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lunes, 3 de enero de 2011

Cleverness vs. Intelligence, In Mala Fide, @Fbardamu

Intelligence is for stupid people

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 on December 21, 2010

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Just before Thanksgiving, I said to Alte that I was planning to respond to her post on intelligence and genetic fitness. It’s just before Christmas, and I’ve finally managed to knock it out. No doubt she is squealing with delight right now.

Anyhoo, Alte’s thesis is that intelligence is NOT an absolute good because its conventional measure, IQ, is inversely correlated with fertility. The smarter a country is, the fewer babies its womenfolk squeeze out:

In other words, there is a definite point where the benefits of additional intelligence are outweighed by the associated decline in female fertility. Once a population crosses a certain “IQ limit”, it begins to shrink dramatically and sink into massive debt (in an attempt to sustain its living standard despite a declining population). At that point, those of lower IQ will begin to outbreed those of higher IQ, the country will default on its debts, and enter a period of economic decline and austerity. This is simply the natural ebb-and-flow of civilization. Civilizational leadership then passes on to the next “up-and-coming” region (currently Oceania, then the BRICs, then Africa).

Her post allows me to finally flesh out some thoughts I’ve had on this subject for a while.

I’m considered somewhat of a fellow traveler in the HBD blogosphere, and I once described In Mala Fide as an HBD blog, but my views on the subject are a bit different than most. (By the way, as part of my effort to purge idiotic acronyms from my vocabulary, I’m referring to the topic as “hereditarianism” or “human biodiversity” for the rest of the post.) I don’t blog about hereditarianism much both because I’m not as well read on the literature as I would like, and because I find it a repetitive, depressing topic. There’s only so many GSS-based reports on black crime you can read before you throw your arms up and yell, “I GET it already! What’s the goddamn point!” I eventried my hand at that game a while back, but I quickly got bored of it.

My takeaway from human biodiversity is the simple fact that people are different. Unless you’re a middle-class Marxist Critical Race Theory whiner with an axe to grind against whitey, it shouldn’t be controversial to say that peoples who evolved in different environments would have different genetic makeups. Some will be smarter, some will be stronger, some will be more fertile or more cunning or more agile or what have you. This isn’t to discount other factors on physical and mental development, but if you think our genes don’t have at least SOME role in creating racial and ethnic group differences, you’re a fool.

My biggest dissent with the hereditarian crowd comes with how they quantify intelligence. Specifically, I don’t think that IQ scores actually measure intelligence. Rather, I agree with Advocatus Diaboli in that IQ tests measure cleverness, the ability to navigate existing systems and ways of thought:

Many idiots seem to equate “scientifically measured IQ” with intelligence. However I believe that IQ, at best, measures cleverness not intelligence.

Cleverness is often conflated with intelligence, but in reality is a very different beast.

In my view cleverness is the ability to learn a game well, while intelligence is the ability to speculate about the reasons behind the games existence.

Bruce Charlton has also touched upon this view in his paper on “clever sillies,” high IQ people who believe and do stupid things:

My hunch is that it is this kind of IQ-advertisement which has led to the most intelligent people in modern societies having ideas about social phenomena that are not just randomly incorrect (due to inappropriately misapplying abstract analysis) but are systematically wrong. I am talking of the phenomenon known as political correctness (PC) in which foolish and false ideas have become moralistically-enforced among the ruling intellectual elite. And these ideas have invaded academic, political and social discourse. Because while the stereotypical nutty professor in the hard sciences is a brilliant scientist but silly about everything else; the stereotypical nutty professor social scientist or humanities professor is not just silly about ‘everything else’, but also silly in their professional work.

We’ve all heard some version of an apocryphal quote about how there are two types of geniuses, the kind where you think you could do what they did if only you had more time or money, and the other kind where you KNOW you couldn’t ever do what they did no matter what. That’s the difference between cleverness and intelligence – cleverness is common and quantifiable, intelligence is neither.

This is not to slam cleverness. The fact that the social stability and prosperity of countries are directly correlated with IQ is proof that cleverness is an important trait to have. However, if IQ is a measure of intelligence, and intelligence is so damn important to the wealth of nations, why don’t East Asian countries like China and Japan, whose inhabitants have a higher mean IQ than whites, rule the world? Why do flaming idiots control the government and economy while the people who actually know what’s going on languish in poverty and obscurity? If you so smart, why ain’t you rich?

China is the land of innovations that never went anywhere until white people stumbled across them. Sino-supremacists love to brag about how the Chinese invented gunpowder, but they never used it for anything other than lighting rockets at parades. It wasn’t until gunpowder made it to Europe that its military applications were harnessed in full. There was nothing keeping the Chinese from inventing firearms and cannons, so why didn’t they?

By of the time of the discovery of the Americas, Japan was roughly as advanced as the powers of Europe. Yet while Europeans kept progressing, the Japanese intentionally sealed themselves off from the world, stagnating technologically, socially and economically for centuries until an American commodore forced them to open their doors at gunpoint. If IQ equals intelligence, how do you explain high IQ people intentionally choosing to handicap themselves?

Going back to Alte’s post, why is it that high-IQ countries are swirling down the toilet bowl of infertility? Intelligent people would recognize that the future belongs to those who show up, and would strive to create civilizations where folks could contribute to the national birth rate without risking financial and moral ruin. Why are these supposedly smart people content to bequeath the future to a teeming horde of knuckle-dragging lumpenproles?

You can’t answer any of these questions, unless you accept that IQ measures cleverness, not intelligence. You ain’t rich because you ain’t smart.

Most of the people and cultures we think of as smart are merely clever. The Chinese and Japanese are entire races of clever sillies, which is why China will never become a superpower (despite the braying of the self-appointed “experts”) and why Japan has been stuck in a recession ever since the 80′s, when those same “experts” said that THEY would take over the world. Clever sillies, or “clever morons” as AD calls them, are problematic because they justify the life-destroying, culture-wrecking idiocies they push with their “smartness.” Feminism, socialism, neoliberalism, multiculturalism, political correctness – all of them are pushed by clever sillies who are witty enough to implement a policy but too stupid to understand why it’s a bad idea. (Note: I don’t exclude myself from this analysis. I’m willing to admit that I’m not that smart.)

This is a big part of the reason why I am so hard on nerds. Nerdiness is, at its core, a manifestation of clever silliness. Nerds and their fellow travelers conflate cleverness and intelligence and suffer – and make everyone else around them suffer – because of it. Being able to do complex math in your head or invent elaborate theories about the hidden meanings of Star Trek episodes does not make you smart, they just mean you’re good at wasting your brainpower on things that don’t matter. Modern society encourages cleverness and punishes intelligence, which is why Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner direct the American economy while the people who could actually fix the recession are virtual unknowns.

The important thing to know about true intelligence is that we presently have no way to measure it, or know where it comes from. Is it because of genes that the lower-IQ but more genius-friendly whites leapfrogged over the clever morons of East Asia? Was it the environment? Or maybe pure luck? This is why I’m a booster of human biodiversity research. I think the claims of hereditarians should be thrust into the spotlight and under the microscope, instead of being restricted to being pushed by dishonest hacks with unsavory agendas and reflexively denounced as “RAAAAACIST!!!!” by PC priests protecting the apple cart.

But the bottom line is that I think “breeding for intelligence,” as it is popularly conceived, is a dumb idea. We’ve got enough clever sillies as it is. We don’t need to be popping out more.

Posted via email from apm35's posterous

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