2006 January 01 Sunday
Quality Of Average College Graduates Dropping In America

The US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released their 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) and one result has attracted a fair amount of attention: prose skills of graduate students have declined since 1992.

The test measures how well adults comprehend basic instructions and tasks through reading -- such as computing costs per ounce of food items, comparing viewpoints on two editorials and reading prescription labels. Only 41 percent of graduate students tested in 2003 could be classified as "proficient" in prose -- reading and understanding information in short texts -- down 10 percentage points since 1992. Of college graduates, only 31 percent were classified as proficient -- compared with 40 percent in 1992. Schneider said the results do not separate recent graduates from those who have been out of school several years or more.

The results were based on a sample of more than 19,000 people 16 or older, who were interviewed in their homes. They were asked to read prose, do math and find facts in documents. The scores for "intermediate" reading abilities went up for college students, causing educators to question whether most college instruction is offered at the intermediate level because students face reading challenges.

I am not surprised by this. College education has been held out as a panacea. In order to boost enrollment colleges have had to lower standards. Smarter people were already going to college. To get more people to spend more years in college it was necessary to recruit from lower down on the IQ scale. At the same time, US immigration policies have increased the percentage of the populace that have lower intelligence levels. Sending those people off to college with racial preferences of course has lowered the quality of college graduates.

Fools argue that since people who get college degrees do better then the solution is to send more people to college. But a college education is just a proxy for a higher level of intelligence. The preference employers have for college graduates is a preference for higher intelligence employees. A repeal of the foolish US Supreme Court decision Griggs v. Duke Power would allow employers to use IQ tests instead and reduce what is effectively a big tax on the economy levied by educrats. This would save a lot of time and money now wasted on education that does not provide either marketable skills or real insights.

I wonder whether the decline has been greater for females than for males. Women are a higher percentage of college students than men. My guess is that at lower IQ levels women are a lot more likely to go to college than men of equal IQ and that the growth in the number of women going to college has lowered the average quality of those women who attend.

NCES Commissioner Mark Schneider made comments that support the argument that having a larger fraction of the population attending college does lower the average quality of students.

I will now present the results on change in scores between 1992 and 2003 for selected educational attainment levels. There were no increases in literacy in any of any of the educational attainment levels. Prose literacy decreased among adults at every level of education. This decrease calls out for more research. On the quantitative scale, there were no changes in literacy at any level of educational attainment. For document literacy, those with higher levels of education showed a decline while those with less education had no change. With scores dropping in prose literacy for every level of education, you might wonder why there was no overall decline in the average score for this type of literacy. This is because adults with higher educational levels tend to outperform those with lower educational levels, and the percentage of adults with high educational levels-those with "some college" or more-has been increasing, while the percentage with low levels of education has been declining. We have more higher-scoring adults with high levels of education, and fewer lower scoring adults with low levels of education, which offsets the fact that average scores for highly educated adults are declining.

My interpretation: lower IQ people are spending more time in school and while they are not rising up to the level of performance of the higher IQ people they are developing better language skills by attending school for longer periods of time.

The poorly educated college students remind me of poorly educated 12th graders. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom report that 12th grade Hispanics know little more than 8th grade whites.

"Blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography. In math and geography, indeed, they know no more than whites in the seventh grade. Hispanics do only a little better than African-Americans. In reading and U.S. history, their NAEP scores in their senior year of high school are a few points above those of whites in eighth grade. In math and geography, they are a few points lower."

Also see here for more on the Thernstrom data.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 January 01 11:06 AM  Education


Comments
John S Bolton said at January 1, 2006 11:33 AM:

There is a lot of aggression involved in maintaining such a large college enrollment, and a degradation of standards Going back to a merit system, by overruling the racial quota system, would do a lot of good. Other countries, though, now send about as a large a share of a birth cohort to college as here. The use of college credentials doesn't really help employers to avoid racial quotas that much. Too many schools are willing to wave minorities through.

Darkwing said at January 1, 2006 11:34 AM:

"Sending those people off to college with racial preferences of course has lowered the quality of college graduates."

Yes, exactly-- affirmative action, and racial and gender preferences are one of the most ruinous policies ever adopted by the US. They're shattering the quality of our high school and college graduates and, since they're pervasive at so many levels, they dreadfully reduce the standards of performance and even penalize hard-working, bright whites and Asians for their accomplishments.

Every damn time I open up a specialty magazine in engineering or technical fields (where being highly competent is *the* sine qua non), there are copious references to how this or that company is an "affirmative action" employer where "women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply." I.e., NWOAMNA (no white or Asian males need apply) since whites and Asians are moved to the back of the pile, even if much better qualified. So less capable blacks and Hispanics get affirmative action in college applications, in grad school applications if they screw up in college, get coddled at both levels so they don't fail out, then get affirmative action in job hiring if they still mess up, then get protected from firing if they mess up in the job, then still get more affirmative action when it comes to promotion decisions. WTF?

If I'm a disciplined, promising immigrant's kid from India or China, I'm no longer going to want to immigrate to the USA, where I know I'm going to face officially-sanctioned discrimination at *every* level of the educational and employment system that penalizes me for my hard work, and my people's success in general. Instead, I'm going to look to places like Germany, Austria or the Netherlands as desirable immigration destinations, since those places don't have these idiotic racial quotas across the board, and people's success is a consequence of their effort and accomplishment rather than their race. Even France, with its wretched pro-Muslim immigration policies, has a better policy on this at least-- the French don't give racial preferences to anyone, including those North Africans, despite all their rioting and protestations. If they want to succeed, they have to do it on their own merits.

