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Boost Your Intelligence
Brain training, mindset, grit, deliberate practice and bilingualism.
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Brain training

I hesitate to suggest that my readers might ever have felt the need to improve their mental abilities by conducting specific mental exercises, but you may have a friend who wants to dabble in these practices, so this little note is for your friend.

Overstating the Role of Environmental Factors in Success: A Cautionary Note
David Moreau
Brooke Macnamara
Zach Hambrick
Created on: July 31, 2018 | Last edited: July 31, 2018

https://psyarxiv.com/sv9pz

Your friend may have been ensnared by the following:

Thousands of scientific articles have been published on these topics, which have also captured the popular imagination through books such as Smarter: The new science of building brain power (Hurley, 2014), Mindset: The new psychology of success (Dweck, 2006), Grit: The power of passion and perseverance (Duckworth, 2016), and Peak: The new science of expertise (Ericsson & Pool, 2017).

Why are these notions so attractive? I think that most people would like to be cleverer, and the idea of a shortcut is alluring. Spend a short time mastering a training routine, and then the mysteries of the universe will open up for you. This is an old dream. Jude the Obscure desperately wanted to learn other languages, and was extremely disappointed to find out that the language learning books, far from teaching him a language learning trick as he imagined, were simply long lists of things that he had to learn. Reality can be tedious.

Brain training

Thesis: the brain is like a muscle which needs exercise. Er, not really. There is some evidence for “near transfer” of specific skills but no convincing evidence for “far transfer”, as when the specific learned skill leads to improvements in other wider abilities.

Meta-analysis by Melby-Lervåg and Hulme (2013), found “no convincing evidence of the generalization of working memory training to other skills” (p. 270). They also noted that working memory training studies are often plagued by major methodological problems, including use of research designs without appropriate control groups. More recently, Simons and colleagues conducted an exhaustive review of the available evidence for benefits of brain training and concluded that “the evidence that training with commercial brain-training software can enhance cognition outside the laboratory is limited and inconsistent” (Simons et al., 2016, p. 173). Finally, in a meta-analysis examining brain training in the form of playing video games, Sala, Tatlidil, and Gobet (2017) “found no evidence of a causal relationship between playing video games and enhanced cognitive ability” (p. 111).

So, nothing in it.

Mindset

Whereas the idea of brain training is to directly strengthen cognitive abilities, the aim of mindset interventions is to increase people’s beliefs that they can be strengthened. A growth mindset is assumed to be a good thing.

Across three studies with a total sample over 600 participants, Li and Bates (2017) found “no support for mindset-effects on cognitive ability, response to challenge, or educational progress” (p. 2). Furthermore, in a recent meta-analysis, Sisk, Burgoyne, Sun, Butler, and Macnamara (2018) examined the effectiveness of growth mindset interventions on academic achievement and identified a number of methodological shortcomings among mindset studies, such as many instances of manipulation checks either not being successful or not being reported. Sisk et al. found that the effectiveness of mindset interventions on academic achievement was very weak overall, with almost all analyses yielding small or null effects. They concluded that “those seeking more than modest effects or effects for all students are unlikely to find them” (p. 568).

Nothing in it.

GRIT

Grit refers to perseverance. This must be a good thing, surely?

However, in a study of 4,642 twins, Rimfeld, Kovas, Dale, and Plomin (2016) found that grit was substantially heritable, but found no evidence for a shared environmental influence on grit. Rimfeld et al. explained that “[t]he most limiting finding, for any possible intervention, is that shared environmental influence is negligible” (p. 786). In other words, current environmental factors such as how parents raise their children or approaches schools take to teaching do not appear to influence grit.

We are often told that the fact that a trait is heritable does not mean that it cannot be manipulated by environmental means. True, as a general warning, but in this case it seems to be the case that the trait is heritable and not manipulatable by educational means.

Evidence further suggests that, even if grit is found to be trainable, it may have no impact on academic achievement above and beyond other personality factors.

“overall grit explains no variance in either overall academic performance or high school GPA after controlling for conscientiousness” (p. 501).

Despite these negative findings, training in GRIT is an educational priority in the US and UK.

So, to have a persevering approach to learning is a good thing, but seems to be a personal characteristic which cannot be altered so as to make a difference to academic achievement.

Persevering is good, but training people to persevere? Nothing in it.

Deliberate practice

Practice, practice, practice. What could be wrong with that? Well, it could be a great time-waster for those who lack talent, and should be doing something else.

There is no question that deliberate practice can lead to major improvements in performance within an individual. The controversial claim is that deliberate practice can largely explain differences in performance across individuals. This claim is not supported by empirical evidence. In a recent meta-analysis, Macnamara, Hambrick, and Oswald (2014) found that deliberate practice leaves the majority of variance in performance across individuals unexplained and potentially explainable by other factors (see also Platz et al., 2014). In another meta-analysis, Macnamara, Moreau, and Hambrick (2016) found that deliberate practice accounted for a non-significant 1% of the variance in performance among elite-level athletes, inconsistent with Ericsson and colleagues’ (1993) claim that “[i]ndividual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice” (p. 363). Furthermore, Macnamara et al. (2016) found that higher-level athletes were no more likely to have begun practicing their sport at a younger age than their lower-level counterparts. Together, this evidence indicates that deliberate practice is not the only important contributor to individual differences in expertise.

Nothing in it for those without talent, something in it for those with talent.

Bilingual advantage

La idea que hablar dos idiomas mejora la inteligencia.

However, multiple researchers have pointed out that the literature on the bilingual advantage research suffers from a high degree of publication bias, favoring statistically significant, positive effects (de Bruin, Treccani, & Della Sala, 2015). Indeed, a recent, large-scale meta-analysis showed no evidence for the bilingual advantage in any executive functioning domain after correcting for publication bias (Lehtonen et al., 2018). Similarly, in a detailed critique of the literature, Paap, Johnson, and Sawi (2015) pointed out that over 80% of the tests assessing the bilingual advantage since 2011 yielded null findings.

Nada.

Summary

Is there any harm in getting people to practice useless tasks? Certainly. It wastes time they could spend learning something useful.

We think there is potential harm in the form of opportunity costs. Some of these opportunity costs impact society. For example, time that students spend completing ineffective interventions could be spent on learning mathematics, science, language,arts, and other school subjects. Similarly, money spent on brain training or mindset programs for a school—even if the program is cheaper than other interventions— could be spent on more effective interventions or on needs such as hiring additional teachers.

Be as kind as you can to your friend, and then direct him or her to a good book on some uplifting subject. Even an introduction to intelligence research will be to their advantage.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: IQ, Nature vs. Nurture 
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  1. anonymous[586] • Disclaimer says:

    Does this mean that educating 97% of blacks and 21% of whites beyond the 8th grade is futile?

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  2. dearieme says:

    Somehow music has evaded your attention. Surely if I set out to master, say, the bassoon I would become better at Soduku? Or, at least, I’d learn to spell it correctly.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  3. No. We should all use what brains we have to best advantage, and education (properly done) is the best way to achieve that.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  4. dearieme says:
    @James Thompson

    “education (properly done)”: quite. Some of us should thank our lucky stars.

  5. anon[148] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve suspected as much and argued it (without evidence). Re: language – the purpose of language is communication, with others and with oneself. What is the point of learning to say the same thing in multiple ways? Why not instead think of multiple things to say?
    Re: music creating new neural pathways – to what end? Using neurons which could be put to other purposes for the arbitrary tasks of our system of music?

    Outstanding piece, James.

  6. Odin says:

    Practice: “Nothing in it for those without talent, something in it for those with talent”

    What I need is a Projected-Practice-Payback curve for each area I might be interested in, so I can choose between them. It has to be personalized to my depth of talent in that particular area.

    For example, tennis uses a 7 point skill-scale from 1=beginner to 7=world class. Let’s say I’m assessed at 2.5. How many hours of deliberate practice would it take someone with my inherent talent allotment to get from 2.5 to skill-level 4?

    If realistic assessments of topic-focused Projected-Practice Payback become generally available, I’ll be able to make an informed decision between tennis, sudoku, and bassoon.

  7. hyperbola says:

    Well, after we have evidence that fully 50% of “psychological” research is unrepeatable, why would we expect any “meta-study” to suddenly give us “true” results? Perhaps this article is an example of a “grit” (perseverance) more than anything else.

  8. hyperbola says:
    @anon

    Sounds like a comment from someone who does not have experience with multiple languages. As cultural tools, languages often reflect different ways of thinking about different situations. An extreme example is that there are concepts/words in one language that have no direct equivalent in another language. When one goes above two languages, the joys of multiple ways of seeing/understanding the same phenomenon emerge.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  9. anon[148] • Disclaimer says:

    You’re wrong. I do have knowledge of a second language. I’m referring, as is Mr. Thompson, to its relative utility as opposed to other uses of one’s time and brainpower. There’s nothing wrong with joy, but it isn’t intelligence.
    As for concepts, any concept which can be captured by a word or usage in a given language can also be described and understood in English.
    Have all the fun and joy with language that you like, and any other pursuit that interests you. You may have to try harder, though, to convince us that people who speak languages other than English have a better understanding of anything because of that than can those who are interested but who speak English.

