The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewJames Thompson Archive
Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Four years ago I claimed that it was more important to have educated parents than rich ones. Parents who are educated were very likely bright to begin with, and judged worth educating as much as possible. They may even have gained in ability by virtue of further education. Brighter parents usually earn more than less bright ones, so many educated parents will also be wealthy. Nonetheless, if you have to chose which is best for children, choose education over wealth. Why? Because intelligence is the greatest wealth.

I’ve known for years that Rindermann had all these results you will see below, and it is great to see them all gathered together, and the analyses extended to complete the overall picture.

In 19 (sub)samples from seven countries (United States, Austria, Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Vietnam, Brazil), we analyzed the impact of parental education compared with wealth on the cognitive ability of children (aged 4–22 years, total N = 15,297). The background of their families ranged from poor indigenous remote villagers to academic families in developed countries, including parents of the gifted. Children’s cognitive ability was measured with mental speed tests, Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFT), the Raven’s, Wiener Entwicklungstest (WET), Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), Piagetian tasks, Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Parental wealth was estimated by asking for income, indirectly by self-assessment of relative wealth, and by evaluating assets. The mean direct effect of parental education was greater than wealth. In path analyses, parental education also showed stronger impact on children’s intelligence than familial economic status. The effects on mental speed were smaller than for crystallized intelligence, but still larger for parental education than familial economic status. Additional factors affecting children’s cognitive ability are number of books, marital status, educational behavior of parents, and behaviour of children. If added, a general background (ethnicity, migration) factor shows strong effects. These findings are discussed in terms of environmental versus hidden genetic effects.

Socio-economic status is associated with educational attainment, and as we know, a frequently observed correlation suggests an underlying cause. (In this instance, the correlational nature of the association is not seen as a grave disadvantage).

The popular interpretation of these findings in the media as well as in science is that they are caused by differences in the wealth of parents (for examples, see Rindermann & Baumeister, 2015): The rich can support their children through costly interventions that are beyond the ability of less wealthy parents, such as better housing, private schools, educational toys and computers, entrance to expensive museums, and hiring tutors. By the same token, the economically and socially disadvantaged poor cannot offer their children such supports. A straightforward intervention derived from this position was publicly formulated by Richard Nisbett in his keynote “Bring the Family Address” at the 2009 Association for Psychological Science convention in San Francisco: “If we want the poor to be smarter we should make them richer” (Wargo,2009, p. 17).

However, a closer look at different empirical phenomena makes it doubtful that economic differences are really at the root of differences in intellectual outcomes as opposed to underlying causes that they proxy. Consider six types of suggestive evidence for the position that educational mechanisms are stronger drivers of offspring intelligence than economic ones.

1. In many countries, there is only a low or even no positive relationship between indicators of economic wealth of families (e.g., owning TV, mobile phone, computer) and cognitive student assessment results; and sometimes, the relationships are negative.

2. Similarly, in international comparisons with individual-level data (PISA 2006, parental educational level is more strongly associated with children’s abilities than are parental wealth indicators.

3. Cognitive elites such as Nobel Laureates come less often from wealthy social strata than from well-educated ones.

4. A further type of evidence for educational mechanisms is indirect; rather than showing that parental education drives offspring intelligence, it shows that off-spring’s education drives their own intelligence, thus implicating underlying cognitive processes that are inculcated through education as an important contributor to IQ differences. In a narrative review of the historical literature, Ceci (1991) found that each year of missed or delayed schooling led to a decrement in cognitive ability. For example, missed schooling due to family travel, summer vacations, illness, dropping out, or absence of teachers in remote regions all led to reduced IQ performance compared with children who had not missed school: Two adolescents with the same IQ score at age 14 differed by nearly 8IQ points by the age of 18 if one of them remained in school until that age and the other dropped out at age 14 (Ceci, 1991). In a series of analyses, Winship and Korenman (1999) modelled IQ changes under different assumptions about the degree of measurement error. They estimated that the impact of 1 year of schooling results in an average IQ increase of about 2.7 IQ points for each yearof school attendance.

5. Parental ability and attitudes create an important developmental environmentfor children as illustrated by a qualitative Austrian study (Großschedl, 2006): Some parents whose children were cared for and supported by a public social program (the state pays all the rent including water, electricity, and central heat-ing) burned the books and learning materials supplied for their children “for heating” during vacations. They stated that these materials are not important and education is not important for girls, because they will marry later. Großschedl Rindermann and Ceci 301 (2006) found that during home visits, it was difficult to create a learning atmosphere for applying the training program, for homework, and for consulting parents, because parents and their children wanted to watch TV all day.

6. Consistent with the above five sources of empirical research, there are also anecdotal examples that contradict the popular assumption that a more expensive environment favors intellectual development: In Atlanta (based on observations in 2008), there are two famous zoological institutions, one charging US\$37), and offering fishes, whales, and other animals swimming in basins with few or no explanatory texts describing the animals’ habitat, evolutionary or ontogenetic development, and behavior. The second institution (the Natural History Museum) had a US\$19 entrance charge but offers age-appropriate voluminous written and verbal explanations, of the habits and geographic regions of animals including the presentation of complex topics such as evolution and the Doppler effect. The more expensive but superficial place attracted far larger crowds of which the largest fraction appeared to come from seemingly lower SES strata. The cheaper but cognitively more stimulating museum was nearly empty and the few people attending it appeared, from their dress and manner, to be from the middle or upper classes, many of them were whole families including fathers.

During a 2010 visit by one of the authors to the free Smithsonian Museums in Washington, few or no people from apparently poor backgrounds were in attendance (visited December 2010). Unsystematic observations suggest that money does not invariably purchase better educational outcomes, but need to be confirmed by systematic studies.

The NLSY sample dominates in terms of size, but the very disparate set of other samples mostly conform to the general pattern.

Read it all here:

Frankly, I think this is the end of the line for the claim that giving families money and books will boost the abilities of their children. It is good education will have an effect, but understanding how much will depend on close control of genetic confounders. Some families spend money in ways which may reduce rather than encourage the wish to study. Once all children in such studies are genotyped we will get a much better understanding of what is going on.

• Category: Science • Tags: Genetics, Heredity, IQ 
Hide 135 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Adrian E. says:

    One may discuss whether the environmental influence of wealth or the environmental influence of parents’ education is more important, but it seems odd when even today, such a question is discussed without considering what clearly has a big influence – genetic inheritance.

    There have been lots of studies that have shown that a) genetic factors explain a large part of differences in IQ, b) among the non-genetic factors that do play a role, the environmental role of the parents is much smaller than most people thought.

    Therefore, when we talk about correlations between children and their parents, obviously, a significant part of it will be explained by genetics. Without explicitly dealing with this large part, there is absolutely no chance of finding out which non-genetic (environmental) correlations are significant and are likely to point to causation. There are well-known methods for doing so, e.g. comparing how similar identical and fraternal twin are with respect to certain correlations.

    Of course, we can pretend to be completely ignorant, ignore much of the research of the last decades, exclude biological inheritance a priori, simply look at correlations between parents and children and assume a priori that they must have an environmental cause. For instance, we may see that children in whose parents’ household there were more books are on average more successful professionally. Obviously, given the research of the last decades, a plausible explanation is that a) intelligent parents tend to have more books, b) intelligence is highly heritable, c) intelligent people tend to be more successful professionally. So, it is quite plausible that the correlation between the number of books or the educational achievements of the parents and the achievements of the children are to a large degree due to genetic inheritance of traits that influence intelligence. If someone still wants to claim that it is mainly the environmental influence of parents on children, they can apply methods that take into account biological inheritance (e.g. with identical and fraternal twins), but such attempts have largely failed, and it seems obvious that, as far as the correlation between parents and children is concerned, it is almost entirely due to genetics (there are other significant factors, encounters outside the family and peer groups seem to play a role and probably random plays some role).