Randall Parker said at January 1, 2006 12:47 PM:

Darkwing,

In my experience smaller companies do not give racial preferences when hiring technical staff.

Larger companies that practice too much racial preferences end up declining as companies that avoid that sort of thing produce more per dollar spent on development.

Kurt said at January 1, 2006 1:51 PM:

I think that the Griggs vs. Duke Power decision has actually had a discriminatory effect against high IQ people in job market who have not attended college. Since companies cannot test prospective employees directly for IQ, they must rely apon credentialism to separate the "high IQ" people from the "lower IQ" people on the assumption that if Joe Blow has a college degree, he must be more intelligent than John Doe, who does not. Given how expensive college is becoming these days, it makes it more and more difficult for young people to make it these days without having to go into hock for tens of thousands of dollars in school loans.

Of course, Microsoft and Apple get around the IQ test ban by testing prospects with questions that relate to programming issues.

Invisible Scientist said at January 1, 2006 1:56 PM:

Those college statistics about declining standards are ONLY for average and median mortals. The competition for entering the top 20 universities is more brutal than ever. And the standards in those top schools is rising also. There is tremendous stratification, separation between the upper and lower groups. On surface, it would seem that after the dotcom/technology crash of 2000-2002, there is a lot less demand for computer science and engineering programs, but this is only true at the undergraduate level. Many of the surplus students who had flocked to undergraduate computer science and EE programs during the dotcom boom, have no choice but to try getting into graduate programs. Admission to the top 20 schools is even more competitive now... Although the average standards for the lower 50 % of the population have declined, the top 25 % became FAR more competitive. The latter fact is a hidden asset for the US. This is why there will be a lot of innovation during this decade.

Sean said at January 1, 2006 1:59 PM:

"Fools argue that since people who get college degrees do better then the solution is to send more people to college. But a college education is just a proxy for a higher level of intelligence."

And the more people with college degrees there are, the less valuable a college degree becomes. I hope that my potential employers never figure out that of the top five members of my graduating class, two majored in English and two more majored in General Science.

Invisible Scientist said at January 1, 2006 2:00 PM:

But I must add that the increasing tuition in colleges, is a serious burden on the average citizen. This is not a good thing. In order to stay competitive, many colleges and universities ( I mean the top colleges ) are forced to raise salaries astronomically, and then they have to pass these excess costs to the students. Those who need to incur $100,000 in college loans just for a BA, are in trouble. They may not be able to pay these loans if there is a deflationary depression in the future.

Ivan Kirigin said at January 1, 2006 6:02 PM:

public class GraudateQuality
{

typedef enum {ENGLISH=0, JOURNALISM, COMPUTER_SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, X_STUDIES } Majors;

static float proseQuality( Majors m, bool blogger ) const
{
float rtn;
switch( m )
{
case ENGLISH:
case JOURNALISM:
rtn = 1.0f;
break;
case COMPUTER_SCIENCE:
case ENGINEERING:
rtn = 0.25f;
break;
case X_STUDIES:
default:
rtn = 0.0f;
}

return ( blogger ) ? rtn - 0.5f : rtn;
}
};

John S Bolton said at January 1, 2006 6:30 PM:

It could be that the gross overenrollment into colleges is causing the pressure to build on the better-name schools, since having a college degree doesn't distinguish one from low-literates even,
or not consistently so.
All the while, minorities and their advocates clamor for exemptions from any standards, which, when granted pushes the competition even further towards more inaccessible names, titles and credentials.
Once this treadmill is set up, it would throw large numbers of academics out of their positions, at least the non-tenured ones, to go back to the merit standard.
The guild socialist character of academia being as rigid and depressional as the economy of Italy during the dictatorship of Mussolini, one can't expect anyone benefitting from that system to complain, of the actual causes of the deterioration.

Bob Badour said at January 2, 2006 6:53 AM:

Hugh,

A company using an IQ test might not look for the smartest applicant. The company might look for candidates in a certain band of intelligence. Too low and the person is not equipped for the job. Too high and the person will soon leave for greener pastures.

I think the company would probably use IQ in combination with other factors. A restaurant hiring an adult to bus tables during the day probably won't want someone with an IQ of 120. On the other hand, the same restaurant hiring a fifteen year old to bus tables after school might.

In the first case, hiring the higher IQ would increase the chance of turnover. In the second case, hiring the higher IQ would increase the chance of hiring someone equipped to stay with the company for years and move up through the ranks.

Conversely, the restaurant might not hire a 15 year old with an IQ of 90 but jump at the chance to hire the 35 year old parent with the same IQ.

Mike Quinlan said at January 2, 2006 8:03 AM:

A few snippets from the Washington Post article cited:
"It may be that institutions have not yet figured out how to teach a whole generation of students who learned to read on the computer and who watch more TV. It's a different kind of literacy."

Gorman said that he has been shocked by how few entering freshmen understand how to use a basic library system, or enjoy reading for pleasure. "There is a failure in the core values of education," he said. "They're told to go to college in order to get a better job -- and that's okay. But the real task is to produce educated people."

One bright spot is that blacks are making significant gains in reading and math and are reaching higher levels of education. For instance, the report showed that the average rate of prose literacy, or reading, among blacks rose six percentage points since 1992. Prose and document reading scores for whites remained the same.

