My articles get posted on the Reddit board /r/hbd and, of course, people don’t like what I write about IQ. I get accused of reading ‘Richardson n=34 studies’ even though that was literally one citation in a 32 page paper that does not affect his overall argument. (I will be responding to Kirkegaard and UnsilencedSci in separate articles.) I’ll use this time to respond to criticisms from the Reddit board.
He’s peddling BS, say this:
“But as Burt and his associates have clearly demonstrated, teachers’ subjective assessments afford even more reliable predictors.”
Well, no, teachers are in fact remarkably poor at predicting student’s success in life. Simple formulas based on school grades predict LIFE success better than teachers, notwithstanding the IQ tests.
You’re incorrect. As I stated in my response to The Alternative Hypothesis, the correlation between teacher’s judgement and student achievement is .66. “The median correlation, 0.66, suggests a moderate to strong correspondence between teacher judgements and student achievement” (Hoge and Coladarci, 1989: 303). This is a higher correlation than what was found in the ‘validation studies’ from. Hunter and Schmidt.
He cherry-picks a few bad studies and ignores entire bodies of evidence with sweeping statements like this:
“This, of course, goes back to our good friend test construction. ”
Test construction is WHOLLY IRRELEVANT. It’s like saying: “well, you know, the ether might be real because Michelson-Morley experiment has been constructed this way”. Well no, it does not matter how MM experiment has been constructed as long as it tests for correct principles. Both IQ and MM have predictive power and it has nothing to do with “marvelling”, it has to do whether the test, regardless of its construction, can effectively predict outcomes or not.
This is a horrible example. You’re comparing the presuppositions of the test constructors who have in their mind who is or is not intelligent and then construct the test to confirm those preconceived notions to an experiment that was used to find the presence and properties of aether? Surely you can think of a better analogy because this is not it.
More BS: “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?”
Of course the IQ tests do NOT test much of general knowledge. Out of 12 tests in WAIS only 2 deal with general knowledge.
The above screenshot is from Nisbett (2012: 14) (though it’s the WISC, not WAIS they’re similar, all IQ tests go through item analysis, tossing items that don’t conform to the test constructors’ presuppositions).
Either way, our friend test construction makes an appearance here, too. This is how these tests are made and they are made to conform to the constructor’s presuppositions. The WISC and WAIS have similar subtests, either way. Test anxiety, furthermore, leads to a lessened performance on the block design and picture arrangement subtests (Hopko et al, 2005) and moderate to severe stress, furthermore, is related to social class and IQ test performance. Stress affects the growth of the hippocampus and PFC (prefrontal cortex) (Davidson and McEwing, 2012) so does it seem like an ‘intellectual’ thing here? Furthermore, all tests and batteries are tried out on a sample of children, with items not contributing to normality being tossed out, therefore ‘item analysis’ forces what we ‘see’ regarding IQ tests.
Even the great Jensen said in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (pg 71):
It is claimed that the psychometrist can make up a test that will yield any type of score distribution he pleases. This is roughly true, but some types of distributions are easier to obtain than others.
This holds for tbe WAIS, WISC, the Raven, any type of IQ test. This shows how arbitrary the ‘item selection’ is. No matter what type of ‘IQ test’ you attempt to use to say ‘It does test “intelligence” (whatever that is)!!’ the reality of test construction and constructing tests to fit presuppositions and distributions cannot be ran away from.
The other popular test, Raven’s Progressive Matrices does not test for general knowledge at all.
This is a huge misconception. People think that just because there are no ‘general knowledge questions’ or anything verbal regarding the Matrices then it must test an innate power, thus mysterious ‘g’. However, this is wrong and he clearly doesn’t keep up with recent data:
Reading was the greatest predictor of performance Raven’s, despite controlling for age and sex. Attendance was so strongly related with Raven’s performance [school attendance was used as a proxy for motivation]. These findings suggest that reading, or pattern recognition, could be fundamentally affecting the way an individual problem solves or learns to learn, and is somehow tapping into ‘g’. Presumably the only way to learn to read is through schooling. It is, therefore, essential that children are exposed to formal education, have the mother to go/stay in school, and are exposed to consistent, quality training in order to develop the skills associated with your performance. (pg 83) Variable Education Exposure and Cognitive Task Performance Among the Tsimane, Forager- Horticulturalists.
Furthermore, according to Richardson (2002): “Performance on the Raven’s test, in other words, is a question not of inducing ‘rules’ from meaningless symbols, in a totally abstract fashion, but of recruiting ones that are already rooted in the activities of some cultures rather than others.”
The assumption that the Raven is ‘culture free’ because it’s ‘just shapes and rote memory’ is clearly incorrect. James Thompson even said to me that Linda Gottfredson said that people only think the Raven is a ‘test of pure g’ because Jensen said it, which is not true.
This is completely wrong in so many ways. No understanding of normalization. Suggestion that missing heritability is discovering environmentally. I think a distorted view of the Flynn Effect. I’ll just stick to some main points.
I didn’t imply a thing about missing heritability. I only cited the article by Evan Charney to show how populations become stratified.
RR: There is no construct validity to IQ tests
First, let’s go through the basics. All IQ tests measure general intelligence (g), the positive manifold underlying every single measure of cognitive ability. This was first observed over a century ago and has been replicated across hundreds of studies since. Non-g intelligences do not exist, so for all intents and purposes it is what we define as intelligence. It is not ‘mysterious’
Thanks for the history lesson. 1) we don’t know what ‘g’ is. (I’ve argued that it’s not physiological.) So ‘intelligence’ is defined as ‘g’ yet which we don’t know what ‘g’ is. His statement here is pretty much literally ‘intelligence is what IQ tests test’.
