Intelligence and metabolism

From Dr. Ray Peat, a post that touches on may issues of race realism’s fascination with IQ:

Even sophisticated people can fall into stereotyped thinking when they write about issues of intelligence. For example, no one considers it a sign of genius when a slum kid is fluent in both Spanish and English, but when some of history’s brightest people are discussed, the fact that they learned classical Greek at an early age is always mentioned. No one mentions whether they were competent in idiomatic Spanish.

In 1912 Henry Goddard, a pioneer in intelligence testing (and author of The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble- Mindedness), administered intelligence tests to immigrants and determined that 83 percent of Jews and 87 percent of Russians were “feeble-minded.” By the standards of the time, it was highly inappropriate for the child of extremely poor Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe to be so bright.

During this time Lewis Terman was studying bright children, and wanted to disprove some of the popular stereotypes about intelligent people, and to support his ideology of white racial superiority. In 1922 he got a large grant, and sorted out about 1500 of the brightest children from a group of 250,000 in California. He and his associates then monitored them for the rest of their lives (described in Genetic Studies of Genius). His work contradicted the stereotype of bright people as being sickly or frail, but, contrary to his expectation, there was an association between maladjustment and higher I.Q.; the incidence of neurotic fatigue, anxiety, and depression increased along with the I.Q. The least bright of his group were more successful in many ways than the most bright. He didn’t really confront the implications of this, though it seriously challenged his belief in a simple genetic racial superiority of physique, intellect, and character.

I.Q. testing originated in a historical setting in which its purpose was often to establish a claim of racial superiority, or to justify sterilization or “euthanasia,” or to exclude immigrants. More recently, the tests have been used to assign students to certain career paths. Because of their use by people in power to control others, the I.Q. tests have helped to create misunderstanding of the nature of intelligence. A person’s “I.Q.” now has very strong associations with the ideology of schooling as a road to financial success, rather than to enrichment of a shared mental life.

Terman’s book (volume 1 only) is freely available here. Volume 5 here.

For more on IQ tests and intelligence from a race realist POV, see a series of posts by Satoshi Kanazawa on his blog E pur si muove.


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