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People Should Stop Thinking IQ Measures ‘Intelligence’: A Response to Grey Enlightenment

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I’ve had a few discussions with Grey Enlightenment on this blog, regarding construct validity. He has now published a response piece on his blog to the arguments put forth in my article, though unfortunately it’s kind of sophomoric.

People Should Stop Saying Silly Things About IQ

He calls himself a ‘race realist’yet echoes the same arguments used by those who oppose such realism.

1) One doesn’t have to believe in racial differences in mental traits to be a race realist as I have argued twice before in my articles You Don’t Need Genes to Delineate Race and Differing Race Concepts and the Existence of Race: Biologically Scientific Definitions of Race. It’s perfectly possible to be a race realist—believe in the reality of race—without believing there are differences in mental traits—‘intelligence’, for instance (whatever that is).

2) That I strongly question the usefulness and utility of IQ due to its construction doesn’t mean that I’m not a race realist.

3) I’ve even put forth an analogous argument on an ‘athletic abilities test’ where I gave a hypothetical argument where a test was constructed that wasn’t a true test of athletic ability and that it was constructed on the basis of who is or is not athletic, per the constructors’ presuppositions. In this hypothetical scenario, am I really denying that athletic differences exist between races and individuals? No. I’d just be pointing out flaws in a shitty test.

Just because I question the usefulness and (nonexistent) validity of IQ doesn’t mean that I’m not a race realist, nor that I believe groups or individuals are ‘the same’ in ‘intelligence’ (whatever that may be; which seems to be a common strawman for those who don’t bow to the alter of IQ).

Blood alcohol concentration is very specific and simple; human intelligence by comparison is not . Intelligence is polygenic (as opposed to just a single compound) and is not as easy to delineate, as, say, the concentration of ethanol in the blood.

It’s irrelevant how ‘simple’ blood alcohol concentration is. The point of bringing it up is that it’s a construct valid measure which is then calibrated against an accepted and theoretical biological model. The additive gene assumption is false, that is, genes being independent of the environment giving ‘positive charges’ as Robert Plomin believes.

He says IQ tests are biased because they require some implicit understanding if social constructs, like what 1+1 equals or how to read a word problem, but how is a test that is as simple as digit recall or pattern recognition possibly a social construct.

What is it that allows individuals to be better than others on digit recall or pattern recognition (what kind of pattern recognition?)? The point of my 1+1 statement is that it is construct valid regarding one’s knowledge of that math problem whereas for the word problem, it was a quoted example showing how if the answer isn’t worded correctly it could be indirectly testing something else.

He’s invoking a postmodernist argument that IQ tests do not measure an innate, intrinsic intelligence, but rather a subjective one that is  construct of the test creators and society.

I could do without the buzzword (postmodernist) though he is correct. IQ tests test what their constructors assume is ‘intelligence’ and through item analysis they get the results they want, as I’ve shown previously.

If IQ tests are biased, how is then [sic] that Asians and Jews are able to score better than Whiles [sic] on such tests; surely, they should be at a disadvantage due to implicit biases of a test that is created by Whites.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this ‘argument’… We can just go back to the test construction argument and we can construct a test that, say, blacks and women score higher than whites and men respectively. How well would that ‘predict’ anything then, if the test constructors had a different set of assumptions?

IQ tests aren’t ‘biased’, as much as lower class people aren’t as prepared to take these tests as people in higher classes (which East Asians and Jews are in). IQ tests score enculturation to the middle class, even the Flynn effect can be explained by the rise in the middle class, lending credence to the aforementioned hypothesis (Richardson, 2002).

Regarding the common objection by the left that IQ tests don’t measures [sic] anything useful or that IQ isn’t correlated with success at life, on a practical level, how else can one explain obvious differences in learning speed, income or educational attainment among otherwise homogeneous groups? Why is it in class some kids learn so much faster than others, and many of these fast-learners go to university and get good-paying jobs, while those who learn slowly tend to not go to college, or if they do, drop out and are either permanently unemployed or stuck in low-paying, low-status jobs? In a family with many siblings, is it not evident that some children are smarter than others (and because it’s a shared environment, environmental differences cannot be blamed).

1) I’m not a leftist.

