts, they are having them by accident.