General Intelligence

This still crops up occasionally as a ‘controversial concept’ so it’s worth putting up a quick-and-easy docking-port to the informed mainstream position.

… the evidentiary base regarding the existence of general intelligence and its ability to predict important life outcomes — including health, longevity and mortality, as well as other key variables — is beyond compelling, it’s overwhelming. And if you find yourself feeling like you can do damage to this evidence base by invoking arguments about “multiple intelligences” or something of the sort, let me save you the effort. Those urges illustrate unfamiliarity with any of the serious research done on the topic in the last several decades. If those urges haunt you, I’d recommend Stuart Ritchie’s excellent primer on the topic. The waters of intelligence research, though controversial, no longer require that you be Magellan to navigate them. As we will see below, however, it is only one small step from banal psychometric work on IQ, to the mother-load of academic controversy. Stay tuned. …

For most here this will be redundant. The next (edgier) stage will also be redundant. It’s posted here almost as much in appreciation of its exasperated tone as for its linkage.

Gottfredson, cited in the post is the author of ‘Mainstream Science on Intelligence’ (1994), still after more than two decades probably the best short primer. The Wikipedia summary is here (with some commentary, and useful linkage).

March 11, 2016admin 9 Comments »


9 Responses to this entry

  • grey enlightenment Says:

    If you want to watch academics glorify a trait that many still think, “doesn’t exist” or “doesn’t matter”, hang around them when student applications are being reviewed.

    The fact some become so histrionic in trying to prove or show that IQ is meaningless or irrelevant is evidence that deep in their subconscious there is a possibility they are wrong, that IQ is not meaningless. It’s almost like it hits too close to home. If someone proclaims that there are flying toasters in space, such statement is meaningless and no one gets defensive because it can be immediately and safely be dismissed as nonsense, but not IQ research. Hence all the arm waving in trying to explain away IQ as ‘meaningless’.


    Irving Reply:

    You have people who want to say that IQ is meaningless because they’ve correctly, if only subconsciously, grasped the implications of it, and those who want to say that IQ is real and important, but for all of the wrong reasons, given that they don’t really understand what IQ actually is and what it means.


    michael Reply:

    Ok Ill take the bait, If it were not for the unequal distribution of averages racially and across genders there would be no controversy, the in group distribution does not interfere with there plans it might interfere with admins but the academy isnt ready to let go of the project and think that far ahead.


    Posted on March 11th, 2016 at 3:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Some further good material on

    I have always believed in g because it was flamingly evident from a young age that some were born to understand complex things, and others were born to memorize and restructure but that was about it.

    Most of the latter group, however, saw themselves as better off than the former. Less to worry about, more to enjoy (Budweiser).


    Posted on March 11th, 2016 at 4:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Nature of the mass market. The common people have more mass. If instead 130 or 150 was common…


    Posted on March 11th, 2016 at 4:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    As I responded to the source tweet, this pleading is not strategically sound. He should have instead organized a secret protest, and had everyone in favour move into the Triangle en masse.

    “Please don’t fire on the ships sailing here.”
    “You can’t sink us all, punk.”

    Don’t forget your participation rate is going to be something like 10-20%. So if you need 100 protestors, get 1000 to agree to your plan.


    Posted on March 12th, 2016 at 12:28 am Reply | Quote
  • tokarev Says:

    I’m no psychometrician myself, but I’ve taken psychometrics courses and been privy to some of the discussions within their circles. There is no real controversy about the reality, heritability, and practical significance of group IQ differences. The don’t shout about it. Their continued existence as an academic specialty is dependent upon their willingness to keep this information esoteric. Practical people.


    Posted on March 13th, 2016 at 3:18 am Reply | Quote
  • Tentative Joiner Says:

    The abstract of the 2004 intelligence and health study hyperlinked above suggests general intelligence may cause better health outcomes. However, the 2015 longevity study argues that the link between intelligence and longevity is mostly genetic. If intelligence and health do indeed come from the same genetic cause that nicely frames intelligence as a sort of Nietzschean mental health.


    Posted on March 13th, 2016 at 10:54 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2016/03/16 | Neoreactive Says:

    […] IQ basics. […]

    Posted on March 16th, 2016 at 5:11 am Reply | Quote

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