2) I never stated that IQ tests don’t correlate with success in life. They correlate with success in life since  achievement tests and IQ tests are different versions of the same test. This, of course, goes back to our good friend test construction. IQ is correlated with income at .4, meaning 16 percent of the variance is explained by IQ and since you shouldn’t attribute causation to correlations (lest you commit the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy), we cannot even truthfully say that 16 percent of the variation between individuals is due to IQ.

3) Pupils who do well in school tend to not be high-achieving adults whereas children who were not good pupils ended up having good success in life (see the paper Natural Learning in Higher Education by Armstrong, 2011). Furthermore, the role of test motivation could account for low-paying, low-status jobs (Duckworth et al, 2011; though I disagree with their consulting that IQ tests test ‘intelligence’ [whatever that is] they show good evidence that in low scorers, incentives can raise scores, implying that they weren’t as motivated as the high scorers). Lastly, do individuals within the same family experience the same environment the same or differently?

As teachers can attest, some students are just ‘slow’ and cannot grasp the material despite many repetitions; others learn much more quickly.

This is evidence of the uselessness of IQ tests, for if teachers can accurately predict student success then why should we waste time and money to give a kid some test that supposedly ‘predicts’ his success in life (which as I’ve argued is self-fulfilling)? Richardson (1998: 117) quotes Layzer (1973: 238) who writes:

Admirers of IQ tests usually lay great stress on their predictive power. They marvel that a one-hour test administered to a child at the age of eight can predict with considerable accuracy whether he will finish college. But as Burt and his associates have clearly demonstrated, teachers’ subjective assessments afford even more reliable predictors. This is almost a truism.

Because IQ tests test for the skills that are required for learning, such as short term memory, someone who has a low IQ would find learning difficult and be unable to make correct inferences from existing knowledge.

Right, IQ tests test for skills that are required for learning. Though a lot of IQ test questions are general knowledge questions, so how is that testing anything innate if you’ve first got to learn the material, and if you have not you’ll score lower? Richardson (2002) discusses how people in lower classes are differentially prepared for IQ tests which then affects scores, along with psycho-social factors that do so as well. It’s more complicated than ‘low IQ > X’.

All of these sub-tests are positively correlated due to an underlying factor –called g–that accounts for 40-50% of the variation between IQ scores. This suggests that IQ tests measure a certain factor that every individual is endowed with, rather than just being a haphazard collection of questions that have nothing to do with each other. Race realists’ objection is that g is meaningless, but the literature disagrees “… The practical validity of g as a predictor of educational, economic, and social outcomes is more far-ranging and universal than that of any other known psychological variable. The validity of g is greater the complexity of the task.[57][58]”

I’ve covered this before. It correlates with the aforementioned variables due to test construction. It’s really that easy. If the test constructors have a different set of presuppositions before the test is constructed then completely different outcomes can be had just by constricting a different test.

Then what about ‘g’? What would one say then? Nevertheless, I’ve heavily criticized ‘g’ and its supposed physiology, and if physiologists did study this ‘variable’ and if it truly did exist, 1) it would not be rank ordered because physiologists don’t rank order traits, 2) they don’t assume normal variations, they don’t estimate heritability and attempt to untangle genes from environment, 3) they don’t assume that normal variation is related to genetic variation (except in rare cases, like down syndrome, for instance), and 4) nor do they assume within the normal range of physiological differences that a higher level is ‘better’ than a lower. My go-to example here is BMR (basal metabolic rate). It has a similar heritability range as IQ (.4 to .8; which is most likely overestimated due to the use of the flawed twin method, just like the heritability of IQ), so is one with a higher BMR somehow ‘better’ than one with a lower BMR? This is what logically follows from assuming that ‘g’ is physiological and all of the assumptions that come along with it. It doesn’t make logical, physiological sense! (Jensen, 1998: 92 further notes that “g tells us little if anything about its contents“.)

All in all, I thank Grey Enlightenment for his response to my article, though it leaves a lot to be desired and if he responds to this article then I hope that it’s much more nuanced. IQ has no construct validity, and as I’ve shown, the attempts at giving it validity are circular, and done by correlating it with other IQ tests and achievement tests. That’s not construct validity.


1 Comment

  1. Christian eugenicist says:

    “Grey Enlightenment” did not even bother to proofread his text. He even writes that he likes society as it is, just wants lower taxes and no Obama (no joke, it’s on his site).