    • Agree: JMcG
    • Replies: @hyperbola
  10. Nada.

    It may not promote overall intelligence (to me that is not a surprising result) but the overall advantage of being bilingual is indeed significant. Perhaps not in the US (of old), but certainly in Europe.

    And being bilingual almost certainly helps in learning a 3rd language. I have seen this is the case of my bilingual children, and it would appear that there is also scientific confirmation of this.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4940358/Bilingual-children-easier-learn-languages.html

    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728917000426

  11. The spread of the idea of transhumanism in the culture probably has something to do with the fad of trying to biohack your intelligence.

    These gimmicks work about as well as all the “life extension” voodoo promulgated by transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil, Serge Faguet and all those biohackers who have YouTube channels – in other words, they don’t work at all.

  12. Speaking of the opportunity costs of studying useless subjects, I find it interesting that the market revolution over the last 300 years or so has priced down the value of studying religion.

    Until the onset of modernity, theologians and churchmen held high status and authority in Western society, so therefore it paid for capable men to enter the church, study biblical languages and texts, apologetics and theology, and then find pulpits where the congregations would heed their words and pay them salaries for the privilege of hearing them preach.

    Now the capable men have plenty of other opportunities to exercise their abilities, and as a result that has left the church with the B and C students.

    We can see that from the fact that in the modern world people with degrees in theology and related subjects tend to earn low salaries, compared with the better prospects for people who major in practical, bankable things like business, nursing and the STEM fields. Theologians and clergymen also just don’t have much say over public issues in the modern world. In a democracy their opinions have about as much value as truck drivers’.

    This has happened to a large extent because of market forces which have priced people’s labor based more on the real value they offer the world than on what ancient belief systems considered important.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  13. Rather than ‘boost’ a child’s IQ, you can make sure it’s not damaged by inadequate nutrition – lack of iodine etc – and has enough schooling – this means adding years at the end rather than the beginning. Starting schooling too early is probably not helpful.

    In a modern industrial society, I doubt the difference between a child whose parents get all the nutrition/education stuff exactly right and average parents is more than 5 points.

    • Replies: @Logan
  14. Bubba says:

    Practice, practice, practice. What could be wrong with that? Well, it could be a great time-waster for those who lack talent, and should be doing something else.

    Can someone please tell Malcolm Gladwell this?

    • Replies: @res
  15. res says:
    @Bubba

    Can someone please tell Malcolm Gladwell this?

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    Upton Sinclair, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/21810-it-is-difficult-to-get-a-man-to-understand-something

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  16. We think there is potential harm in the form of opportunity costs. Some of these opportunity costs impact society. For example, time that students spend completing ineffective interventions could be spent on learning mathematics, science, language,arts, and other school subjects. (emphasis mine)

    Jesus wept… everything was proceeding nicely, and then they went and shit the bed.

    Forcing the median 15 year old to “learn[] mathematics, science, language,arts, and other school subjects” is one of the most ineffective interventions” imaginable. Put simply, the vast majority of them simply do not have the wetware to absorb material of more than plodding complexity. It may pain the parents that little Dakota and Chip are wasting everybody’s time by attending past freshman year in high school, but that is the way the world works.

    In fact, to the extent that we can put some data to work, it argues strongly that mandatory-attendance[f1] for 15 year olds below the 95th decile, is as big a waste of time as teaching ballet to a hippo. Teaching ballet to hippos is far less wasteful of resources, though, since there are so few of them – and they don’t impede the progress of others (in stark contrast to bored 15 year olds in school).

    In many OECD countries, legislated mandatory attendance is the full “12 years without parole”; the last 4 of those are a waste of time for anyone below the 95th cognitive percentile.

    As always, I recommend that people familiarise themselves with the OECD’s PIAAC studies[1,2,3]: it’s one of the largest-sample systematic tests of cognitive ‘grunt’ ever conducted.

    Both cross-sectionally (across countries) and intertemporally (same country, across time) the “high school is a gigantic waste of time for all but the 127+ IQ kids” hypothesis is confirmed.

    Consider that the median 18-25 year old in the OECD does not achieve “Level III”: that’s the level suggested as the “minimum required for individuals to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy“[4]. Now the 18-25 age group is the adult cohort that represents adults who were the most recent incarcerees in the mandatory-attendance system.

    Not that the results are any better for other age cohorts; there are only 3 countries in the OECD where the entire adult population tests at Level III – and then only barely.

    Less than 5% of 18-25 year olds score at level IV (the second highest level) on either literacy or numeracy; far fewer score at Level IV in both domains. Interestingly, most “Level V” scorers do so in both domains: higher cognitive grunt seems to be less domain-specific.

    Footnotes
    [f1] I always refer to the current system as one of mandatory attendance as opposed to mandatory education because the latter is impossible – both due to the cognitive limitations of many forced-attendees, and their natural resistance to being forced to sit still when they would much rather be elsewhere.

    References

    [1] OECD (2013), OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey Of Adults Skills
    • pp63-67 give an overview of what adults can do at each of the five assessed literacy levels (read Level III and be horrified that the median adult doesn’t get there);
    • pp75-78 do the same for numeracy;
    • pp 87-90 do likewise for problem-solving.

    [2] OECD The Survey of Adult Skills: Reader’s Companion, Second Edition

    [3] Rammstedt et al (2013) PIAAC 2012: Overview of the Main Results
    • p5 gives the mapping from raw test scores to the 5 assessment levels;
    • p7-8 give examples of test criteria for the different levels
    • p9 gives the median score/PIAAC level for each OECD country.

    [4] ABS (2006) Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey: User Guide
    • p8 gives the old definition of Level III (as intended by the creators of the entire program); the US put pressure on the OECD to change the Level III definition when the median member of the US adult population failed to achieve the minimum standard required for modern life.

  17. What does “Nothing in it for those without talent, something in it for those with talent” mean?

    Obviously someone at the fifth percentile is wasting his time, and someone at the ninety-fifth not. But what about at the fiftieth, sixtieth, seventieth?

    And what’s the difference between practice and time “spent on learning mathematics, science, language, arts, and other school subjects”? That’s just a different kind of practice. If you don’t have the talent, what’s the point? Drop out of school and get a job

    Education itself is an intervention.

    But the wackiest thing is when people say, “I just can’t learn languages.” Really? Then how are you communicating this “fact” to me?

  18. @anonymous

    ‘Does this mean that educating 97% of blacks and 21% of whites beyond the 8th grade is futile?’

    Bear in mind that students are in the eighth through the twelfth grades from the age of about thirteen to eighteen.

    This is the most crime-prone segment of the population. It’s a very good idea to keep them locked up during the day.

    If they learn something at the same time, that’s a bonus.

  19. Writing articles/comments on blogs?

  20. utu says:

    If twin studies suggest that 50-70% of IQ score variance is heritable then it means that 50%-30% of IQ score variance must be caused by environment.

    • Replies: @res
  21. Sean says:

    Fat kids rarely very go to university to study something intellectually demanding. An animal, a fox say, finds a source of food so good, easilly accessible and exclusive to it that it has to do nothing but wake up, eat and defecate and become sexually active as possible. Natural selection giving it extra intelligence or even maintaining the normal level of intelligence required for seeking out food sources and winning out in the competition for them would be counter productive.

    When food is scarce and there are frequent periods of no food. natural selection would amp up brainpower. So while you can’t really boost your intelligence you can certainly deflate it by inflating yourself. In the Lunch with the FT article on Demis Hassabis it says “he complains that the process of eating is time wasted”.

  22. Respect says:

    Speaking 2 or 3 languages , or more , in principle is good for intelligence , but do not forget that idiots can be idiots in 2 or 3 , or more , languages .

  23. j2 says:

    Maybe you cannot boost your intelligence those ways, but you can boost your problem solving capabilities and creativity by studying ways how to define and approach problems, and being familiar with series will help you to solve series problems in IQ tests. And I think you can boost your vocabulary by reading and it will influence your verbal IQ score in the vocabulary subtest, I would also imagine that questions of general knowledge in IQ tests in some way can be boosted by knowing more,
    or am I totally wrong in these, it is just the smart genes?

    • Replies: @res
  24. As far as I now nobody ever was able to define intelligence.
    IQ just measures IQ.
    However, there is no doubt in my mind that a good education, learning how to think, with the facts available at the time, in whatever science, gives results, scientific or technical.
    If anything brought progress it was book printing, in my opinion.
    For the first time in human history knowledge could be stored in masses, and was available to masses.
    The ancient Greeks did have scientific books about for example farming, but they had to be copied.
    A historian mentions that in the good old copying by hand time a book was worth 70 ha of fertile land.
    But I still think we have a distorted view of ‘primitive’ people, Arnheim Land my favorite example.
    The Aboriginals there live in a eat for free surrounding, we die there in a few days.
    Then there is ancient technology, the (Visi)Goths did have Roman siege engines, but either did not know very well how to build them, or did not know how the use them.
    In Greece a trireme exists, three rows of oarsmen, in the good old day calles galley slaved, chained to their sats, present day trials demonstrate that present day people cannot use it properly.
    How the piramids were built, we do not really know, the same for Stonehenge.

