Lion of the Blogosphere

A short post about human intelligence

Intelligence is the ability to reason.

Intelligence is a genetically determined trait, much like height.

There are three ways to learn: by reasoning things out, by rote, and by mimicking. Because much (maybe most) learning is done via the reasoning method, intelligence is highly correlated with learning, and can even be defined as the ability to reason and learn.

Intelligent people can be bad at skills learned through mimicking, such as so-called social skills and speaking foreign languages.

Intelligent people have the ability to reason, but depending on their personality, there are many intelligent people who choose not to use their ability all the time.

The end.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Posted in Biology, Psychology

176 Responses

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  1. Super intelligent people like this guy http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/books/reading-strategy-kindle-verses-physical-books/ absorb and synthesize information much faster than normal people. Further lending credence to nature instead of nurture, is there’s macroscopic differences of the brain between a high IQ person and a low IQ one.

    grey enlightenment

    March 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

  2. “Intelligence is a genetically determined trait, much like height.”

    I would merely say intelligence is highly heritable. It sounds like you are saying intelligence is 100% heredity.

    Dan

    March 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    • Is height 100% hereditary? No, evidence is that if you feed your kids lots of milk and McDonalds hamburgers, they will grow taller than if you feed them a vegan diet. (I predict that bobos will become shorter in the future because of this.)

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 25, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      • People who give their children (or pets) vegan diets should be criminally prosecuted.

        peterike

        March 25, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      • @ peterike

        I know dogs can handle a vegan diet without any real trouble, though cats are another story. Either way, I think it’s stupid.

        To do it to a child is borderline abuse.

        Renault

        March 25, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      • If you give your kid lots of McDonalds hamburgers they are also more susceptible to obesity. If bobos are eating tons of SWPL foods (arugula, fresh fruit, quinoa, organic stuff, expensive cheeses, and sashimi) it just means that their kids will be less likely to be obese. I’d rather be short and thin than June Shannon.

        SC

        March 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      • They ARE criminally prosecuted… when their baby dies, that is.

        Jordan

        March 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      • The way I would say it is that genotypes capable of producing tall phenotypes are 100% inherited, but the genes need certain environmental inputs to be fully expressed.

        Given a sufficiently narrow range of possible childhood environments, the heritability of height approaches 100%. Given a sufficiently large range, it approaches 0%.

        SJ

        March 25, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      • That doesn’t mean it’s not 100 % hereditary.

        Consider this example: pink flamingos are pink because of the carotenoids in their diet (it’s the same stuff that eg makes some shrimp red). If a zoo feeds flamingos only some bird feed without those carotenoids the flamingos will just be white. So the color is 100 % environmental: without the right environment it simply does not happen and with the right environment it always happens. But only flamingos have the genes to transfer the stuff to their feathers: a swan or a seagull won’t turn pink just from eating shrimp. So it’s also 100 % hereditary!

        There’s a ton of confusion on this because biologists measure something called heritability with a simple percentage and when some “IQ is 50 % heritable” number gets paraded around the press people imagine that the other half is made up of making their kid listen to Mozart or feeding him some fashionable bobo diet or whatever. No. There’s no such thing as “heritability vs parent designed environment”. These numbers are heritability vs random chance. If they ever actually did discover that making a human child listen to Mozart boosts their adult IQ, that means they’d find more heritability, not less! Any parental intervention that actually works goes into the heritable percentage, not the other way around.

        The lesson that needs to be driven into people’s heads is that the more heritable a desirable trait is the better. The closer IQ is to 100 % heritability the better because whatever is heritable can be influenced at least in theory and whatever is non-heritable is random and cannot be influenced! Genes are not magic and every gene that influences height, IQ etc is going to be about coding this and that protein that influences this and that metabolic pathway from diet to body parts and so on; we’ll eventually develop ways to intervene in these processes when we identify individuals who have less genetic capability to absorb this and that nutrient…

        Jaakko Raipala

        March 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      • Height is for the most part hereditary. Italian Americans eat a lot of cheese and meat as their diet consists of pasta, cheese and meatballs, but they tend to be shorter than other Whites. Many Italian guys are squat, similar to Asian men and Latinos.

        JS

        March 25, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      • Women who are vegetarian while pregnant and nursing damage their children’s IQ.

        destructure

        March 26, 2014 at 3:46 AM

      • “People who give their children (or pets) vegan diets should be criminally prosecuted.”

        There are many perfectly healthy children on vegan diets, pregnant women who’ve given birth to fat healthy babies while eating vegan, not to mention any number of vegan bodybuilders who would put 99% of the guys here to shame. Yes, there have been some quacks who killed their kids feeding them lettuce diets but you’d kill your kids feeding them only 100 calories of hamburger a day, too. Meat isn’t necessarily unhealthy and is a convenient form of protein but people don’t need meat to survive or flourish.

        vegan avenger

        March 26, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      • There was actually a guy in Japan, Den Fujita, who spread this mantra. At that time McD’s was not known in Japan, and Fujita popularized this mantra that if the shorter Japanese ate lots of McD’s they would be as tall as the Americans. Fujita became the half owner of McDonalds Japan, and died a billionaire.

        Colmainen

        March 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      • At least here in Marin County, the evidence is that bobos eat plenty of meat. Custom butcher shops have proliferated in the last ten years, and Whole Foods is right in there with them.

        Tam

        March 26, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    • Ironically, the heritability of a trait depends on environment. If kids get vastly different levels of nutrition, school and parental quality, heritability will be smaller. If most kids get adequate nutrition and schooling (which the welfare state provides) heritability will be quite high. The latter situation is the one we are in now.

      BehindTheLines

      March 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

  3. I guess I don’t take issue with anything in Lion’s post. Here are some additional considerations:

    1) Intelligence is only partly hereditary. Non-genetic factors can even be more important than heredity depending on what type of “intelligence” you’re talking about. Which brings me to my next point:

    2) Intelligence can’t be defined very well. The ability to compose a song, design a bridge, negotiate a business deal, and perform a surgery are all applications of intelligence, but these applications don’t really intersect all that much. 25-year old Mozart was a musical genius (due in part to thousands of hours of practice from an extremely young age), but would have made an incompetent engineer or orthopedic surgeon compared to someone from the year 2014 with advanced training, education and experience.

    3) Intelligence can’t be measured with the same degree of rigor as height. “Psychometrics” isn’t a total pseudoscience, but it’s a very flawed, non-rigorous science.

    4) I’m sure there are experts who know about the biochemical pathways that cause people with gene X to be more intelligent than people who don’t have gene X… I have never seen this evidence presented in a comments section of a blog.

    Usually people say things like “Whites have an average IQ score that is one standard deviation above the average IQ score of blacks, therefore white people are genetically smarter.” This proves nothing about genetics and intelligence. Just because there is a correlation doesn’t mean there is a causal explanation.

    JWS

    March 25, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    • “Intelligence is only partly hereditary.”

      The world actually makes more sense if you think of intelligence the same way you think of height.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 25, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      • I agree that intelligence can be called heritable without the “partially” qualifier, but it is probably subject to many more environmental influences than height.

        Stealth

        March 25, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      • I think I would compare it to athletic ability. You can be born with the potential, but it still requires proper training to get the most out of it. In addition, a lot of hard work can make up for a lot.

        steve@steve.com

        March 25, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      • “…but it is probably subject to many more environmental influences than height…”

        exactly right. but what lion and his prolestan kin DON’T understand is that the effect od any one environmental influence will NOT be the same for everyone.

        the usual model that iq = aG + bE where a = sqrt(rho) and b = sqrt(1- rho) is ABSURD.

