2004 October 24 Sunday
Is Bush Smarter Than Kerry?

Steve Sailer looked at their military aptitude test results and says Bush may well be smarter than Kerry.

Most significantly, at the age of 22, both men took the IQ-type tests of candidate military officers. (The U.S. which has studied to intelligence testing.)

...

The two tests aren't perfectly comparable. But they provide no evidence that Kerry is smarter. If anything, Bush is smarter than Kerry.

What is amazing about Steve's article is that it attracted the attention of the New York Times. Our liberal elites try to claim that IQ doesn't matter and profess to believe a sort of Lysenkoist view where intelligence is caused almost entirely by the environment. They entirely ignore the role of natural selection in order to make a place for all environment all the time (and this from people who like to look down on fundamentalist Christians for denying Darwinism - human minds can sustain amazing internal contradictions).

Yet deep down the liberals all know that most of the differences between people in intellectual ability are inherited and they know that intelligence matters a great deal. So many more liberals are reading Steve's article than are writing about it. Still, the Grey Lady stepped up to the plate, unable to resist. John Tierney of the New York Times distills out the basic conclusions of Steve's analysis of the intelligence of George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.

Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.

On her web site Linda Gottfredson has many of her research papers on psychometrics available to be read if you want ot learn more about psychometric research on intelligence and IQ.

One problem with a comparison of tests of cognitive ability taken a few decades ago is that Bush has probably done more damage to his mind than Kerry has in the decades since. Bush too much alcohol for too long and alcohol certainly does kill brain cells. Plus, there are the rumors about Bush's cocaine abuse and coke also definitely kills brain cells. (any doubters should see here and here and here and here)

Bush has two other problems on top of likely brain damage. He also lacks curiosity and misunderstands the world as a result. Plus, there is something obviously morally deficient about him.

Of course Kerry has his own set of deficiencies. Some of those deficiencies are obvious enough to voters that Bush is probably going to win the election. Whichever one wins America will lose. About this election I'm increasingly of the attitude of Que Sera Sera.

Steve has some reader emails making interesting comments about the Kerry-Bush comparison. Check out the comments.

BTW, Tierney's career at the Grey Lady might be at risk if anyone noticed, but he's more reality-oriented than the average Times reporter. See my previous post John Tierney On Cousin Marriage As Reform Obstacle In Iraq.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 October 24 02:34 AM  Politics American Domestic


Comments
Invisible Scientist said at October 24, 2004 5:47 AM:

**********************************************************
"Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said."
******************************************************************************************

What Professor Gottfredson is saying is correct, being cunning, is a form of intelligence also, and this
form of street-smart social intelligence, is not measured in IQ tests. Some successful people who got
where they are by virtue (or vice) of having social savy, often use an even more clever and effective
technique: silence. By saying less than necessary, they keep other people in suspense, since most
people who want to rely on other people's ideas and answers are insecure already, and the majority
are willing to grant the silent guru, the status of "genius" until he starts showing too many weaknesses.

At the same time, the same population is also guilty of discrediting people who reveal too many weaknesses
even when they are overall correct.

Of course, it is not a bad idea to reveal some natural stupidity
in front of mediocre arrogant people, since this way they show their true colors,
and you find out which people in the audience are your friends or enemies.

gcochran said at October 24, 2004 9:57 AM:

"Bush is probably going to win the election. "

I'd say the issue is in doubt. Judging by state polls, electoral college vote is currently tied at Kerry 253, Bush 254. If true, could boil down to Florida - which was tied 46-46 in the latest poll. See http://www.electoral-vote.com/


crush41 said at October 24, 2004 10:49 AM:

What is the definition of a "morale deficiency"?

It would seem so-called emotional IQ is a better indicator of the presidential-campaign winner than traditional IQ, and based on how the campaigns have been run, the nod goes to Bush.

MSN's slate has Bush with a slight electoral lead, even though the site is giving Kerry Minnesota and, surprisingly, Ohio. An opinion-dynamics poll out today showed Bush with a 5 point lead and an interesting side note: stemming from anger towards the Democratic party for fervently trying to deny allowing Nader on the ballot in several states, many would-be Nader voters are planning on sitting the election out rather than voting for Kerry.

Invisible Scientist said at October 24, 2004 11:23 AM:

You wrote:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"Bush is probably going to win the election. "

I'd say the issue is in doubt. Judging by state polls, electoral college vote is currently tied at Kerry 253, Bush 254. If true, could boil down to Florida - which was tied 46-46 in the latest poll. See http://www.electoral-vote.com/
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I must bring to your attention a detail about the Stock Market indicator for presidential elections.
Overall, when the stock market is going up, the incumbent president wins in general. When the
stock market is going down, it is an indication that the public is in a bad enough mood to want
a regime change, and hence the incumbent administration often loses the elections whenever
the market is going down in a big way. When Randall Parker and his friends were mentioning
all the bad things about Bill Clinton during his impeachment due to his sex scandal, I told
them at that time that since the stock market was going up at that time, the statistical
probability was very high, that the public mood was still good enough to re-elect Clinton
despite all his failures. And sure enough, Clinton won the elections despite all the bad things
that were revealed to the nation.

As of last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has made a new low for the last 11 months,
but at least some other averages like small stocks, Nasdaq, etc are still not
declining much, and so we have a mildly negative but not too bad picture from the stock market.
IF the market rallies during the next two weeks, the chances are reasonably good that
Bush will win the elections. However, if the market really declines seriously next week due
to unexpected negative events like much higher oil prices, then the downward momentum of the
Dow Jones Industrial Average would also force the other averages like Nasdaq and Russell 2000,
Standard & Poor 500, etc to decline in unison, and this would probably cause Bush to lose the
elections... But right now, the picture is neutral, and if Bush still has a few points more than
Kerry, he might maintain that distance during the elections, provided that the market does not
decline next week.