    • Replies: @Respect
  25. I bought this pill on Amazon that is supposed to increase your IQ!
    Well I just took it. I will document the changes,if any, I feel.
    10:00 OK it’s been ten minutes I am starting to feel…something.

    20:00 Definite change. Pulse up,breathing harder adrenaline increasing

    40:00 I was told my thinking would speed up,thawts flow easy. Seem it’s just the opposite.

    50:00. Feel I dunno…weird. Bog down,clumsy. Can’t…iloosidate..krell framin..what?

    1:$#:0 look at boks whit say o no it pill may Iq is LOWER! I gonna go reed nashinul Reveu online…

    • LOL: Dr. Krieger
  26. @dearieme

    Errr, since I don’t play the bassoon, I might not get what you’re trying to say here, dearieme – that you don’t play the bassoon too, I guess. And that’s rihgt, isn’t it?

    • Replies: @dearieme
  27. Medvedev says:
    @Colin Wright

    Don’t forget that it keeps low-iq individuals regardless of race from breeding like rabbits while they’re ‘busy studying’.

    • Replies: @Anon
  28. The author places a serious dent in his case when he ends the matter on suggesting reading a book – which almost by definition requires a trained brain and reading will introduce more brain training and the more reading the more trained the brain is to so engage.

    Reading requires persistence, depending on the text material, the actual writing, style and structure will require the reader to focus on the material and upon coming across unfamiliar material may require grit to plow through, even reaching for additional readings, or something as simple as a dictionary to expand comprehension of the material — thereby, further exercising the brain and so expanding one’s world view – if one has the grit to hold out until they reach a breakthrough – grit matters.

    All of which requires a certain mindset to accomplish.

    Einstein and Edison may very well have been geniuses, but there is no doubt they engaged: training their brains, practicing the material, persistently pursued what they imagined through the breakthrough point of achievement all of which brought them to new understandings.

    I grant that none of this is the same for every person — it all depends on how what they have gained moves them to problem solve or come to understand themselves in light of what they have gained. I even suggest that self actualization is salient.

  29. JackOH says:
    @Kratoklastes

    K., yep, agree 100%. That’s after longtime close observation of my local less selective state university. At the national level (in the States), I suspect about $500 billion annually spent on secondary and university education is wasted on attendees who have neither the interest nor the talent for schoolwork, and would be better off and happier entering the work force in some capacity.

    FWIW-that local less selective state university has about 12,000 students. In the 1940s, before massive government intervention in higher education, it was a modest private college of about 1500 students who paid their own way by working, parental support, or the few private scholarships that were available. The overall population has stayed about the same in the area from which the university draws most of its students. I can’t find any discernible evidence the expansion of university education has done much of anything.

  30. JamesC says:

    Are there any studies on the effect of secondary education – i.e. IQ tests before entering and on leaving – to test the effect of different school types on IQ? I would expect that there would be some.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  31. Malla says:
    @James Thompson

    Any research done on food and it’s effects on IQ? Vegetarian diet vs heavy protein diet? Diet during pregnancy? Fish diet and it’s effect on IQ/ cognotive development? If yes, types of fish which give the best results? Ginseng?

  32. Logan says:
    @TelfoedJohn

    Right. I suspect it’s much like height. A child is born with genetic potential to reach a certain height. Improvements in nutrition and other environmental factors will allow the child to get closer to that maximum potential, with diminishing returns at some point. But that potential will not and cannot ever be exceeded.

    Similarly, the same child is born with genetic potential to reach a certain intelligence. Nutrition, again, education, especially in early childhood, and numerous other environmental factors affect thedegree to which that potential is achieved. We know all kinds of factors that will prevent the child from reaching his full potential, but we have not a clue about how to raise IQ above the potential. It seems likely to me that it just isn’t possible.

  33. Tom Welsh says:
    @anon

    “What is the point of learning to say the same thing in multiple ways?”

    That question reveals that you do not understand the nature of language very well. It is fundamental that, apart from the simplest statements, it is well-nigh impossible to say *exactly* the same thing in two different languages. Try translating the French “esprit” or the Russian “vlast” into English, and you could write an essay (at least) on the subtle and often misleading differences. A good deal of diplomatic and even military trouble has been caused by the very deeply rooted differences between the various words for “government” and “power” in, say, English and Russian. Even British and American people are, as Churchill quipped, “divided by a common language”.

    John Michael Greer expresses this insight rather well:

    “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe liked to point out that a person who knows only one language doesn’t actually know any languages at all. He was quite right, too. Only when you learn a second language do you begin to discover how many things you thought were true about the universe are merely artifacts of the grammatical and semantic structure of your first language. Where that language is vague, so are your thoughts; where that language runs several distinct meanings together in a single word, so do you; where that language imposes arbitrary structures on the complexities of experience—why, unless you have some experience with another way of assembling the world into linguistic patterns, it’s a safe bet that you’ll do the same thing even when you’re not talking or even thinking in words”.

    - John Michael Greer http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/against-cultural-senility_25.html

    You are in the best of company, though. Failure to understand the nature of language and its relationship to the physical world was probably the main weakness in Plato’s philosophic edifice. To the Greeks, anyone who didn’t speak Greek was a barbarian (meaning that their talk sounded like a lot of “bar bar bar”) – so they didn’t learn any other languages and remained unwitting prisoners of their own.

    I suppose the modern equivalent of “barbarian” – to someone who speaks only English, at least – might be “rhubarbarian”.

  34. Tom Welsh says:
    @res

    Sinclair had a very important insight there. Very important indeed, and increasingly more so for all of us year by year.

    Most Westerners today live in a society where accumulating money is the be-all and end-all. That is almost calculated to distort the application of intelligence from improving human life and learning about the world to fooling your neighbours and conning them out of their money.

    Raymond Chandler remarked that “chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency”. Absolutely true as regards chess; but consider that advertising is just the tip of an immense iceberg that includes marketing, public relations, most of the media and entertainment industries, almost all of politics, and on and on and on.

    We are told that our particular variant of “free market capitalism” is the best of all possible worlds. But it certainly wastes a huge amount of human intelligence – possibly our most valuable, and certainly our scarcest resource.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
    • Replies: @JackOH
  35. @Malla

    Diet simply has to be OK.

    • Replies: @Anon
  36. @Malla

    From what I understand, pre-conception, prenatal, and first-year infant diet should have enough iodine. In the modern world, this is taken via iodized salt. I think westerners are taking less iodized salt nowadays because of the fashionability of other salts.

    The apparent advantages of fish are less clear. There doesn’t seem to be any advantage from fish oil or omega-3 supplements, though there might be advantages in real fish. Wild low-mercury fish are advised. Most supplements are just pissed away, since for evolutionary reasons, we’re not used to taking a nutrient in isolation. The body expects to absorb nutrients from real food. Speaking of evolution, I think the human brain evolved most rapidly when we lived on the edge of the seas. Archaeologists have found vast mussel shell middens in early human settlements.

    It makes sense for eggs to be good since they are specifically designed for feeding young animals. Maybe we should eat the eggs of crows and ravens since they are so clever. Recent research (google Marie Caudill) suggests we aren’t eating enough eggs during pregnancy. The active ingredient here is choline, which is also used by some as a ‘smart drug’ by adults (don’t know if it works).

    • Replies: @Malla
    , @Fred Johnson
  37. How to

    Boost Your Intelligence

    Ignore mass “culture.” Question everything, especially “authority.”

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  38. @Tom Welsh

    Excellent comment.

    Try translating the French “esprit” or the Russian “vlast” into English, and you could write an essay (at least) on the subtle and often misleading differences.

    The differences between English and some Asian languages are often beyond subtle. Sometimes whole concepts are unknown to English speakers and vice versa, and thus there simply is no accurate way to translate between the two.

    • Replies: @TelfoedJohn
  39. @Colin Wright

    This is the most crime-prone segment of the population. It’s a very good idea to keep them locked up during the day.

    For r-selected groups on a faster track for physical maturity perhaps. Historically in the West, roving packs of post-adolescents have never been much of a problem. If there’s no welfare for the able-bodied, then they either work or starve. In K-selected societies, it’s the men in their 20′s that you can’t get married off or into remunerative work who are the problem.

    If you’re never going to develop a marketable skill beyond a strong back, then you need to be in the workforce post-puberty. If you get out of hand, there are older, tougher men to pop you in the mouth.

    When all the “strong back” jobs are automated, I’m not sure what we do.

  40. Respect says:
    @jilles dykstra

    What do you think is better for the development of intelligence ? , the swamps of Holland or the sun of Italy , Greece or California ?

  41. JackOH says:
    @Tom Welsh

    “Most Westerners today live in a society where accumulating money is the be-all and end-all. That is almost calculated to distort the application of intelligence . . .”.

    Tom, agree 100%. I’d mentioned in a few of my comments a while back that religion, tradition, family, ethnic solidarity (in the States), civic fellow-feeling, etc., were modulating effects in the struggle to make a living. These days the lust for money and power seem to me barely checked, at the national or even interpersonal levels.