        G and E aren’t independent. the GxE to iq or other trait surface is only very roughly and very locally approximated by this linear equation.

        jorge videla

        March 25, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      • We don’t have any reason to take psychometrics as seriously as measurement of a physical trait like height.

        IQ tests do not have the precision or reliability of anything like physical measurements. Also, like I stated above, nobody actually understands the biological mechanisms that associate specific genes and “intelligence,” the “g” factor, or whatever. (At least not very clearly).

        Conversely, it seems there has been linkage between height and some specific genes identified by researchers http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00439-006-0136-y

        Just like you’d expect, a non-rigorous science like psychometrics (roughly “measurement of the mind” in Greek) does not have the power to make incredibly accurate predictions about real world phenomena compared to a rigorous science like, say, astrophysics.

        JWS

        March 26, 2014 at 1:08 AM

      • athletic ability is like psychological traits also in that what counts as ability varies with time and place.

        ability at higher maths has for almost all of human history been invisible. today it’s taken by its savants (like steve hsu) as the touchstone of cognitive ability in general.

        pele would never have been any kind of athlete let alone the greatest athlete ever had he been born in alabama rather than brazil.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 1:27 AM

      • “pele would never have been any kind of athlete let alone the greatest athlete ever had he been born in alabama rather than brazil.”

        Yeah, because it’s not like America was known for famous black athletes in the fifties, sixties, and seventies.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      • @ Jorge

        but what lion and his prolestan kin DON’T understand

        I’m going to have a word with some of the Turkish and Iranian people whom I know that the word Prolestan is officially in their lexicon for America – the nation of proles.

        Borat will come out with his sequel, and say “me in Prolestan now, originally come from Kazakhstan”.

        JS

        March 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    • I’m tempted to take apart your entire post, which could be easily and convincingly accomplished, but I’ll instead address one piece of completely faulty conjecture to hold up as an example of the flawed character of the entire post. I’m tired from refuting the recent blank-slate noise here.

      You said:

      “Mozart was a musical genius (due in part to thousands of hours of practice from an extremely young age), but would have made an incompetent engineer or orthopedic surgeon compared to someone from the year 2014 with advanced training, education and experience”

      Absolutely incorrect on both a factual level and in terms of rhetorical integrity.

      On a factual level, musical ability is correlated with math ability. Therefore, Mozart could have very likely made an excellent engineer or surgeon. Your point is unquestionably fallacious.

      On a rhetorical level, you have zero idea what Mozart’s innate intelligence was outside of his musical genius. To say that he would have made an incompetent engineer is moronic to believe as well as rhetorical nonsense to say the least.

      In fact, his exceedingly high facility for music makes it probable that he possessed additional above average modes of intelligence that could be measured if he were alive today. You then proceed to use “advanced training, education, and intelligence” as the modern standard against which Mozart’s probable capacity should be estimated. Sincerely, you’re a moron. I mean that. Debating you is not worth anyone’s time here. I’ll explain. You are comparing apples with oranges. If Mozart was alive in the modern day, he could have pursued attaining the apples if he chose to do so. To say someone would be innately incompetent in a possible career because they lack training and experience is like telling a five year old that they lack the ability to become a surgeon because they lack training and experience, or like telling us that Thomas Jefferson would have made a lousy pilot today because he lacked training and experience. You’re a true idiot, and I don’t throw around ad-hominems often or lightly. However, in this case, you fully deserve it. Be gone to a lower IQ portion of the internet.

      Frank

      March 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      • You misunderstood what I wrote. Notice I wrote “a 25-year old Mozart,” and I did not discuss Mozart’s “innate intelligence” just his competence as an adult. I used that example to illustrate that competence at doing something in the real world (which is a way more interesting subject than IQ) is one understanding of “intelligence” and is distinct from “innate intelligence.”

        Had you not made this mistake of reading comprehension, you could have saved your time writing this entire last paragraph, which does not address anything that I wrote.

        Since you either misread or did not understand my cross-historical example, I’ll use a current one that illustrates the same point just as well. “In 2014, a 55-year old Yo-Yo Ma could be considered a musical genius, due in part to extensive practice and training, but Mr. Ma would probably make a less competent orthopedic surgeon than someone at Johns Hopkins Hospital who has advanced training, education, and experience.” Both comparisons make the obvious and and irrefutable point that there are non-genetic influences on someone’s ability to do something.

        Everything you wrote is of course obvious and has added nothing to the discussion in this thread. I am only responding to point out that you did not read my post correctly.

        JWS

        March 26, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      • On a factual level, musical ability is correlated with math ability. Therefore, Mozart could have very likely made an excellent engineer or surgeon. Your point is unquestionably fallacious.

        I doubt the correlation’s that high. Blacks are good at rhythm music, but bad at math. Michael Jackson composed the world’s most popular music, but struggled with high school algebra.

        Bottledwater

        March 27, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    • Just like you’d expect, a non-rigorous science like psychometrics (roughly “measurement of the mind” in Greek) does not have the power to make incredibly accurate predictions about real world phenomena compared to a rigorous science like, say, astrophysics.

      Again, you’re not bright. they do have an ability to predict real world consequences (I’ve substituted consequences for your imprecise use of the word “phenomena” to describe human life events and states – but precision of thought is obviously not your strong suit and so it’s okay). They very much can predict consequences. However, to illustrate, the closer that two different IQ measurements are the less likely that any particular state of affairs can be predicted between two groups of individuals (such as poverty, career type, and violence). For instance, there is likely not a reliable difference in the number of surgeons in people that tend to fall in the second standard deviation and the low or mid end of the third standard deviation on any widely used test of intelligence. Your mistake, whether purposeful or not, is akin to comparing a 125 and 130 IQ individual and telling me that there is no ability to predict life outcomes between these two individuals. That’s correct. However, it is incorrect to extrapolate the conclusion that IQ tests cannot predict statistical outcomes within groups.

      As the average IQ scores between groups begin to differ more greatly, the predictive power increases. The predictive power is so strong, that it holds 100% true even for individuals for some achievements. There are no people with a 75 IQ that are surgeons or engineers. None. An IQ test can predict with 100% reliability that a person who scores 75 on that test will not become a surgeon or an engineer. That’s fairly amazing. At group level, these predictions carry to economic status, violence, and other standards of achievement of functional social behavior.

      Frank

      March 26, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      • “The predictive power is so strong, that it holds 100% true even for individuals for some achievements. There are no people with a 75 IQ that are surgeons or engineers. None. An IQ test can predict with 100% reliability that a person who scores 75 on that test will not become a surgeon or an engineer.”

        Jorgeous will be in here soon, Frank, to tell you that some of the finest aboriginal witch doctors he knows have IQs below 75.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      • Witch doctors probably have higher IQ than the average members of their tribe.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 26, 2014 at 9:07 PM

      • Once again, you have made a mistake of reading comprehension. I did not write that “psychometrics does not have the ability to predict real-world consequences.”

        I’m sure you understand that someone can say “Psychometrics does not make predictions to the same degree of accuracy as other scientific disciplines” without implying that psychometrics does not have the ability to make predictions.

        That psychometrics does not have a lot of predictive power is a frequent critique. It is not original to me.

        http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/07/does-iq-testing-work-or-not-work.html

        Steve Sailer writes a Q&A about IQ and states: “Q. So, do IQ tests predict an individual’s fate?
        A. In an absolute sense, not very accurately at all.”

        I thought the rest of your comment was sort of interesting. Once again, it is completely irrelevant to anything that I wrote in my comment.

        Finally, I’m going to make a note that this is the second comment where you have attributed something to me that I did not write.