Eric said at October 24, 2004 11:46 AM:

As to the question of predicting the election winnner, a friend pointed this out to me: http://election.princeton.edu/

riza said at October 24, 2004 12:25 PM:

if you keep your mouth shut, then you'll have less mistakes.

riza said at October 24, 2004 12:52 PM:

If only people of America will only be smart enough to see Bush as evil, no single vote will be cast for him. He's sending those poor soldiers in a battle in which he has everything to gain and the soldiers to loose their lives. If Bush will pull these soldier's out and leave Iraq with their oils alone, I'll say Bush is really smart and with a heart.

But obviously, he is not.

Jody said at October 24, 2004 7:15 PM:

riza: that's sarcasm, right?

crush41 said at October 25, 2004 10:07 AM:

I must bring to your attention a detail about the Stock Market indicator for presidential elections.

----

Three weeks ago the market was just shy of 10,400 and high-yielding dividend stocks were up substantially, coinciding with Bush's large leads in the polls. After Kerry crushed Bush in the first debate, the market reclinated back to a twelve-month low. I predict the market will climb five points November 3 (bravely assuming the race isn't dragged out three months) with a Bush win, back to the 10,300 or so mark, as the market clearly favors him, but, as you noted, seems to have lost faith. The point is a very valid one.

However, it's not always the case. The DJIA composite had been steadily growing when Clinton beat Bush 41 in '92, and the growth was stronger still, and had been for three years, when Reagan defeated Carter. (http://www.finfacts.com/Private/curency/nysecompositeperformance.htm provides a viewer-friendly look at the composite over the last 70 or so years. The 90s growth is truly incredible.)

I'm new to this site, and until now had to sit with the unsettling realization that I was the least qualified to make a post. I'd like to thank Riza for relieving me of that burden.

Derek Copold said at October 25, 2004 11:12 AM:

Since others are making their bets on the election, I'm going to stick my neck out here, too.

Kerry will win by 3-5 states. The polls are practically tied, and the tie goes to the challenger. I sense a lack of desire on the part of Republicans to re-elect Bush--except among the Kool-Aid Krowd at Freerepublic.com. This isn't to say Republicans won't vote for Bush: they will, but not with the same enthusiasm that people on the other side will vote against him. So, a busy work day, rain or some other such event will have a more deleterious effect on the GOP than the Democrats this year. Also, registrations have also been going up, which is a bad sign for the incumbent: apathetic voters don't start voting because they love the guy in office. They're usually pissed and want to throw the bum out. Finally, far more Republicans are jumping ship this year than Democrats, and a lot of editorials that endorsed Bush in 2000 have either switched or withheld their endorsement altogether.

Luke Lea said at October 25, 2004 5:15 PM:

Bush and Kerry are basically tied in the smarts department, as the margin of error of the tests is greater than the differences in their scores. Bush's problem is one of honesty (both with himself and with others) and possible brain addledness due to drug and alcahol abuse. Plus, he doesn't really believe in anything except winning. The guy is going to hell if he is not already in it, and the only question is how much of the world he is going to take with him. He is a blot upon America and a disgrace to history, though hopefully only a minor one.

crush41 said at October 25, 2004 6:31 PM:

The SD for most IQ tests is 15, so wouldn't 5 points be statistically significant? You realize, Luke, that many right-wingers are smirking from ear to ear when you say Bush is the dishonest one, especially at an intrapersonal level.

The Iraq situation is obviously a mess, though the casualty rate is relatively low for such a major conflict. In any case, the U.S. (and world's) economy depends hinges UPON THE DEGREE of western influence on Middle Eastern oil, like it or not. The election, being focused so stronly on foreign policy, comes down to hope for a vast majority of the electorate because there is no way for them to get anything but a myriad of conflicting stories/opinions.

That's interesting Derek. I see the move by Kerry to bring Clinton out as an indication of a lack of base support. Certainly that would be a move that would motivate Bush's base to get out and vote for him. The flip with Bush touting Arnold and Guiliani, where he's trying to get the undecided, who, the longer they stay undecided, the better the odds become that they'll cast one for Kerry.

I'm giving Bush the nod with a Zogby poll released today that gives him a 5-point Ohio lead. That's assuming no DUI skeleton pops up within the next eight days.

Derek Copold said at October 25, 2004 8:07 PM:

Of course Kerry's appealing to his base with Clinton. He needs them, too. The country is so evenly divided that bases can't be neglected by either side.

Steve Sailer said at October 26, 2004 2:47 PM:

"the majority
are willing to grant the silent guru, the status of "genius" until he starts showing too many weaknesses."

That's a good point. People like to believe their leaders know more than they are saying. That was Newt Gingrich's mistake -- nobody could possibly know more than he said, giving nonstop interviews on all subjects under the sun, after his getting elected Speaker of the House in 1994.

Steve Sailer said at October 26, 2004 2:50 PM:

On the question of the candidates' IQs at age 22, it's safe to say they were pretty similar then. Based on my best analysis, if I had to bet, I would bet on Bush scoring higher if they had taken the same test at that age. But I wouldn't give much in the way of odds.

Steve Sailer said at October 26, 2004 2:52 PM:

By the way, reporter John Tierney asked me what his own SAT scores equated to in IQ. I won't say, but it was a big number. Steve Pinker introduced me to Tierney, which shows the kind of intellectual level Tierney is on.


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