    This is not only of purely theoretical interest. If we just take correlations between parents and children and pretend that genetic inheritance can be ignored, we may come up with ideas for enhancing intelligence that are largely ineffective. For instance when having lots of books is mainly an effect (rather than a cause) of being intelligent and parents with more books have more intelligent children because they pass on their genes, not because of the beneficial influence of the books, but the discovery of this correlation leads to buying large numbers of books for less intelligent parents who would not buy them on their own, the likely result is that the effect of such a program on children’s intelligence will be modest (though in that case, it can at least be assumed that the additional books will do more good than harm, even though the effect may be small, but in other cases the effect of ignoring biological influence might be less harmless).

    At least in the very end, the article mentions “It is good education will have an effect, but understanding how much will depend on close control of genetic confounders.” But I think this is a rather odd way of expressing this because most of the studies that dealt with the question about how much of the correlation between parents’ and children’s intelligence is due to genetics came to the conclusion that most of it is genetic. Of course, more intelligent parents tend to be more educated, and therefore, we will also find a positive correlation between parents’ and children’s level of education.

    • Replies: @res
    , @anon
  2. res says:

    This seems devastating:

    Wealth not generated in response to education (e.g., winning the lottery, inheritance, tort suits) may actually have a negative effect on cognitive development, contrary to conventional wisdom (Nisbett, see Wargo, 2009). Such a conclusion is confirmed by outcomes from Blau (1999): Passively received income, not gained by one’s own work, but by welfare, heritage, lottery, or other circumstances impedes competence development, possibly by presenting to children a negative role model and conveying to them that there are other ways, besides effort and education, that lead to success.

    Correlations for the background variable are given in Table A1. I am more surprised by the non-correlations (Children’s behavior, Burger family) than I am by the positive correlations (Parents’ education, number of books, Education behavior, Children’s behavior, Children’s IQ). The Children’s IQ correlation was the largest (0.37) of the other variables with background by a good margin.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  3. res says:
    @Adrian E.

    See the section “Hidden genetic effects” beginning on page 21/318. I’m not sure how much more you expect them to say without detailed genetic data.

  4. Sean says:

    My cousin (parents working class origins), and her husband (wealthy background clever engineer) financially killed themselves to send their son to Eton. Plomin would say they wasted their money, is he right?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @AndrewR
  5. anon[262] • Disclaimer says:
    @Adrian E.

    Agree. And when designing and evaluating studies we should also not forget that the importance of the genetic effect may not be blatantly evident by looking at either the parents or the household. We are conduits for genes, and some less intelligent parents may pass down the smart stuff to their offspring without exhibiting it in their own phenotype.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Replies: @AndrewR
  6. dearieme says:

    “educational mechanisms are stronger drivers of offspring intelligence than economic ones.” Objection, your honour! “Driver” is a weasel word.
    Clever parents tend to have clever children. The clever parents will tend to have had a decent education. Therefore there will be a correlation between parents’ education and the children’s IQs. There may, however, be little or no causation from parents’ education to children’s IQ.

    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
  7. “Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones”

    Certainly true forty years back, but with nearly half the young population going to university, what does “educated” mean these days?

    It certainly means (if you’re English) crippling student debt, but it doesn’t even mean you’re particularly bright, just that you’re (hopefully) on the right side of average IQ.

    The same kind of people who did three years practical nursing training in a hospital now do three years at university, but I’m pretty sure they’re worse educated (though better indoctrinated).

    (An awful lot of boys go to university now who’d be far better off financially as apprentice plumbers or sparkies, and they’d probably be no worse off educationally. The old ideal of the well-read educated man is surely dead, deconstructed along with “the Western Canon”)

    • Agree: Alfred
    • Replies: @Triumph104
  8. Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones

    Define “better” correctly, and then re-start the analysis.

    Why is smarter, better?

    There is reasonable evidence that smarter humans earn more, and live longer – things that, ceteris paribus, ought to help an individual towards the proper objective of any life worth living: viz., to be as happy as possible (for as long as possible).

    And ceteris paribus is where the plan gangs aft agly, as the Poet Burns would say.

    Ask yourself a few questions. (If I was at my other location I would prepare a nice decision tree/flow diagram – those are great explanatory and illustrative tools)

    ① Is there any evidence[1] that smarter humans are happier?

    ② If ① is ‘Yes’: is there any evidence that it’s true monotonically? (smarter -> happier ∀ smarter)

    ③ If ② is ‘Yes’: we’ve stipulated that income and cognitive ability are correlated; is there any evidence that any ‘excess’ happiness isn’t simply a result of higher income?

    ④(a) If ③ is ‘Yes’: LIAR.

    ④(b) If ③ is ‘No’: is there any evidence that the higher income is a genuine excess return to smartness – not simply a compensation for the ordeal required to obtain entry into higher-paying work?

    ⑤ If ④(b) is ‘Yes’: would an economy-wide increase in smartness cause that excess return to be competed away?

    [For extra giggles: start at ① again and substitute ‘more moral’ for ‘happier’; you might have more luck, especially once you get above the ‘meat’ of the Bell Curve – say, above 2σ]

    For the record: my own evaluation of those questions stops with a ‘No’ at ①; for IQs that make a significant difference to life consequences (i.e., at least 1.5σ above the median), increasing cognitive ability leads to less happiness (but more morality). For IQ ranges that only improve income (0.5-1.5σ), there is no increased happiness that is not the result of increased work effort or ordeal.

    The second problem with studies that start with an endowment (a parental ‘stock’ of education or wealth) is that they can only be descriptive.

    Consider the choices for an arbitrarily-selected individual who accepts the conclusion “Educated parents are better“.

    It’s obvious that this individual usually cannot change their own parents – but let’s mention it for completeness’ sake[2].

    They can attempt to increase their education level – thinking that successful increases in their education level will pass on extra ‘smartness’ to their offspring (compared to their unimproved selves).

    The awful truth, however: unless they are already σ above the median, the attempt to change their education level will fail. This also means that they will fail to increase their own wealth to any meaningful degree – unless they win a lottery or hit some other low-P event (become a professional Sportsball player, or a film star, or a popular musician).

    Alternatively, they could do something that is far easier: attempt to maintain a home environment that maximises their offspring’s ability to be educated to the greatest extent possible.

    Disclosure: that last bit? That’s my guess as to how to get generation-on-generation growth in the level of education in a lineage.

    That’s the mechanism that has been a rule of thumb forever, and if properly pursued it generates significant family fortunes within a couple of generations… until finally a generation is born into wealth, and they then proceed to the old “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” over the next 2 generations.

    It is almost impossible to argue against the proposition that the generation that commences the spunking away of accumulated wealth is the happiest: low levels of work effort, and high levels of high-quality leisure and consumption are all things that yield happiness.

    Hence: if you want a happy life, have rich parents if you can. (Hint: the whole “you can’t change your parents” is still mostly true).

    [1] ‘evidence’ would be a series of well-designed, replicated studies that showed a statistical effect; preferably not survey-based, because respondents lie on surveys and survey design is generally terrible (in that it gives people clues as to what responses are consistent with ‘good’).

    [2] There are a few historical anecdotes of poor non-orphans adopted by a rich family – not sure to what extent these stories were covering-up paedophilia.

  9. My grandmother told me the best time in her life was the Great Depression.

    Why? I asked.

    She described her idyllic life: “I would have a soup bone, the neighbor lady would have some bread, the lady down the street would have some peas, and we would put it all together and feed all the kids in the neighborhood.”

    You people would call her a communist. She didn’t even know what that was. She only knew she liked it better when people were all equal and worked together to help each other.

    I am sure you could not understand what she was getting at. Ideology gets in the way of your brains.

  10. Alden says:

    The laws of affirmative action mean that no matter how talented, educated and a qualified a White person is, the job, contract whatever, must be given to a non White.