        JWS

        March 26, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      • Lion,

        “Witch doctors probably have higher IQ than the average members of their tribe.”

        Lighten up. It was a joke.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      • witch doctors, aboriginals, neanderthals, whatever have no iqs. to speak of the iq of such is to make a category mistake. that is, unless you’ve got an iq test tailored to them.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      • Jorgeous Jorge,

        “witch doctors, aboriginals, neanderthals, whatever have no iqs. to speak of the iq of such is to make a category mistake. that is, unless you’ve got an iq test tailored to them.”

        Category mistake? I can see working under the assumption that neanderthals aren’t human and don’t have anything we would recognize as intelligence, but witch doctors and aborigines?

        Even animals have testable, consistent, variated scores on tests designed to look for intelligence.

        If we can get it for animals, we can get them for witch doctors, aborigines, and even for you, Jorgeous.

        Pincher Martin

        March 27, 2014 at 8:47 PM

  4. If you can have a nation of really tall people such as the Dutch, can you have a nation of really smart people too?

    ASF

    March 25, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    • Such as the Dutch?

      XVO

      March 25, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      • @XVO

        The Dutch are known for their height. I’m fairly tall at 190cm (male, obviously) but feel pretty average in Holland. A friend of mine is Dutch, 194cm tall, and he doesn’t feel particularly tall there either.

        Yossi

        March 26, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    • Based on my experience, Israel is such a country. Not every Israeli is smart but there are many very, very smart people there. For context, I’ve spent extended periods of time in Continental Europe, the UK, the Antipodes, the United States and Israel.

      Yossi

      March 26, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      • Educated Iranians seem smarter than Israelis, at least the ones who were exchanging friendships with them, while Netanyahu wanted to bomb Iran. Netanyahu called Iran a “nuclear duck” and Iranians responded back that there was no such thing as a nuclear duck, this species doesn’t exist. Israelis could only laugh.

        Israel isn’t really a pretty country to say the least. You can’t compared it to Greece and definitely not with Spain in an aesthetic sense. It’s still “unevolved”.

        JS

        March 26, 2014 at 11:21 PM

  5. “Intelligent people can be bad at skills learned through mimicking, such as so-called social skills and speaking foreign languages”

    This is good observation. The same kind of reasoning saved my residency application when I was challenged by interview. The interviewer asked me:”Dont you think your communication skill will severely damage your ability as physician in this country?” I asked back by saying:”A gheto guy who speaks perfect English but can not solve simple high school math problem; A guy who makes very accurate diagnosis and does perfect surgery without infection and accidents but speak imperfect English. Who would you choose as your surgeon?. I told him that the answer is always clear for me. He gave me a big smile which is pretty much sign of aproval. He started tell me about most political incorrect thing in the world. Yes, he is white with German/Irish heritage. He asked me to keep our conversation confidential since what he said could get him fired. He had no problem telling me about racial difference in IQ since he felt he could trust me. He was neurosurgeon/neuroscientist. But he kept his public comment correct.

    You can judge people’s intelligence based on presentation. Low IQ people tend to use lower part of their brain which is mostly emotional driven. If their arguments are mostly based on emotional factors, they are very likely low IQ types. Their points tend to be based on their feeling than fact. Any thing they like must be truth. Any thing they do not like must be false. Their judgement is etremely simple. Certainly these kind of people can not be given critical task to perform. High IQ people use more logic (or reasoning) than emotion. They can accept truth or fact not in their favor.

    Low IQ type also can not see thing from others perspective (often lack of empathy). They tend to project their own feeling on to others. In their mind is like this, if I like it, you must like it too, If I hate it, you must hate it too. For them, it is imposible to have other people with different taste or understanding. This kind of thinking actually make them extremely judgmental on every thing since they could not see thing any other way.

    The clue for studipity is a lot of `like’ ‘dislike’ ‘ love’ ‘hate’ emotional words in their presentation. Stronger emotion, lower the IQ.

    IC

    March 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    • I heard anecdotally that foreign language fluency (learned after adolescence) has little correlation with g. In other words, one can only know English and have a high SAT Verbal score. Theoretically, this makes sense, since verbal ability is essentially concept fluency and the ability to comprehend, formulate, and dissect verbal arguments.

      Latias

      March 25, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      • Then why are many monolingual Americans dumb?

        JS

        March 25, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      • Most ultrasmart Americans are monolingual.

        Renault

        March 25, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      • I meant to say that knowing plenty of languages is not indicative of high verbal ability.

        Latias

        March 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      • It could be a measure of many things. Many Hispanics and 1st gen immigrants are bilingual, but they come across as less intelligent. But someone with a high IQ and is bilingual, might be smarter than a peer who is not.

        JS

        March 25, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    • Excellent points!

      E. Rekshun

      March 25, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    • I find that high IQ individuals are just as likely to be driven by base emotions, it’s just that they’re better able to advance their arguments, justify their biases, rationalize contradictory information, and mentally reinforce whatever beliefs they’re emotionally invested in.

      Brian Sumpter

      March 25, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      • Thanks, Mike Shermer.

        Renault

        March 25, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    • “communication skill” is a term used only by morons. it doesn’t really mean anything at all.

      jorge videla

      March 25, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      • “[communication skill] doesn’t really mean anything at all.”

        That’s certainly true of you, Jorgeous Jorge. Especially when you have a drink in your hand.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 1:11 AM

  6. No no no.. everyone knows IQ is all down to education and unfair advantages in childhood.

    No, not really. But that’s the standard reply you’ll get from just about everyone in the UK. I’ve had sooo many arguments on line about this. Head, brick wall.

    I don’t think the burgers would make them much taller, a decent steak and veg would probably be more effective. And I agree with Peterike, persecute vegan parents.

    mathilda37

    March 25, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    • you and lion and steve hsu are morons.

      a cactus rots in the desert. a red wood sears in the desert.

      this isn’t a riddle to non-morons.

      jorge videla

      March 25, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      • This is probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on this blog.

        Renault

        March 25, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      • “This is probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on this blog.”

        Keep reading him and you’ll find him consistently idiotic. But he grows on you like a fungus.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      • i’ll explain the meaning of this riddle to you if you ask.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      • jorge, starting of by calling someone a moron is not the way to encourage communication.

        Surely a cactus doesn’t rot in the desert, but in a forest.

        mathilda37

        March 27, 2014 at 5:29 AM

      • Ah, roots in the desert maybe?

        There’s been a lot of work showing that IQ is largely inherited. We do grasp that given an awful environment with malnutrition and no education it will negatively affect brain function, as will a brain injury and illness. But in most people in the west this doesn’t happen, and intelligence is mainly dictated by genetics at this time.

        Which, when you think about it, the high heritability means we’ve managed to improve the environment to the necessary level for ‘sufficient fair start’ for the vast majority of people. Pat on the back for Western civilization.

        Taking an anti-genetic stance means you think that people with fragile X and Down’s syndrome are equally capable of becoming a neurosurgeon/particle physicist as someone without. Not reductio ad absurdum, this is what a non-genetic cause for IQ leads to when followed to it’s logical conclusion. Of course IQ has lot to do with your genes, it’s truly ridiculous to think it doesn’t.

        Jorge, when arguing with the people here you might get taken more seriously if you post data that contradicts rather than rhetoric. After a long time debating I’ve learned that rhetoric unfailingly means ‘lack of supporting evidence’, and I just glaze over. As will any practiced debater. A fact is a fact no matter how ugly it is, and a rant is a rant no matter how eloquent it is.

        mathilda37

        March 27, 2014 at 5:53 AM

      • mathilda. you’re right. i thought i had posted “…forest…desert…”

        but you still don’t understand.

        i’ll explain it if you ask.