  42. Old fogey says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Many thanks for recommending this item. It was indeed a seminal speech.

    • Replies: @res
  43. Malla says:
    @TelfoedJohn

    Well there is a lot of ‘folk wisdom’ in India especially amongst South Indians and Bengalis that Fish, especially the oily parts eaten by a pregnant woman are great for having smart kids. Northern Europeans and North East Asians especially the Japanese, all high IQ people, do eat a lot of sea food. In one episode of the TV series ‘Wooster and Jeeves’, Wooster mentions Jeeve’s fish diet the reason for his high intelligence, which makes me wonder if such similar ‘folk wisdom’ existed in Britain as well.

    Wild low-mercury fish are advised.

    Yup. Fish with a lot mercury would have the opposite effect on IQ than intended.

    Thank you for the rest of the information.

  44. Curle says:

    I only wish there were exercises to increase skepticism and to self de-sentimentalize, aside from reading this blog, of course. I’ve got a co-worker I’m convinced is addicted to sentimentalism. Id like to fix that short of sending him to a Mexican prison.

  45. AaronB says:

    Good stuff.

    I want all white people to read this – this should be taught in white schools and drilled into white people’s minds.

    Meanwhile, Jews and Asians will teach their children the exact opposite of this.

    Carry on Mr Thompson.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Uslabor
    , @attilathehen
  46. TG says:

    Here is Winston Churchill on ‘bilingualism’:

    “However, by being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell—a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great—was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing—namely, to write mere English. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practised continually English analysis.

    “Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence—which is a noble thing. And when in after years my school-fellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had to come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage.”

    • Replies: @res
    , @Joe Hildebrandt
  47. TG says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Dear Anti-Gnostic:

    1. Correct, it is men in their 20′s that can’t get married off or into remunerative work that are the problem. But it is ALL societies, ALL races, ALL political systems, where this is true. Right now Japan is as prosperous and as peaceful as about any society ever has been. Before WWII, when the militaristic Japanese government had encouraged a population explosion and crushed the average worker into dire poverty, the society was ready to explode. Create an economy where a young man of average ability cannot reasonably earn a decent living and support a family, and you are playing with social dynamite. Russia under the Czars, China in the early days under Mao, modern Mexico, pre-Castro Cuba, the list goes on. Sorry to all you girls and old fogies out there, but it is unemployed young men that cause trouble, it just is.

    2. Sorry, the ‘strong back’ jobs are not being automated, that’s a myth. In fact, ‘strong back’ jobs are actually harder to automate than many clerical jobs! It’s only that ‘strong back’ jobs are seeing their wages plummet because of increasing competition from the overpopulated third world. I mean, the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner has been under continual development for over a decade. It remains an expensive toy, its impact on the job market for janitors and maids is zero. Wages are falling for janitors and maids because it’s so easy to import someone from Bangladesh and pay them something close to nothing. Which is government policy.

    • Replies: @Anon
  48. Respect says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_intellectual_functioning

    We could say that since the beguining of the XX Century society has increased the level of demands to be considered normal , due to the increased complexity of society . Around 1900 ,and before , illiterate people with adecuate physical strength did quite well .

    There are about 15 % of the western population with an IQ of 70-85 what is considered borderline intellectual functioning , that`s to say they are not midgets but they are small . 70-85 is approximately a mental age between 12 an 15 yo .

    Modern life is very complicated for those people , they can not meet present school and working requirements , they suffer for their failure in school , in work , in social and family life . They have a high prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse , behavior disordes , impulsivity , aggression …

    Many clinicians think that the good willed efforts of the western educational establishment to overeducate them ( like demanding them to finish High School ) are counterproductive

  49. res says:
    @utu

    If twin studies suggest that 50-70% of IQ score variance is heritable then it means that 50%-30% of IQ score variance must be caused by environment.

    Repeating from a long iSteve thread last year (in which you were a participant): http://www.unz.com/isteve/sailer-in-takis-a-tale-of-two-sisters/#comment-1991196

    First, it is important to note that “non-shared environment” (the majority of “environmental” effect found in IQ studies) is not some monolithic well determined factor. This Slate Star Codex post does a good job of discussing that: http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/03/16/non-shared-environment-doesnt-just-mean-schools-and-peers/
    and identifies the following components (much more detail there):

    1. Error
    2. Luck of the draw
    3a. Biological random noise
    3b. The immune system
    3c. Epigenetics
    3d. Genes that differ between identical twins
    4. Actual nurture

    Hopefully this shows the problem with drawing conclusions about the modifiability of IQ through changing the environment from your seemingly obvious simple mathematical observation.

    • Replies: @utu
  50. @hyperbola

    My experience with post-docs and grad students from various non-English-speaking countries suggests that the quality of their English correctly predicts their overall intelligence. This correlation does not mean that learning another language improves your intellectual capability, though.

  51. @Malla

    There is an old Russian joke about a Jew and a Russian who happened to be in the same compartment in an overnight train. The Jew had a fish and the Russian had no food. The Jew ate his fish, and then hungry Russian asked him to sell some food. The Jew offered fish head and bones for two rubles, saying that the bones contain a lot of phosphorus, which increases your brain power. The Russian bought fish head and bones, started gnawing them, and then said:
    - Hey, you bought the whole fish for one ruble, ate it, and then sold me bones for two.
    The Jew answered:
    - See, it’s working already!

  52. So the Cacademoids of the Psychology Persuasion (“Most psychology is puerile and that practiced by Behavioural Science is on a level with Phrenology” — H. Lecter, MD) have concluded “Brain Training” is worthless.. “Mindset Interventions” are worthless… “Grit” (ie perseverence) is worthless… “Deliberate practice” is worthless… being able to speak two or more languages does nothing to enhance intelligence, thus is worthless…

    Having wasted 20+ years in the meatgrinder of compulsion schooling and postsecondary education myself… could it be, the studies quoted are originated by people possessed not merely of a vested interest, but a confirmation bias? I think most people who have been through that hellacious experience can agree with me that at least 95% of what they did there was an absolute, utter waste of time and can reflect in retrospect the only purpose of it — beyond inculcating fixed habits of response to authority — is to annihilate any natural aptitudes and talent, to vitiate inherent intelligence and curiousity — thus you who are reading this, can along with me, dismiss these studies demonstrating efforts towards self-improvement to be worthless… as worthless…

    • Replies: @utu
  53. res says:
    @j2

    I think the question is “how much of a boost is possible?” Also, “for how many people?”

    Two observations which I think need to be made more often:

    1. At the highest levels of performance most people are already making a significant effort to optimize their ability. If you have a genetic disadvantage to overcome then you not only have to work harder than average, you have to work that much harder than the competitor next to you with better genetics is working.

    2. The physical analogy is often used, but the contrast between the difficulty of improving mental performance and improving physical performance seems dramatic to me. Perhaps that is a factor of how much each is optimized already in our society? Contrast compulsory K-12 education (and common college) with the lack of physical activity implied by the obesity epidemic. Note that the opposite balance applies in more primitive societies.

    Also, much of one’s environment (especially as an adult) is defined by one’s own actions which are in turn strongly influenced by genetics. How much of this to assign to G/E is complicated. Extensive reading is a classic example of this. This sort of feedback loop seems like a good explanation for increasing heritability of IQ with age (perhaps along with equalizing uneven developmental rates?).

    I think it is useful to consider how modifiable individual environment is within both societal constraints and the constraints imposed by one’s genetics (e.g. relative surfeit/lack of willpower). I think this simple point goes a long way to explain both the Flynn effect and the difficulty of changing outcomes by conscious intervention.

  54. @jacques sheete

    I wonder which two languages to learn would be ‘ideal’ in terms both of the ability to speak to a greater number, and also covering as many concepts as possible. Possibly English and Chinese? Confucius has the concept of the ‘Rectification of names’ – the idea that everything in reality should have a correspondingly accurate name. Sounds good, but in authoritarian places, it gets Orwellian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rectification_of_names

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  55. Tim too says:

    “…direct him or her to a good book on some uplifting subject. Even an introduction to intelligence research will be to their advantage.”

    Limit distractions. Turn off the pop media fluff. There is an element of zero sum game going on with intelligence. If one’s mind is occupied with inanity, intelligence won’t develop. Another trap is ‘analysis paralysis’.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  56. @The Anti-Gnostic

    ‘…When all the “strong back” jobs are automated, I’m not sure what we do…’

    Fight pointless wars?

    …he suggested somewhat ominously. Although to be realistic, the casualty rate would have to increase exponentially to make much of a difference.

    Still, it does get large numbers of otherwise idle young men out of the country, and allows them to discharge their criminal impulses on someone else — and as long as we’re Israel’s puppet, there’ll always be a war to fight! Think how long the occupation of Iran could go on, for example.

    …as kind of a pilot project, after sixteen years, we still have sixteen thousand troops in Afghanistan. There’s absolutely no reason to think they’ll ever need come home, either. Permanent employment!