    There’s a lawsuit against Oracle that claims Oracle favors HI B applicants ( Chinese and Indian) over American workers ( mostly White.

    So I’d say money trumps talent and education in this era and for the last 51 years.

    Talent education hard work moderation clean living and you’ll get a good job or run a successful business; all that good bourgeois stuff had a good thousand year run.

    But it ended in America in 1968.

    It’s a new era. Money and lots of it is the only thing that will help your children.

    I try not to be a bitch, but this article is sooo dated and completely ignorant of what’s been happening in America since 1956 Brown vs Topeka.

    An what is education and what is it worth?
    How many White men get tech degrees and find the companies hire only non White foreigners? Thousands graduate every year and can’t find jobs because they are White.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    , @skedaddle
    , @SBaker
  11. Realist says:

    Your grandmother was the happiest when everyone was equally dirty poor. Piss poor initiative and ambition.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  12. Sean says:

    Israeli Jews who originate from Arab countries are known in Israel as Mizrahim, in contrast to those of European heritage, who are called Ashkenazim. Tzadok said the evidence suggested that most of the missing children – from Mizrahi families – were taken by hospital staff and sold or given away to European Jews, both in Israel and abroad.

    The nurse said, ‘You have lots of children, why not let us take one of them?’ My grandmother refused. A couple of days later, the nurse told her her baby girl had died. She did not receive a death certificate and was not shown a grave.

    “Mizrahi parents were seen as bad, primitive people who were a lost cause. The dominant view then was that, by placing the children with Ashkenazi families, they could be saved – unlike their parents. They would be re-educated and made into suitable material for the new Zionist state,” Tzadok said

  13. @res

    Heiner Rindermann works in Chemnitz. That’s one of the epi-centers of the German protestant movement. These protestants – even though very poor, many of them, – taught their children outstandingly well, and formed the core of the once famous (and productive – think of what you want, almost, in terms of knowledge-progress – think of Max Weber, too, in terms of capitalistic progress) German university system. And think of the Bach-family, too.
    Now – very few noblemen of German origin played a part in all this. These were on average much better off financially than the oftentimes dirt poor protestant ministers, craftsmen and schoolteachers etc. who raised the core of the so prosperous professors – be it Kant or Hegel or Frege or Zeiss or Gauss – – –

    • Replies: @Alden
  14. @Realist

    I told you you were an idiot and then you go and prove it to me.

    • LOL: apollonian, AndrewR
  15. Anonymous[213] • Disclaimer says:

    Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones

    That’s a no-brainer. The system is collapsing because the rich “elites” nowadays are too dumb to carry the “torch”. Their plan is downright stupid and all the bright bulbs have figured it out. We’ve seen this before.

  16. Yee says:


    “You people would call her a communist. She didn’t even know what that was. She only knew she liked it better when people were all equal and worked together to help each other.”

    No surprise… It’s bad for the ruling class if those who work like the idea of working together to help each other. That’s why individualism is such an important value for the masses.

    But of course, the ruling class themselves bond together with marriages, cross-shareholding, associations etc. The ruling class like the idea of “work together to help each other” as much as your grandma did.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  17. @YetAnotherAnon


    In 1980, there were 1,957 4-year colleges in the United States. In 2014, there were 3,011.

    In the US, a 2013 national exam administered to 12th graders showed that the black children of college graduates tested the same as the Asian-American, Hispanic, and white children of high school dropouts. (“Asian” in the US means to have originated from any country in Asia.)

    • Replies: @res
  18. res says:

    Thanks for that link. Any thoughts about the relatively large difference between college graduate and some college for Asians/Whites/American Indians/Two or more races compared to the other groups?

  19. The claim that “education” causes a significant increase in IQ seems both implausible and not specific enough to be useful.

    “Education” can be defined as merely sitting in a class and passively listening to the recitation of facts. Alternatively, someone can experience all sorts of mentally challenging tasks outside of formal education.

    So, unless and until someone can show the specific type of “educational” mental stimuli that are supposedly inducing an IQ increase (and surely they could have been isolated by now), I’m inclined to to think all the correlations are just due to confounding factors.

    Wake me up when the environmentalists can design a specific mental exercise that boosts IQ. In the meantime, all the evidence is for heredity.

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  20. David says:

    OT, but in a psychological vein, I read this article a few weeks ago and sort of expected someone here to mention it. It’s about Pelagius’s conflict with St Augustine over whether man is infinitely improvable — a blank-slate — or inescapably of a nature that includes antisocial traits. When I read Confessions, I felt that St Augustine was discussing psychology and not morality when he was discussing his impulse to sin, such as his stealing pears, and I pitied him that he didn’t know about E. O. Wilson’s view of group evolution, to help him understand why God might put antisocial instincts in us.

    But if I’d read St Augustine earlier, in my 20’s or 30’s, I would have objected, just like Pelagius did.

    You all likely know this, but I learned also from this article that Pelagius is the earliest known British writer.

    • Replies: @RobRich
  21. Anon[414] • Disclaimer says:

    Of course it’s better to have smart parents than rich parents, a fool and his money are soon parted. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Alden
  22. dearieme says:

    Teach a man to fish, prepare him to tell lies for a lifetime. Honest, it was this big.

  23. Alden says:

    Inherit a fleet of fishing boats and a house and wharves near and you’ll have fish and proceeds from selling the excess for the of your life.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Sollipsist
  24. Biff says:

    Is it only American politicians who think people are able to pick their own parents?

  25. Anonymous [AKA "Istvan"] says:

    I think Sailers comment from 2014 perfectly fit here:
    “2008 SAT scores by race by income”

  26. @MBlanc46

    The nation could have survived 1954 but no nation could survive 1965.

  27. @Alden

    Parlay that into far more, as many rich people do, and your wealth can last for generations. Moreover, it will be people working for you who do everything you’d rather not. Freeing you to do what you want. This beats working for an engineering concern for forty years. By a lot.

  28. Art says:

    Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones

    Wealth marries beauty not brains.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Art
    , @Alden
  29. “Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones”

    probably true on average, considering the distribution of wealth. but let’s define wealth.

    if you’d rather be the son of middle class wage slaves who who put in 50 hours a week to make 200 grand a year, instead of the son of a billionaire, well, you’re just wrong. what does it matter if your parents need those masters degrees to earn a paltry 200 grand a year, when instead you could be the son of rich professional athletes, actors, musicians, or businessmen with no degrees.

    and there’s a lot of billionaires now. hundreds, heading towards more than a thousand. and literally tens of thousands of the other wealthy types, people with a net worth over 100 million.

    at some level of net wealth, it’s just plain better to be wealthy. indeed, in the US, it is looking like only the wealthy can hold office, and you may need to be a billionaire, to make a presidential run. also, clearly, the rules are different for the wealthy, as is the law.

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  30. @Alden

    Teach a man to rent, and he’ll eat half of everyone’s fish and call them morons for the rest of his life.

    • Replies: @Alden
  31. RobRich says: • Website

    There’s a great novel on the Pelagius-Augustine tension popular among libertarians called ‘The Wanting Seed.’

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  32. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    My guess is that it would be worth it except for the problem of Oxbridge colleges seemingly discriminating against Etonians.

  33. @Hypnotoad666

    It might be hard to distinguish the causal links from those involved in practice/coaching effects which undoubtedly apply to performance in IQ tests. As Eysenck suggested the 11 plus test should have been effectively given three times to give a fair and accurate result. (I’m sure I have recalled the substance of his point correctly).

    • Replies: @dearieme
  34. @RobRich

    Yes, and we are definitely in “the Pelphase” at the moment.

  35. @Art

    That could be why the kids of wealthy men rarely amount to much and so many celebrity kids end up being disasters.

  36. Better to Have Educated Parents Than Wealthy Ones

    The claim is a no-brainer.