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      • hint: it’s impossible to unbake a cake.

        perhaps it’s subtle. but it isn’t subtle for geneticists. only for psychrologists. but there are a few psychrologists who get it.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00545l3
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00545l3

        i remember a geneticist came on after charles murray discussing the bell curve on charlie rose. he basically said murray was a moron.

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      • that second in our time link should have been for this http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p005461w.

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      • “i remember a geneticist came on after charles murray discussing the bell curve on charlie rose. he basically said murray was a moron.”

        Well, that explains a lot about your thinking, Jorgeous. You’ve been taking your intellectual cues from watching Charlie Rose.

        The only genetic concept that Murray and Herrnstein used was heritability. They used it correctly, and did not apply it to the most controversial chapter in their book on race.

        Pincher Martin

        March 27, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      • if i watch tv at all it might as well be charlie rose. do you suggest the 700 club or fox news?

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 11:13 PM

  7. Also, have you noticed how people trying to push environmental IQ uniformly stick to studies of children? They must know that it becomes more inherited with age, anyone familiar enough with the data to argue effectively has to be. I keep seeing what can only be deliberate obfuscation and misinformation on that side of the debate.

    mathilda37

    March 25, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    • there are no environmetalists, but there are hereditists.

      jorge videla

      March 27, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      • Wrong again, Jorgie. Or as you might put it … FALSE !

        Pincher Martin

        March 27, 2014 at 9:01 PM

  8. It is combination of both. You can argue what percentage is nature and what is nurture, but saying 100% nurture or 100% nature does not make sense. You cannot give IQ test to a person that does not know how to read and write. Also, you need to cram certain amount of knowledge into person’s brain to be at least familiar with concepts on IQ test. You will not be able to do it effectively beyond certain age. This is why foreign born folks show poor command of English and cannot get rid of accent. Past certain age many regions of brain are effectively locked. This is also the reason why American folks students are not good with math/science – they start doing it too late.

    MyTwoCents

    March 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    • The world makes more sense if you think of intelligence as being hereditary and not spend time worrying about the difference between 80% and 100%.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 25, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      • “You cannot give IQ test to a person that does not know how to read and write.”

        Raven’s Progressive Matrices is highly correlated with IQ, and you don’t need to be able to read or write to take it. It’s essentially a test of an individual’s ability to recognize patterns.

        I’m a layman among laymen as far as commenters on blogs like Lion’s go, and I’ve found these two books to be great introductions to IQ testing:

        Seligman’s ‘A Question of Intelligence’

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0788157124?pc_redir=1395217204&robot_redir=1

        And the book on Jensen for people who don’t have the background to understand ‘The G Factor.’

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0813342740?pc_redir=1395642337&robot_redir=1

        Robert

        March 25, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      • I strongly suspect that if people prepped for Raven’s, we’d discover that prepping can significantly increase your score.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 25, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      • “I strongly suspect that if people prepped for Raven’s, we’d discover that prepping can significantly increase your score.”

        http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/11/has-15-year-old-explained-flynn-effect.html?m=1

        Robert

        March 25, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      • japnese americans are much bigger than japsnese japanese, but they aren’t smarter.

        those who would explain flynn as the result of nutrition also believe in sasquatch and ufos.

        one needn’t even prep for the ravens per se to increase his ravens score dramatically. the following shows what an utter, should be shut down, backwater of pseudoscience psychology is:

        http://www.pnas.org/content/105/19/6829.shorthttp://www.pnas.org/content/105/19/6829.short

        jorge videla

        March 25, 2014 at 9:33 PM

      • “Raven’s Progressive Matrices is highly correlated with IQ”

        ravens is a self-described iq test and the least correlated with other such tests of any.

        you’re assuming there’s one thing iq. there isn’t. this is just a result of branding and the ideological purpose which iq jive talk serves.

        “The world makes more sense…”

        and what is “the world” lion?

        for lion this is a stupid question. but lion is stupid.

        jorge videla

        March 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      • If I am so stupid why are you bothering reading my blog? You should read the blog of someone smarter.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      • i should? is there anyone smarter who also blogs? just this and steve hsu for me.

        and stupid lion only in the context of talking about smart and stupid.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      • japnese americans are much bigger than japsnese japanese, but they aren’t smarter.

        those who would explain flynn as the result of nutrition also believe in sasquatch and ufos.

        Japan is an advanced country. I doubt they’re less well nourished than Americans. Average man in Japan and average Asian-American are both about 5’7″

        And no it’s not nutty to blame the Flynn Effect on nutrition. Brain size (and probably neurological development) has increased substantially over the 20th century and the Flynn Effect is most pronounced on the tests most correlated with prenatal nutrition.

        Bottledwater

        March 26, 2014 at 2:46 AM

      • One thing that discussion on IQ often misses is applied significance of intelligence. You score highest on IQ tests when you are 18-22, but you rarely produce anything truly original until you are past 30 or even 40 – when your IQ already went down somewhat. What went up then? It is exposure to the accumulated to date knowledge and ideas – roughly equivalent to nurture. If you do not get it, your “original” ideas will be trivial and already described elsewhere long time ago. Schools/universities/graduate schools/equivalent exposure to academia / corporate politics / startup environment early in your life will be very helpful.

        MyTwoCents

        March 26, 2014 at 2:58 AM

      • You don’t have enough capital to produce anything until you are 30. Except that Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates were both in college when they produced the beginnings of their companies.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 26, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    • Brains size relative to body mass, not overall brain size size is the critical relation to intelligence.
      You also need to bear in mind very tiny people with smaller than average brains can be geniuses, like I said, relative to body mass. And lean body mass, as moderate weight gain and loss doesn’t make you smarter or dumber.

      And you also have to bear in mind that when people have one hemisphere of their brain removed or disconnected they still have pretty normal IQ’s. This means that there has to be some redundancy with both halves doing a lot of the same processing independently (back up system).

      As for the Japanese, they do eat a better quality diet with plenty of O3 oils and veg and less crud when compared to their American cousins. They are also more healthy and leaner. Probably has an improving effect on brain function.

      BTW, your link isn’t working. Please post the title so it can be googled.

      mathilda37

      March 27, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      • me?

        practicing the n-back raised ravens scores.

        Jaeggi, S. M., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., Perrig, W. J. (2008), Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 105 no. 19

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM

  9. Trying to define intelligence is the best way to lose an HBD argument that you’re having with a liberal. There will never be a consensus about the definition of intelligence. Debates about what exactly constitutes intelligence can go on endlessly. I’ve found that it’s best to say things like “intelligence as measured by IQ tests” rather than just plain “intelligence.” Then you can move on to the predictive validity of IQ and group differences.

    Robert

    March 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    • Well. psychometric “g” has high reliability and validity, regardless of whether it dovetails with one’s Platonic notions of intelligence.

      Latias

      March 25, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      • Jensen refused to use the word intelligence when discussing humans because he felt it was scientifically meaningless. Instead he refered only to g. But that’s also problematic because g is a statistical abstraction that can probably mean different things in different populations, particularly clinical populations.

        Bottledwater

        March 25, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      • “has high reliability and validity” within the artificially narrow confines of ein reich, ein volk, eine ideologie.

        jorge videla

        March 25, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      • ““has high reliability and validity” within the artificially narrow confines of ein reich, ein volk, eine ideologue.”

        Yeah, like the modern world of science, where pseudo-Native American folk wisdom like “a cactus rots in the desert. a red wood sears in the desert” don’t cut the mustard.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    • “trying to define intelligence is the best way to lose an HBD argument that you’re having with a liberal.”

