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Noah Carl & Woodley on Persecution of IQ Researchers
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“Intelligence researcher” doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a safe, uncontroversial profession. There are perhaps 200 people in the world who do that full-time. Despite this small population, we seem to get a story – often multiple stories – of them getting denounced, defamed, deplatformed, threatened, and even physically attacked every single year. Thanks to a recent paper by Noah Carl, and Michael Woodley – incidentally, Noah was himself recently fired from a Research Fellowship at St. Edmund’s College in Cambridge University after a campaign by SJW student activists – we now have the first rigorous quantification of this Western version of Lysenkoism across time.

To do this, they assembled what is to date the world’s most comprehensive database of controversies involving intelligence researchers in the Western world since 1950. Each incident contains an individual, a year, and the “controversy” they were involved with. Controversies contained one of or some of the following characteristics:

  1. Denouncements
  2. … that lasted for a week
  3. … that lasted for a year
  4. Petition
  5. Protest
  6. Threats
  7. Physical attack
  8. Formal investigation
  9. Minor sanctions
  10. Major sanctions

Each controversy was weighed as the sum of each of its separate characteristics. While this method isn’t perfect and one might think of cases where the reputational or financial costs were much higher than the putative weight given to a specific controversy, in practice there were practically no cases with such large discrepancies. Note also that bigger real damage almost automatically translates into a high score, e.g. a “major sanction” such as getting fired qualifies as a “minor sanction” by default.

As the authors say in the footnotes, they chose to restrict incidents to the 1950+ period in democratic Western countries in order to ensure cases remained cultural comparability. (Some people, including myself, suggested including Stalinist persecutions of IQ researchers – which, obviously, went well beyond the unpleasant but ultimately rather anodyne inconveniences they experience from “woke” students and cowardly university administrators. But they do have a point. Repression of ideologically incompatible science in totalitarian societies such as the USSR or Nazi Germany is fundamentally different from the activist-driven harassment and deplatforming observed in relatively “open” societies).

Here are the main conclusions:

1. There were 110 incidents across 55 individuals, of whom a total of 11 ended up losing their jobs completely or substantially on account of their IQ-related comments: Noah Carl, Frank Ellis, Gerhard Meisenberg, Bryan Pesta, Jason Richwine, Alessandro Strumia, Larry Summers, James Watson, Christopher Brand, Toby Young and Thilo Sarrazin.

2. The distribution of incidents is highly skewed, with the top three – Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, and Hans Eysenck – accounting for 27% of all controversies.

3. There is no distinct upwards trend over time. Instead, one might describe the trend over time to be one of several cycles of hysteria across distinct “eras”.

These eras consist of the following:

  • The Jensen Era in the 1970s, characterized by large protests at public lectures by the Big Three controversialists (Jensen, Shockley, Eysenck).
  • The Rushton Era in the late 1980s-early 1990s, this time targeting Rushton, Gottfredson, and Levin. Murray & Herrnstein’s Bell Curve appears at its tail end.
  • The Watson Era during the mid-2000s, mostly centering around controversial comments made by Watson, Ellis, and Larry Summers.
  • The LCI Era during the mid-2000s, which is dominated by the fallout against intelligence researchers who presented at the London Conference on Intelligence. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that this spike would exist (if in attenuated form) even if only cases unrelated to the LCI event were to be considered.

4. The most controversial topics were as follows: Race differences in intelligence; dysgenics; sex differences in intelligence; the heritability of intelligence. Probably no surprises there.

5. One qualitative difference from prior episodes is that the Internet has enabled anyone to generate “fake news” and get them out to a wide audience.

The authors correctly note the prominent role of RationalWiki in this:

A concerning development from the most recent ‘LCI era’ of controversy is the presence of a number of hamartographic pseudo-biographies (attack pages) hosted on a website called Rationalwiki.org, which by virtue of conflation with Wikipedia.org and undue prominence in search results, have the potential to inflict serious reputational harm upon intelligence researchers. In considering RationalWiki, it is critical to note that the website was created as “a liberal response to Conservapedia” (Yan et al., 2017), and that in its own words, “RationalWiki Is not neutral” (RationalWiki, 2019a). Furthermore, RationalWiki’s attack pages on intelligence researchers contain numerous factual errors (such as unwarranted imputations of political affinities,using terms like ‘alt-right’, ‘eugenicist’ etc.), coupled with unsubstantiated claims that those researchers are engaged in ‘pseudoscience’. Collectively, these pages demonstrate poor understanding of the relevant literature on the part of RationalWiki’s contributors, as well as unchecked ideological bias. In fact, the existence of these pages is illustrative of the ease with which ‘fake news’ and other mis-information can spread online, creating yet more hazards for individuals who choose to grapple with controversial but important topics in the field of intelligence research. More broadly ,these hazards of the internet may have been the major reason why the LCI era has been so severe relative to other, previous eras of controversy.

I would furthermore note that one thing that makes it particularly invidious is that there is a strong self-sustaining dynamic behind it. RationalWiki (i.e. a few dystrophic basement dwellers such as Oliver D. Smith) write some hit pieces based on out of context quotes if not not outright fabrications. Left-wing journalists (as most journalists are) parrot RationalWiki, as it certainly beats doing independent research. RationalWiki then quotes the resulting articles as a citable, authoritative source. There are some examples of how that works here: https://akarlin.com/ratwiki/

The paper ends with a discussion of the philosophical and psychological underpinnings to virulent opposition to hereditarianism and race/sex realism, and ends with a discussion of how researchers may respond to future controversies. They recommend the following:

  1. “… Always remain polite, and avoid engaging in ad hominem attacks, so as not to give one’s detractors any further ammunition.”
  2. “… Do not publicly apologise for making reasonable scientific assertions or expressing one’s personal opinions in good faith”
  3. “…Consider taking legal action, in order to safeguard one’s reputation or obtain compensation for improper treatment.”