    However, it’s also better to have educated parents than merely schooled ones.

  37. The idea that educated parents are better than rich ones would be relevant if due recognition was given that the educational system currently available is evolving into producing a compliant citizenry and one that discourages critical thinking. Unless education implies transcending the propaganda and utilitarian functions (of producing technocrats and corporate slaves) being prioritized by the educational system. So reality of the educational system really turns the statement into a lesser evilism one: half-educated, brainwashed parents are no better than rich nitwits.

  38. wayfarer says:

    My old man viciously beat my brothers and I, growing up. My old man didn’t teach me shit, growing up. My old man left us his bank and gambling debts, when he finally moved on to the other side.

    Best childhood I could have ever hoped for, as it prepared me to face humanity’s indifferent unsympathetic world, with the suspicious attitude of some wary feral cat.

    Dangerous Tribalism of the Ruling Class

    • Replies: @dearieme
  39. Z-man says:

    My mother only finished the third grade and was still one of the smartest women I have ever known. I would rather have smart parents but a cool extra two million in the mattresses doesn’t hurt, (grin).

  40. Hubbub says:

    It is better to have educated parents who are wealthy, than otherwise.

  41. pyrrhus says:

    The problem being that if your mother is highly educated, you probably weren’t born.

  42. dearieme says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    We were given it twice, a year apart. If the child got notably different scores in the two sittings he was interviewed/tested again by a psychologist to help determine the correct value.

    We had all done a dummy run, or maybe several, before the first formal but the detail of that I’ve long forgotten.

    I think I might remember if any of my friends had said that he got extra coaching at home: none did.

    I did know a family of four bright boys in a neighbouring town. Three soared through the tests but one did poorly and had to attend a lesser school. So he left as soon as possible, joined the army, became an NCO fairly swiftly and was eventually sent to an Officer Training Unit. Maybe an army IQ test picked him out, in addition to his performance in the job.

    • Replies: @Alden
  43. dearieme says:

    “My old man left us his bank and gambling debts”: goodness me! In which legal jurisdiction can that happen?

  44. HiHo says:

    All the usual rubbish. When you look at our society today it is run, ruled by and subverted by the most educated and intelligent people in history. Disaster, war, dishonesty through short termism is rampant.
    Quite clearly a high educational achievement together with a high IQ is of absolutely no value to mankind. What we need are more rulers that use COMMON SENSE rather than intelligence and education.
    But as the old saying goes ‘intelligence and common sense do not good bed fellows make’!
    In reality intelligence is a curse as we are witnessing every day around us.
    What we need to do is fill government full of people with an over abundance of common sense and less of intelligence. Perhaps the reason why we no longer find common-sensical people in government is that they have enough nous to realise that they would be wasting their time?

    • Replies: @Alden
  45. Art says:

    Wealth marries beauty not brains.

    I am currently reading a book “The Evolution of Beauty” by Richard O. Prum. “How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World and Us”

    The upshot is that it is a fact of nature – that lady peacocks chose to mate the most beautiful male peacocks – not the strongest or smartest or healthiest.

    Beauty is a natural value.


  46. My parents were neither wealthy nor what one would deem particularly educated. They both had some college experience but that does not necessarily translate to educated. However, my dad was a voracious reader. The funny thing was he couldn’t spell to save his life. We kids forever teased him about his grocery lists after we saw an entry for “maynoise” once. We did not have a lot of money growing up but we always had food and we always had lots of books, magazines, 4 daily newspapers, and music at home.

    My own education was informed by digesting Encyclopedia Britannica and Great Books of the Western World. A library card was the key to furthering my education. The only thing I learned at school was its function was to turn me into a compliant, non-thinking robot.

    In my experience it was having access to tools for self education rather than wealth or brainy parents which allowed me to become educated.

  47. Alden says:

    The estate of a deceased person is responsible to pay the debts. So if their are more debts than assets, the heirs get nothing.

  48. Alden says:
    @Dieter Kief

    Those ministers weren’t dirt poor. They were paid by the state through taxes as Theirs was the official state religion. Neither were craftsmen ever dirt poor.

    It was the landless laborers employed by the craftsmen for scut work that were poor.

    Maybe in comparison to nobles and Gentry the ministers and craftsmen were “poor” but they weren’t really poor but various levels of middle class.

    It’s true that the clergy of all religions are the more educated group and their children often do well.

  49. Alden says:

    That story along with the magical soup stone has been around for thousands of years. And in the depression the county welfare systems provided money and the feds distributed free food which if your grandmother had actually experienced the depression she would have known.

  50. Alden says:

    Better have a happy housewife Mom at home and a Dad who’s around on weekends than have 2 Dr attorney MBA type parents who work 70 hours a week leaving the kids with baby sitters day care from birth to 7 and then alone after school in a messy house.

  51. Seems odd that no definition of what they assume is better. A better life is often subjective and wealth is added comfort. We go back to the argument of Nurture vs Nature and although genetics plays a role in peoples lives (Micheal Jordan) it is not relevant if the environment does not provide support. Lets all agree it is better to be born lucky like Trump, where mistakes and ignorance can be masked by popularity.

  52. wayfarer says:

    Yes sir, that’s certainly how that cookie crumbles.

    Thank you, two-hundred-fifty-seven for a concise answer to dearieme’s question.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @dearieme
  53. Willem says:

    ‘Frankly, I think this is the end of the line for the claim that giving families money and books will boost the abilities of their children’

    Koreans were regarded by the Japanese as most retarded when they occupied Korea.

    Now South Koreans are considered as one of the smartest individuals on the planet.

    Want to know why?


    And opportunity

    But Thompson wants to give the reader the idea that it is all in the genes. I guess, he thinks, uneducated people deserve to be uneducated.

    • Replies: @Alden
  54. @dearieme

    “In which legal jurisdiction can that happen?”

    England, Scotland and Wales, thanks to Tony Blair. The Ulster Prods had more sense, God bless them.

    Liabilities: investigating liabilities: gambling debts
    England, Wales and Scotland
    The Gambling Act 2005 came into force on 1 September 2007. Section 335 of this Act provides that the fact that a contract relates to gambling shall not prevent its enforcement. This is without prejudice to any rule of law preventing the enforcement of a contract on the grounds of unlawfulness (other than a rule relating specifically to gambling). In other words, a gambling debt can be legally enforced, as long as it relates to gambling that is lawful. Gambling is lawful in the United Kingdom if it is permitted under the Gambling Act 2005 or the National Lottery etc. Act 1993, or is pursuant to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. So you can allow deductions for gambling debts if they can be legally enforced. This will include, for example, debts that arose from betting and gambling at licensed casinos and betting shops. You should not allow debts that relate to gambling that is not legal under the relevant legislation.

    Before 1 September 2007 all gambling debts in England, Wales and Scotland were unenforceable. So, gambling debts of any kind that were incurred before this date are not valid deductions.

    Northern Ireland
    In Northern Ireland gaming and wagering contracts are void under Article 170 of the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order 1985, so they are not legally enforceable and are not valid deductions.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  55. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    Looks like wealth, education and intelligence are evolutionary dead ends:

    cf. Female education versus fertility rate.

    Or as someone said: “the meek shall inherit the Earth.”

    However, to understand that, one must understand the process of organic evolution, which seems largelybeyond the grasp of the Unz community.

  56. Anon[228] • Disclaimer says:

    You forget that parents who could only provide their daughter with a bone to eat, are going to be frantic with worry while they’re struggling to provide for their family. The daughter may have been too young to understand the situation, but the parents sure weren’t. They knew perfectly well that having no money and no food sucks.

  57. @prime noticer

    unless you know the genetic make-up of the previous generations and their education and wealth you are still making assumptions based not on evidence but speculation. There’s a reason why people with money send their children to certain schools. And it’s not about the genetics.