      Funny how they think an IQ score is valid measurement when it comes to getting a murderer of death row though.

      mathilda37

      March 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

  10. So why do intelligent people do stupid things like go to elite colleges?

    Is Gladwell simply wrong, and there are some hidden benefits to being in the bottom 1/3rd of your math class at harvard vs. at the top of ohio state?

    I imagine many of the harvard math dropouts still end up wealthier than the ohio state top math students, but without evidence…

    Relative position is everything. If I recall correctly, Lion, you make 6 figures easy, and still feel like an underachiever. But in absolute terms, you’re in top .1% of humanity. Go figure…

    Anonymous

    March 25, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    • Harvard also made it past the Round of 64… unlike Ohio State.

      Latias

      March 25, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    • I wonder how many people know that Malcolm Gladwell is part black. His mom is a mulatto.

      MaryK

      March 25, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      • I always thought it was pretty damn obvious. Are you serious?

        Renault

        March 25, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      • i remember thinking that my local tv weatherman was black. he had an italian surname, specifically sicilian.

        jorge videla

        March 25, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      • Interesting.. makes sense why his hair is like that.

        L

        March 26, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    • You really can’t say “the world” when estimating a relative position of achievement correlated intelligence (which isn’t really able to be estimated anyway) because of geographical resource differences. Being born in the USA is like being born halfway between third base and home in terms of your achievement potential, despite how much I generally detest when that analogy is used in other contexts.

      Once any person breaches a certain level of education, intelligence, and social awareness, they will very likely feel like an underachiever in this land of millionaires and billionaires. Ego generally rises to surpass most achievement, although I’m not saying that is the case with Lion. In the USA. In terms of income, making around 100k household income per year puts you in the 80th percentile.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

      Frank

      March 25, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    • Because intelligent people don’t do stupid things like pay attention to Malcolm Gladwell.

      Yossi

      March 26, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    • Wealth and how much ” money ” a person makes is in no way an indicator of intelligence. Attending certain schools also denote poor indicators for intelligence. ” money ” and ” jobs ” and ” schools ” are concepts of men/man and as such, they are relegated to men(s) ratings and favor. That’s not real and tangible actually. It’s an illusion. A six figure salary says absolutely nothing about a person other than a man/men/system sees fit to pay a six figure salary to said person for reasons that they see as appropriate. Of course. person recieving 6 figures ( … in fiat currency I might add, but that’s a whole other discussion ) will feeeellll a certain way and will, most likely, believe it is a reward based on something special about him – like intelligence.

      Blaximus

      March 26, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      • Blaximus,

        You’re wrong about everything, but other than that you make a good point.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      • Blaximus, what do you think about redwoods in the desert?

        driveallnight

        March 26, 2014 at 8:50 PM

  11. In his book NATURE VIA NURTURE, Matt Ridley talks about how height was once determined largely by environment because most children did not receive adequate nutrition. Once everyone basically gets their calories and nutrients, then the role of the environment shrinks, and genes take over.

    Vince, the Lionhearted

    March 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM

  12. Nature sets the height of the bar and Nurture helps you reach that height

    Terrymac

    March 25, 2014 at 6:02 PM

  13. Something lion will no doubt enjoy reading:

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/your-new-fast-food-worker-a-robot/

    And bill Gates the other day talked about ‘software substitution’….i.e. concepts lion has been talking about since it wrote under previous pen-names.

    uatu

    March 25, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    • marx predicted capitalism would choke on its own wealth.

      when only 20% of the labor force produces everything which any reasonable person might want this prediction is going to be tested.

      jorge videla

      March 25, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      • This coming from a guy who still uses Stephen Jay Gould’s silly argument about the reification of IQ (which was already old when SJG used it).

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      • now you’re remembering things which never happened.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      • Jorgeous,

        And you’re not remembering things you said in this very thread. That’s a clear sign you need to ease off the drinking.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      • whatever pink martini.

        as umberto ecco said of salvatore, “his language is all languages and none.” poenitentiam agite!

        intension without extension, connotation without denotation, and reification are two different things.

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      • Granted I am very, very new here, but I’m getting a distinctly Jeremy Hillary vibe…

        Jacob

        March 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      • Hahahaha ! Well done, Jacob !

        Jeremy Hill Boob, indeed ! That’s our Jorgeous Jorge, alright. He just needs a drink in his hand.

        “Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo.”

        Pincher Martin

        March 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      • sorry i got my shoe brand confused with the author.

        but pincher martin lives on a rock by himself. doesn’t he?

        mr micawber, based on dickens’s father, is a less vulgar reference.

        jorge videla

        March 27, 2014 at 7:47 PM

  14. One of the biggest problems I have with this kind of argument is the idea that there is a single thing called “intelligence” that can be measured in some way, like height. Most things that pass for IQ tests measure quantitative and verbal ability. These are separate though. You can be very good at verbal, but poor at quantitative or the reverse.

    Most IQ tests don’t measure spatial reasoning ability. This ability to visualize things in 3D is hight correlated with success in technical and scientific fields. This is why some top scientist who have gone on to win Nobel prizes did not score that highly on IQ tests (they were definitely above average, but not in the super intelligent category).

    I don’t think we really know what intelligence is or how to measure it. We measure things that are correlated to success in school, but real intelligence is a multi-dimensional property which is the result of a persons natural ability, training and experience.

    mikeca

    March 25, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    • you’re first sentence was right. the rest was retarded, ignorant, bs, etc.

      most make the mistake of assuming that because there is a word there is a thing…a single thing. intelligence has as many referents as there are human endeavors.

      there is no one thing intelligence. g doesn’t exist, contra psychrologists (to harmonize with astrology).

      psychology is a pseudoscience. it’s got among the lowest iq scores (sat scores).

      jorge videla

      March 25, 2014 at 9:08 PM

      • Brilliant sarcastic gibberish.

        mikeca

        March 25, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      • On certain tests of intelligence, I can score higher than can you and most people because I have a specific genetic gift that enables me to reason in a certain way much better than do you. My skull size may have something to do with it, as large head size is correlated to intelligence in the research, and I rank in the highest possible size percentile for humans. Hats do not fit me unless I order hard to get sizes from special stores. My head size, along with the size of the brain inside, is genetic. Others can score higher than can I in other realms of intelligence correlated testing due to their specific genetic gift. Perhaps you can. Simply put, any specific type of intelligence that counts for a damn in the realm of significant common value can be tested for.

        Who really cares if your emotional intelligence is high, or if you display some other type of esoteric intelligence that no one cares to measure for (and it likely isn’t that rare anyway in high IQ individuals). There are plenty of scientists with high emotional intelligence and who display other characteristics of high intelligence “referents”. We test them for the specific intelligence that is valuable to us and, lo and behold, the markers of higher community/social function manifest right along with them and their rigorously educated ilk more than for any other group.

        Frank

        March 25, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      • neither brilliant, nor sarcastic, nor gibberish.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM

      • @Frank

        yes then you should say iq when that’s what you mean. though imperfect it is the best and perhaps the only operationalization of what is denoted by general intelligence. that is, if anything really is so denoted.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    • Nice points, Mikeca. I agree about how intelligence is frustrating to define. “Intelligence is the ability to reason” is one acceptable definition, but is still problematic for exactly the reasons you mention. It is also very difficult to measure like you state.

      Something I’ve noticed in comment threads about genetics and intelligence, is that people usually discuss statistical abstractions but never talk about the biological pathways that link specific genes to intelligence. This thread has confirmed that observation.