Not sure that (1) matters much one way or another, though (2) is certainly true. Noah Carl would certainly know, having been embroiled in a major controversy of his own and having recently raised $100,000 to fund legal action against the university administrators who revoked his position. One thing I would add is that if you are crowdfunding your legal fight, you should raise money on platforms that have a good record of being committed to freedom of speech. Places like GoFundMe are dominated by SJWs who will ban you just for attempting to raise money to restore your reputation.

Where thither for the LCI era? Personally, I think things will be coming to a head this next decade. On the one hand, we are living through what is now called the Great Awokening, and there is no way to tell if, or when, it will crest. Meanwhile, psychometrics is moving into genomics, which will make intellectual defense of the Blank Slate even less credible than it already is. (Indeed, countries that try to maintain the politically correct orthodoxies will eventually be overtaken and outcompeted by biorealist polities). This creates a profound contradiction, and I still have no idea whether truth will win out or whether the Western elites will allow their SJW pets to rule the roost. The answer to this question will certainly have major if not cardinal ramifications on 21st century geopolitics in a way that Lysenkoist nonsense never could (after all, plant genetics isn’t nuclear physics – or human bioaugmentation).

Couple of final comments.

First, I hope – and would suggest to Carl and Woodley – to make the database in question public, on a website or at least on a shared Google Doc that can be continuously updated (e.g. see FIRE’s Disinvitation Database).

Second, while leaving out extra-Western cases of repression is valid (e.g. in the Soviet Union), it is still something that I hope will be quantified (as opposed to just summarized) sooner rather than later.

 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. The next few years will be interesting as the research of these noble sacrificial lambs becomes harder to argue against. Unless of course the increasing evidence that they are correct is countered by government sponsored suppression of research.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin, Mr. XYZ
  3. songbird says:

    I’m always been slightly amazed that the most based and far-sighted experiment on heritability, the domestication of silver foxes, came out of the USSR, and was launched when Lysenko was still alive, though probably somewhat on the wane.

    Supposedly, it was Khrushchev’s daughter that used her influence on her father to keep to going, though it wasn’t his natural desire.

    If so, that is kind of a surprising arc. Khrushchev spared by Stalin’s wife. Silver foxes spared by Khrushchev’s daughter. I guess women have made a real contribution to genetics research.

  4. Speaking of psychometrics, would any of you review this IQ test (link below) from https://openpsychometrics.org/ and see if the results are consistent and accurate with your results from more traditional IQ tests? I think it takes about 30 or so minutes to complete verbal, spatial, and working memory parts giving a full scale result.

    https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/FSIQ/

    • Replies: @Vishnugupta
    , @Dmitry
  5. This subject has been in Steve Sailer’s wheelhouse for a long time. Not on that graph/list is Francis Crick.

    https://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/01/francis-crick-james-watsons-partner-was.html

    …Really, isn’t it about time that we dig up the bones of Crick and fire him? How can we live with ourselves knowing that there are thought criminals who escaped their just rewards by the trick of dying before we could properly humiliate them? Judging from these letters, it sounds like several other greats, such as Ernst Mayr and C.P. Snow, deserve posthumous show trials and exemplary punishment too. I’m sure there are others…

    Be sure to read that whole blog post by Sailer.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  6. @Budd Dwyer

    I tried it. The results significantly overstate your IQ. The results will be very flattering for most people on this blog whose commentators I guess have on average an IQ of around 120.

    • Replies: @Budd Dwyer
    , @Dmitry
  7. @Vishnugupta

    I’d be happy with -20 points below what my score was. The verbal portion seems to be consistent with Khan’s WORDSUM which Khan believes has a high correlation between its scores and adult IQ.

    • Replies: @res
  8. res says:

    Thanks for posting this, Anatoly. Do you (or anyone here) know where to find the supplementary material for the paper? Or if it adds much to the paper itself?

  9. res says:
    @Budd Dwyer

    How are they getting high scores with WORDSUM? It has a fairly low ceiling.
    https://halfsigma.typepad.com/half_sigma/2011/07/a-word-about-wordsum.html

    From the comments:

    Wordsum seems pretty useless as an IQ test. 4% of the population scores perfect which makes a perfect score equivalent to an IQ around 125. Not much of a ceiling. And you get just one wrong and you drop down to the top 13%, around IQ 115. Among college grads and especially folks with professional degrees this test would have virtually zero correlation with IQ because you have a ceiling bumbing effect starting above IQ 105.

    • Replies: @gate666
  10. If being called “imbecile” constitutes a ‘denouncement’, then Taleb might be single-handedly responsible for the recent uptick.