---- Now how is it, that we can read the same article, and draw such divergent conclusions?
Its the education system "writ large" that is the problem. The problem is not innate amongst those being "educated". Its fascinating how enthralled you all are with reductionist arguments and the highly specious concept of race.

Randall Parker said at January 2, 2006 7:44 PM:

Bob,

In fact a guy who worked for Boeing over 50 years ago told me that indeed Boeing did use a form of IQ test to avoid hiring people who would get bored in highly repetitive tasks.

Mike says:

Its fascinating how enthralled you all are with reductionist arguments

Mike, I'm a very proud reductionist. Unless we break phenomena down into their constituent components we can not understand them. I realize why liberals do not want to understand certain phenomena. But I do want to understand and therefore I break things down as much as I can.

I've pointed you at the books and research papers that contradict your oh-so-politically-correct faith. But you prefer your faith.

Remember this exchange 5 years hence. The evidence will be so detailed at that point that you'll have to abandon any pretence to belief in science if you still want to embrace your faith. What are you going to choose, faith or science? That's the choice coming up for you.

Jorge D.C. said at January 2, 2006 11:33 PM:

...money now wasted on education that does not provide either marketable skills or real insights.

Yes, because it's not so much education as it is re-education i.e. pyschological conditioning.

Hugh,

Blacks may have lower IQ's but they are not entirely stupid either.

Approx 1/6 of blacks are more intelligent than half the white population. The "not entirely stupid" characterization is awfully stingy.

Jane said at January 3, 2006 9:57 AM:

Doesn't anyone care about the inherent racism in this part of the article

" At the same time, US immigration policies have increased the percentage of the populace that have lower intelligence levels. Sending those people off to college with racial preferences of course has lowered the quality of college graduates."

Since when did immigrants inherently have "lower intelligence levels"? Being educated and being intelligent are two different things, isn't that what this whole argument is about? If you are Guatemalan dishwasher, that doesn't mean you're necessarily stupid. Perhaps you just didn't have the opportunity to get an education and get ahead.

This is a very ignorant post, abd borderline racist. No one discusses the semantic differences between "intelligent," "educated," "high IQ".

mike quinlan said at January 3, 2006 11:30 AM:

Randall
There is no conflict between faith and science. Science must always have at its base certain precepts that must be taken on faith. Religion must always recognize that it is not an arbiter of knowledge. Scientific knowlege must by its very nature always be self-questioning and seeking to elaborate its explanatory frameworks.
The way you see things, I think, is that the die is set at birth, the genetic fix is in. Our lives, cultures, societies are construed as an expression of our dna, and that individual human evolutionary status can be measured by IQ.
I choose to believe that there is something sacred in each of us, and that each expression of humanity has meaning for itself and others, and as such, is worthy of consideration and understanding in the large sense of both words.
Science has a role to play in that. Even your research plays a role in that, and even if you misunderstand your own findings. But that is science, eventurally someone comes along to debunk you.
Here is to better science and keeping the Faith !

Bob Badour said at January 3, 2006 8:20 PM:

Jane,

If you cared to read anything else on this site, you would find plenty of links to psychometric research that strongly suggests Guatemalan dishwashers are indeed stupid rather than just ignorant.

Randall Parker said at January 3, 2006 8:41 PM:

Mike,

There's a conflict between your faith and science.

Your faith requires that you replace my actual arguments with strawmen. Here you do it:

The way you see things, I think, is that the die is set at birth, the genetic fix is in.

It is like you are not listening. I'll try to explain again. Maybe someone else will read what I say and they will at least get it.

Genetics give us a potential. But some factors can prevent us from reaching our potential. We can get exposed to toxins or be malnourished at crucial stages of brain development. Also, the genes are like control laws that have noise in them so that they are not perfectly deterministic. But you take a two groups of people who have two different average levels of genetic potential for intelligence and feed them similarly and expose them to similar amounts of toxins and so on and the two groups will differ in average intelligence.

Genetic sequences are not so powerful that they can assure some outcome in spite of the slings and arrows of environment. But social environment can't instruct the genes to express themselves in ways that provide big boosts to intelligence. Social environment is not the ultimate power capable of overriding DNA sequences in influence. You probably know this for the rest of the body. So probably can accept that genetic variations that cause various genetic diseases in all people who have those variations can't be defeated by simply having loving parents and teachers. But you do not want to accept this about the genes expressed in the brain. There you have faith and your faith causes you to deny the science. I can't help you on that score.

Cole Wenger said at January 3, 2006 9:52 PM:

Is it so impossible to believe that at the same foundational level that there are supposed differences in intelligence potential, that there are also differences in the perception of and reaction to the world?

The point I'm trying to argue towards is that our psychometric tests (including IQ test, which is an incredibly flawed test) were developed from the background of the Western University, which both a.) represents a completely different idea of the self than the vast majority of the world and b.)represents a fairly narrow spectrum of the worldwide biogentic spectrum (you do realize that Europeans and their descendents are incredibly inbred, right? 4000 years without conquests will do that to you.) Why wouldn't blacks, Guatemalians, etc perform poorly on our tests? They don't come from the same background. This is a crude example, but it would be the same situation as having you, a native English speaker with full French fluency, sitting in on a test in a French university of, say, Derrida or Foucault, two authors who use French in such a way that much is lost on non- native speakers, and then being scored with the same metric as the native French speakers. Things are lost in translation, and on average, you probably would not do so well. This is the same situation as non-white Europeans taking a Western European influenced test. You will, overall, do worse. These aren't proofs that Blacks are less intelligent than whites, but just that testing tools are inadequete.