      Nobody ever says “gene X encodes protein Y which affects brain stucture Z, which enhances the ability to conduct spatial reasoning.” I’m sure there are expert researchers who know about similar biological mechanisms, but commenters in blogs don’t seem to have any idea of what these mechanisms are. People usually bring statistical abstractions like average IQ of different groups, or correlations with other variables.

      Frank’s post below is a particularly disappointing example of this genre. He writes “My skull size may have something to do with it, as large head size is correlated to intelligence in the research, and I rank in the highest possible size percentile for humans.”

      As anyone who has taken a stats course knows, this observation about a correlation doesn’t prove anything about the underlying causes of intelligence.

      I have a cursory familiarity with Charles Murray’s work, who some of these folks have been influenced by, and he does not engage the biological basis of the gene-intelligence link at all.

      JWS

      March 27, 2014 at 12:57 AM

      • Has anyone else ever noticed that people with very large heads are either very intelligent or mentally retarded.

        martin

        March 27, 2014 at 7:43 AM

  15. Intelligence is the mental ability to adapt. Reason is a big piece of that, but there are a lot of other less g loaded mental talents that are collectively quite crucial.

    Bottledwater

    March 25, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    • as if “the mental ability to adapt” were a thing in the real world.

      jorge videla

      March 26, 2014 at 12:02 AM

  16. Intelligence is the ability to reason. FALSE!

    Intelligence is a genetically determined trait, much like height. FALSE!

    There are three ways to learn: by reasoning things out, by rote, and by mimicking. Because much (maybe most) learning is done via the reasoning method, intelligence is highly correlated with learning, and can even be defined as the ability to reason and learn. FALSE!

    jorge videla

    March 25, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    • Are you playing HuffPo poster or something?

      Renault

      March 25, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      • just the only one here who has any idea whatever what he’s talking about.

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      • Renault,

        I’m surprised Jorgeous didn’t tell you that he participated in Steve Hsu’s BGI study. In almost every discussion he’s in, it eventually comes up. In fact, we could probably build a drinking game around the number of times JV mentions his participation in that study.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      • America has 2 kinds of smart people, academics and sociopaths. Everyone else is a dumb f*ck, who feed these parasites!

        JS

        March 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      • In almost every discussion FALSE!

        only in “discussions” with pretentious pretenders like you martini. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RpJ0eVr-U0

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      • “In almost every discussion FALSE!”

        Well, almost. It’s the one surefire way a person has of identifying you after you change your moniker.

        Pincher Martin

        March 26, 2014 at 5:42 PM

  17. The basic idea behind intelligence is that you can think of the record of student’s abilities as an MxN matrix X where each student is a row and each question is a column. If we assume that each student’s scores are samples from a multi-variate normal distribution with a dimension for each question, then general intelligence corresponds to the major axis of ellipsoid formed by the pdf of the distribution. In practice most questions are highly correlated, so most variation lies along a single direction in the space of questions.

    Alex

    March 25, 2014 at 8:57 PM

  18. OT, per re-visiting constitutional amendments. https://secure.teapartypatriots.org/tpp/repeal16thamendment/TEA2464

    Curle

    March 25, 2014 at 9:00 PM

  19. psychological traits aren’t like height. only proles think they are.

    “ways to learn” and “the ability to reason” are examples of phrases/terms without extensions.

    one may speak concepts into existence. one may not speak things into existence.

    jorge videla

    March 25, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    • Only proles (and people of the blank slate religion who engage in the ‘war on noticing’) commonly use sophistry and the internet equivalent of shouting unsupported assertions as a substitute for valid rhetoric. Only proles, who aren’t trained to read much less understand both recent and less recent research, think that intelligence is a merely a psychological trait. That is, only proles believe that intelligence is a mysterious, malleable phantom floating around on top of your genetically determined neuro-anatomy but not in any way determined by it.

      Frank

      March 25, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    • It must be difficult to type all of this while wearing a straight jacket.

      ice hole

      March 26, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      • Are you speaking to me?

        What about my perspective is so jarring to you that you accuse me of wearing a straight jacket?

        Here, I’ll make it easy for you because I doubt your clarifying ability. The points I made were:

        1. Videla’s rhetoric on intelligence, so far, relies on invalid rhetorical techniques.

        2. One has to be trained through a University to read and evaluate research. Also, both the recent and non-recent research proves that there is a genetic basis for intelligence.

        3. That the counter-belief, that intelligence is not rooted in genetically determined biology, is akin to believing in an intangible process without explanation of what brought it into being ie: a ghost.

        I diced i t up with Videla’s misappropriation of the world “prole”. That was satire. Perhaps that’s what got your late-night panties in a bunch.

        Now, the ball is in your court to explain why any if these positions indicates insanity, never-mind your tendency toward over-emotional hyperbole. Go…

        Frank

        March 26, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      • i’m sure ice hole was referring to me, but from your response…

        jorge videla

        March 26, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      • @ ice hole

        Straightjacket? Perhaps.

        Or maybe he has found a way to reach over the bars of his playpen and is now smashing his palms on his Mom’s laptop. While she is out of the room of course.

        JWS

        March 26, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    • Psychometrics (“measuring the mind”) is about as scientific as Freudian psychoanalysis. Like I commented above, it’s not total pseudoscience but it’s definitely not very rigorous.

      Lion’s distinction in the post about learning foreign languages (which is just as much an application of the ability to reason, remember, learn, or whatever as anything else) and other types of reasoning shows he doesn’t really know what intelligence is. Smart people learn foreign languages faster than dumb people just as surely as smart people learn Calculus faster than dumb people.

      Lion thinks he’s really clever but was not so good at picking up foreign languages in school .Therefore, learning foreign languages is not intelligence.

      JWS

      March 26, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      • Your post is riddled with inaccuracy.

        1. Comparing psychometrics (an extremely general term that describes an extremely wide variety of measurement) to psychoanalysis can’t even be described as an imprecise analogy. There is no basis for this correlation when psychometrics is considered as a general category. It’s simply a false analogy. If you get more specific then perhaps the analogy would strengthen for a specific type of measurement (MBTI for instance). As it stands, the analogy fails on every conceivable level.

        As far as intelligence testing is concerned, there exists hundreds of rigorous studies (ie: science) on intelligence testing and intelligence. Calling is “not quite pseudoscience” is a straw-man and it’s wrong in what it attempts to imply. Just because you have ideological difficulty with something doesn’t confer to you the right to mislabel what you disagree with as “not quite pseudoscience”. The research definitively proves you wrong. It’s science. The weasel words are strong with you.

        2. You mis-categorize language learning by describing it as a task that is “just as much an application of the ability to reason, remember, learn, or whatever as anything else”. This is demonstrably false, and displays your lack of knowledge of brain anatomy and function. The health and age of your language centers (two centers – one for expressive and one for receptive language) determine your capacity for language learning, although they certainly use memory much as your computer uses RAM. Language learning is a distinct feature and process of the brain that is facilitated through distinct anatomical structures, and it certainly cannot be reduced to a function of memory and reasoning. In fact, I’ve never heard of any correlation of what is commonly measured as ‘reasoning ability’ to language learning. It may exist, but I’d guess that you just made that up. Children and very low IQ people still learn languages as part of their natural development but have no notable facility for reasoning.

        Your third to last sentence is wrong. Your last sentence is a laughable conclusion because it relies on the laughable anecdotal evidence in the second to last sentence.

        Frank

        March 26, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      • Dear Frank,

        You misunderstood the sarcasm in my last couple sentences. All the factual, non-sarcastic statements in my comment are correct. I’m not going to try to explain the sarcasm because I honestly believe it would be lost on you.