    Your comment however, actually suggests something else that is probably accurate and politcally incorrect. The overall argument here is circular. It begs the question. Intelligence better than wealth because intelligence is superior to wealth. Your comment hits the mark.

    That all depends on the purposes ascribed to each. If intelligence is to living a well provided for life and wealth not only gets a well provided for life — then on comparison, my dad the rich poker play, or lottery winner , or dumb luck whatever wins the day hands down.

    Suppose it’s not even what wealth provides to living materially, it’s a safe bet that wealth has far more currency than intelligence. With wealth comes an abundance of assumptions — that you come from a well bred, intelligent family, that you yourself are intelligent, access to power . . .

    Let’s be honest Einstein was invited to parties he wasn’t hosting them. He wasn’t making the invitation lists. He wasn’t making decisions about how his intelligence was used. He was not in the inner circle of power players whose wealth gave them access decision making roles closed to him. He really ran Los Alamos, a general, who did not have the technical expertise, background that the worst scientists at Los Alamos had.

    This is a debate predicating two different values one it could be contended has value unto itself — intrinsic worth, get into the right circles and people with wealth, who have no clue what your genius is to can help you get wealthy by investing. But at the end of the day, the one with the coin is the one with the power in that scenario.

    Intelligence to utilitarian goals changes the nature of the equation.

  58. And if one examines the methods used to rate happiness, it’s clear the each uses different variables and furthermore, an overview indicates that the who is ranked where changes hardly a sound indicator that our subjective existence is governed by genetics.

    My choice of references from what might be referred as mainstream was deliberate. No offense to Forbes, I still love them as a source.

    compared to this


  59. American Citizen 2.0 [AKA "American citizen"] says:

    The Myth of Education

    What is a myth?

    It’s an image provoking belief, emotionally charged and to a greater or lesser degree irrational. I believe our hope in education is much like the hope we place in other mythology. All we have to do is believe in it and everything will magically work out.

    Just go to college kids and you’ll be fine! All your anxieties about the future will be laid to rest. At the tender age of 17 make the life changing decision to take on a massive loan. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to pay it back when you get a job. Which you will do. Your degree is a guarantee of that. Not in the same way the the government makes a guarantee to college it will receive it’s money. But a different type of guarantee. And if we say it’s a guarantee it’s guaranteed. Just trust us. Like you trust in Jesus.

    Learning to read is a big part of education. Indeed it’s fundamental. So what are our young students reading? Little information and much propaganda. Education directed at the youth today is designed to ensure they will fall into line and share the collective commandments laid down by the powers that be. For their benefit, of course.

    It is easier to create the appearance of education than actually educate. This is the point we are at now. Cool technologies help immensely in pulling off this farce. Gadgets allow it’s user to feel sophisticated and smart. A sleek phone, the internet and all the different tech tools combine to blow more smoke up your ass than Barack Obama.

    We are in trouble. Education, without reflection on our past, will derail our societal trajectory. Nihilism is real and a product of what is passed of as “education”.

    Can we make a difference in this world? I guess. Any ideas?

  60. The more educated you are the more indoctrinated you are. A plumber’s kid, home schooled, should do Okay.

    • Replies: @Alden
  61. Wally says:

    Indeed, more proof that the dumb have too many “kids”.

    “She only knew she liked it better when people were all equal … ”

    As in all were “equally” stupid.

    Q: What did Communists use to light their houses before candles?
    A: Electricity

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  62. Wally says:


    Please put a ‘Home’, and / or a ‘Top’ button at the bottom of your articles / comments.

    Just a thought. Thanks.

  63. @dearieme

    Silly geese! It’s a Temptations song.

    • LOL: Z-man
  64. @Alden

    Including gambling debts?

    • Replies: @Alden
  65. @Wally

    Q: What did Communists use to light their houses before candles?
    A: Electricity

    Good one!

  66. skedaddle says:

    We could quibble on the date but you’re dead right. The only thing that matters now is good connections or being anything but a white American.

    • Replies: @Alden
  67. utu says:

    Better to be born in Switzerland
    Each Swiss adult has an average fortune of \$561,900 (CHF568,000), according to the 2016 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, published on Tuesday. Switzerland has held first position for average wealth per adult since the turn of the century.

    Switzerland continues to top the Credit Suisse global wealth list – their seventh annual reportexternal link – for wealth per adult, followed by Australia (\$376,000), the United States (\$345,000) and Norway (\$312,000).

    According to the survey, the Swiss are 11 times wealthier than the average world citizen. Almost two-thirds of Swiss adults have assets above \$100,000.

    • Replies: @Alden
  68. Alden says:

    No, he’s just into the bourgeois idea of education degrees hard work and clean living leads to success.

    It doesn’t any more for American Whites.

  69. Alden says:
    @Mr McKenna

    If they’re to a legal casino or the deceased signed a note, yes.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  70. Alden says:

    Spend your money on a down payment for a small apartment house instead of college for your kid. Until the bolsheviks take over and confiscate the property like the Jews did to the Palestinians, they’ll always have a place to live and income from rents and
    “Wealth” from the property.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  71. Alden says:

    And there are no laws in Switzerland forbidding native Swiss from being hired for jobs or getting contracts and business either.

    In America now………..

  72. Alden says:

    Private schools are full of plumbers kids. Office workers can’t afford the tuition.

    • Replies: @Anon
  73. Alden says:

    Wasn’t the 11 plus abolished in England but not Ulster in 1976 because it was deemed unfair to non Whites and Muslims?

    The last English people who took it are now mid fifties. It’s ancient history and irrelevant today.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  74. Alden says:

    The man who rents is the tenant.

  75. Alden says:

    Not true. The very wealthy seem to marry average pretty and even plain as witness Mrs Gates and Mrs Allan and all the Microsoft upper level executives wives. I’ve met most of them and I’d say average 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

    Jews are the wealthiest men in America and they tend to marry Jewish women . Nuff said

    • Replies: @Art
  76. Pirelli says:

    Are there any studies tracking the strength of the correlation between wealth and IQ over time (say, 1950-2010)? My vague sense is that the correlation between wealth and IQ grew stronger starting in mid-20th century with “merit”-based college admissions, but I don’t think I’ve seen any study showing this. Would be interesting to see if the correlation grows weaker over the course of the 21st century.

    For that matter, would be interesting to see if the correlation between educational attainment and IQ has already gotten weaker as a result of so many people going to college.

    • Replies: @Alden
  77. dearieme says:

    Seems unlikely. The pressure against it started in the sixties as the Forces of Progress had already decided to do what they could to spoil the schools.

    “It’s ancient history and irrelevant today.” Irrelevant to what?

    • Replies: @Alden
  78. dearieme says:

    Which is not what the original poster said: he said the debts had been left on the beneficiaries. He also said that they were lumbered with his father’s gambling debts. I suspect his account is simply rubbish.

  79. dearieme says:

    It was no answer at all: he evaded the point.

  80. dearieme says:

    “England, Scotland and Wales, thanks to Tony Blair.” Thank you for that: it had escaped my notice.

    It provides just another reason why Mr Blair should be arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced, and hanged.

  81. Alden says:

    It was Kennedy’s Best and Brightest who got us into Vietnam and continued running America till very recently.

    Obama, Columbia and Harvard Hildabeast Yale and Wellesley. Even back in early 1960s my top 5 university was a center of anti American pro communist professors. At least we students didn’t absorb much of their preaching and propaganda directed at republicans and southern Whites.

    • Replies: @Anon
  82. Alden says:

    Merit based college admissions ended in the 1970s with the colleges going overboard on affirmative action.

    Where have you been for the last 50 years?

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Pirelli
    , @Alden
  83. wayfarer says:

    One can beg, borrow, or steal – on a path to incurring deep gambling debts.

    One can take out a home equity loan and use cash, to then shoot-the-holy-shit out of a pair of soulless dice, for ever and a day.