So, I will have to agree with some of the other people here who feel that this post, and further, some of the replies are incredibly racist.

mik said at January 4, 2006 1:07 AM:

Cole Wenger wrote:

"Why wouldn't blacks, Guatemalians, etc perform poorly on our tests? They don't come from the same background."

So what? It doesn't refute the point at all.
American blacks come from essentially American backgrond, yet perform poorly.
Many whites come from a quite different environment than ours and yet perform very well on std tests.
Some non-whites come from backgrounds even more diiferent than Amerindian, yet do very well.
How about Japanese and South Koreans?

Your example with French decostructionists is wholly irrelevant.
Your point about background would have some degree of validity if you can point to a study that shows that white euros are being outperformed by blacks or amerindians on some test specific to their background. There are tons of studies of blacks and amerindians underperformance.
If background has any validity you must know at least one study where blacks and amerindians beat whities. Can you name just one?


Mark said at January 4, 2006 1:11 AM:

Cole,

Europe has been repeatedly invaded. Look up the fall of the roman
empire and who the barbarians were and where many of them are
believed to have come from.

As for IQ tests, those currently used are not eurocentric. They've
been reworked and reworked and great effort has gone to create
tests as free of cultural bias or even artifact as possible.

And they work. Statistically, if we take a hundred teenagers of
the same IQ, that IQ will predict with great accuracy certain
parts of what the future average behavior of this group will be.

"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."

"While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all
measure the same intelligence. Some use words or numbers and require
specific cultural knowledge (like vocabulary). Others do not, and
instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple,
universal concepts (many/few, open/closed, up/down)."

from http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/taboos/wsj_main.html

mike quinlan said at January 4, 2006 7:06 AM:

Dear Randall,
I am glad to see you pulling back from your genetic deterministic framework. For any and all interested in furthering their thought on the subject the following link will bring you to a good debate on the subject.
Needless to say, I side with the skeptic.

http://skepdic.com/comments/iqracecom.html

Jane said at January 4, 2006 8:26 AM:

Mik,

"There are tons of studies of blacks and amerindians underperformance.
If background has any validity you must know at least one study where blacks and amerindians beat whities."

What exactly is your point here? That blacks are inherently more stupid than whites? You refuse to take anything like background and socio-economic factors into the discussion.

You always talk about studies. Well, i think a study that would REALLY prove your point would be one of mixed-race people's IQ, and the result would be the lower the percentage that person is black, the higher their IQ. but of course, there is no such study at all, and never will be, because everyone, even you, has a little black in them, and to figure out exactly how much black someone has in them is impossible.

More importantly, i think, is the question of why you want so badly to prove that blacks are stupider than whites? What's the point of proving that? That we can re-institute some sort of slavery, or so that we can just "forget" blacks in our society and blame everything on their stupidity?

Also, if you're really a racist, you probably think that Asias people are really the smartest. What if there was a study that proved that? Or Jews? I don't think you'd want to actually fight on this blog to prove that.

You just want to prove blacks are stupider than you because you want to feel smart, i think. Or at least, be guaranteed that you are smarter than some percentage of the population.

Bob Badour said at January 4, 2006 10:26 AM:

Jane,

All the psychometric research that I suggested you poke around and find last time does take all of those factors into account. This blog is such a rich resource for finding links to psychometric research, I marvel at your inability to find any:

http://www.futurepundit.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=3179

But we do have strong indications much lower average IQs among Amerinds. We have that from tests in the US and on tests done in many Latin American countries.

See this table and note that the items with asterisks are interpolated from neighboring countries where more extensive testing has been doing.

As for the importance of general intelligence: You are wrong. The evidence is overwhelming for the importance of "g". If you wants to read empirical and unideological treatments of psychometric research into intelligence, IQ, and "g" then a good place to start is Linda Gottfredson's research papers. For example, see her paper Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life (PDF file).

If you are up for reading books then start with The Bell Curve. Also read Intelligence,Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen by Jensen and Frank Miele and The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen. If you want a free book on IQ then check out the free download of Chris Brand's IQ book g Factor (same title, different book). I haven't read Brand's book.

Which of the following is more credible?

1. Specific genotypes cause specific phenotypes to correlate with the effect that some identifiable groups of people on average have lesser ability to perform the mental tasks associated with both intelligence tests and increased affluence.

2. Some groups are magically less affluent no matter where in the world one finds them, and this causes them to perform poorly on intelligence tests.

You accuse us of not taking into account certain factors; however, it is you who willfully ignores the available facts.

I don't think many of the people here want to prove anything in particular. For the most part, we want to understand reality as it actually is. Such understanding improves everyone's life.

For instance, reality will determine the outcome of education policy. Reality will determine the outcome of military intervention in the middle-east. Reality will determine the outcome of immigration policy -- both official and unofficial.

How well do you think it serves someone to graduate with a highschool diploma while still a barely functional illiterate? How well do you think it serves a 3 or 4 sigma black doctor to have everyone assume he or she is an affirmative action embicile?

Engineer-Poet said at January 4, 2006 10:30 AM:

Nice non-response, Jane.  Ad-hominem may make you feel morally superior, but it does nothing to refute the arguments.