  11. notanon says:

    Personally, I think things will be coming to a head this next decade.

    one of the ironies with all this is woke anti-white SJW teachers in the schools created a reactive interest in this stuff among a minority of the effected youth which i’d say is now well beyond critical mass (not anywhere near 100% yet but enough to make it inevitable) so under the surface the argument is in the process of being won imo even if it’s still an uphill struggle in academia.

    the powers that be might be able to suppress any public manifestation of that knowledge but i don’t think they can win the actual argument.

    i think grown-up intelligence researchers / popularizers may have been missing a trick though by not considering cui bono – the people opposing the truth will have various motivations and although there will be some with benign motives who may be persuadable i think a lot of them have malign or simply financial motives and they can’t be persuaded and will use every kind of dishonest tactic to block the truth.

    people who might be more easily persuaded to put it to the test might be those who would stand to benefit the most i.e. the rulers or UMC of relatively dumb nations who cringe at how much their nation sucks and would like it to be better.

    so if someone could come up with a simple eugenic heuristic easily applied in a 3rd (or more likely 2nd) world country which could be pitched at national leaders that could be entertaining.

    • Replies: @res
  12. Dmitry says:
    @Budd Dwyer

    This is not a test of anything related to intelligence (but it is test of gullibility – if people think it is related to intelligence, then they will be more gullible on average).

    There is no intelligence required in any of the questions.

    1. Word test. This is testing two things – knowledge of English and experience of this testing format.

    2. Rotating shapes test. This is testing one thing only – person’s experience of rotating shapes.

    You can train anyone to attain the highest score in this test, by giving them real physical models of shapes like this, and allowing them to rotate them. Alternatively, if they use software to rotate these shapes.

    After practice, the brain will learn this. Similarly, children who play games with objects shaped like this (lego?) will attain high scores.

    However, people who have never rotated such objects (either in real life or on software – or who have parents that do not buy them lego) will have low scores.

    3. “Working memory test.” This is simply a trick you either know or not.

    If you have an empty mind when you do this (i.e. rely on visual memory), you will forgot almost everything.

    On the other hand, if you say the name of each object as they show it, then you should remember everything (because remembering words is easy).

    Here people either know this trick (they will attain high score) or do not know this trick (they will attain a low score).

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    , @Pericles
  13. i think grown-up intelligence researchers / popularizers may have been missing a trick though by not considering cui bono – the people opposing the truth will have various motivations and although there will be some with benign motives who may be persuadable i think a lot of them have malign or simply financial motives and they can’t be persuaded and will use every kind of dishonest tactic to block the truth.

    Agreed. Self-interest always — well, nearly always — is at the top of these things, which explains much of the opposition.

    My theory, which is basically neo-reactionary, is that every society ever is defined by a huge class of careerists who enthusiastically embrace the dogma of the day but are — knowingly or not — only in it for the status. This class is always a stumbling block for change, and the key problem is how to win them over to your side without bastardizing your ideas. It follows from this that the more this careerist class stands to lose from the acceptance of your ideas, the more doggedly it will oppose them.

    • Replies: @notanon
  14. @Dmitry

    You can train anyone to attain the highest score in this test, by giving them real physical models of shapes like this, and allowing them to rotate them. Alternatively, if they use software to rotate these shapes.

    After practice, the brain will learn this. Similarly, children who play games with objects shaped like this (lego?) will attain high scores.

    However, people who have never rotated such objects (either in real life or on software – or who have parents that do not buy them lego) will have low scores.

    Sure, but the assumption behind IQ tests — which I’m not that great a fan of, by the way — is that experience and practice can only take one so far. Even with the best of preparations, most people will still score poorly.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  15. Dmitry says:
    @Vishnugupta

    Problem is nothing to do with “overstating IQ”. Problem is that the test does not measure anything related to intelligence, while the word “IQ” implies intelligence.

    This does not mean intelligence does not exist. But such tests do not measure anything related to intelligence.

    This is not the fault of the test designers (although there is a fault when they pretend it measures intelligence).

    Rotating shapes is just measuring whether the person has experience with moving shapes, or not (either in real life – i.e. children who play with lego, or on software).

    This is because you can’t measure intelligence with such a task, that does not have any complexity.

    The incompetence of the test, is not a sign that “spatial intelligence” is not a useful concept. It is useful, but to describe the distinctions between people who have the same experience levels, and show some usual creativity and complexity.

    So concept of spatial intelligence is useless for rotating shapes (as this test just measures person’s experience with shapes), but it would be useful for describing people who are unusually creative in chess while playing opponents with the same experience levels.

  16. Dmitry says:
    @Swedish Family

    The questions intrinsically do not have any intelligence or interest in them – so then to increase the “difficulty level”, and attain a high score, they require people to not do any errors at all.

    So the high scoring person is distinguished from the average population, in that they are people who do not do any mistakes and answer the questions very pedantically.

    In that case, the “high scores” in such tests simply measure pedantic personalities, or people who are very careful (and may be slow and boring in real life).

    On the other hand, the medium scores might be useful in filtering out people with brain damage and mental disabilities, or problems like depression (e.g. causing inability to concentrate).

    Again to actually measure intelligence is not that difficult. You look at people who have the same experience level in a field requiring what we view as intelligence, and the unusually intelligent person is the one who shows some special creativity, complexity, or ability to attain the correct answer (that other people with the same experience level do not attain).

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  17. The questions intrinsically do not have any intelligence or interest in them – so then to increase the “difficulty level”, and attain a high score, they require people to not do any errors at all.

    So the high scoring person is distinguished from the average population, in that they are people who do not do any mistakes and answer the questions very pedantically.

    In that case, the “high scores” in such tests simply measure pedantic personalities, or people who are very careful (and may be slow and boring in real life).

    On the other hand, the medium scores might be useful in filtering out people with brain damage and mental disabilities, or problems like depression (e.g. causing inability to concentrate).