        I enjoy reading Lion’s blog because Lion frequently post links to media stories on important and interesting issues and writes about them in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.

        I sincerely enjoy engaging other commenters who read my comments, make an honest effort to understand what I have written, and write thoughtful responses that honestly discuss the content of those comments. For example, I appreciated Lion’s response to my original comment above.

        From your comments on this read, I have noticed a consistent pattern of failure to read what other commenters have written, a failure to accurately understand the content of statements in their writings, and a complete failure to engage in honest discussion with them.

        JWS

        March 26, 2014 at 9:23 PM

  20. even supposing that G and E were one dimensional continuous random variables (which they obviously aren’t), the total derivative of the function GxE to iq (the iq = aG + bE model) is shown by the following study to be a local approximation only. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/14/6/623.abstract

    jorge videla

    March 26, 2014 at 1:03 AM

  21. I would replace “Ability to reason” with “Ability to learn”. Reasoning intelligence reminds me too much of definitions and abstract ideas that have no end point, that can’t be measured and leads to chains of reasoning ad infinitum.

    I think it is in applied intelligence, where learning and logic is used to problem solve things in the real world, that is where I see this “intelligence” thing; which g is trying to approximate. In the empirical world, there are finite things that can be measured and tested. A high IQ individual then is someone who can accurately predict and model the real world with their mind.

    L

    March 26, 2014 at 2:00 AM

  22. steve@steve.com

    March 26, 2014 at 9:26 AM

  23. Chris Langan , the American with the highest IQ, has no children and won’t reproduce. So we can never test this theory on him.

    Thomas Hardy, 120 years old, already demonstrated that proles with high intelligence will only cause more problems in his many books. (Himself a notable author but a prole, he decided it was more prudent for him to not reproduce.)

    Colmainen

    March 26, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    • Sorry, meant to say 120 years ago.

      Colmainen

      March 26, 2014 at 1:13 PM

  24. Jorge Videla perhaps you would enjoy this blog more:

    http://www.gnxp.com/

    CamelCaseRob

    March 26, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    • but behavioral genetics is so boooooooring and stupid.

      between rounds with your mum, lion has insights expressed nowhere else. he’s even appropriated some of my jive.

      jorge videla

      March 27, 2014 at 7:51 PM

  25. Does anyone else find it absurd that the government could require a business to include abortion in the health insurance coverage even though a business isn’t legally required to provide health insurance coverage at all? This goes well beyond making abortion legal. This is about leftwing radicals using the heavy hand of government to impose their will on others.

    destructure

    March 27, 2014 at 5:38 AM

  26. Discussants avoid the aging effect.
    Our capacity to think and remember peaks at ages 20-25. Even by age 35, the brain has shrunk physically and our cognitive capacities have diminished.
    Humans are skilled at hiding our dementia.

    jz

    March 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

  27. If humans with different DNA were gestated in the same womb, fed the same food, and were supplied with the same sensory experiences, they would achieve different scores on psychometric tests. It’s likely, however, that the scores wouldn’t be terribly different barring neurological disorders such as autism. What we know, however, is that humans are very apt to appreciate and seek out wildly different sensory experiences which will shape their minds accordingly. A wordsmith’s talents may not stem from genes which determine the wiring of verbal brain regions, but from genes which make him or her get a bigger dopamine surge when attending to language. But what produces good tests results on a given occasion is the wiring of verbal brain regions, not dopamine. Note then that *genes produce their own environment*. The development of intelligence is not a case of nature vs nurture nor even nature + nature, but that nature IS nurture. This fact entails the possibility of intervention: instruction (which is strictly environmental) can replace the role of dopamine in the potential wordsmith by forcing the person to attend to language. Any other ability can replace verbal ability to greater or lesser degrees in this argument. Boys may not be wired to better at sports at all, but rather that, since infancy, they’ve simply liked roughhousing more, and these years of experience throwing their bodies around have made their brains good at throwing their bodies around once they start playing sports.

    sebzear

    March 28, 2014 at 1:01 AM

    • I doubt there are specific genes that induce a “dopamine surge when attending to language”. This may be relevant in those with high verbal ability, but it most certainly does not affect those with average intelligence where one’s verbal ability is highly correlated with “g”. For people of higher intelligence, since they have some much “g”, they have more differentiated cognitive profiles, and “g” correlates less with specific aptitudes.

      Latias

      March 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      • Should read:

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        Sebzear, excellent post, but one that only applies to crystallized abilities (SAT scores), not to fluid ability (Raven scores). The former is analogous is analogous to how good you are at basketball (number of balls you can sink) while the latter is analogous to how good you COULD be a basketball (height, raw coordination)

        Mamma

        March 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      • the fluid/crystallized dichotomy doesn’t exist in the real world. it’s merely a manner of speaking.

        jorge videla

        March 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM

      • the fluid/crystallized dichotomy doesn’t exist in the real world. it’s merely a manner of speaking.

        Prove it.

        Mamma

        March 28, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      • prove it?

        should i also prove that grass is green?

        what psychrologists call fluid intelligence is acquired. q.e.d.

        jorge videla

        March 29, 2014 at 3:07 AM

      • http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/10/17/the-heritability-of-intelligence-not-what-you-think/

        a child raised by wolves will do poorly on the ravens. so poorly his score will be indistinguishable from a wolf’s.

        jorge videla

        March 29, 2014 at 3:25 AM

      • as you can see, even when adjusted for reliability vocab and other verbal tests are more g-loaded for the wechsler battery than its putatively fluid tests.

        although the jive talk allows for fluid verbal tests and crystallized non-verbal tests, in the real world this is a distinction without a difference.

        jorge videla

        March 29, 2014 at 3:28 AM

      • Jorge, fluid is less heritable because most non-verbal tests are less g loaded & because actual intelligence is more sensitive to biological insults (head injury, sub-optimum nutrition ) and alcohol abuse (as your posts demonstrate). However the Amish do quite well on fluid tests despite being culturally & academically deprived.

        Bottledwater

        March 29, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      • Then you’d be wrong, at least partially. Specific genes may not exist, but genetic regulatory material absolutely does exist. Newborn babies, for instance, spend *much* more time than expected from chance looking at faces. They actually spend statistically significantly more time looking at specifically *attractive* faces. If such behavior can be genetically hardwired (as it obviously is since they are newborns) what other kinds of behavior can also be?

        sebzear

        March 29, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      • Previous comment in reply to Latias.

        In reply to Mamma:
        In rough terms, crystallized intelligence is just the integral over time of the convolution of fluid intelligence and attention.

        sebzear

        March 29, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      • Fine, I do not deny there is a genetic mechanism for dopamine release…

        I thought you said that dopaminergic responses to learning words and reading are associated with differences in verbal ability, and those with larger dopaminergic responses would tend to possess more verbal ability since they would be exposed more to stimuli that can wire their verbal processing centers more efficiently or have the words that show up on IQ tests in their hippocampus.

        But you said that a wordsmith is “talented”, and since a wordsmith is “talented” this would imply that others do not possess that same talent and thus there would be a disparity in ability. If you proposed that the magnitude of the dopamine surge when attending to language is a determinate of verbal ability, then if verbal ability is substantially heritable, there should be polymorphisms of specific genes (or more generally genetic loci) involved in dopaminergic signalling that are responsible for phenotypic differences in verbal intelligence.

        Again, it is not whether it is genetic (as verbal ability is trivially genetic since gene expression certainly does affect verbal ability), but whether it is heritable.