Bob Badour said at January 4, 2006 10:44 AM:

Jane,

Regarding mixed-race people and intelligence:

http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/stalkers/em_tbc.html

Lynn (1994), a member of this journal's editorial board, points out that when black and white children are reared in matched social environments (educated white families) they have an IQ difference of 17 points. This slightly exceeds the 15 points observed when each are in their own environments. This is very close to a controlled experiment, and suggests that altering environments after infancy does nothing to reduce the racial IQ differences. The IQ of the mixed race children is 98, halfway between that of the study's whites and blacks. As he points out, this is as predicted by genetic theory, but is hard to explain environmentally, since both mixed race and black adopted children are socially classified as black. He gives other powerful arguments I find convincing.

Lynn, R. (1994). Some reinterpretation of the Minnesota transracial adoption study. Intelligence, 19, 21-28.

While I have not read the entire article above, it seems to make a fair analysis of the facts available until the mid-nineties. The facts emerging since then seem mostly to add support to the thesis.

Mike,

Returning to what you wrote above: How can Randall pull back from any framework he never adopted in the first place?

Bob Badour said at January 4, 2006 11:24 AM:

I particularly like the wikipedia article on the topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_Intelligence.

It seems to cover the various positions without resorting to base ad hominem or other sophistry.

Randall Parker said at January 4, 2006 8:40 PM:

Mike,

You continue to misrepresent my views when you say:

I am glad to see you pulling back from your genetic deterministic framework.

Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Or can't you remember what I wrote in the past and you are too lazy to go back and see what I've said and prefer misrepresentation?

You have a choice to make between your faith and science.

Jane,

In fact there is copious evidence to prove that Ashkenazi Jews are the smartest group in the world. See The Bell Curve for a survey of that evidence as of a dozen years ago. The evidence has gotten stronger since then. Also, Harpending and Cochran have recently proposed how selective pressures made Ashkenazis the smartest.

I'm interested in the scientific truth because the scientific truth makes sense of the world. It has predictive value and considerable practical utility.

Jane said at January 5, 2006 8:46 AM:

Randall,

The whole selective pressures study i read about in NYT, and it has yet to be sufficiently peer-reviewed, so we will see how that turns out. Also, if Ashkenazi Jews are the smartest group, why is it that according to Bob's first link which he sent in response to me says that Israelis have an IQ of 94, where the global average is 98 and Britain is 100. Seems contradictory.


Bob,

The first link you posted in your reply does not seem to suggest that IQ is related to genetics/race, but that it is, and i quote,
"It appears likely that some combination of malnutrition, disease, inbreeding, lack of education, lack of mental stimulation, lack of familiarity with abstract reasoning and so forth can keep people from reaching their genetic potential for IQ. Lynn himself did early studies demonstrating that malnutrition drives down IQ. The co-authors conclude their book by recommending that

"The rich countries' economic aid programs for the poor countries should be continued and some of these should be directed at attempting to increase the intelligence levels of the populations of the poorer countries by improvements in nutrition and the like."

A clear example of how a bad environment can hurt IQ can be seen in the IQ scores for sub-Saharan African countries. They average only around 70. In contrast, African-Americans average about 85."
http://www.vdare.com/sailer/wealth_of_nations.htm

So, uh, doesn't the author of the article actually take socioecomic factors VERY MUCH into account, rather than just saying blacks are stupider than whites?


"I don't think many of the people here want to prove anything in particular. For the most part, we want to understand reality as it actually is. Such understanding improves everyone's life.

For instance, reality will determine the outcome of education policy. Reality will determine the outcome of military intervention in the middle-east. Reality will determine the outcome of immigration policy -- both official and unofficial.

How well do you think it serves someone to graduate with a highschool diploma while still a barely functional illiterate? How well do you think it serves a 3 or 4 sigma black doctor to have everyone assume he or she is an affirmative action embicile?"

And back to my question, suppose you do manage to prove to yourselves and others, conclusively, that jews are the smartest, asians are next, then whites, then blacks, then amerinds, whatever. Then what? Ho will that help you determine what do you about education policy, the middle east, and immigration policy? Are you going to create separate schools for the "stupider races" where they can be educated at their own pace, so as not to interfere with the smart children? are we going to institute a gradated affirmative action, where a person of a race that is smarter will automatically win out against a person of lower ranking? And more great ideas like this, like blacks can never be promoted to high level position because they're just genetically stupider. And should ever single one of our presidents now be an ashkenazi jew?

That's really my question. How is figuring this out going to help anything? Because i fear that perpetuating these kinds of ideas, no matter how well-founded in science they could be, would not do ANYONE any good. It would separate society into its racial layersy, Jews and Asians would be the most advantaged, but then, resentment against them would build up among the white majority, who would be consistently discriminated against. And how do you account for the fact that there actually are blacks with 120 IQ? Should they be able to prove themeslves to be smart, or just ignored and treated like an inferior anyway?

Bob Badour said at January 5, 2006 2:12 PM:

"So, uh, doesn't the author of the article actually take socioecomic factors VERY MUCH into account, rather than just saying blacks are stupider than whites?"

Of course he does, as do we all. I provided the link to contradict the speciousness of your false and ignorant accusations. Regardless of the other influences, the author does conclude just that. Improving nutrition to increase IQ from 70 to 85 simply reduces the IQ gap from 2 standard deviations to 1 standard deviation. The significant gap in group average intelligence remains.


"Israelis have an IQ of 94 ... Seems contradictory."

Israel has a large sephardic population--and, of course, a large and growing Arab population. It only seems contradictory because you ignore very important basic facts.