    Maybe some IQ tests are this way, but the ones I did as a teen were increasingly difficult to the point where I couldn’t come up with an answer no matter how much time I had on hand.

    Again to actually measure intelligence is not that difficult. You look at people who have the same experience level in a field requiring what we view as intelligence, and the unusually intelligent person is the one who shows some special creativity, complexity, or ability to attain the correct answer (that other people with the same experience level do not attain).

    That’s actually plenty difficult. 🙂 I like this definition, but it’s not the commonly held one and doesn’t give you a mathematical figure of comparison, which makes it a hard sell in our metric-obsessed societies.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    , @Dmitry
  18. notanon says:
    @Swedish Family

    Self-interest always — well, nearly always — is at the top of these things, which explains much of the opposition.

    yes – and in reverse the spread of these ideas among white kids looking for a way out of being blamed for everything by their teachers.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    , @nymom
  19. @Swedish Family

    Which IQ tests aren’t that way?

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  20. AKAHorace says:

    Hi Anatoly,

    What is the situation in Russia ? Can Russians debate these issues more or less freely than in “the west ” ?

    • Replies: @melanf
  21. @Dmitry

    Again to actually measure intelligence is not that difficult. You look at people who have the same experience level in a field requiring what we view as intelligence, and the unusually intelligent person is the one who shows some special creativity, complexity, or ability to attain the correct answer (that other people with the same experience level do not attain).

    Provided they are all equally motivated.

    IQ is not the be all and end all of mental performance, but your points are addressed in the relevant literature, as you are not the first one to come up with them.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  22. melanf says:
    @AKAHorace

    What is the situation in Russia ? Can Russians debate these issues more or less freely than in “the west ” ?

    Hereditary differences people (in the form of abstract theory), and also for example hereditary differences blacks and white in Russia can be to discuss relatively freely. You can also freely discuss the differences between men and women.
    But any reasoning on the subject of hereditary differences of intelligence of different ethnic groups of Russia is extremely dangerous, and potentially can lead to prison.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  23. Dmitry says:
    @Swedish Family

    It should be possible to design such interesting puzzles, that would actually test something useful (like normal exams should).

    But the IQ test questions I have seen are not like this. For example, questions about matching words, rotating shapes – the distinction between high or normal scores, will be pedantry or careful personality of the person answering questions.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  24. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    Provided they are all equally motivated.

    There is an intuitive distinction where we view people’s “natural talent” as separate from peoples’ effort or motivation. Of course, it often doesn’t separate very clearly.

    We describe Bobby Fischer as “spatially intelligent” because of his chess games.

    If Bobby Fischer never played chess (and didn’t work in another career showing spatial intelligence) then he wouldn’t have been unusually spatially intelligent.

    His spatial intelligence was a result of his chess career, and his chess career was partly a result of obsession and possible mental illness (i.e. motivation).

    Probably he had a very unusual genetic capacity to be good at chess, and certain other careers that would require advanced spatial skill – but one of the most important parts of that capacity would be the tendency for an obsessive personality (i.e. tendency for obsession/motivation in studying topics related to spatial puzzles).

    IQ is not the be all

    Well, I would agree, and phrase it “IQ test score results”.

    “IQ” does not refer to anything beyond a score assigned for certain tests.

    Reification of these things is natural caveman tendency, although it’s rather primitive, like people who believe that names contain different spirits inside them.

    We could equally call your speed in Rubik’s cube puzzles, your Rubik’s Quotient, and reify your “RQ”, as if was some real object hovering inside your head.

    The problem with IQ is not the tests themselves (which could potentially be enjoyable or interesting), but the inaccurate packaging – because it includes this serious invocation of “intelligence” in the acronym, rather than what would be accurate packaging in something like “Rubik’s Quotient”.

    you are not the first one to come up with them.

    It would be quite scary if I had been first to “come up with” obvious points – actually most people perceive this when they see the tests for the first time.

    The important issue is the quality of particular test itself.

    Some of these tests are very incompetent. For example, the OECD PISA exam, where some questions were so badly designed that the correct answer can be different from any of the options included .

    For the example the question below about the door. , The formal “mathematical” answer is at best 718 (although an engineer would answer a lower number https://d1rkab7tlqy5f1.cloudfront.net/CiTG/Over%20faculteit/Afdelingen/Transport%20%26%20Planning/Research/Competence%20Centres/Pedestrians/TRB2008.pdf). But there is no option for 718.

  25. @Dmitry

    The formal “mathematical” answer is at best 718 (although an engineer would answer a lower number

    It’s easy to answer that question through a simple process of elimination, an engineer would never have trouble figuring it out
    In a way it’s also a detection of a pattern, figuring out what the creator of the test will consider as the “correct” choice, here made extremely obvious by how much the answers differ

    Had the text been more specific and offered deceptively similar results like 720, 718, 716 etc. then it would be different, it would be more then a test of just math skills (and the number of people who answered it correctly would likely plummet further down)

  26. They say the road from Moscow to Leningrad was dotted with crucified biologists who failed to confirm Lysenko’s theories. \s

    FFS, the rival group must have been a handful of Jews who had to switch their government sinecures (“research jobs”, kek) for high school teaching positions. A waste for humanity and their egos, but not “Stalinist terror” in most cases. If there was any imbecile who ended up in jail, he must have had other sins of pride, who made them think they are better than the party. Even those weren’t Epsteined.

