Dangerous IQ Debate


So IQ is reliable and valid. It’s more
reliable and valid than any other
psychometric test ever designed by
social scientists. The IQ claims are more
psychometrically rigorous than any other
phenomenon that’s been discovered by social scientists.

Conservatives think there’s a job for
everyone if people just get off their
asses and get to work, and liberals think
while you can train anyone to do
anything it’s like no there isn’t a job
for everyone and no you can’t train
everyone to do everything in a complex
society like ours and one that’s
becoming increasingly complex there
isn’t anything for 10% of the population
to do giving people who have nothing to
do money isn’t helpful it doesn’t work
the ethnic differences are difficult to
dispense with it’s not easy to make them
go away there’s a real danger in the
ethnicity IQ debate and they the danger
is that we confuse intelligence with
value for decades ethnic groups have on
average scored significantly differently
on IQ tests according to psychology
professor Richard hare whom you
interviewed on your channel YouTube
there is no scientific consensus on the
causes of these average differences in
IQ test scores yet according to hare
psychologists do generally agree that
general intelligence exists that IQ
measures it well and in a non culturally
biased way that IQ is highly predictive
of success in educational and
professional terms and that for decades
ethnic groups have on average scored
significantly differently so assuming
this is true should we talk about it Sam
Harris raised this question in a podcast
conversation with Charles Murray
some argue that we should not talk about
this as doing so could fuel the racial
supremacist movements that you mentioned
with potentially horrific consequences
others mainly on the intellectual dark
web and to a very limited extent in
academia think we should talk about this
topic because average differences in IQ
scores have existed for decades they may
have played a role in generating the
disparate educational and professional
outcomes that we observe and care about
and thus that we cannot properly analyze
these disparate outcomes unless we do
talk about this subject openly
geneticist David Reich recently argued
in the New York Times that if scientists
do not openly discuss the biological
basis of race pseudo scientists could
fill the vacuum with dangerous
consequences furthermore you professor
Peterson are highly critical of the
oppression narrative that permeates
segments of the Academy and activists
left and knowledge about average
differences in IQ scores between ethnic
groups while tough to assimilate could
puncture this narrative so the question
is what is your view on all that I’ve
just said Jesus you guys already did
take a long time to prepare these
questions didn’t you all right so when I
went to Harvard I came from McGill and I
had spent a lot of time with my advisor
there and a research team that he had
trying to understand the genesis of
antisocial behavior and among
adolescents mostly so well as kids as
well antisocial behavior is very
persistent so if you have a child whose
conduct disordered at the age of four
the probability that they will be
criminal at the age of fifteen or twenty
is extremely high it’s unbelievably
stable it’s a very dismal literature
because you see these early onset
aggressive kids and and it’s persistent
and then you look at the intervention
literature and you throw up your hands
because no interventions work and
believe me psychologists have tried
everything you could possibly imagine
and a bunch of things that you can’t in
order to ameliorate that so we’re really
interested in trying to understand for
example if you’re antisocial by the age
of four then there isn’t an intervention
that seems to be effective so and the
standard penological theory is really
quite horrifying in this regard because
what you see is that male aggression
Peaks around the age of 15 and then it
declines fairly precipitously
and and and sort of written normalizes
again by the age of 27 and standard
phenological theory essentially is this
cold-hearted it’s like if you have a
if you have someone who’s a multiple
offender you just throw them in prison
till they’re 27 then they age out of it
and that’s all there is to it that’s
that’s what we’ve got now there’s some
downside to that because there’s a
corollary literature that suggests that
the worst thing that you can do with
antisocial people is to group them
together which is what we do in prisons
so so that’s a whole mess anyways one of
the things we were doing was trying to
see if there might be cognitive
predictors of antisocial behavior and so
we used this battery of
neuropsychological tests that was put
together at the Montreal Neurological
Institute took about 11 hours to
administer and hypothetically assess
prefrontal cortical function and we
computerized that reduced it to about 90
minutes and then assessed antisocial
adolescents in in Montreal and found out
that they did show deficits in the
problem-solving ability that we
associated with with prefrontal ability
when I got to Harvard I thought well
that’s interesting we could use the
neuro psych battery to predict negative
behavior perhaps we could use it to
predict positive behavior so I thought
well what if we turned the neuro psych
battery and over and thought well can we
predict grades for example because you
know that’s a decent thing to predict so
we ran a study we ran a study that
looked at Harvard kids University of
Toronto kids line workers at a Milwaukee
factory and managers and executives at
the same Factory and what we found was
that the average score across these
neuropsychological tests they were kind
of like games they were game-like you
know so in one in one test you had there
were five lights in the middle of the
screen and a box was associated with
each light and you had to learn by trial
and error which box was associated with
with each light that was one of the
tests so we took people’s average score
across the tests because they seemed to
clump together into a single structure
you can do it you can find that out