    Again, thanks for the help.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  84. @Alden

    None of you went to college it seems. When I got into a run-of-the-mill state school you still had to have a B average in high school. I started college in 1992.

  85. Pirelli says:

    Nah. Mean SAT score at elite colleges is still much higher than at lower-ranked schools. AA didn’t end merit-based admissions. It just made elite schools that much more competitive for non-URM applicants.

    In any case, that’s not really what my question was about, and you probably should get back to defending your alter ego “wayfarer” and his bogus backstory.

    • Replies: @Alden
  86. @wayfarer

    I get the feeling you might be Italian-American. The descriptions of the parental abuse, the gambling, the overall rough city surroundings.

    Am I wrong?

    Are you an Italian-American? I went to a Catholic school and I can identify you fairly swiftly.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
    , @Alden
  87. wayfarer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    To answer your question, my father’s family came to America via Ellis Island as Italian immigrants, and my mother’s family began their U.S. journey via the American Revolution as European immigrants.


    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  88. @wayfarer

    Who did your father owe gambling debts TO? I bet it was not Wells Fargo.

    I can even picture you. You probably look like Ken Wahl from WISEGUY series-a big, brash guy with huge shoulders and thick-eyebrows over a stone jaw and a wary piercing ready-for-anything stare like the ROCKY movies loan shark actor that says you would screw somebody up seriously who tried it out on you.

    In Catholic school, a few lucky-feeling brawl-loving Mick kids are stupid enough to try it out. Or it is some loudmouthed Southern hillbilly.

    You see things in Rustbelt towns like Detroit that make you appreciate multi-cultural differences.

    But hey, Jews respect your shrewdness and blacks acknowledge you’re probably the toughest of the whites as a group.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  89. @obwandiyag

    I am sure you could not understand what she was getting at. Ideology gets in the way of your brains.

    Given the replies: true.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  90. Alden says:

    Irrelevant to what secondary school English students attend because they were abolished in England in 1976.

    The youngest people who took them are now 55 years old.

    That’s why the 11 plus exams are irrelevant today, 44 years after they were abolished as discriminatory to minirities.

  91. Alden says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Your earlier autobiography claims you attended a black public school in the White trash slums of Detroit.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  92. Alden says:

    I graduated from Stanford class of 1964.

  93. Alden says:

    Stanford class of 1964.

  94. @Alden

    Very true.

    I know one not overly bright guy who lives like that.

    He is, however, sufficiently intelligent and motivated to do most of the repairs and all of the super’s work himself and he does it well.

  95. @obwandiyag

    Was your grandmother a Christian? That’s a very Christian story.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @Wizard of Oz
  96. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    Don’t be coy. Do satisfy our curiosity about the “top 5” university you attended. My initial guess was Berkeley but it is now so far out of the top 5 by most of the raters that I wouldn’t bet on it. Did you graduate?

  97. wayfarer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.


    Always thought I could get out of this world at anytime, by committing suicide.

    But then I read, “Heaven and Hell” (a.k.a. “Divine Justice According to Spiritism”), by Allan Kardec.

    I now believe we are locked into an infinite journey, where death doesn’t exist.

    And that each soul chooses their experience, from one lifetime to the next.

    In the next, it may be a life of luxury, or a life of hardship, or something else.


    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  98. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    Strange. It’s not as though office workers won’t get their hands dirty.

  99. @Alden

    Black high schools in white trash slums? That makes no sense demographically.

    At least I had the initiative to move somewhere that I could obtain a job that I wanted instead of sitting around complaining about the victimization of whites and discrimination against them.

    Its all true of course. But you simply sit in your house and I chose to schmooze my way into a job in Dubai when I was young and had the energy to hustle.

    As a result, my working life was spent mostly overseas and I was never in harm’s way of blacks or Mexicans again.

    You are also right about Indians. They are a scourge and will not be satisfied until everything is owned by Indians, but the Chinese and Jews hold them in check. Where this puts the whites is questionable, but luckily everyone hates Hindus. Otherwise, through sheer numbers, they would take over the planet and reduce the rest of the world to Dalits.

  100. @wayfarer


    Meeting Americans overseas was an interesting experience for me but also embarrassing.

    Because my parents lost the house in the divorce and my grandparents did not think (Rightfully) that it was their job to take in teenagers and I was effectively homeless from 15 I don’t know what the American experience of having a home and a nuclear family and roots is.

    I was inborn immigrant in a sense. No house, no roots, never any money.

    So I don’t know what the American Dream is. I was better off overseas. The only decent jobs I ever held were in other countries.

    Finally, aged 40, I bought a house for \$20,000 in Chang Mai. It was wonderful feeling after a lifetime of couch surfing and sharing apartments.

    I’ve been asked by Americans I ran into in bars or restaurants how I ended up spending my life overseas.

    The answer is that I lived in third world conditions IN the United States.

    I never lived in somebody’s basement overseas. I was never messed with by Mexican gangs because I could not afford to live somewhere decent.

    Dubai was not great for a well-to-do Jew from Scarsdale but for a kid from Michigan who was essentially homeless and always near the worst of the worst in the US, it was a huge improvement.

    So I don’t know what America the rest of you live in, or why it is great, or what it does for you.

    I don’t even know why Mexicans go there to be honest.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  101. HiHo says:

    I left school at 15 with no qualifications, no future and lived my whole life in relative poverty. The thing you learn is that the ‘system’ needs homeless failures to justify itself, to scare those fractionally better off than you in to thinking they are doing well and to make your contemporaries feel good about giving you a free meal (but never actually accommodate you long enough to get a job or somewhere secure to live). It is a great system for the rich and lousy for everyone else.
    Have known lots of people that have been to the States, but apart from one cousin they all came back disgruntled, disillusioned and broke. The one cousin who stayed in San Diego for good had four children from four different fathers while working as a secretary in a university there. She had a great time the last I heard in her opinion, although I think she is mentally ill to have reached this conclusion.
    Have met a lot of Americans, some of whom I’ve worked with. They are a bit like the Germans…on a one to one basis a few are quite pleasant, but once you get a group of them they become loud, arrogant and obnoxious. For some reason Americans seem to think we like them visiting us, though I can’t think why! Most Europeans are throughly sick of Americans being here and want them to take their customs, their military and their loud mouthed selves back across the Atlantic to the US for good and never return. You have occupied us uninvited since 1944 and to be honest we were better treated under National Socialism than by our Jewish masters today.
    I’ve spent my life doing jobbing gardening, kitchen portering (dish washing), trying to sell useless equipment of various sorts, sleeping rough and existing on next to nothing all my life. Being autistic and having an IQ of 152 doesn’t help at all.
    So when I hear all your high faluting arguments or read them on Unz I realise that all of you people are so removed from reality that you don’t actually have a clue, because you are not broke, or make your living from some menial task, or sleeping rough.
    Meanwhile the rich go on exploiting you and me to the nth degree…and all you can do is pontificate!!!

    • Agree: bike-anarkist
  102. Z-man says:

    I assume you’re English?
    Does your cousin have a daughter? LOL!

  103. Prof. Thompson

    It is good education that will have an effect, but understanding how much will depend on close control of genetic confounders. Some families spend money in ways which may reduce rather than encourage the wish to study. Once all children in such studies are genotyped we will get a much better understanding of what is going on.

    On confounds of genetics, psychometrics of below-gifted-level IQ and academic achievement, I have written an article that shows a rather interesting behavior.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  104. @Chimela Caesar

    I don’t think that one can rely on these results on intelligence, nor on any medical school which would accept students with these supposedly low scores.

    • Replies: @Chimela Caesar
  105. @Jeff Stryker

    Having been black listed in the US. I can say, with all sincerity, I appreciated your comments.