    There was no difference between the way these people were treated, and the way Marilyn Kozak was destroyed by Steitz The Woman, or the way Braunwald fucked Peter Wilmhurst, or the way Chalfie appropriated Douglas Prasher’s work. That’s Yale, Harvard, and Columbia for you.

    Btw, wasn’t Lysenko vindicated by the epigenetics studies that show how the forties famine affected the metabolism in today Dutch? Or is that another glorious American discovery?

  27. El Dato says:

    Btw, wasn’t Lysenko vindicated by the epigenetics studies that show how the forties famine affected the metabolism in today Dutch? Or is that another glorious American discovery?

    I wouldn’t say that Lysenkoism (i.e. really Soviet-style neo-Lamarckism) was “vindicated”.

    “Switching modes due to environmental stresses for the next generation” is different from “inventing new modes that would be beneficial for the next generation according to a logical/engineering analysis of the prevailing environment”; you really need a complete plan & computer to do that.

    But now it’s getting interesting:

    Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain

    As a biological concept, the inheritance of acquired characteristics has had a wild roller coaster ride over the past two centuries. Championed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck at the beginning of the 19th century, it soared to widespread popularity as a theory of inheritance and an explanation for evolution, enduring even after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Then experimental tests, the rise of Mendelian genetics, and the wealth of discoveries substantiating chromosomal DNA as the principal medium of genetic information in complex organisms all but buried the idea until the mid-20th century. Since then, the theory has found at least a limited new respectability with the rise of “epigenetics” (literally, around or on top of genetics) as an explanation for some inherited traits.

    Most recently, some researchers have found evidence that even some learned behaviors and physiological responses can be epigenetically inherited. None of the new studies fully address exactly how information learned or acquired in the somatic tissues is communicated and incorporated into the germline. But mechanisms centering around small RNA molecules and forms of hormonal communication are actively being investigated.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  28. DimTryNot says:
    @Dmitry

    In this world there are practical people and there are also artsy fartsy funny contrarians looking for suckers. The puzzle did ask for the “maximum number of people”, not one off initial count, not from the worst situations, i.e. the best from the steady state situation.

    It did not ask for the throughput for the first 30 minutes.

    When people talk about the maximum speed of a car, it is the maximum steady state max speed they talk about, not the speed reached from the standing start. When NY city test for the lead content in the school tap water, they allowed for free running of the taps for a few minutes before collecting the water samples, not the initial water samples from taps which might not have been used for the last 10 years.

    You sure played up with your name of “Dim Try”.
    ~

    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @Dmitry
  29. Pericles says:
    @Dmitry

    Spatial tasks are occasionally mentioned as part of IQ testing. I do, for example, recall taking a spatial section as part of the Swedish military service intelligence tests way back in the dinosaur era. It was basically rotating and folding various shapes with multiple-choice answers, as far as I can remember.

    (I believe the ceiling for that entire test was fairly modest too, something like 125, but this was because of the scoring approach, not so much the content.)

  30. @DimTryNot

    It could be even simpler than that.

    Either the circular area of the door is part of the building, or it’s not. (Though I see no reason why it wouldn’t be, except maybe the wording “through the door” might imply it isn’t.) If it is, then obviously the answer is 720. If it’s not, then the answer is still 720, because nowhere is it stipulated that the door area was initially empty and the question was about the maximum number.

    But of course some people might understand it the way Dmitry did.

    So adding 718 would make it a tricky question, and would depend on idiosyncratic interpretations. But this way any reasonably intelligent person would immediately know the answer which would be accepted.

  31. gate666 says:
    @res

    you should ask razib that question.

    • Replies: @res
  32. Did they really write “Denouncements” rather than “Denunciations”? If even the anti-PC scientists are illiterate, what hope is there?

  33. @El Dato

    I think it is simply a speculation- not there is anything wrong with that & it is too early to tell anything definitely about the supposed data or “facts”.

    Looking back at mostly discredited fields of knowledge, one should go no further than parapsychology.
    It was all the rage from the 60s to the, say, 80s. Then, with development of computers, various ultra-precise sensors & high tech gadgets, most of it simply died off.

    I am not saying that the “paranormal” is completely destroyed; just, it fizzled.

    It seems to be the case with many other speculative & unorthodox ideas and enterprises. Only time will tell.

  34. res says:
    @notanon

    people who might be more easily persuaded to put it to the test might be those who would stand to benefit the most i.e. the rulers or UMC of relatively dumb nations who cringe at how much their nation sucks and would like it to be better.

    But these also tend to be the people who are the most emotionally invested in not wanting to accept that “their people” might have a lower average IQ than others. Hard to overcome that IMHO.

    • Replies: @notanon
  35. res says:
    @gate666

    My understanding is Razib only noted the correlation. A high correlation is quite possible with a low ceiling as long as the results are accurate in the fat part of the normal distribution.

    My question was how would the scores be “very flattering” for people with an IQ over 120 (see comment 6) given the WORDSUM ceiling of 125.

  36. @Dmitry

    As to your general point, it’s wrong, and shows a general ignorance of psychometrics.

    First, chess abilities could change enormously over a lifetime. If someone never practiced it, but started to learn it at age 45, his ability will skyrocket. After three years of practice, it will be considerably higher than after two years of practice, but lower than after four years. Whereas the ability to improve IQ test results by practice is highly limited. It very quickly converges to a final level, after which the ability stays remarkably constant throughout your life.