"Ho will that help you determine what do you about education policy, the middle east, and immigration policy?"

Education: We would stop punishing teachers who have the misfortune or fortitude to teach stupid students. We would recognize that the "No Child Left Behind" policy really means "No Child Allowed to Get Ahead". It will be impossible to bring the low end up, which leaves the only choice: hold the high end and middle down.

Middle-east: We would recognize that elections won't change the middle-east. We would know enough to send sufficient ground troops to maintain order after removing a tyrant.

Immigration policy: We would recognize the ultimate harm of allowing in entire tribes of people who lack the means to make a net contribution to a highly industrialized nation and who lack the means to embrace our ideals and values.

Your fears are based on ignorance. The answers to your questions are not the straw men you portray but are quite clear to anyone willing to think about them and to consider all of the facts.

Graduated affirmative action? Don't be silly. Affirmative action itself must end. It is an extremely damaging policy based on pure fallacy.

Blacks never promoted to high position? Don't be silly. That 3 or 4 sigma black is 2 or 3 standard deviations smarter than the median white. We would have to be stupid not to allow him to succeed. BUT everyone would know he succeeded on the basis of his own merit. Do you want to receive emergency medical treatment from an affirmative action placement?

Engineer-Poet said at January 5, 2006 6:28 PM:

Jane sputters:

How is figuring this out going to help anything? Because i fear that perpetuating these kinds of ideas, no matter how well-founded in science they could be, would not do ANYONE any good.

You prefer that we only tell comforting lies to make people feel warm (or keep them in line, a la the Straussians), even while the corrosive effects of those lies eats away at everything we value?

Whatever happened to treating individuals as, you know, individuals, to be evaluated on their own merits?  Why should we treat someone with a 90 IQ the same as someone with a 120 IQ, just to balance something by skin color?

Pretending that such differences can be papered over causes damage.  Take higher education:  using racial, socioeconomic or other unrelated critera to promote members of certain favored groups into schools and programs that they are ill-equipped to handle may decrease their likelihood of ever getting a degree.  Quitting or flunking out with a lot of debt is worse than attending a school one or two tiers down and getting a degree.  It doesn't particularly matter why someone can't make it; they may have bad study skills, poor intellectual endowment or a family which doesn't support them.  The point is not to set them up to fail, and not to water down the rigor of coursework for the rest.

Randall Parker said at January 5, 2006 8:57 PM:

Jane,

Over 60% of Israelis are not Ashkenazis. The other groups have much lower IQs. Also, we have to consider the selective effect of which Ashkenazis went to Israel versus Western countries. Maybe the smarter ones found a religious state a lot less appealing on average. Still, I think the Lynn and Vanhanen IQ number for Israel needs some fleshing out with studies that collect more background info so that we can know how smart or dumb each group is in Israel.

As for the usefulness of the truth: Right now the official lie upon which all policies are based is the idea that all groups are equal in average IQ. That lie does not make them equal. Some groups still do much worse. What are the consequences of that lie? Some are very negative:

1) Discrimination for dumber groups allows dumber people to get into medicine and key occupations. You want to get treated by a smarter doctor one with lower IQ? Your life might be at stake. What are you going to choose?

2) Money gets shifted away from teaching smart kids and smart kids get stuck in classes with dumb kids on the theory that they are not all that different. So the smart ones do not learn as much and they are very bored and frustrated. Plus, the dumber ones bully them. Why torture kids like that? Seems very cruel to me.

3) Companies are made less efficient because they have to hire and promote on qualities other than ability and performance. Workers naturally resent the people promoted due to race and people become less motivated and more cynical. Productivity suffers. We have lower living standards.

4) When lower IQ groups are lied to and told they are just as smart as the smarter groups and yet the lower IQ groups do not succeed as much then those groups develop strong resentment toward the smarter groups and come to think they are being treated unfairly. The lie does not prevent resentment. The lie creates resentment.

I think those who promote the lie of equal average ability across races are doing enormous damage.

John S Bolton said at January 6, 2006 1:11 AM:

Yes they are, and the fact that it goes on, in spite of all these obvious negatives, should lead us to wonder whether the negatives are not often the objective sought. When we've had a proven merit system, and deviated further from it with bad results, should not the burden of proof be on those who propose further deviations, as through mass immigration of quota eligibles, schemes to bloat college enrollments with functional illiterates, and so on? If all they can say is: only the racist/sexist/classist/xenophobic/fascist/looksist/abelist/ would object to further deviations from the merit system to accomodate those unequal to it, doesn't this indicate that no reasonable argument is forthcoming, for their proposals to change society in egalitarian direction?

Jane said at January 6, 2006 6:13 AM:

Some general points to you guys

1) Ashkenazis vs Sephardic jews in israel: The practical merits of your race-graded policies start to slip away here. How much are you going to split the groups racially? There's jews from ethiopia, china, mizrahi jews, etc. Many many kinds. You can't just lump them all in. Furthermore, i assure you that there are vast differences in "IQ" between many Asian countries, like between Japan and Cambodia. Are you going to ask every asian person in American to trace specifically their heritage, so you know how to place them in the grand intelligence scheme...Let's see 40% Japanses, 20% Cambodian, 10% blakc, 10% white, 20% native american, you go...here! That's not gonna work. What about someone who is half and half white and black? or black and jewish?