    Of course our society is going down the crapper fast, especially as regards moral decay and degeneracy. Families have never been more broken, pornography pushed to an extreme, all in all we live in an overly sexualized age. As J. D. Unwin, himself a Freudian and Marxist, has shown in “Sex and Culture”, sexual promiscuity/liberty goes hand in hand with societal collapse. Spengler, too, scoffed at the Democrat, whom he called a “caricature of the hero”, fighting for life extensions, good food, screwing/banging (“vögeln”) without consequences.

    I first stumbled on Unwin’s work via Vox Day’s blog, who quote an Orthodox article providing a summary of it. Later it was mentioned by Joel Davis in an ImperiumCast (with Mike from ImperiumPress).

    I’d say these guys are the way forward, since despite my disagreement with some of their theological positions, they at least understand that morally needs to be objective and requires a law giver — God –, not some gay “majority” deciding what is good or evil (“bad”). Like “gay marriage” and so on.

    Regarding IQ, it was my “gateway drug” to Alt Right thinking, but I did get a bit tired with the “fetishists”. After all, it may even end up making you a worshipper of Asians, which some critics call “yellow fever”. One does not need IQ scores to argue against immigration. Whatever one may think of them, Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard, who influenced the Immigration Act during the early 1920s, did not use IQ either, at best as a passing reference.

    In the end, it may even end up further destroying our once white countries given how many Asians there are who would certainly be able to score high enough for “selective immigration” policies or whatever.

    Interestingly enough, Christopher Langan, despite his IQ in the 195-210 range, is not that much of a defender either. In one of his answers on Quora — he got deleted; accessible via his “CTMU knowledgebase” –, he wrote:


    “Does Chris Langan really have an IQ of 200?”

    Perhaps. This is a psychometric extrapolation, i.e., an estimate. In
    principle, my IQ could be lower. On the other hand, it could be
    higher. (With all due respect to “the competition”, I’m certainly
    not worried about getting shown up by anyone claiming higher intelligence,
    which doesn’t necessarily equate to IQ anyway.)

    Let’s just say that there are several people for whom even higher
    numbers have been estimated, at least with regard to ratio as opposed to
    deviation IQ. So if one’s idea is that actually racking up such high
    scores is impossible, one may as well start at the top and work one’s

    way down.

    Regarding “success” in life, I even reject this. Did Nietzsche or Kierkegaard have “success”? They lived awful lives, being ignored, mentally ill — in the Hannay translation of Kierkegaard’s journals, he calls himself “sick in [his] mind” –, they had success only after they were freed from their horrid existence. Nietzsche, for example, was the youngest professor in Germany at that time, but he, like many geniuses, ended up in the gutter.

    Others died in wars, hardly twenty years old. Our prosperity made us decadent and turned us into clowns, always needing another “fix”, be it money, sex, travel or other trite trash.

    As the reactionary Nicolás Gómez Dávila wrote:

    “Opinions, customs, institutions, cities—everything has become vulgar, since we gave up repairing the old in order to buy every day some gaudy novelty.”

    Via Vox Day, I became a Christian at some point, otherwise I would have tried to kill myself again (hanged myself in my early twenties, back then an atheist). “Success” in this world is not worth much, given that for an atheist, death is the end, and no one really cares about us apart from God anyway. This sperm-soaked world is certainly none I want to have much success in anyway, and I only live because God forces me to live in His shitty, horrid creation. Kierkegaard had a deep faith in Christ, and even he prayed regularly for death in the end (he died just being 42 years old).

    I, for one, would not take “Grey Enlightenment” too seriously. His position I cited at the beginning — sorry for my long comment — suggests that he basically wants to live in a “perpetual orgy”, to quote Samuel T. Francis. Francis wrote:


    Francis argued that society must regular ” sexual behavior, consensual or not” whether “through law or through
    socially enforced moral custom or both.” He condemned “normalized and unrestricted homosexuality” and believed
    that “a ‘society’ that makes no distinction between sex within marriage and sex outside it, that does not
    distinguish morally and socially between continence and debauchery, normality and perversion, love and lust,
    is not really a society but merely the chaos of a perpetual orgy. It is an invitation to just such an orgy
    that the proponents of normalized and unrestricted homosexuality invite America.

    (Samuel T. Francis, “Sex and consequences”, The Washington Times, February 2, 1993.)

    Like

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