    Second, chess ability shows remarkably little correlation to other tasks. As opposed to IQ, which pretty well predicts real life performance. (Pretty well, but obviously not fully. Its predictive power is still remarkable in the social sciences, where a correlation of 0.5 is considered very high.)

    Third, the PISA exam is not an IQ test, though it has some correlation.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  37. Dmitry says:
    @DimTryNot

    In this world there are practical people and there are also artsy fartsy funny contrarians looking for suckers. The puzzle

    There is no “cognition” or “puzzle”, involved, except a psychological one, where you are ignoring the stupidity of the question designer. The question is given to 16 year olds and OECD claim it is a “maths” test.

    The “maths” or “cognitive” part of the question the examiners wanted to ask is 4 * 2 * 3 *30 – which is suitable for children age around 8 years old.

    When given to 16 year olds, it is testing their ability to ignore incompetent questions and discern the intention of the education psychologists at the OECD, and then to write the wrong answer (i.e. test for dishonesty)..

    did ask for the “maximum number of people”, not one off initial count, not from the worst situations,

    No, question asks “what is the maximum number of people who can enter the door in 30 minutes”.

    It specifies 30 minutes only.

    It does not say that there is a continuous movement of people through the door before those 30 minutes, and it would have to specify that as it contradicts the writing of the question (which says 30 minutes only and not anything about the rate).

    Moreover, even if there is a continuous movement of people for a year, in calculating an answer you would still include the initial rotation unless specified otherwise.

    It is not asking the maximum rate that will be attained while excluding int ital roation of the door.

    It says “what is the maximum number of people who can enter the door in 30 minutes”.

    Answer for this question is either 718 or lower. An intelligent/honest child, would write that as the answer.

    Again “what is the maximum number of people who can enter the door in 30 minutes”. Question does not imply that people are entering the door for more than 30 minutes.

    Even worse, it specifies the dimensions of the door, which implies it is asking about an actual door (where the number will likely be closer to 240).

    allowed for free running of the taps for a few minutes before collecting the water samples,

    Why are you writing irrelevant trivia to me about water in NY. Question is also not analogous to asking about top kph of a car.

    If the question was about the rate of people, then the question would have to “what is the maximum rate of people who can enter the door, and what would be the number if you generalize that maximum rate across 30 minutes”. Even if you consider door operation at maximum speer for a year – the answer will be less than 720 over 30 minutes, unless you specify you are cutting off the first rotation.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @res
  38. Left-wing journalists (as most journalists are) parrot RationalWiki, as it certainly beats doing independent research. RationalWiki then quotes the resulting articles as a citable, authoritative source. 

    I suspect those very journalists edit most RationalWiki pages like Wikipedia.

    Not exactly a smoking gun but here is former The Independent writer Johann Hari’s confession.

    Johann Hari: A personal apology
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-a-personal-apology-2354679.html


    The other thing I did wrong was that several years ago I started to notice
    some things I didn’t like in the Wikipedia entry about me, so I took them out.
    To do that, I created a user-name that wasn’t my own. Using that user-name, I continued to edit my own Wikipedia entry and some other people’s too. I took out nasty passages about people I admire – like Polly Toynbee, George Monbiot, Deborah Orr and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I factually corrected some other entries about other people. But in a few instances, I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk. I am mortified to have done this, because it breaches the most basic ethical rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. I apologise to the latter group unreservedly and totally.

    Back in the real world, despite aggressive diversity quotas, HBD is still a factor in running Britain plc.

    Revealed: Britain’s most powerful elite is 97% white
    https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/24/revealed-britains-most-powerful-elite-is-97-white

    Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups still grossly underrepresented in UK management, study finds
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/black-asian-minority-ethnic-groups-bme-uk-management-diversity-study-a7846671.html

  39. @notanon

    yes – and in reverse the spread of these ideas among white kids looking for a way out of being blamed for everything by their teachers.

    The two are related, yes, but I like to think that the HBD crowd is driven, at least in part, by intellectual curiosity, whereas the blank-slatists are now in full-on obscurantism mode.

  40. @Dmitry

    Is the circular area a part of the building, or is it not?

  41. @RaceRealist88

    Which IQ tests aren’t that way?

    No idea. This was ages ago, so perhaps I’m mistaken, but that’s how I remember it. If IQ tests don’t use a design with harder and harder questions as you go along, I’m even more sceptical of them.

  42. @Dmitry

    But the IQ test questions I have seen are not like this. For example, questions about matching words, rotating shapes – the distinction between high or normal scores, will be pedantry or careful personality of the person answering questions.

    That’s worse than I thought, then. At least they could throw in some difficult math problems. That shouldn’t be too hard.

    A problem with measuring creativity is that there are signs that it’s a function of dumb, “rote” knowledge. That is, the better you know a subject “by rote,” the freer your mind approaches it. If true, you can see how this would make disentangling creativity from learning mighty hard.

  43. res says:
    @Dmitry

    It says “what is the maximum number of people who can enter the door in 30 minutes”.

    You might consider checking the source before trying for a direct quote. It actually says “What is the maximum number of people that can enter the building through the door in 30 minutes?”

    The key word is “maximum”. Which would occur during a period including a free flow before the timer started. Saying “maximum” with no additional constraints means you are free to choose the conditions giving that maximum.

    If you really want to get picky, consider the possibility that the timer starts with the door halfway (divider/wing in the middle on the inside) and the 2 people in the sector that is closing go into the building just after the timer starts. And similarly, just before the timer stops the two people in the sector just opening make it out just before that. That would make 722, right? (note that the same reasoning applies if you consider the door part of the building, I think it makes the most sense to consider exterior/door/interior separately though)

    You can make an argument that “enter…through” implies moving from outside to inside versus just entering the building interior from the door though.