statistically if you take a bunch of
tests you
find out how they clump together
statistically by looking at their
patterns of correlations and you might
get multiple clumps which is what
happens with personality research where
you get five or you might get a singular
clump which is what happens in cognitive
research and we got a single clump
essentially and then we were trying to
figure out if at the same time I was
reading the literature on performance
prediction and there’s an extensive
literature on performance prediction a
lot of it generated by the Armed Forces
by the way indicating that IQ is a very
good predictor of long-term life success
and so here’s that here’s the general
rule if your job is simple which means
you do the same thing every day
then IQ predicts how fast you’ll learn
the job but not how well you you do it
but if your job is complex which means
that the demands change on an ongoing
basis then the best predictor of success
is general cognitive ability and and I
learned that the general cognitive
ability test clumped together into a
single factor that’s fluid intelligence
or IQ and then we didn’t know if the
factor that we had found was the same
factor as IQ and it and we still haven’t
really figured out whether or not that
was the case because it kind of depends
on how you do the analysis but anyways I
I got deeply into the performance
prediction literature and I found oh
well if you wanted to predict people’s
performance in life there’s there’s a
couple of things you need to know you
need to know their general cognitive
ability if they’re going to do a complex
job you need to know their trait
conscientiousness some of you might have
heard that rebranded as grit in a very
corrupt act by the way because it’s a
good predictor of long-term life success
freedom from negative emotion low
neuroticism is another predictor but
it’s sort of third on the hierarchy and
then openness to experience which is a
personality trait is associated with
with expertise in creative domains the
evidence that now I should tell you so
there’s such a complicated question I
should tell you how to make an IQ test
is actually really easy and you need to
know this to actually understand what IQ
is so imagine that you generated a set
of 10,000 questions okay about anything
it could be math problems they could be
general knowledge they could be
vocabulary they could be multiple choice
it really doesn’t matter what they’re
about as long as they
require abstraction to solve so they’d
be formulated linguistically but
mathematically would also apply and then
you have those 10,000 questions now you
take a random set of a hundred of those
questions and you give them to a
thousand people and all you do is sum up
the answers right from so some people
are gonna get most of them right and
some some of them are going to get most
of them wrong you just rank order the
people in terms of their score correct
that for age and you have IQ that’s all
there is to it and what you’ll find is
that no matter which random set of a
hundred questions you take the people at
the top of one random set will be at the
top of all the others with very very
very high consistency so one thing you
need to know is that if any social
science claims whatsoever are correct
then the IQ claims are correct because
the IQ claims are more psychometrically
rigorous than any other phenomena
phenomenon that’s been discovered by
social scientists now the IQ literature
is a dismal literature no one likes it
here’s why here’s an example so here’s
our little here’s a fun little fact for
you for liberals and conservatives alike
because conservatives think there’s a
job for everyone if people just get off
their asses and get to work and liberals
think well you can train anyone to do
anything it’s like no there isn’t a job
for everyone and no you can’t train
everyone to do everything that’s wrong
and here’s one of the consequences of
that so as I mentioned the Armed Forces
has done a lot of work on IQ and they
started back in 1919 and the reason they
did that was because well for obvious
reasons say let’s say there’s a war and
you want to get qualified people into
the officer positions as rapidly as
possible or you’ll lose so that’s a
reason and now the Armed Forces has
experimented with IQ test since 1919 and
in the last 20 years a law was passed as
a consequence of that analysis which was
that it was illegal to induct anyone
into the Armed Forces who had an IQ of
less than 83 now the question is why and
the answer was all of that effort put in
by the armed forces indicated that if
you had an IQ of 83 or less there wasn’t
anything that you could be true
to do in the military that wasn’t
positively counterproductive now you got
to think about that a because the
military is chronically desperate for
people right there it’s not like there
it’s not like people are lining up to be
inducted right they have to go out and
recruit and it’s not easy and so they’re
desperate to get their hands on every
body they can possibly manage and then
especially in wartime but also in
peacetime but then there was another
reason to which was the Armed Forces was
also set up from a policy perspective to
take people in the underclass let’s say
and train them and move them up at least
into the working class or maybe the
middle class so there’s a policy element
to it too and so even from that
perspective you could see that the
military is desperate to bring people in
but well with an IQ of 83 or less it’s
not happening okay so how many people
have an IQ of 83 or less 10 percent now
if that doesn’t if that doesn’t hurt you
to here then you didn’t hear it properly
because what it implies is that in a
complex society like ours and one that’s
becoming increasingly complex there
isn’t anything for 10% of the population
to do all right well what are we gonna
do we’re gonna ignore that we’re gonna
run away from that and believe me we
have every reason to or we’re gonna
contend with the fact that we need to
figure out how it is how it is how it
might be possible to find a place for
people on the lower end of the general
cognitive distribution to take their