  106. @HiHo

    There are plenty of poor people and since the financial break — those numbers are worse. Again, I appreciate your candor.. i would that I had stayed in great Britain. the UK and gotten some work . It took a lot of energy to keep my dander up. It’s a very disarming place. Unfortunately, I was still in a state about events in the US, so it was not as enjoyable as it should have been.

    Certainly circumstance, and environment can and do override one’s IQ, and ability.

    A side comment: I am in support of decreasing out troop levels in Europe. I am very confident that Europe can do more of its own heavy lifting.

    Again I appreciate your sharing.

  107. Art says:

    Not true. The very wealthy seem to marry average pretty and even plain as witness Mrs Gates and Mrs Allan and all the Microsoft upper level executives wives. I’ve met most of them and I’d say average 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

    Jews are the wealthiest men in America and they tend to marry Jewish women . Nuff said

    Actually I thought of Gates when I wrote that comment. He is an unusual man. Same with Paul Allen.

    As to the rich Jews — they all have beautiful girfriends on the side.


  108. @James Thompson

    I don’t think that one can rely on these results on intelligence, nor on any medical school which would accept students with these supposedly low scores.

    I think it may be a similar picture in the United States. The paper, “A retrospective review of the neuropsychological test performance of physicians referred for medical infractions” by William Perry and Rebecca D. Crean (, showed that “PACE physicians generally scored in the average range across the selected subtests from the WAIS-R and WRAT-3 Reading subtest (see Table 3)”.

    Further evidence comes from Madden (1988) who assessed the cognitive functioning of 11 physicians referred for impaired performance and reported that 73% scored within the average to borderline range of intellectual functioning. So, logically, the 27% must have been the above average or gifted. This may be showing a wide range in demographics, as seen in the Indian study.

    But was just being average in intelligence the cause of their problems? It was unlikely.

    The PACE physicians, as a group, are of average intelligence when compared to normative data. Additionally, these physicians exhibited specific, although minor, relative deficits on tests of attention to detail, sequential processing, logical analysis, complex reasoning, verbal learning and non-verbal complex figure learning. Given their years of education and training and the ongoing need to utilize a broad range of cognitive skills in their daily functioning, the relative deficits exhibited by this cohort of physicians may reflect the problems they experienced during their practice of medicine.

    So it appears they were the unfortunate average ones that got tripped by relative deficits.

    Previous reports of the intellectual functioning of “non-impaired” physicians have suggested that the mean IQ of individuals with medical degrees in the US is 125 (Matarazzo & Goldstein, 1972; Wecshler, 1972), which is considerably higher than the average performance of the PACE cohort. However, we may have seen from the American and Indian studies what can obtain in medical schools. The paper cautiously concludes:

    As there are no recent published studies of the I.Q. performance of non-impaired physicians, we can only presume that as a group, physicians continue to score in the above average range on tests of intelligence.

    • Replies: @res
  109. @Wizard of Oz

    She was a devout Methodist and an organist in the church for most of her life.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  110. @byrresheim

    Thank you for existing. You have it exactly. These people wouldn’t get it even if the saw it with their very own eyes. Blinded, of course, by their ideology.

    Typical of this tendency, I just got banned by Karlin because I suggested his posts were trivial.

    I used to like this site because you can write what you want. Now it’s becoming like all the others. Only the echo chamber need reply. Of course, Karlin looks like a child. Let’s hope Sailer, a grownup, has more self-respect and/or principles.

  111. @Yee

    Nice point. Nice to see somebody with sense on here.

  112. @HiHo


    British Navy in the US always ends up beating somebody up in ports. This could be a two-way street because some local dickhead provokes them but whenever British sailors and alcohol are involved in US port towns they end up kicking somebody’s ass.

    Your SAS has killed IRA financiers in Irish-American suburbs. I’m not saying this is wrong and our Congress has authorized you to do so and they are terrorists.

    Of course individual Americans are quiet and mind their manners in UK. They don’t want to get their ass kicked.

  113. res says:
    @Chimela Caesar

    Further evidence comes from Madden (1988) who assessed the cognitive functioning of 11 physicians referred for impaired performance and reported that 73% scored within the average to borderline range of intellectual functioning. So, logically, the 27% must have been the above average or gifted.

    That does not necessarily follow. What about the group below “borderline”? I was unable to find a copy of Madden (1988):
    Do you have a copy to check?

    You seem much more optimistic about the performance of the PACE physicians than the paper authors. Here is an excerpt.

    To assess the depth of the impaired performance of these physicians we calculated the percentage of physicians who scored 1 standard deviation (S.D.) below the normative sample for each of the variables (see Table 5). A cut off of 1 S.D. was selected as it has been shown to yield the most balanced levels of sensitivity and specificity (Taylor & Heaton, 2001). Sixty-one percent of the physicians scored at least 1 S.D. below expectations on three or more of the neuropsychological measures and 51% scored 1 S.D. below the normative sample on four or more of the neuropsychological measures. Forty-six percent of this physician group scored 1 S.D. below the normative mean on the Complex Figure Memory test from the NSB, while 42% scored 1 S.D. below the normative mean on the Numerical Attention Test. Finally, 45% of this physician sample scored 1 S.D. below the normative mean on three or more of the WAIS-R subtests.

  114. @Wizard of Oz

    Thank you. And, pardon my curiosity, what reason, if it isn’t as randomly fanciful as mine or e.g. that of Incitatus, do you have for your splendid moniker which I have just read up in Wikipedia. (Have you ever speculated on how many commenters take it to be West African?).

  115. @res

    Was that long quote just about the 11 physicians? (Even if it is I can’t help worrying about getting sick in an American city where I know no one!)

    • Replies: @res
  116. @obwandiyag

    Thanks. See my misaddressed comment at present #117.

  117. @res

    That does not necessarily follow. What about the group below “borderline”? I was unable to find a copy of Madden (1988):
    Do you have a copy to check?

    From the paper I referenced:

    Madden (1988) assessed the cognitive functioning of 11 physicians referred for impaired performance and reported cognitive impairment in 64%. In addition, 73% scored within the average to borderline range of intellectual functioning. These authors concluded that a significant number of the referred physicians had cognitive impairments “sufficient to explain both their incompetence and, probably, their failure to improve with remedial CME” (Turnbull et al., 2000, p. 177).

    A verbal analysis of the text suggests that a lower bound was found, and the size of the bottom band of general mental abilities among the cohort was stated (73%). Thus, the top band (27%) would have the above average/gifted/genius/extraordinary. That is consistent. Hardly would you find below-borderline students in medical school in practice. However, the point is that there is data backing a group of average intelligence among physicians.

    Just to provide a perspective we already have, cognitive impairment is different from low general mental ability.

    Physician impairment is defined by the Federation of State Medical Boards as “the inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety because of physical or mental illness including, but not limited to aging, alcoholism, drug dependence, and habitual or excessive alcohol or chemical use or abuse”.

    High mental ability folks also suffer from cognitive impairment.

    You seem much more optimistic about the performance of the PACE physicians than the paper authors.

    We are looking for general mental ability, so we would look beyond their cognitive impairment and read full-scale scores. We would want to establish that there are average-intelligence (IQ 85-114) physicians (who are not just outliers). PACE and the other studies give us an opportunity to “peek” into the composition of physicians, psychometrics-wise.

    • Replies: @res
  118. res says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    If I understand correctly it was about this group.

    In this paper we examine neuropsychological testing results from 148 physicians referred for assessment by the California Medical Board (CMB) for various infractions.

    I would not worry too much. This site says there are 56,000 active physicians in California:
    So about 1 in 400.

  119. res says:
    @Chimela Caesar

    I think we need the original paper (Madden 1988) to clarify that. Not really worth discussing without it IMHO.

    I thought my original question about whether you had a copy was referring to Madden 1988 was clear. Not the paper you were quoting which referred to it.