    While we are talking about assumptions, is it justified to assume the openings are each 1/6 of the circumference as it appears to be drawn? That would make the opening an arc of just over a meter which may affect how practical it is to sneak in/out at the boundaries.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  44. Dmitry says:
    @reiner Tor

    chess abilities could change enormously over a lifetime. If someone never practiced it

    Spatial intelligence of Bobby Fischer was only in those chess abilities.

    So you would be saying that his spatial intelligence could vary enormously over a lifetime (which is a good point, as that is often what happens with that kind of complex intelligence).

    ability to improve IQ test results by practice is highly limited.

    If that was true, then there is a disanalogy in the test results, from the kind of spatial intelligence which is interesting to us.

    Unusual intelligence refers to complex and difficult cognition, and that requires a lot of practice in the real world, and usually responds very strongly to practice and training (and obviously there is also very significant difference of innate genetic predispositions of people which contribute to this).

    As for the claim that IQ test scores improvements are limited. That might be true. But is not the case in the questions linked to above, which is all I am talking about.

    Wordsum question just testing how many English words a person has learned (e.g. how much English lessons they have, or whether you read the definitions in a dictionary). It is purely a measurement of practice with vocabulary.

    Mental rotation questions, is just testing how much acquaintance a person has with turning shapes. (i.e. children who play with lego will do well here, while children without that stimulation will not). If you practice with some software to rotate those specific shapes, you could train people to maximum scores.

    “Short term memory test” is testing whether or not you know a particular memory trick. (If you say the name of the object as you view it, then you will very highly in this test – while if you don’t attach a verbal label to each object, then you will score very low).

    So this is testing person’s knowledge of certain “mnemonic techniques”.

    Second, chess ability shows remarkably little correlation to other tasks.

    No-one is saying chess has correlation to other tasks.

    Bobby Fischer’s spatial intelligence was his chess ability, and not existent in other contexts. There are not so many areas where a person would use such complex spatial intelligence (normal people don’t live in a chessboard, where they have to calculate thousands of different spatial possibilities).

    Feature of very high intelligence, is often commonly believed in our folk culture, that it doesn’t correlate to other tasks, as it is something very complex (and complex things are also specific).

    It’s commonly believed by the world this fact – e.g. Stalin did not expect that Pasternak will be a calculating political threat, but rather assumed he was a harmless kind of idiot, as a result of latter’s overdeveloped language intelligence.

    We do not expect chemists, to be good at complex social maneuvers. We don’t expect mathematicians to be the eloquent raconteur.

    IQ, which pretty well predicts real life performance. (Pretty well, but obviously not fully.

    You mean “IQ test scores”.

    Tests themselves do not seem to measure what we would call intelligence (the ones like Raven’s Progressive Matrices obviously do not measure intelligence).

    It’s possible that high scores in “IQ tests”, might in reality predict some kinds of intelligence in a population, though, just as collateral effect of other common features in the demographic of intelligent people.

    Just as you might predict some kind of intelligence intelligence very well by looking at how much money people have in their bank account (the bank account statement is not measuring intelligence, but an attribute which might correlate with intelligence in the real world).

    (Although most of the useful aspect of “IQ tests” is a tool to filter out people with brain problems, depression, inability to concentrate, illiteracy, etc.)

    • Replies: @Tusk
    , @reiner Tor
  45. Dmitry says:
    @res

    The key word is “maximum”.

    Key is “in 30 minutes” at the end of the sentence.

    Question plainly asking about “in 30 minutes” just implies we are talking about a complete time period, and not a 30 minute segment of a larger time period (where we should ignore the first rotation of the door).

    Besides, there is also an additional ambiguity in the question “enter the building”. Does being “inside the building” include people who are inside the door cells or not?

    The other thing to notice is that they include a measurement of the door size itself – so an intelligent child might interpret that as asking an engineering question, and not just a silly way to ask teenagers about basic multiplication they learned years earlier.

    Sad thing is the reason for this disaster of a question, is they were just lazily re-using the same drawing they had used in the 2012 exam to ask a question about geometry.

    So here the cause of the bad question, was a basic incompetence, where they re-use a diagram they originally created to ask a geometry question – perhaps to save costs, or just from laziness.

    See page 73 to see how they re-used the drawing they made in 2012 for a geometry question.

    https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/ten-questions-for-mathematics-teachers-and-how-pisa-can-help-answer-them_9789264265387-en#page74

    Whole PISA exam is confusing like this – main skill it is testing is children’s ability to discern the intention of OECD’s educational psychologists.

    However, PISA results seem to be primarily used (at least by politicians and journalists) for comparisons between children of different cultures, who will interpret the same ambiguous questions differently according to the culture in their classroom.

    • Replies: @res
  46. Tusk says:
    @Dmitry

    Bobby Fischer specialised his innate natural spatial intelligence through chess, the career he focused on, but his spatial intelligence wasn’t caused by playing chess. He would have excelled at other spatially demanding tasks if chess didn’t exist and he had gone into some other field with the same level of devotion and tenacity.

  47. res says:
    @Dmitry

    Question plainly asking about “in 30 minutes” just implies we are talking about a complete time period, and not a 30 minute segment of a larger time period (where we should ignore the first rotation of the door).