2) "Whatever happened to treating individuals as, you know, individuals, to be evaluated on their own merits? Why should we treat someone with a 90 IQ the same as someone with a 120 IQ, just to balance something by skin color?"

Yes, indeed, whatever happened to that?! The people on this blog seem to want to lump everyone into racial categories rather than treating them on their own individual merits. There are dumb ashkenazis too, you know, and if you just promote them because they're ashkenazi, you're going to end up with stupid ashkenazi emergency room doctors. What about the black person who has a 120 IQ? Under your racial system, what would you do with him? assume he's stupid until proven otherwise? would it be the inverse for ashkenazis?

3) As for affirmative action, i don't know if you guys know any black people at all, but, it's not like medical schools and law schools go trolling for affirmative action applicants under the brooklyn bridge. These people are very qualified, as qualified as the least qualified white, asian or jewish student admitted, don't worry. That's a myth perpetuated by the right -- affirmative action leads to incompetent emergency room doctors.

4)As for the person who accused me of wanting to hide the truth. I don't want to hide it, but there are lots of proven statistical and scientific truths that can't really be used to create social policy. For example, Irish people are more prone to be alcoholics, 50% of women who graduate for Harvard MBA drop out of the workforce to raise children, Ahskenazi jews are much more likely to have debilitating genetic diseases, black people are more likely to have heart attacks. But, it seems absurd (at least to me) to not allow irish people to be bartenders or into bars, or to make women assure Harvard they won't drop out of the workforce in the future, to not marry someone and have kids with them because they're ashkenazi or to not serve mcdonalds to black people because it will cause them to have heart attacks. Those are just some examples -- you can twist these scientific facts into many bizarre and inequitable social policies, because they go against the whole concept of equal opportunity, freedom, liberty, etc. that we espouse in this country. No one can tell you what you can and cannot eat, which degree you can and cannot pursue, etc. All the social policy that you could create from these facts seems completely unfair and against our principles, and also practically unworkable.

5) And finally, i think you all should just give up now debating with me, because i'm an ashkenazi jew, so clearly, i'm smarter than you.

Bob Badour said at January 6, 2006 7:52 AM:

With all due respect, we are not the ones who tried to 'lump them all in'. You are.

Those of us you criticise are not the ones who favour any policy that judges individuals on the basis of their race. Quite the opposite.

Your arguments are longwinded, specious, based entirely on ignorance and on an unwillingness to read and comprehend what is actually written by those you condemn.

You can continue to construct straw men all you want. I doubt I will waste any time reading them.

Jane said at January 6, 2006 7:52 AM:

Your posts are so ignorant and illogical, i feel compelled to write some more.

1) Randall writes:

"1) Discrimination for dumber groups allows dumber people to get into medicine and key occupations. You want to get treated by a smarter doctor one with lower IQ? Your life might be at stake. What are you going to choose?"

For all those who keep screaming "the sky is falling" regarding "unqualified" emergency room doctors. First of all, not every doctor went to harvard medical school. There are crappy medical schools out there, and they are all ranked. Do you check which school your ER doctor went to before you receive treatment? Would you actually say, "oh no, you went to Tufts! That's not good enough for me, i want a harvard doctor!" There are mediocre doctors out of there, of all races. And kicker is that if you are a doctor, you passed the licensing exam. And there is no racial quotas for passing that. Black people don't pass with a lower score. So, if you arrive at an ER, your doctor is qualified. So stop bringing up that alarmist fallacy.

"2) Money gets shifted away from teaching smart kids and smart kids get stuck in classes with dumb kids on the theory that they are not all that different. So the smart ones do not learn as much and they are very bored and frustrated. Plus, the dumber ones bully them. Why torture kids like that? Seems very cruel to me."

See what i wrote below: I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but where lots of children go to school, there are classes for talented children. There are multiple levels of difficulty of science, math, and history classes, so kids don't get stuck in classes that are too easy or too hard.

Plus, I agree with you, kids should be separated by intelligence level ih school, and they already are. To get into honors physics, you have to show you're smart. What i don't understand is why you guys want to generalize intelligence by race. Why not just judge an individual on his or her merits? Why even bring race into this?

"3) Companies are made less efficient because they have to hire and promote on qualities other than ability and performance. Workers naturally resent the people promoted due to race and people become less motivated and more cynical. Productivity suffers. We have lower living standards."

I think companies are using affirmative action to widen the talent pool from which they can choose. People like you think that every person who isn't white was promoted because of affirmative action -- you don't even admit the possibility that there are actually talented, qualified minorities out there. Affirmative action is, in part, used to ply the minds of people like you guys so that you can efficiently work with people of various races. If a company like GE hired George Washington Carver (who was dead by then, i know, it's just an example) to be a researcher in its labs, alongside a bunch of white guys, i don't think that would go all that well. But now, it really wouldn't be a problem. Thanks to affirmative action.

"4) When lower IQ groups are lied to and told they are just as smart as the smarter groups and yet the lower IQ groups do not succeed as much then those groups develop strong resentment toward the smarter groups and come to think they are being treated unfairly. The lie does not prevent resentment. The lie creates resentment."

So you really think that blacks are just plain stupider than whites, and that's why they haven't succeeded in america as much as other groups? I mean, i know you probably don't think you're a racist, but, Merriam webster online thinks otherwise:

One entry found for racism.
Main Entry: rac·ism
Pronunciation: 'rA-"si-z&m also -"shi-
Function: noun

1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/racist


2) Bob Badour writes

"Education: We would stop punishing teachers who have the misfortune or fortitude to teach stupid students. We would recognize that the "No Child Left Behind" policy really means "No Child Allowed to Get Ahead". It will be impossible to bring the low end up, which leaves the only choice: hold the high end and middle down."