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  57. res says:
    @Tom Welsh

    I really like this point:

    John Michael Greer expresses this insight rather well:

    “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe liked to point out that a person who knows only one language doesn’t actually know any languages at all. He was quite right, too. Only when you learn a second language do you begin to discover how many things you thought were true about the universe are merely artifacts of the grammatical and semantic structure of your first language. Where that language is vague, so are your thoughts; where that language runs several distinct meanings together in a single word, so do you; where that language imposes arbitrary structures on the complexities of experience—why, unless you have some experience with another way of assembling the world into linguistic patterns, it’s a safe bet that you’ll do the same thing even when you’re not talking or even thinking in words”.

    - John Michael Greer http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/against-cultural-senility_25.html

    Some examples that come to mind:
    - Different noun/verb/adjective orderings implying different ways of prioritizing those?
    - The way German allows the formation of very complicated words rather than combining shorter words in a phrase.
    - The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
    - Presence or absence of gender.
    - Comprehensivity of verb tenses.
    - Ideographic vs. logographic writing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_writing_systems

    This would seem to argue for the benefit of learning a language more distant from one’s native tongue. Any thoughts on the relative difficulty/benefit trade-off along that dimension?

    Can anyone recommend a linguistics reference which systematizes observations like this and attempts to classify languages accordingly?

    P.S. Your link was broken for me. Here is another: https://thearchdruidreport-archive.200605.xyz/2016/05/against-cultural-senility_25.html
    Heh, his first example is my first bullet above. Except focusing on the influence on causal reasoning of subject-action structure in English.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @dux.ie
  58. @Malla

    I have a vague hunch that fish may be good for visual-spatial, design, engineering etc abilities, but haven’t seen any clinical evidence. I get this impression because the fish-eater people tend to be good at design – Japan, Scandinavia. Eskimos have superior visual ability and are apparently good as engineers. That’s my meagre evidence.

    • Replies: @Joe Wasniak
  59. dearieme says:
    @Dieter Kief

    I live in a bassoon-free environment. Except on CDs, obviously.

    I have a mild interest in musical abilities. For example, my mother couldn’t tell one melody from another but had an good sense of rhythm. I can distinguish melodies. Moreover I can tell when a soloist hits a bum note even if I don’t know the piece. But I can’t sing a melody to save myself. (My wife recognises the tunes I sing entirely from the rhythm.) My piano lessons didn’t “take” when I was young. You could say I’m from a family of musical duds. What I don’t know is whether this has any meaning beyond itself. I suspect not. I’m open to evidence.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @Wizard of Oz
  60. res says:
    @Respect

    Good one. Do you know the etymology of that? Is it ancient? Is there an ancient Greek version (it seems like the kind of thing they would have come up with)?

  61. res says:
    @Old fogey

    Thanks to both of you for highlighting that.

  62. res says:
    @TG

    Reference here: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/87077-my-early-life-1874-1908

    Worth noting his conclusion:

    “Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.”

  63. @anon

    Re: music creating new neural pathways – to what end?

    So that we can write better rap music.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  64. @TelfoedJohn

    Eskimos make excellent igloo designers but their generally low IQ precludes them from being good engineers.

    • Replies: @TelfoedJohn
  65. @Kratoklastes

    Bullshit.

    “Formal education” is a gigantic self-serving, self-justifying racket, end of discussion. Those studies quoted are designed to protect that racket, were designed to produce their conclusions.. Oh sure, they have lots of big words and reams of statistics to prove their preconceptions.. have a look at the deadly little book “How to Lie with Statistics”: Education’s purpose is to destroy potential, not enhance it.

    Let me introduce you to John Taylor Gatto, voted “Teacher of the Year” for The City of New York and then The State of New York. Read his book “The Underground History of American Education” and learn that this abominable edifice is based on Prussian methods of instruction, the purpose of which was to create good little soldiers and factory workers, IOW automatons. Gatto opines, justly, that “genius is not rare, it is as common as dirt.” (https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/) His story on the decline in litaracy in America courtesy of a century of compulsion schooling should make your hair stand on end.

    That 95% of kids who shouldn’t be educated past freshman high school? They don’t learn, not because they’re inheritently stupid, but because they know they’re in prison, and they hate it, and if Gatto isn’t enough for you, have a look at Jeff Schmidt, “Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives” and Ivan Illich: “Deschooling Society”

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Anon
  66. @TG

    It wouldn’t of made a whole lot of difference to Churchill if he learned English or Latin or Greek because he was born rich. He never had to worry about making a living in the same sense of most of us. It was only because of his personal weaknesses for gambling and alcohol that later made the point of making money important to him. A certain group took advantage of these weaknesses and made sure that he did their bidding in exchange for paying off his gambling debts.

  67. @Kratoklastes

    Bullshit.

    “Formal education” is a gigantic self-serving, self-justifying racket, end of discussion. Those studies quoted are designed to protect that racket, were designed to produce their conclusions.. Oh sure,they have lots of big words and reams of statistics to prove their preconceptions.. have a look at the deadly little book “How to Lie with Statistics:” Education’s purpose is to destroy potential, not enhance it.

    Let me introduce you to John Taylor Gatto, voted “Teacher of the Year” for The City of New York and then The State of New York. Read his book “The Underground History of American Education” and learn that this abominable edifice is based on Prussian methods of instruction, the purpose of which was to create good little soldiers and factory workers, IOW automatons. Gatto opines, justly, that “genius is not rare, it is as common as dirt.” (https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/) His story on the decline in litaracy in America courtesy of a century of compulsion schooling should make your hair stand on end.

    That 95% of kids who shouldn’t be educated past freshman high school? They don’t learn, not because they’re inheritently stupid, but because they know they’re in prison, and they hate it, and if Gatto isn’t enough for you, have a look at Jeff Schmidt, “Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives” and Ivan Illich: “Deschooling Society”

    • Replies: @Respect
  68. @TelfoedJohn

    I don’t think that living on the edge of the sea and eating lots of fish makes a whole lot of difference for the intelligence of a race. Northwest Europeans lived on the edge of the sea and ate lots of fish and conquered the world, native Indians of the northwest coast of North America have been living in a similar climate since the last Ice Age and are not much smarter than negroes!

  69. @dearieme

    dearieme -I must admit first, that I was joking. I misspelled the word right (=rihgt) in order to echo your “soduku”.

    But – I have indeed thought about one observation I’ve made with persons (kids, too), who know how to paint/dance/sing/play an instrument/know how to interact with dogs/do some sort of sport (or a combination of these traits) and has learned how to become selfreflexive – they all usually have better ways to get along with others – a big plus in life.
    What I found is, that these things happen from lets say – – – 90 IQ points on. But that’s just an experienced guess.
    I was on the eastern Swiss mountain Hörnli on monday (1166 m, near the Fischingen monastery) and sat under an oaktree near a mother with her two little daughters and her father, regular Swiss people, a secretary and a craftsman. They discussed not least questions of the Swiss school system, and you heard a rhythm in their words and a melody even, and they were gentle and up to the point and on the complexity level, that those problems indeed have. – I’ve heard a lot of music in their prosody. Their words flowed gently in their Swiss dialect.
    (I guess you can’t beat that).

    Btw. – Evelyn Waugh’s “Scoop” was a fun read indeed. I’ve talked to my wife and others after I’d read it and usually, that’s a good sign. At one point I stated, Waugh would make you understand the inner strength of the British foreign policy better – how it worked – and that it worked at all.

    Obviously the garden-columnist had become as British as it can get on his backward castle – and that was about all he needed, to understand those foreign shenanigans in an African country in turmoil, andundertsand them pretty well – at least compared to the other Brits that were around…

    • Replies: @Anon
  70. @Malla

    Phosphatidylserine seems to have positive interactions, and one of the main sources(besides the brains of animals, not commonly eaten) is fish.

  71. @Joe Wasniak

    If you search for ‘mechanic’ in this study, then you can see there is plenty of evidence for good mechanical skill: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Publications/1970-CognitiveStrengths.pdf

  72. hyperbola says:
    @anon

    A fairly racist attitude since English as a mother language is fourth in the world in terms of number of native speakers (exceeded by chinese, hindi, spanish).

    Also a rather mind-numbing attitude. I can describe with a single word a social arrangement that communally protects children and old people in a society that has no private property, has no language construct for a future tense, has only a group-justice system (no laws) for discussing social problems, …… And, by the way, the children and aged are far better protected than in English-speaking countries.

    • Replies: @Anon
  73. Corvinus says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    “For r-selected groups…In K-selected societies”

    Peddling pseudo-science again to the fanbois, huh.

  74. wag says:

    I think this article might be neglecting the possibility that nootropics could temporarily or permanently increase IQ.

  75. utu says:
    @Capt. Roy Harkness

    russian methods of instruction, the purpose of which was to create good little soldiers and factory workers

    I miss society where this method of education was successful. I did not know it was Prussian. From now on when I drive through some vibrant part of town I will think “I wish you people were good factory workers or soldiers well educated in Prussian school.”

    • Replies: @Capt. Roy Harkness
    , @Anon
  76. utu says:
    @Capt. Roy Harkness

    vested interest, but a confirmation bias?

    Confirmation bias might be their middle name. It even sounds good: James C.B. Thompson. or Richard C.B. Lynn or Davide C.B. Piffer.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  77. @advancedatheist

    Maybe it couldn’t be done legally in the US but your rational economic approach suggests to me that priests and pastors ought to be paid bonuses by the state for proven performance in keeping their flock from crime.