    Disagree. Let’s put it this way. If I can come up with two different numbers using different conditions, both of which meet the constraints given explicitly, then the greater of those is the maximum.

    Not sure how you can call it a bad question when the answers are so very different. As Korenchkin mentioned in comment 25 it would have been a very different question if the options included 716, 718, and 720. Where these questions become really bad is when they also include “none of the above.” If that were the case here I would be arguing against the question right along with you.

    I’ll bet you had fun talking about grading with your instructors when you were young ; )

    • Agree: reiner Tor
  48. @Budd Dwyer

    Indeed, what would Nobel Prize winners like Crick and Watson, or even a Francis Galton know about genetics? Obviously not as much as a woke journalist. Watson’s mild remark was accompanied by the disclaimer that there is so much we do not know about how the different combinations of DNA manifest themselves. How dare he make such a statement.

  49. notanon says:
    @res

    yeah – the type of person who’d do it would probably have to be a peter the great type – very rare but they do exist.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-weddings-between-cousins-new-law-marriage/27830125.html

    or pick two peoples that have hated and fought each other for millenia and tell both privately the other one is thinking of starting an IQ eugenic program to make their army stronger.

  50. iffen says:

    RE: Watson

    But he told the Sunday Times in 2007 that while people may like to think that all races are born with equal intelligence, those “who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.

    This is not a valid conclusion.

    There is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the premise that different groups have a different mean IQ, but “dealing with black employees” is not a part of that scientific evidence.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @mikemikev
  51. @Dmitry

    So you would be saying that his spatial intelligence could vary enormously over a lifetime

    No, they wouldn’t only his chess abilities. Which is why chess is not a good method to measure intelligence, since obviously people don’t go from super dumb to super smart in a few years at age 45, but their chess abilities could increase from nearly nothing to master level. I don’t really understand how you can be so thick not to understand this very simple point.

    Wordsum question just testing how many English words a person has learned (e.g. how much English lessons they have, or whether you read the definitions in a dictionary). It is purely a measurement of practice with vocabulary.

    Though the results don’t vary much over a lifetime. (Probably it should be measured in one’s native tongue.)

    Mental rotation questions, is just testing how much acquaintance a person has with turning shapes. (i.e. children who play with lego will do well here, while children without that stimulation will not). If you practice with some software to rotate those specific shapes, you could train people to maximum scores.

    As I wrote, they tried it, and your improvements will be limited. You will very quickly reach your maximum potential, and then stay there for the rest of your life.

    Just as you might predict some kind of intelligence intelligence very well by looking at how much money people have in their bank account (the bank account statement is not measuring intelligence, but an attribute which might correlate with intelligence in the real world).

    Socio-economic status (SES) has been used as an alternative explanation (because rich people usually score higher on tests), but there are good reasons to think that the thing that IQ scores measure is a better predictor of real life intelligence than SES. Also there are good reasons to suspect which way the arrow of causation is pointing.

    You haven’t answered my question. Is the circular door area part of the “inside of the building”?

  52. @iffen

    That much is true, though it’s a kind of everyday reasoning which is still legitimate to say in an informal conversation. Losing one’s job and reputation is a totally inappropriate punishment for this. The only appropriate punishment for this argument is pointing out that it’s not scientifically valid.

    • Replies: @iffen
  53. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    a kind of everyday reasoning

    I’m not sure what this means.

    Losing one’s job and reputation is a totally inappropriate punishment for this.

    I’m not advocating for this to be the punishment. My personal opinion is that Nobel Prize winners are entitled to a little privilege or dispensation not available to us mortals. I’m just saying that given the public’s predilection for utilizing fallacy of authority, especially concerning scientists, a “scientist” is required to be circumspect in his choice of language. He failed this test, and I’m sure that I don’t have to point out that this was not an informal conversation. Further, I accept the argument that there are IQ differences among groups and statements such as this weaken the argument.

  54. nymom says:
    @notanon

    I am wondering if this whole “white people responsible for everything” meme being developed lately is almost another form of assigning grandeur where none should exist…it would explain why so many young white people buy into it on the left as it once again places them front and center as a moving force in our world.

    It is almost like what you see from the Germans in Europe whereas their constant contrition for their past sins leads to them overcompensating in their current policies and then trying to self-righteously force every other European country to follow suit.

    Sort of like how ex-smokers hound everyone around them about smoking. Or dieters who have lost weight harass you if you order dessert…that sort of thing.

    What about the idea that no one is responsible for anything…that forces outside of our control, forces of nature, for instance, such as climate change, overpopulation and subsequent outward migration due to it, birth IQ, etc., that we have no control over are the leading factor in every single thing that is happening.

    It isn’t planned, no one is responsible and consequently no one can stop or direct it.

    Now that’s scary.

    • Replies: @notanon
  55. notanon says:
    @nymom

    yeah – there’s definitely an irony in white SJWs considering white people the only people with any agency.

  56. mikemikev says:
    @iffen

    There is plenty of scientific evidence that supports the premise that different groups have a different mean IQ, but “dealing with black employees” is not a part of that scientific evidence.

    Sure it is. So called science is just a refined version of drawing inferences from experiences in an everyday manner. If you meet a couple of blacks and find some common characteristics, that’s perfectly scientific. There’s no point at which a sample size is “science” or “not science”. It’s just better science to have a bigger sample.

    Of course another sense of science is for woke women with PhDs and “Doctor” in front of their Twitter handle to write “this is not how *we* do science” to mean people who disagree with their equality delusions.

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