I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but where lots of children go to school, there are classes for talented children. There are multiple levels of difficulty of science, math, and history classes, so kids don't get stuck in classes that are too easy or too hard.

"Middle-east: We would recognize that elections won't change the middle-east. We would know enough to send sufficient ground troops to maintain order after removing a tyrant."

What exactly is this conclusion based on? Arabs are stupider than whites, therefore, elections won't change the middle east? What about places like India, where there is a democracy and elections do change things? the IQ of indians is pretty low. in fact, it's a pretty dumb thing to say, isn't it, since there's hundreds of ethic groups in india? So under your system, you'd probably make each indian-american, 3rd or 4th generation and all, explain what exactly is his or her ethnic origin to figure out which level of intelligence to place him into, right? And hell, in russia, where there are white people galore, they seem to have big problems with elections and democracy, as well as in Argentina and the Balkans.

"Immigration policy: We would recognize the ultimate harm of allowing in entire tribes of people who lack the means to make a net contribution to a highly industrialized nation and who lack the means to embrace our ideals and values."

Like who, for example? Illegal mexican immigrants? Or maybe all those Irish and Eastern European immigrants? Or all those indians (many of whom are now very qualified doctors by the way)? I lived in Texas for 6 years, and without illegals, the economy would be hindered. My brand new house was built by illegals, and everyone is happy, because americans don't want to do that job, i got a cheaper house because of it, and the developer sold a house to me.

3) I think what I am really trying to point here is that this is a lesser of two evils kind of choice. On one hand, it may be true that different ethnic groups have different IQ levels. Let's suppose it is. But doing anything about that, instituting that into our lives, seems very wrong, unfair, and most of all, difficult. Like i've already said, how far in would you drill down? are we ignorantly going to lump all africans together, even though there are hundreds of different ethnicities in africa? what about jews, like i've already mentioned? whites, too, come from france, russia, iceland, germany, bulgaria? And then, what about mixed race people? What about bulgarians who have livedi n the US for many generations? are we going to judge them on the IQ of bulgarians in bulgaria, malnutrition and all? It seems impossible to do this. So, i think, it is best left undone.

PS have you guys ever heard of phrenology?

Jane said at January 6, 2006 8:05 AM:

Bob, with all due respect, it's amazing to me that you can write this:

"With all due respect, we are not the ones who tried to 'lump them all in'. You are."

I seem to remember someone telling me that even blacks and whites raised in the same environment, blacks have a lower IQ. You keep point to all these statistics that show that, by race, people have different intelligence levels, whereas I keep arguing for looking at people individually.

"Those of us you criticise are not the ones who favour any policy that judges individuals on the basis of their race. Quite the opposite.

Your arguments are longwinded, specious, based entirely on ignorance and on an unwillingness to read and comprehend what is actually written by those you condemn.

You can continue to construct straw men all you want. I doubt I will waste any time reading them."

Based entirely on ignorance? Buddy, i'm a jew, i frickin' know the ethnic composition of israel way better than you people ever will, i wanted to see how ignorant you guys really are. And i don't see any of you trying to draw a distintion between hutu and tutsi intelligence, do i? for you, it's all those dumb black people trying to force their dumb selves into high-earning positions where they don't belong. Apparently, "africa" for you guys is one big ethnicity.

But in all, i think you're right, this is a waste of time. Arguing with loser white guys who want to reassure themselves that they're at least smarter than black people, it's not something that an ashkenazi jewish immigrant law student should waste her precious time on. Good luck feeling better about yourselves, crackers :)

Bob Badour said at January 6, 2006 1:57 PM:

With all due respect Jane, you have refused to read the material on the site and educate yourself on the positions of those who post here. Even when someone spoon-feeds you the necessary information, you fail to comprehend any of the significance.

Show me a single statement I ever made that even remotely suggests I favour judging any individual on the basis of their race instead of on individual merit.

Your arguments are specious and ignorant. Period.

Bob Badour said at January 6, 2006 1:59 PM:

Not to mention extremely insulting.

John S Bolton said at January 13, 2006 1:51 AM:

The definition of racism is incorrect, too, which leads to many fallacies. Correctly defined, racism means that ideas are inherited genetically and racially. When definitions are set up, so as to allow for false dilemmas, this will favor suppression of the rational alternatives which remain available. If a population is at war with us, such as the moslems are, we discriminate and this is right. Ethereal notions of peace, love, and the brotherhood and equality of all mankind, have the effect of weakening the fortifications of civilization against savagery. This must be the purpose of those who promote such doctrines so as to apply, undiscriminatingly, yet in the most convenient way, to aggressors as well; and who know what they are doing.

Guy said at February 2, 2006 4:49 PM:

The United States becomes more and more like the former Soviet Union as the government puts degree requirements on more and more jobs.

jake said at July 17, 2011 6:24 AM:

I agree with the entire comment above that states (in part): "Privacy is a protection offered the living." But I also want to point out that it is fairly easy to determine what books famous authors have read, even without a library releasing slips of this kind. Often authors' (and other famous persons') entire libraries are owned by a library and one can leaf through the volumes, seeing not only which books the authors read, but what they wrote in the margins. Heavens!women body shaper | kymaro body shaper.


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