    • Replies: @Anon
  78. Tom Welsh says:
    @Malla

    For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, I strongly recommend Dr Weston A. Price’s classic book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. Although published before WW2, based on research done in the 1930s, as far as I know it is the last word on the superiority of traditional diets eaten by “primitive” peoples such as hunter-gatherers.

    Dr Price studied about a dozen different cultures, from the Inuit and the mountaineers of the Andes to the Masai and New Guineans. He found that those eating traditional diets had virtually no tooth decay or gum disease (although they mostly never brushed, flossed or used mouthwash). Their general health was excellent, and most of the “diseases of civilization” were unknown.

    In the New Guinea chapter especially, Dr Price stresses that young people planning to be parents were required to eat special diets for several years before conception. Those diets were calculated not only to make them as strong and healthy as possible, but to provide reserves so that the baby would have more than ample resources without depleting the mother’s resources. This years-long diet was repeated before every conception, so that subsequent children did not suffer either.

    The only reason I can think of why Dr Price’s work has never been followed up is that it would not earn anyone much money, and would bid fair to destroy a number of prosperous industries: dentistry, orthodontics, pharmaceuticals, and much of medicine and surgery.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Anon
    , @Malla
    , @utu
  79. Tom Welsh says:
    @Tim too

    You are so right, Tim. By far the scarcest, most limited resource is not intelligence but attention. People like Einstein and Turing accomplished what they did largely through sheer concentration.

    Of course, they had to be very intelligent to begin with, or the subjects they studied would not have attracted them so strongly.

  80. Tom Welsh says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Apologies for the broken link in my first comment. Thanks to res for finding this:

    https://thearchdruidreport-archive.200605.xyz/2016/05/against-cultural-senility_25.html

  81. @utu

    Good point. Guess quality of instruction has fallen off rather badly since about 1870 ;)

  82. res says:
    @Tom Welsh

    I strongly agree.

    Although it should be possible to follow up on the insights obtained, it would be hard to follow up on the work itself. Price was fortunate in doing his work before (actually while, the pictures of different aged siblings are some of the most compelling things in the book) the ancestral diets of these isolated groups were changed by modern culture.

  83. Respect says:
    @Capt. Roy Harkness

    Capt. Roy Harkness

    I agree with you Capt . now too many people study too much , Ilich was right , Illich was right also in Medicine ( book Medical Nemesis ) . Modern society could die of succes , of too much education , health and welfare .

    There are many pseudointellectuals nowadays , they use words , ideas , without understanding well what they mean .

  84. @TelfoedJohn

    Not quite addressing your precise question but I have been telling my extended family ad nauseam that anyone who doesn’t speak Chinese in 20 years time will be in the same position as someone who doesn’t speak English today.

  85. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kratoklastes

    What Is To Be Done with 13 to 18 year olds other than sending them to high school?

    Jobs? Low skill jobs are for adult immigrants. Job training? That used to be done in high school. Then the useful idiots decided every one had to go to college and get liberal brainwashed.

    The main reason mid 19th century Europeans set up high school for all was to get teen boys off the streets and in a controlled environment.

    Child labor laws mean they can’t work till 16 and American employers refuse to hire Americans anyway. I suppose yard work and baby sitting is available if, if potential customers don’t have a Hispanic nanny and Gardner’s already.

  86. @Colin Wright

    Steve Sailer long ago pointed out that the army had decided to attempt a cutoff of IQ 90 because much under that made soldiers a danger to their comrades – and army vehicles.

  87. @res

    Contra Goethe: have you considered the implications of English’s uniquely vast vocabulary with the constant possibility of sharpening one’s thinking as one seeks the precise nuance by choice amongst many near synonyms?

    • Replies: @res
    , @Pericles
  88. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    What factories? Even Tyson and the near processing plants are staffed by Hispanic Indian foreigners.

    Detroit is the best example that well paid factory jobs for a huge variety of skill and IQ levels can’t over come certain demographic levels of crime.

    Cleveland Akron Cincinnati Gary Indiana Birmingham Al Durham NC all high crime and all but Durham destroyed by crime.

    I believe cigarettes are still made in Durham. Amazing, an American product still made in America.

    Too many people too few jobs not enough housing.

  89. @dearieme

    I think we may be twins separated at birth.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  90. Anonymous[165] • Disclaimer says:

    Alas, some have gone full Theranos and created a lavishly funded startup called Lumosity, which offers brain-training games. A friend told me that it’s crap, but at least some of their games are fun.

  91. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    That would result in disparate impact.

    Anything resulting in disparate impact in overturned by the black robes minions of Satan.

    A certain demographic would never get bonuses. I hope White collar crime would be included.

    Interesting idea though, like bonuses for top sales critters and high performers and teachers who raise students test scores.

  92. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @hyperbola

    Please, what’s the society?

    • Replies: @hyperbola
  93. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Sounds like Margaret Mead.

  94. Malla says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Agree 100%. Have been a big Dr. Price fan for a long time.

    I would also recommend the ‘The Fasting Cure’ by Mr.Upton Sinclair.
    His recommendations definitely will not make any money for the medical industry.

    https://apache2.pum.edu.pl/~fasting/upton.pdf

    More about this explained in this video.

    Doctor Weston price video for new comers.

    Also the Keto diet

    Basically what I realise is one should avoid, as much as possible, refined Carbs, refined sugars and hydrogenated oils. More Proteins + More Fats + Green Vegetables (all organic if possible) is the key.

    Eat food the way it was eaten before the 1920s and you should be alrite.

    • Replies: @Anon
  95. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @Capt. Roy Harkness

    It’s well known that it’s all based in 1830s Prussia. The American university system is based on 1820s German ideas of state supported universities used for practical industrial research. That’s why 19&20th centuries German R&D was so great.

    2,500 affirmative action morons just failed the math part New York State elementary teachers exam. These are affirmative action college grads mind you.

    I took a state elementary teachers exam once. The math part was laughable. The fractions were all 1/2 1/4. Decimals all done in 10s. Algebra was a hoot

    2 + x = 3. What is x. 2 + x =4 what is x

    Some White nationalist group had an average IQ 9 year old White girl take her state teacher’s exam. She passed with a score equivalent to B-

    I read a 1896 copy of The Protocols. The fourth Protocol was “ we shall see to it my brothers, that they appoint only the incompetent and unfit to all government positions”

    Affirmative action the fourth protocol convinced me it was a true plan to destroy goy society.

    • Replies: @Capt Roy Harkness
  96. utu says:
    @Tom Welsh

    I have some doubts about New Guinea. They did not control sex. They did not even know that sex causes pregnancy.

    http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/savagesex
    That’s right. The islanders do not believe that sex causes pregnancy. They don’t believe in physiological fatherhood. Malinowski was incredibly skeptical about this, so he tried all sorts of ways to see if this was simply a story they told, while they actually the real deal. But no, they assured him that it was really true, that all the white people who insisted otherwise were being silly, that the spirits caused pregnancy, not sex.

    They argued the case quite logically. After all, they noted, one fellow went on an expedition for a year or two and when he came back, he had a new son. He obviously wasn’t having sex with her while he was away, so where did the kid come from? (Cough.) And, they note, there are some really hideous people on the island who nobody would dare have sex with, yet they manage to become pregnant. (Malinowski spies some kids looking sheepish when this subject is raised.)

    They also argue the other way: people on the island are having sex all the time from a very early age and yet they very rarely get pregnant. (Naturally, the islanders don’t practice any form of contraception; the very idea doesn’t make sense when sex doesn’t cause pregnancy.) The white man’s argument just doesn’t make sense. Indeed, recent visitors report, the islanders still believe that sex doesn’t cause pregnancy, despite the best efforts of health workers.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Pericles
  97. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @Malla

    I fast several days a month. It’s the best way to keep my weight down. I doubt it has any health benefits though.

    Organic vegetables are just consumer fraud. Even if I could afford it I’d never shop at Whole Foods or farmers markets. I boycott fast food and try to never eat in restaurants because they are huge importers of illegal alien job thieves

    I boycott all trendy alleged healthy food as I try not support liberalism financially. I boycott Starbucks because it’s a liberal business.

    I won’t even use the ATM at a 7-11 because they are all owned by non White immigrants using all those roll over never paid government loans for non Whites and tax breaks and food stamp fraud and all the rest of the crooked corrupt practices of India and Asia.

    I know the Chinese in San Francisco send the elders to get food at the free food pantries and then sell it in their convenience stores. I’m sure the rest of the corrupt crooks do the same.

    I make everything from scratch so most restaurant food except meat tastes weird to me.

    Liberalism has affected everything even food.

    • Replies: @Malla
  98. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @TG

    I don’t have a roomba but friends and relatives do. The problem with them is that the dirt resovior is so small it has to be emptied all the time. Also it’s just another piece of ugly black plastic.

    Supposedly they collect data about the layout of your home for some sinister reason.

  99. Anon[840] • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    I ‘m trying to control my natural bitchyness and not start fights.

    So all I’ll say about Price is remember Margaret Mead.

