Home » Black-White IQ » The Concept of Genotypic IQ is False and Socially Destructive

The Concept of Genotypic IQ is False and Socially Destructive

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The concept of “genotypic IQ” (GIQ) refers to a theoretical genetic potential of IQ. Basically, GIQ is one’s IQ without any corresponding environmental insults, and of course it is due the interaction of many genes each with small effect (which is the justification for GWAS). This, though, is like the concept of true score. “A true score is the hypothetical average of a thousand parallel testings of someone’s intellectual abilities.” Nevertheless, this concept of GIQ is used by hereditarians to proclaim that “genotypic intelligence is deteriorating” (Lynn, 1998) and this is due to “dysgenic fertility“, which is “a negative correlation between intelligence and the number of children” (Lynn and Harvey, 2008: 112), while “genotypic IQ” is “Genotypic intelligence is the genetic component of intelligence and it is this that has been declining” (Lynn and Harvey, 2008: 113) or is the IQ they have if they have access to optimal environments. I will argue in this article why the concept of GIQ is nonsense.

What is GIQ?

So GIQ is the so-called genetic component of intelligence. This, of course, is based on the assumption that genes are causative for IQ. This is based on the assumption that, however weakly, heritability can tell us anything about genetic causation (it can’t).

Lynn (2015) talks about the GIQs of Africans, pygmies, and aborigines. He also claims that the IQ of African Americans is “solely genetically determined“, since it hasn’t changed in some 80 years. This claim, though, is false (Dickens and Flynn, 2006). Nevertheless, the claim of GIQ arises due to the assumption—which hasn’t been tested, nor can it—that IQ and other psychological traits are caused/influenced by genes. I have argued at length that this claim is false.

It seems that the only people discussing this concept are the usual suspects (Lynn, 2015, 2018; Woodley of Menie, 2015; Madison, Woodley of Menie, and Sanger, 2016; Kirkegaard, Lasker, and Kura, 2019; Piffer, 2023). The decline in so-called genotypic IQ is used as a cudgel to try to argue that “dysgenic effects” of low IQ women having more children is leading to this effect. Weiss (2021: 35) puts it like this:

If women with a low IQ give birth to their children earlier than women with a high IQ, the mean genotypic IQ of the population will also decrease (Comings 1996), even if the number of children in both population strata should be the same. If the number of children across the IQ distribution is not equal (Blake 1989), the next generation will have a different IQ distribution.

Quite obviously, the hereditarian claim of GIQ is that some individuals—and of course groups—are genetically more intelligent than others. Nevertheless, a women “with a low IQ” doesn’t have a low IQ due to genetics; if we think about the nature of IQ and the types of items on the test, we then come to the conclusion that these tests aren’t a test of one’s genetic potential for learning ability (as many have claimed), but it’s merely what one has been exposed to and learned.

We have also used this concept of GIQ to attempt to show that these genes we have found to be associated with IQ have been in decline. Cretan (2016)—in a paper titled “Was Cro-Magnon the Most Intelligent Modern Human?“—tries to argue that GIQ has decreased since Neolithic times, and that the decrease in height and brain size since then is expected, since they are moderately correlated. However, the so-called brain size increase seems to be an artifact (Deacon, 1990a, 1990b). Cretan (2016: 158-159) writes:

Genotypic” intelligence changes across millennia because the genetic variants, or alleles, that enable people to develop higher intelligence change their frequencies due to mutation and selection. Evolution by mutation and selection implies that at a certain selection pressure favoring higher intelligence, the genotypic intelligence of a population remains constant. At selection pressures below this break-even point, intelligence will decrease; at higher selection pressure, intelligence will increase. In the complete absence of selection, genotypic IQ will not remain constant.

As we can see, this concept of GIQ and the so-called decrease in it has been sounding hereditarian alarm bells for decades. People like Lynn and Jensen push eugenic ideals on the basis of low intelligence people having more children, pushing for a negative eugenic practice to prevent people with low IQ from having children. Jensen, in his infamous 1969 paper, was pretty much explicit with these aims, and then in 1970 he stated that heritability can tell use one’s genetic standing when it comes to intelligence. Richard Lynn, in his review of Cattell’s Beyondism, called for “realistically phasing out” certain populations, but that it wasn’t eugenic:

“Is there a danger that current welfare policies, unaided by eugenic foresight, could lead to the genetic enslavement of a substantial segment of our population?” – Jensen, 1969: 95How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?

“What the evidence on heritability tells us is that we can, in fact, estimate a person’s genetic standing on intelligence from his score on an IQ test.” – Jensen, 1970, Can We and Should We Study Race Difference?

“What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the populations of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of “phasing out” of such peoples.” [Lynn]

This is an example of negative eugenics—preventing those who were thought to have undesirable traits from breeding. William Shockley—who was Arthur Jensen’s inspiration—talked about paying people to undergo sterilization. This was called the voluntary sterilization bonus plan:

Shockley is proposing varying bonuses to anyone with an IQ under 100 who agrees to be sterilized upon reaching child-bearing age. He would pay volunteers $1,000 for every IQ point below 100, with “$30,000 put into a trust fund for a 70-IQ moron, potentially capable of producing 20 children.”

Under the plan, bonuses would also go to potential parents based on the “best scientific estimates” of their having such “genetically carried disabilities as hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea and so on,” with taxpayers getting no money to participate.