    If I read the PACE paper correctly, the quote I gave indicating performance 1 SD below the normative samples refers to norms for the general population so would seem to imply even lower performance than your 85-114 range on specific subtests.

    Age-corrected T-scores were derived from the normative reference samples published in the reference manuals for the WAIS-R (Wechsler, 1981), the WRAT-3 (Wilkinson, 1994), and the CVLT (Delis et al., 1987).

    And of course the ~0.25% of CA physicians who show up in PACE are outliers.

    I agree with you that peeking into the composition of physicians, psychometrics-wise, is interesting and worthwhile.

    • Replies: @Chimela Caesar
  120. @res

    I am sorry that I could not provide you with a copy of the Madden paper. I have not been able to see a copy. Apologies for the belated response, please.

    But let us see the progression of the paper, “A retrospective review of the neuropsychological test performance of physicians referred for medical infractions”, as it may provide us with some insight.

    From the abstract:

    Physician-related errors are rising, resulting in an increase in disciplinary actions by licensing medical authorities. It has been previously reported that cognitive impairment may be responsible for 63% of all physician-related medical adverse events. In this paper we examine neuropsychological testing results from 148 physicians referred for assessment by the California Medical Board (CMB) for various infractions. The neuropsychological test performance of the physicians was compared to normative reference samples. Overall, they performed in the average range on most measures; however, they demonstrated relative deficits on tests of sequential processing, attention, logicaeye-handis, eye–hand coordination, verbal and non-verbal learning.

    Having given the meaning of physician impairment earlier, we can safely assume that it is a lottery that any physician can pick, even though the total numbers are usually small. It gets even smaller for reported cases as these are only the physicians “that got caught”. Nevertheless, it does not change the (almost?) random draws from the physician pool.

    And of course the ~0.25% of CA physicians who show up in PACE are outliers.

    This may explain the relatively small figure you have cited above. But these random draws, albeit small, give us fair samples (of course, likely to change in relative proportions of physician intelligence intervals) to peek into the composition of the physician population.

    The paper says:

    Presently, all 50 states have programs that identify functionally impaired physicians. However, it is often the case that the “impaired physician goes unrecognized for a long period of time” (Madden, 1988, p. 201) and is not evaluated until he/she has engaged in improper treatment or committed a medical error.

    The aim of the paper was to characterize the neuropsychological profiles of physicians referred for assessment using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, but we are looking for the reported Full Scale IQs.

    From the discussion of results:

    The results of this retrospective review of neuropsychological performance on 148 physicians
    referred for assessment due to allegations of medical error suggest that, as a group, they
    are generally of average intelligence.

    This talks about Full Scale IQs. We do not compute IQs from just a few subsets of the test.

    The quote you gave indicating lags in performance was on test subsets, which is evidence by the author to suspect cognitive impairment.

  121. AndrewR says:

    Does Eton have top-notch education, or is it just a big frat from which the upper class nepotistically grooms the next generation?

  122. AndrewR says:

    My father, all ten of whose immediate relatives are or were quite bright, is a good example of this, although I suspect some sort of post-natal injury or illness may have played a role.

  123. @Chimela Caesar

    My response contains a few typos. I had done it in a hurry. Nevertheless, I hope the points are clear.

    • Replies: @res
  124. res says:
    @Chimela Caesar

    They are. Thanks for your reply. Perhaps I am overly cynical, but when I see language like

    that, as a group, they are generally of average intelligence.

    I wonder about what they are not saying.

    I know you realize this, but “average intelligence” is well below par for physicians (assuming they mean close to 100 IQ).

    • Replies: @Chimela Caesar
  125. @Chimela Caesar

    Just to correct myself. I had written the response in a hurry.

    The aim of the paper was to characterize the neuropsychological profiles of physicians referred for assessment using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, but we are looking for the reported Full Scale IQs.

    This talks about Full Scale IQs. We do not compute IQs from just a few subsets of the test.

    The author is not calculating full scale IQs, rather they are inferring intelligence from neuropsychological performance.

    The results of this retrospective review of neuropsychological performance on 148 physicians
    referred for assessment due to allegations of medical error suggest that, as a group, they
    are generally of average intelligence.

    However, on whether this cohort are outliers, my argument about their usually relatively small numbers and the randomness that yields them (impaired physicians) holds. Thus they cannot be outliers, although relatively small in number.

    • Replies: @res
  126. res says:
    @Chimela Caesar

    However, on whether this cohort are outliers, my argument about their usually relatively small numbers and the randomness that yields them (impaired physicians) holds. Thus they cannot be outliers, although relatively small in number.

    I’m not sure whether or not we are just quibbling about the definition of “outlier.” I think if we had IQ tests for all physicians the PACE physicians would be heavily overrepresented around -3 SD based on their population proportion. Whether that qualifies as a statistical outlier is arguable here IMHO:

    Perhaps we disagree about how correlated IQ and PACE impairment are likely to be? One point I would note is that even if impairment is somewhat orthogonal to IQ I think starting from a higher base IQ would make one suffer less from a given impairment.

    Spitballing a bit, Perry and Crean give an estimate of 125 for average physician IQ. Guessing an SD of 10 due to range restriction this means -3SD (lowest tenth of a percent) would be about 95. Seems reasonable to me. This maps pretty well to “average.” The problem I see is use of such a vague word. As you noted earlier it can arguably encompass anything in the 86-114 range.

    • Replies: @Chimela Caesar
  127. @res

    It is rather surprising at first (i.e. without backing data), but I think that ability drop in the IQ 129-85 (below-gifted-level intelligence) range is not as “rapid” or heterogeneously split as the literature on psychometrics would suggest — with nearly unforgiving thresholds. I have written an article describing this behavior:

    Below IQ 85, there seems to be a “visible” threshold for demanding professions (as shown by data).

    So if we (individuals and institutions) have internalized conclusions from the literature about this segment of the distribution, it would be shocking to notice otherwise. But a framework it (i.e. interpretation of implications of intelligence intervals) is, and not necessarily perfect and does require revision in the light of more discovery.

    But there is a thought that intelligence difference is fuzzier in non-math-based professions. Would we see this behavior in, say, Physics? That is a question for another day.

    What really is intelligence? Is math ability a talent just like artistry? These are topics that I plan to investigate in the near future.

    What is the size of the averagely-intelligent in a population? Roughly 50% — arguably the very essence of the human species. If we think they are not that able, then we imply humans are basically junk! But the human brain is the most complex thing in the physical universe. So an observation like the one we have been looking at is good news.

    Do we not appreciate the intellectually gifted? Of course, we do. But this 2% or so are rare, and perhaps, meant to be so.

    We would not consider our Toyota so-so because it was not a Ferrari.

    • Replies: @res
  128. @res

    I totally agree with you.

  129. res says:
    @Chimela Caesar

    Interesting blog post. Thanks. I like the title (and that theme) and the way you frame your four categories in the third paragraph.

    But I do think the question “What Can You Do with Honorable Men at 85?” does require thinking about whether 85 IQ doctors are beneficial to society. How does their net output (positive results – errors – training costs) compare to other doctors? In countries where there is a large population at 115 IQ and up and medical school is a scarce resource I question whether 85 IQ doctors are beneficial (and I think PACE supports this). In a country which lacks doctors perhaps 85 IQ doctors are beneficial. I honestly don’t know, but it seems that is a testable question.

    • Replies: @Chimela Caesar
  130. @res

    These doctors still pass through the admission filters despite strong competition, showing their capability. So they are beneficial. The appearance of doctors at PACE has nothing to do with their intellect. There is a high demand for doctors in the US, owing to a large number of hospitals, and these folks fill it.

  131. SBaker says:

    Affirmative racism supported, once again, by “the law” of the land.

  132. Rob Kievsky says: • Website

    Eugenics did absolutely nothing wrong.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply -

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All James Thompson Comments via RSS