    Trying to feed certain people better food is an old European custom. Men doing hard physical labor got as much meat as possible. Pregnant and nursing mothers and wet nurses were also fed well, especially with that thick nutritious beer that was a kind of liquid bread

    • Replies: @utu
  100. dearieme says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Gee, let’s put on a show right here.

  101. Uslabor says:
    @AaronB

    Jewish, Asian, and anybody else hoping to raise intelligent children.

  102. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Medvedev

    Is that why American high schools that serve certain demographics have nurseries for the next generation of dreck?

    School’s only 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.

  103. @Wizard of Oz

    Literacy
    Japan tops the pool (its average literacy score is just below the centre of the Level III range); followed closely by Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

    At #5 in the hit parade, Australia is the only Anglophone country that has an average literacy score above the bottom of the Level III range.

    Numeracy

    Japan is again the top, with an average score well below the midpoint of the Level III range. Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have an average score above the Level III minimum.

    No Anglophone country makes the cutoff for Level III for numeracy.

    Joint Scores: Literacy and Numeracy

    Since 4 countries (Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden) have a median adult that scores at Level III on both tests, it might appear that all four have an “literacy and numeracy”median score above Level III. That’s not the case.

    For samples as large as these, the median and the average coincide for individual tests, but not for joint results (i.e., “literacy score plus numeracy score”).

    The correlation between literacy and numeracy scores is quite high (averages 0.87 across the countries in question) but that tiny lack of correlation, plus the fact that most “Level III” countries have average cores barely above the bottom of the Level III range, means that the median adult in the Netherlands ‘jointly’ scores at Level II – Level III on literacy and just below Level III on numeracy.

    One Last Thing…

    Lastly (but by no means leastly): once the third aspect of the PIAAC tests (“Problem-solving in technology-rich environments“) is taken into account, Japan’s poor score sees them fail to “make the median” overall.

    Here, the appropriate ‘score’ is to have more than 50% of population score at-or-above Level 2 on the “problem solving” part of the test.

    For all adults, no OECD country gets to 50% at-or-above Level 2 on problem solving: Sweden (44%), Finland (41.6%), the Netherlands (41.5%) and Norway (41%) are the top 4.

    Japan craters to 34.6%.

    I suspect that demographics play a significant part here: a random sample of Japanese will be significantly older than most other OECD countries, and less technologically literate. I also wonder if the test was ‘culturally’ adequate: simply translating a given (Western) page layout would not be satisfactory .

    When only considering the young (16-24 year olds), Finland (61.9%), Sweden (61.7%), the Netherlands (58.3%) still top the charts.

    The young adults in the US: absolute bottom of the table.

    .

    When all three tests are combined, the result sees Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands as the only OECD countries that score at the required level jointly.

    I know, right? WHITE POWER!!!

    Are Finns “white”? Genetically they’re close to Estonians; Estonians, Slovaks and Poles – and Americans - clearly aren’t “white” enough, since they are the bottom 4 countries.

    (Let me guess: too many ‘one droppers’ in the US test cohort, right?)

    • Replies: @Respect
    , @Miro23
    , @Anon
  104. @AaronB

    Jews and Asians are second tier in IQ. Caucasians are first.

    Avoid having children with blacks/Asian.

  105. utu says:
    @res

    your seemingly obvious simple mathematical observation

    I think that staying with mathematics even if simple is always a good policy which I would recommend to both you and Scott Alexander. When you leave mathematics behind the hand waving arguments often gain too much influence, particularly on those who make them. Let’s look at simple mathematics again.

    In the Falconer’s formula H^2=2(r_mz – r_dz) the second correlation concerning DZ twins, one could easily argue, is affected more by various ‘random’ effects like the ones elucidated by Alexander as (1), (2) and (3abc) than the first correlation concerning MZ twins . This would lead to H^2 being overestimated.

  106. utu says:
    @Anon

    Trying to feed certain people better food is an old European custom.

    I think this is true but the limiting parameter was availability and living conditions and not necessarily lack of habit and knowledge. Protestantism (Protestant work ethics?), Industrial Revolution in England lowered the mean height in 1400-1650 from 174-175cm to 169cm from late 1600s to early 1800s. The so called progress had a heavy human cost.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040902090552.htm
    According to Steckel’s analysis, heights decreased from an average of 68.27 inches (173.4 centimeters) in the early Middle Ages to an average low of roughly 65.75 inches (167 cm) during the 17th and 18th centuries.

    • Replies: @Anon
  107. utu says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Interesting article. Thanks. The High Office of Dogma and Doctrine of IQism may dispatch their lower rank Suslovs or Torquemadas to shred it to pieces.

  108. cassandra says:

    I hesitate to suggest that my readers might ever have felt the need to improve their mental abilities …

    Mental abilities? What mental abilities?

  109. Anon[171] • Disclaimer says:

    SO to summarize your text Mr Thomson, to boost intelligence, the following points are required:

    Brain training

    Mindset (brain training to directly strengthen cognitive abilities)

    Grit refers to perseverance. This must be a good thing, surely?

    Deliberate practice

    Bilingual advantage

    That sounds great and logic, but how can you increase the median intelligence level of a banana republic like Quebec (50% illiterate Quebecers, whose main interest is the NHL statistics)? Whose main interest consists in keeping the Facebook status updated very 11 minutes, unable to speak or write correctly in even one (first) language (French), unable to locate a major country on a map? In other words, how can we do to increase the average brain intelligence level when people seem proud of their brain atrophy, proud of the mediocrity of their pseudo anglo-zionist brainwashing ”medias”, and who need their daily programs of total idiocy, fake news, created by the MSMs to keep them idiots, and therefore keep the working class cheap, servile, spineless?

    • Replies: @Malla
  110. res says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Probably not as much as I should. As essentially a monoglot I am more interested in what aspects of other languages might be different or missing from English (since it is the sea I swim in).

  111. dux.ie says:
    @res

    http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty

    “””The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has created a list to show the approximate time you need to learn a specific language as an English speaker.”””

    • Replies: @res
  112. Malla says:
    @Anon

    Organic vegetables are just consumer fraud.

    Wow I did not know that.

    What if you buy Organic food at a farmer’s market?

    Organic free range Eggs (if they really are organic and not a scam) are worth it.

    Check out at minutes 16:02 to 17:00, where the organic free range scored significantly higher than other eggs in the amount of Vitamins and other nutrients it contained.

    Liberalism has affected everything even food.

    Very true, my mantra is, when it comes to food and entertainment (music, literature etc…) stick to what your ancestors did, 100 years back and earlier.

  113. Malla says:
    @Anon

    That sounds great and logic, but how can you increase the median intelligence level of a banana republic like Quebec

    1] Ban or takeover the media.
    2] Revamp the educational system. Bring back traditional education systems.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium

    3] Stop or be very selective about Welfare.
    4] Put women back at home to bring up kids. Women will then be forced to find a husband who earns and brings bread into the house instead of some low IQ ‘hot’ thug. Implement some positive elements of Islamic Sharia Law, severely punish pre marital and extra marital sexual relationships
    5] Go back to traditionalism. Encourage Classical/ Folk/ traditional Country Music instead of Rock and Roll, Hip Hop and Rap. Even the traditional cultures of other civilisations such as Classical Japanese or Chinese music is better than modern music.
    6] Eugenics: Encourage high IQ civilised men to marry high IQ civilised women and encourge them to have the most amount of kids. Encourage/ force those with low IQ and anti social behaviour to have less kids (one child policy).
    7] Ban the use of the word ‘boring’ from both French and English.

  114. Respect says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Listen , I do not know about the japanese , but I do not believe anything at all about how clever are those little stupid countries with languages good for nothing like finnish (hahahahha ) dutch ( hahahhahah ) swedish ( hahahhahahaha ) , Danish ( hahahhahaha ) norwegian ( hahahahhaha ) .

    To beguin with, their own languages are good for nothing . They have to learn other languages , english , german , russian … to make themselves undesstood out of their tribe .

    The UN is full of weird nordics pedagogues and socialists that sell their irrelevant countries to the world , Travel to these little cold countries with weird languages and you will see with your own eyes how limited they are . I do not believe the ” good ” academic results they pretend to have , they lie , they take the rest of the world for idiots .

    Nordics lies , they are an insult for more relevant countries like the USA , France , England , Germany , Russia , Italy , Spain ……which are real countries , with real languages , real History .

    Come on , pseudocountries such as Finland with 4 million people and no history , with a very high prevalence of alcohol abuse , of suicide , of gender violence , of mental retardation ( alcohol and consanguinity ) with a weird language which nobody knows where it comes from , are often proposed as an example for normal countries , come on , stop fooling the world .

    • Replies: @Pericles
  115. res says:
    @dux.ie

    Thanks. Do they break down the reasons behind the difficulty anywhere? The comments do go into that a bit, but what I would really like to see is a detailed breakdown by the similarities and differences .

  116. @Anon

    Here’s my considered opinion on the value of formal education for you; what it’s done, what it is doing, to our civilization:

    https://sexdiaryofanoboist.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/talking-to-deltas-about-liberty-part-2/

  117. hyperbola says:
    @Anon

    Melanesian. You will understand why they do not wish to be bothered by tourists.