This is another example of negative eugenics, but there is of course also positive eugenics—encouraging those with desired traits to have more children. In his article Bright New World, Moen (2016) discusses this kind of positive eugenics, while endorsing the claim of GIQ. Moen proposed that women should be paid modest sums of cash to have children with high IQ sperm donors, not their husbands:

Here I would like to suggest an alternative way to raise global IQ: giving prospective mothers modest monetary incentives to have children that genetically belong not to their husbands (or to ordinary sperm donors) but to high-IQ sperm donors.

These are the kinds of views and ultimate consequences that derive from such thinking that there is GIQ. Since we know that IQ can’t be genetic, there can be no GIQ. If there can be no GIQ, then such proposals like these negative and positive eugenic ideas that I just cited would merely just be getting rid of people that are not socially desireable—mainly the lower class, along with blacks since they are more likely to be lower class and have lower IQs (due to knowledge exposure and differential access to cultural and psychological tools). This concept of GIQ has, since the advent of IQ tests in America, been used to sterilize people in the name of eugenics. The moral wrongness of eugenics is why we should reject this concept, nevermind the irreducibility arguments. Eugenic policies discriminate against people based on arbitrary criteria and violate their reproductive rights.

Arguments against GIQ

Now that I have described what GIQ is and how it has been used in the past in the name of eugenics, here are a few arguments to invalidate the concept.

P1: If IQ is solely determined by one’s genetic makeup, then IQ scores should remain stable through one’s lifetime.
P2: IQ scores do not remain relatively stable through one’s lifetime.
C: Thus, IQ is not solely determined by one’s genetic makeup.

P1: If IQ is solely determined by genetics, then individuals with high IQ parents should also have high IQ scores.
P2: If individuals with high IQ parents also have high IQ scores, then adoption should not affect their IQ scores.
P3: Adoption does affect the IQ scores of individuals with high IQ parents.
C: Thus intelligence is not solely determined by genetics.

This argument contradicts the main claim of GIQ, since adoption has been shown to raise IQ (see Capron and Duyme, 1989; Locurto, 1990; Flynn, 1993; Duyme, Dumaret, and Tomkiwicz, 1999; Kendler et al, 2015; see Nisbett et al, 2012 for review).

P1: If the concept of GIQ were true, then one’s IQ would be determined by their genetics.
P2: Genes don’t determine traits, nevermind psychological ones.
C: Therefore, the concept of GIQ is false.

P1: If psychological traits are reducible to genetics, then environment plays no role in shaping IQ and the concept of GIQ is true.
P2: The environment plays a significant role in shaping IQ, as adoption studies show.
C: Therefore psychological traits are not reducible to genetics and the concept of GIQ is false.


P1: If psychological traits are irreducible, then the concept of GIQ is false.
P2: Psychological traits are irreducible.
C: Therefore, the concept of GIQ is false.

Both of these argument draw on the irreducibility of the mental arguments I’ve been making for years. If the mental is irreducible to the physical, then the concept of GIQ can’t possibly be true.

P1: Either the concept of GIQ is true and implies that IQ is determined by genes alone, or the concept of GIQ is false and other factors other than genes contribute to IQ.
P2: If the concept of GIQ is true and implies genetic determinism, then it ignores the significant impact that environmental factors have on IQ and may perpetuate discrimination against those with low IQ.
P3: If the concept of GIQ is false and other factors other than genes contribute to IQ, then efforts should be focused on addressing these other factors rather than assuming that genes are the sole determinant of IQ.
C: Thus, either the concept of GIQ perpetuates discriminatory attitudes if true, or it distracts from addressing the true determinants of IQ if false.

P1 is logically true, while P2 and P3 are supported by scientific evidence, so the argument is plausible.

The concept of GIQ assumes that IQ is largely determined by genetics, and that individuals have different genetic potentials for IQ. There is no clear, consistent definition of intelligence. The factors that contribute to IQ are complex and multifaceted. So any attempt at reducing one’s IQ to their genes or to make predictions about one’s IQ from their genes along is inherently flawed and oversimplified. Thus, the concept of GIQ is not a valid or useful way of understanding intelligence, and so attempts to use it to make policy or social decisions would be misguided. So this argument challenges the concept of GIQ, since there is no accepted definition of intelligence. That’s more than enough to discount the concept entirely.


I have described the concept of GIQ that many hereditarians in the literature have espoused. It is described as one’s genetic potential for IQ sans environmental insults. The usual suspects are arguing for a GIQ. However as can be seen historically, this concept had led to destructive consequences for groups of people and individuals who are deemed less intelligent. It has been argued that those who have low IQs should not have children and that either people should be paid to not have children and get sterilized or to influence high IQ mother’s to have children not with their husbands but high IQ sperm donors. Eugenics is morally wrong so we should not do that, nevermind the fact that genes don’t work how hereditarians need them to. Nevertheless, I have given a few arguments that the concept of GIQ is misleading at worst and socially destructive at best. This is yet another reason why we should ban IQ tests.

Thus, the concept of GIQ is merely false eugenic nonsense.


1 Comment

  1. Victor Andronicvs Praetorivs Gaelicvs says:

    Well, but it seems Western society is globally losing IQ after the massive entering of those of genotypical low IQ, because we still cannot see the massive surge of science and technoogy, art and humanities, the whole wealth we were told they wiould bring.


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