It would be correct to say that the exact biological mechanisms aren’t known. But as with Gould’s “reification” argument, this does not actually invalidate the phenomenon. As Jensen put it, “what Gould has mistaken for “reification” is neither more nor less than the common practice in every science of hypothesizing explanatory models or theories to account for the observed relationships within a given domain.” Poor analogies to white blood cells and breathalyzer won’t change this.
It’s not a ‘poor analogy’ at all. I’ve since expanded on the construct validity argument with more examples of other construct valid tests like showing how the breathalyzer is construct valid and how white blood cell count is a proxy for disease. They have construct validity, IQ tests do not.
RR: I said that I recall Linda Gottfredson saying that people say that Ravens is culture-fair only because Jensen said it
This has always been said in the context of native, English speaking Americans. For example it was statement #5 within Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Jensen’s research has demonstrated this. The usage of Kuwait and hunter gatherers is subsequently irrelevant.
Point 5 on the Mainstream Science on Intelligence memo is “Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language.”
This is very vague. Richardson (2002) has noted how different social classes are differentially prepared for IQ test items:
I shall argue that the basic source of variation in IQ test scores is not entire (or even mainly) cognitive, and what is cognitive is not general or unitary. It arises from a nexus or sociocognitive-affective factors determining individuals: relative preparedness for the demands of the IQ test.
The fact of the matter is, all social classes aren’t prepared in the same way to take the IQ test and if you read the paper you’d see that.
RR: IQ test validity
I’ll keep this short. There exist no predictors stronger than g across any meaningful measures of success. Not education, grades, upbringing, you name it.
Yes there are. Teacher assessment which has a higher correlation than the correlation between ‘IQ’ and job performance.
RR: Another problem with IQ test construction is the assumption that it increases with age and levels off after puberty.
The very first and most heavily researched behavioral trait’s heritability has been intelligence. Only through sheer ignorance could the term “assumption” describe findings from over a century of inquiry.
Yes the term ‘assumption’ was correct. You do realize that, of course, the increase in IQ heritability is, again, due to test construction? You can also build that into the test as well, by putting more advanced questions, say high school questions for a 12 year old, and heritability would seem to increase due to just how the test was constructed.
Finally, IanTichszy says:
That article is thoroughly silly.
First, the IQ tests predict real world-performance just fine: http://thealternativehypothesis.org/index.php/2016/04/15/the-validity-of-iq/
I just responded to this article this week. They only ‘predicts real-world performance just fine’ because they’re constructed to and even then, high-achieving children in achievement rarely become high achieving adults whereas low-achieving adults tend to become successful adults. There are numerous problems with TAH’s article which I’ve already covered.
That is the important thing, not just correlation with blood pressure or something biological. Had g not predicted real-world performance from educational achievement to job performance with very high reliability, it would be useless, but it does predict those.
Test construction. You can’t get past that by saying ‘it does predict’ because it only predicts because it’s constructed to (I’d call it ‘post-dict’).
Second, on Raven’s Progressive Matrices test: the argument “well Jensen just said so” is plain silly. If RPM is culturally loaded, a question: just what culture is represented on those charts? You can’t reasonably say that. Orangutans are able to solve simplified versions of RPM, apparently they do not have a problem with cultural loading. Just look at the tests yourself.
Of course it’s silly to accept that the Raven is culture free and tests ‘g’ the best just ‘because Jensen said so’. The culture loading of the Raven is known, there is a ‘hidden structure’ in them. Even the constructors of the Raven have noted this where they state that they transposed the items to read from left to right, not right to left which is a tacit admission of cultural loading. “The reason that some people fail such problems is exactly the same reason some people fail IQ test items like the Raven Matrices tests… It simply is not the way the human cognitive system is used to being engaged” (Richardson, 2017: 280).
Furthermore, when items are familiar to all groups, even young children are capable of complex analogical reasoning. IQ tests “test for the learned factual knowledge and cognitive habits more prominent in some social classes than in others. That is, IQ scores are measures of specific learning, as well as self-confidence and so on, not general intelligence“ (Richardson, 2017: 192).
Another piece of misinformation: claiming that IQs are not normally distributed. Well, we do not really know the underlying distribution, that’s the problem, only the rank order of questions by difficulty, because we do not have absolute measure of intelligence. Still, the claim that SOME human mental traits, other than IQ, do not have normal distribution, in no way impacts the validity of IQ distribution as tests found it and projected onto mean 100 and standard dev 15 since it reflects real world performance well.
Physiological traits important for survival are not normally distributed (of course it is assumed that IQ both tests innate physiological differences and is important for survival so if it were physiological it wouldn’t be normally distributed either since traits important for survival have low heritabilities). It predicts real world performance well because, see above and my other articles on thus matter.
If you know even the basic facts about IQ, it’s clear that this article has been written in bad faith, just for sake of being contrarian regardless of the truth content or for self-promotion.
No, people don’t know the basic facts of IQ (or its construction). My article isn’t written in bad faith nor is it being contrarian regardless of the truth content or for self-promotion. I can, clearly, address criticisms to my writing.
In the future, if anyone has any problems with what I write then please leave a comment here on the blog at the relevant article. Commenting on Reddit on the article that gets posted there is no good because I probably won’t see it.