  118. Morris39 says:

    @James Thompson
    Do not disagree at all with your analysis. But if you have some minimum level of intelligence, analytical ability and temperament I believe you can greatly improve your real life, practical problem solving skill by deciding to work with determination to be objective and make decisions based on the best evidence available to you. Very hard to do but may become easier with practice and accumulation of small successes. If you agree maybe you can explore this in a more professional way. I found this method very fruitful but only after retirement when I found time to think for myself.

  119. Miro23 says:

    Spare a thought for working older people. There are more of them about than there used to be.

    For example, a gentleman in his 70′s asked to continue working by his company of underwriters on the basis that he does faster and more accurate work than younger employees. The pay is excellent and he can support his large dysfunctional family.

    No doubt that he’s intelligent (and experienced) in his work, but he also makes an effort to keep fit and eat healthy food , which seems to be an underrated but important aspect of intelligence.

  120. Miro23 says:
    @Kratoklastes

    I suspect that demographics play a significant part here: a random sample of Japanese will be significantly older than most other OECD countries, and less technologically literate. I also wonder if the test was ‘culturally’ adequate: simply translating a given (Western) page layout would not be satisfactory .

    When only considering the young (16-24 year olds), Finland (61.9%), Sweden (61.7%), the Netherlands (58.3%) still top the charts.

    This completely misses the point. With a normal Bell Curve of intelligence even African countries have enough citizens in the top 5% to run an efficient and well organized country. It’s a question of getting these people into top administrative positions and having an ethos of loyalty and service so that they give the best opportunities to the low IQ remainder.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  121. Biloxi says: • Website

    Ancient Tao practice “Cultivation of the 9 Houses”, a diagram of the crown (top of head) numbers one to nine. Qi Gong, breathe (inhale, exhale), nine times in each compartment (chamber). Considered one of the most important “Chi Cultivation Practices”. Vital to ground~ T’ai Chi roots in earth, moves atmosphere & Chi in realm of celestial (North Star & Big Dipper, Et Cetera. See Link Coyote Lane TBC,
    Enjoy

  122. Biloxi says: • Website

    YouTube Coyote Lane 3 videos, T’ai Chi, 9 Houses Cultivation, Etc

  123. Morris39 says:

    @James Thompson
    My post at #129 was meant to be addressed to you but I missed. Do you have a comment to my comment?

  124. Pericles says:
    @anon

    Re: music creating new neural pathways – to what end? Using neurons which could be put to other purposes for the arbitrary tasks of our system of music?

    Many animals sing and dance. You might notice increased opportunities for reproduction if you’re in a band, the better band the better.

  125. Pericles says:
    @William Welch

    Is it true that playing rap to a baby makes it smarter?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  126. Pericles says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    I do, to an extent, even though English is not my first language. Just opening the OED on any page will show you numerous words that you didn’t know existed. An enjoyable activity.

  127. Pericles says:
    @utu

    I have some doubts about New Guinea. They did not control sex. They did not even know that sex causes pregnancy.

    Has Jared Diamond been told?

  128. Pericles says:
    @Respect

    But we’re a moral great power, what do you expect us to do?

    (Please don’t ask us to define our morals. Such an attitude is hardly helpful.)

  129. Anonymous[296] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pericles

    Put in another way. Examples of the effect of microcephalis,

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/two-sisters-aged-9-14-7034614

    They’re like any other girls they’re age. They like gangster rap, R&B and pop. They like Eminem. They love the beat and Claire smiles when rap comes on the radio.

    “When their teachers play them nursery rhymes they look bored and pull faces.”

  130. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    Cromwell’s model army furnished the uniforms so they kept records of height and weight. The average height of Cromwell’s soldiers was 5’6

    By the time of the Boer war the British had to lower the height limit to 5’3 for the army.

    Because of hard physical labor before age 12 and not enough calories for normal growth the British workers shrank over the centuries.

    Despite the numerous famines, the Irish poor maintained normal size due to not going into mines and factories or working as porters etc at age 8 or so.

    Then too, potatoes milk, butter and garden vegetables was a better diet than the working class English got.

    During WWs 1&;2 Americans Russians Germans Italians French soldiers noticed how small the English enlisted men were compared to the English officers and enlisted men in the other armies

    • Replies: @utu
  131. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @James Thompson

    I agree malnutrition in pregnancy and early childhood might possibly lower IQ, but no brain food diet can raise IQ.

  132. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Wait another 20 years when more than half of the under 30 year olds in Sweden and Netherlands are Muslims and Africans and see what the scores are

  133. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dieter Kief

    I love Waugh I have all his books and have re read them many times. Chris Buckeley is the American Waugh.

    Scoop would make a good comedy movie of news papers creating an imaginary war in Cesspoolastan.

    Wag the Dog movie of a Clinton type president inventing a war to cover up a sexual scandal was similar to Scoop.

  134. utu says:
    @Anon

    Because of hard physical labor before age 12 and not enough calories for normal growth the British workers shrank over the centuries.

    We do not hear much about it.

  135. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    “…Brain training … So, nothing in it.” “… Deliberate practice … Nothing in it for those without talent, something in it for those with talent.”

    “…and then direct him or her to a good book on some uplifting subject. …”

    There is an internal contradiction there. Good books are brain training, and reading them is deliberate practice.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  136. Joe Hide says:

    Education once was life enhancing for students because it provided skills they could use. Education now is mostly profitable only to those employed in educating because it largely does not provide useful skills to students. Most 4 year degrees could be taught in 2, most 2 year degrees in 1, etc. The price of education could easily be cut in half or more. Students could then be spending the wasted 2 years of a 4 year program working and earning money and getting job skills. They also would vastly reduce their indoctrination time under professors of neo-marxist leanings who have never had a real job. Of course, STEM & similiar education students would benefit too, as those in these disciplines would then focus on subjects that have some meat on them

  137. @Anon

    My point is that it is better to boost your knowledge than attempt to boost your intelligence. Reading may impart knowledge. Stupid brain training exercises are unlikely to boost intelligence, and won’t provide much knowledge.

  138. I think that most people would like to be cleverer, and the idea of a shortcut is alluring.

    For ‘cleverer’ substitute any other positive attribute (richer, fitter, stronger, sexier, yada yadda) and you have the mechanism by which people get grifted time and again.

    A very large number of people have two conflicting deep desires:
    ① the deep desire to obtain some attribute that is relatively rare among human beings – e.g., an IQ of 130; income in the top 1%; bodyfat below ~10%; the ability to do 20 chinups, a backflip, or a handspring; an FTP of 4W/kg on a bicycle; a VO2Max above 50; [insert your own objectives here]; and
    ② the deep desire to avoid doing anything that is objectively required in order to achieve ①.

    The existence of these people provides a ready pool of marks for charlatans who offer colour-and-movement screen-toys that claim to be ‘brain training’, but which furnish the cognitive challenge of “Angry Birds”. They aver to their subscribers that the increase in the subscriber’s score indicates that they’re getting ‘sharper’. (I’m thinking of crowds like “Lumosity” here).

    The same is true of “get shredded in 6weeks/90 days/with this pill” and other types of charlatanry – e.g., “Get over your life problems by talking for hours on end with an agent-of-averageness peddling pseudoscience“.

    On the intelligence side of things it really does seem that folks have a certain amount of hard-wired grunt, and from there they can tweak it up or down within a pretty narrow range (well, they could tweak it down a whole lot with a decent head trauma; up is a harder tweak).

    Most human beings have a cognitive engine that’s somewhere between a Trabant 601 and a Daewoo Lanos; they might aspire to a Renault RS-1, but the best tweaking won’t get them much past a 1960s VW Beetle. That’s just how it is – but grifters want to hold out false hope to rubes; that’s what the grift is about.

    To put it in context: if I could achieve tweaking on the physical side of things that gave the same proportional improvement as someone tweaking their IQ from 115 to 125 (84th to 95th percentile), I would be an nationally-competitive cyclist, gymnast, and middle-distance runner.

    Let’s stipulate that someone σ above the median is not being fooled by “play this silly game to increase your IQ“: the people who fall for that will be 10pts closer to the median.

    In that case: the move from 105 to 125, translated to my current strength/pace/VO2Max age-quantiles, would mean I would be a world champion strongman, a Tour de France stage winner, and a top 20 middle-distance runner – all in the same season.

    In six weeks… using an iPad app.

    Where do I enter my credit card details?

  139. Intelligence is indeed a long term developmental set of essential traits just like height. You can’t increase your height when you reach the maximum potential or the last stage of body development or body maturation.

    I think quantitative intelligence is like height, but qualitative intelligence is like weight, it’s mean you can increase or decrease it. Quantitative intelligence can’t be increased because it’s part of developmental program of the organism. Qualitative is something you may can negotiate but still this possibility is/ it’s likely to be ”inheritable’ too. Little more flexible but still not infinite.

  140. 100 years ago, the most respected men in America were men of knowledge and industry such as Tesla and Edison, today we the most respected men are men who run around and try to get a piece of rubber away from each other. I think this speaks volumes about us as a nation.

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