        The crux of my post uses Spearman’s law of diminishing returns (more precisely the fact the low to average g individuals do not possess differentiated cognitive profiles) to argue that dopamine signalling does not affect the heritability of verbal ability. People with low verbal ability are more likely limited by their cognitive hardware, not their dopaminergic responses to cognitively complex language.

        Latias

        March 29, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      • i remember paul fussel commenting on the difference between income and class. he compared an editor and a mechanic who lived next to one another. the editor drank in his back yard. the mechanic, if he drank, closed his curtains when he did.

        i’m not in the dipso category. but even if i were:

        http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2017200,00.html
        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201010/why-intelligent-people-drink-more-alcohol

        i can’t find them now, but the evidence is:

        without nutritional deficiencies as sequelae or the excitotoxicity of the very rare dts, the gross morphological changes in the brain observed in some heavy drinkers are not the result of the death of brain cells and is entirely reversible. on cognitive tests there is no significant difference between alcoholics. morbid and pre-morbid. but alcoholics do tend to have higher iqs and more education than non-drinkers in the us and in the uk.

        jorge videla

        March 29, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      • “In rough terms, crystallized intelligence is just the integral over time of the convolution of fluid intelligence and attention.” FALSE!

        the concepts of crystallized and fluid intelligence are mere concepts. they have no meaning/extension in the real world. it is very common for people to confuse their facility with jive for understanding of the real world.

        in the reinstallment of “intelligence knowns and unknowns” the authors go on about how fluid tests use different parts of the brain. so, therefore, they conclude there really is a difference. but there isn’t.

        there is a difference between the tests labeled fluid and those labeled crystallized. BUT that difference is NOT that the former are tests of fluid intelligence and the latter of crystallized intelligence.

        jorge videla

        March 29, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      • Latias – People with low verbal ability are more likely limited by their cognitive hardware, not their dopaminergic responses to cognitively complex language.

        So can you explain this in layman terms? Asians in America tend to be terse and have a low verbal ability, even among the 2nd generation and beyond, when it comes to speaking English for a “high” IQ demographic.

        JS

        March 29, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      • i agree, js.

        although i am one to scoff at the hereditist jive, it’s been my personal experience that ne asians have a verbal iq distribution such that at the high end there are no ne asians, or very few. steve hsu, millionaire and physicist, is an example.

        jorge videla

        March 31, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      • and 60 mins last night showed how canada’s grades only admissions and grades only quality of degree favors pushy striving and dumb asians.

        i expect canada’s elite is the dumbest in the developed world followed by america’s.

        jorge videla

        March 31, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      • Latias: “If you proposed that the magnitude of the dopamine surge when attending to language is a determinate of verbal ability, then if verbal ability is substantially heritable, there should be polymorphisms of specific genes (or more generally genetic loci) involved in dopaminergic signalling that are responsible for phenotypic differences in verbal intelligence.”

        That is precisely what I am saying. I expect these polymorphisms to exist.

        “The crux of my post uses Spearman’s law of diminishing returns (more precisely the fact the low to average g individuals do not possess differentiated cognitive profiles) to argue that dopamine signalling does not affect the heritability of verbal ability. People with low verbal ability are more likely limited by their cognitive hardware, not their dopaminergic responses to cognitively complex language.”

        This is the conventional view among those who espouse the heritability of intelligence: that genes determine cognitive hardware–the actual neural structure of the brain regions themselves involved in whatever capability. Spearman is irrelevant since there may be polymorphisms for dopamine release for *all* kinds of cognitive stimuli. In fact, a population of sets of polymorphisms, each set varying from no specificity (dopaminergic response for any cognitive simulus), to much specificity (e.g. for doing cartwheels) (with all variants for more dopamine being rarer than those for less), will reproduce both g and Spearman’s law.

        At any rate, no experiments have been done that differentiate heritability based on genes that build cognitive abilities directly (by wiring the brain regions themselves), versus indirectly (by wiring emotional responses to stimuli). Given that no cognitive hardware can develop fully in the absence of stimuli yet also that in the absence of stimuli *something* still develops, surely both of these are at play. My point is to postulate the latter because as far as I understand, no one else has postulated it, and it has the added [mostly political but also experimental] benefit that it is less deterministic while being equally biological. Finally, I’ll submit that it is highly intuitive that one’s preferences are much more determined than ones abilities; for examples, how much you enjoy music is much more difficult to change than how good you are at making it, how much you enjoy physical activity is much more difficult to change than how good you are at any one physical activity in particular, and how much you enjoy learning languages is much more difficult to change than how many languages you speak. In fact, we hardly ever even speak of trying to change how much we like something, so ingrained is the probably true belief that preferences are almost impossible to change.

        jorge videla: “the concepts of crystallized and fluid intelligence are mere concepts. they have no meaning/extension in the real world.”

        You failed to realize that I was basically arguing that crystallized and fluid intelligence are the same thing, from different perspectives. The two concepts, however, have different definitions that cannot reduce to the same thing, and thus they can be useful in conversation. You obviously have nothing useful to add to this conversation, which is probably why you can’t perceive the difference between these terms, even while having the rudimentary insight to perceive that they are not orthogonal.

        sebzear

        April 18, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      • “At any rate, no experiments have been done that differentiate heritability based on genes that build cognitive abilities directly (by wiring the brain regions themselves), versus indirectly (by wiring emotional responses to stimuli).”

        In other words, do girls do poorly at math (compared to boys) because their brains cannot build math ability, or because their brains are wired to find it really boring?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 18, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    • Sebzear, excellent post, but one that only applies to crystallized abilities (SAT scores), not to fluid ability (Raven scores). The former is analogous is analogous to how good you are at basketball (number of balls you can sink) while the former is analogous to how good you COULD be a basketball (height, raw coordination)

      Mamma

      March 28, 2014 at 2:21 PM

  28. Good post, Lion. Short, but pretty good.

    Jorge Videla,

    Intelligence is heritable, deal with it. Don’t fight it. Life is unfair.

    Maciano

    March 28, 2014 at 8:12 AM

  29. Perhaps we could cut out the middleman (IQ tests) and skip straight to comparing a few thousand peoples lean mass relative brain size at 40 to their income, chances of incaceration etc. Gets rid of all the waffle about psychometrics and deals with a rock solid measurable fact. Hmm, could be a phd in that…

    Just remember, they all have to be the same race, or you’ll get strung up.

    After about a decade of reading physical anthroplogy papers, I have never seen ANYONE point to a hominid skull and say the increasing size of the brain was irrelevant to their increasing intelligence.

    mathilda37

    March 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    • the largest female brain on record was that of a murderess.

      jorge videla

      March 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      • Are you thinking of this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_H._Rulloff

        anon

        March 29, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      • The tallest person on record – Robert Wadlow – couldn’t play basketball.

        Pincher Martin

        March 29, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      • no. it was a murder-ess, but, criminals are much more likely to have their brains weighed?

        turgenev, father of nihilism, had the biggest famous brain.

        i’m not opposed to the big brain theory. i’m 100% european and all my wisdom teeth came in just fine.

        jorge videla

        March 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      • Source for claim? Also, it doesn’t say anything about her relative brain size (EQ) Jorge, she could have been 6’8′ tall and a super genius for all we know. An elephant had a bigger brain, but they aren’t building rockets. You can get genius dwarves with brains tiny in comparison to a normal person.

        mathilda37

        March 30, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      • it’s in guinness.

        jorge videla

        March 30, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      • On line search for her on GBR site reveals nothing. Need a name and weight.

        mathilda37

        March 31, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      • gbr gives no name.

        “The largest female brain weighed 3 lb 7.3 oz and belonged to a murderess.” 1990 gbr.

        jorge videla

        March 31, 2014 at 5:40 PM


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