productive and and worthwhile place in
society and that isn’t just gonna be a
matter of dumping money down the
hierarchy because giving people who have
nothing to do money isn’t helpful it
doesn’t work it’s not that simple well
so that’s kind of an answer to the
question of whether or not we should
deal with up with IQ forthrightly it’s
like if you can find a flaw in that
logic like just go right ahead it’s not
like I was thrilled to death to discover
all of this by nose by no stretch of the
imagination was that the case so so what
so IQ is reliable invalid that’s
it’s more reliable in felid than any
other psychometric test ever designed by
social scientists by a factor of about
three that’s fact number one fact number
two is it predicts long-term life
outcome at about 0.3 0.4 which leaves
about 85 percent 70 to 85 percent of the
story unexplained but it’s still the
best thing that we have well it’s also
the case that in places like Great
Britain when IQ tests were first
introduced they were actually used by
the Socialists and they were used to
identify poor people who had potential
cognitive potential and to move them
into higher into Institutes of higher
education so there’s an upside you know
a social upside as well ethnic
differences this is something you can’t
say anything about without without
immediately being killed so I’m hesitant
to broach the topic but I’ll tell you
one thing that I did in the last week
that’s relevant to this so there and
this just shows you how complex the
problem is first of all we should point
out that race is a very difficult thing
to define because racial boundaries
aren’t tight right so and so when you
talk about racial differences in IQ you
you’re faced with the thorny problem of
defining race and that’s a big problem
from a scientific perspective but we’ll
leave that aside and I wrote an article
this week somebody stood up at one point
one of my talks and vice bless their
hearts took this particular question and
used it as an indication of the quality
of the people who were my so-called
followers and by the way the quality of
my so-called followers is pretty damn
high and you can find that out quite
rapidly just by going looking at the
YouTube comments which are head and
shoulders above what the standards said
of YouTube comments I can tell you that
so someone asked me that both the Jewish
Question right and the the implication
it was actually someone Jewish and the
implication was that Jews are
over-represented in positions of
authority and power and and I was had
just spoken for like an hour and a half
you know this guy had an axe to grind
and I thought there’s no goddamn way I’m
getting into this at the moment
and so I I said I said I can’t answer
that question but that’s not a very good
answer so I wrote a blog post this week
and I said look here’s the here’s the
all right Jews are over-represented in
positions of power and authority but
then let’s open her eyes a little bit
and think for like two or three seconds
and think hey guess what
they’re also over-represented in
positions of competence and it’s not
like we have more geniuses than we know
what to do with and if the Jews happen
to be producing more of them which they
are by the way then that’s a pretty good
thing for the rest of us so let’s not
confuse confidence with power and
authority even though that’s a favorite
trick of the radical leftist who always
failed to make that distinction well why
does this over representation occur
because it does and also there’s also
over representation in political
movements including radical political
movements okay why
well answer one Jewish conspiracy okay
that’s not a very good answer we’ve had
we’ve used that answer before all right
but but do we have an alternative well
here’s an alternative the average
Ashkenazi IQ is somewhere between 110
and 150 which is about one standard
deviation above the population average
and so what that means is that the
average Ashkenazi / European Jew has an
IQ that’s higher than 85% of the
population that’s a lot higher now that
doesn’t make that much difference in the
middle of the distribution okay but
geniuses don’t exist at the middle of
the distribution they exist at the tails
of the distribution and you don’t need
much of a move at the mean to produce
walloping differences at the tails and
the tails are important because a lot of
where we draw we draw exceptional people
from the exceptions okay so back to IQ
one final thing to say about IQ the
ethnic differences are difficult to
dispense with it’s not easy to make them
go away you can say well
tests aren’t culture fair well here’s a
test of that so imagine you you test
group a with an IQ test and you test
Group B with an IQ test and then you
look at their actual performance in
whatever you’re predicting if the test
was biased against ethnic group a then
it would under predict their performance
and that doesn’t happen now you could
say well there’s systemic bias in the
performance measures and the potential
measures and that’s a possibility all
right now one other thing about that
there’s a real danger in the ethnicity
IQ debate and the danger is that we
confuse intelligence with value or that
we include we wiII confuse intelligence
with yet with human value that’s a
better way of thinking about it and one
of the things that we’re going to have
to understand here is that that’s a
mistake is that being more intelligent
doesn’t make you a better person that’s
not the case it makes me you more useful
for complex cognitive operations but you
can be pretty damn horrific as a genius
son of a bitch right it’s morally
neutral and we also know that from the
psychometric data by the way there
doesn’t seem to be any relationship
whatsoever between intelligence and
virtue and so if it does turn out that
nature and the fates do not align with
our egalitarian presuppositions which is
highly probable
we shouldn’t therefore make the mistake
of assuming that if group a or person a
is lower on one of these attributes than
group B or person B that that is somehow
reflective of their intrinsic value as
human beings that’s a big mistake.