Tag Archives: Cognitive Ability

More Thinking On IQ


I was in conversation with a friend the other day when IQ came up.  And I used my road construction worker /Harvard grad example again.  Which got me to thinking.

Is there anyone alive right now that really believes the mean intelligence of 1,000 road construction workers is anywhere near the mean intelligence of 1,000 Harvard law graduates?

With that being true, we have to accept that given a random mate selection process that filters on intelligence, the children of the Harvard Law grads would have higher levels of intelligence than the children of the construction workers.  EXCEPT the gap would be smaller.  With a similar random mate selection occurring in the second generation, the grandchildren of the Harvard Law grads would be much more equal to the grandchildren of the construction workers.

Which means that it is okay to say that one group of people has elevated levels of intelligence without implying that another group is somehow genetically limited in their ability to attain those same levels.

It very well may be true that immigrants to America are less intelligent than the domestic population.  This shouldn’t be controversial.

Moving away from the immigration debate, consider what happens to the first and then second generation Harvard Law grads vs construction worker if mate selection is NOT randomized.  That is, we filter ourselves via homogamy.

Now the Harvard Law graduates are not marrying random mates, rather, they are marrying people much like themselves.  Almost certainly a college graduate and likely a member of the same social class.  And if the same phenomenon is occurring at the lower range of intelligence, the opposite expected results will take place – perhaps with consequences that are startling.

Poverty tracks with lower cognitive ability.  Likewise, lower cognitive ability predicts more children sooner with more of those children being illegitimate, which further drives poverty and risk.

I’m not sure what it all means, but it’s a rather scary proposition.