The Only Game in Town

Over on Discover gnxp, Victor said “As far as IQ is concerned, I find such comparisons meaningless. An IQ test devised by members of some African tribe is going to be very different from one devised by Western academics. And I can guarantee that most “Caucasians” would not do very well on such a test.”

I mention this not because it is true or sensible, but rather because it is often said.  I can hardly count the times that I have seen someone make this argument.  The person putting it forth usually thinks of it as utterly crushing.  Another related argument is that there are ‘lots of different kinds of intelligence” – so who can say what really matters?

Well,  I can.   IQ, as measured by IQ scores, is a decent measure of the cognitive skills that you need in order for technical innovation or more routine science and engineering.  It’s generally useful in modern technical civilization. Populations with low average IQ produce very few individuals that are good at innovation. Very few.   If there were one or a few kinds of intelligence that were not measured well by IQ tests, but allowed people with low IQs to accomplish remarkable things –  you’d think we would notice.   We know that they don’t invent railroads or transistors or penicillin:  what comparably important and useful things have they done?

Look, if magic worked, and was the product of these other kinds of intelligence, I’d revise my opinion.  That’s why Henry should have let the witch doctor turn him into a frog:  we could have really learned something.

Let us suppose that Victor is right, and that the typical European or East Asian would do worse than average,   if raised from babyhood among Australian Aboriginals some 20,000 years ago.  Probably no IRB would approve this, and I hear that the Hays Office doesn’t approve of the naked singularities required for time travel, but let us suppose it.  So what? Victor has made a prime philosophical and practical error.  He is saying that an entirely  hypothetical environment, one that does not exist,  is comparably important with life its own self. We live here and now, not back then, or in one of the worlds of if.   In this world, the one we actually occupy,  certain traits help you succeed. IQ tests  have value in measuring a certain subset of those traits.

IQ pays off in technical civilization – in terms of wealth, health, and power – and that’s the  only civilization left, really.  I’m not holding my breath for the Sentinelese takeover.

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61 Responses to The Only Game in Town

  1. Wes says:

    One bit of irony – those that make the anti-IQ argument always want to be thought of as very smart.

  2. dearieme says:

    The people who rant against IQ don’t seem to realise how modest the claims of the IQ-philes are: intellectually modest, I mean; I can’t speak to their personalities.

    Or, perhaps, they have an inkling of how vile a tool IQ measurement could become in the hands of an undersupervised bureaucracy?

    • erica says:

      “Or, perhaps, they have an inkling of how vile a tool IQ measurement could become in the hands of an undersupervised bureaucracy?”

      If that’s the case, they should go back and study certain facets of American education in the 1950s. Districts that had money in their coffers (mine did since our blue collar town had a strong industrial presence which forked over quite a bit in taxes) gave IQ tests at least twice (IIRC, in the 3rd grade and then again in the 7th or 8th grade) and achievement tests (the Iowa Test of Basic Skills is the one I recall), the results of which , along with performance in class, were used as course corrections in choosing an individual student’s course of study as well as used to study the weaknesses and strengths of the school’s and the district’s curriculum in SERVING the needs of the kids. It was understood that different kids had different needs and different abilities as if the tests themselves didn’t show that!

      My gosh, how common-sensical of my old school district. Thank God.

      • JayMan says:

        Never to be seen again, I’m sure…

      • dearieme says:

        Indeed. But that was then. Two generations later are you quite so ready to trust the bureaucracy?

      • erica says:

        “Indeed. But that was then. Two generations later are you quite so ready to trust the bureaucracy?”

        No, I don’t trust it since having worked in it for three and a half decades I have seen it deteriorate into a pc beast caring only to preserve itself.

        If, however, testing ever were to be reinstated, that would be a sign that the beast had grown into some sort of thinking creature. While I don’t hold out much hope for present change, I do find some comfort in reminding myself that eventually scientific findings become so large an elephant in the room, they must be acknowledged.

  3. Jim says:

    Saying that a myopic high IQ Europrean or East Asian perhaps would not be very successful as a primitive hunter is like saying that the average human wouldn’t compete very well with a giant squid if placed 10000 feet deep in the ocean. Both statements are true but irrelevant.

    In fact maybe a high IQ modern human wouldn’t do so badly in a more primitive society. It is interesting that the greatest Comanche chief was Quanah Parker the half white son of a captured white child.

    • Rachelle says:

      Quanah Parker was not the only half-breed or white who rose to a high position. William Weatherford (Chief Red Eagle) and William McIntosh and others from Colonial times on held high positions among the Indians. As for civilized whites being able to live in a primitive society, mountain men very easily slid down the ladders of civilization and functioned very well while living among the Indians. I have also read that often Indian women preferred marriage to mountain men because they were treated better by them than they were by Indian men. If memory serves, Sam Houston lived comfortably among the Indians for a time as well.

      The reason civilized people do not live closer to the earth as primitives do is because they don’t have to and they don’t want to–except for environmental extremists who say they do but still always manage to find the nearest Starbucks.

      • Jack R. says:

        Another half-white who rose to prominence among the Indians was Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee alphabet. One can also cite John Ross, the chief who led the Cherokee Indians at the time of the Trail of Tears. Although the principal chief of the tribe, Ross was only 1/8 Indian and had difficulty speaking the Cherokee language.

  4. JL says:

    Robert Sternberg (who has long railed against the idea of general intelligence) once administered a sample of rural Kenyans an IQ test and asked them about their knowledge of local herbal medicine. He found that IQ was negatively correlated with herbal knowledge. This would seem to support the notion that general intelligence is less important in that environment.

    However, Linda Gottfredson gave a very different interpretation to this result:

    Contrary to what Sternberg implies, this study did not measure skills or knowledge that
    actually enhance health, but only beliefs about illness and herbal treatments that are widely
    held in the rural village studied. For example, one of the answers scored as correct on the
    inventory was to agree that the ‘‘evil eye’’ is a likely cause of a baby’s crying and
    stomachache. Herbal knowledge scores correlated negatively not only with several tests of
    IQ and achievement, but also with parents’ social class. We might expect a belief in myths,
    superstitions, and other questionable folk ‘‘knowledge’’ to correlate negatively with both IQ
    and social class in the United States too, but that could hardly be said to dissipate the positive
    manifold of cognitive tests. Only a bona fide ability test could do that, and nothing suggests
    that adhering to folk beliefs about illness in a society undergoing modernization reflects a
    form of mental competence. If we construe such adherence as a form of backwardness, then
    the study shows the usual positive manifold.

    • billswift says:

      >He found that IQ was negatively correlated with herbal knowledge.

      From the quote you provide, Sternberg apparently confused “knowledge” and socially-held beliefs. It would be interesting to compare what the higher-IQ group thought, the socially-held beliefs, and the actual effectiveness of the various herbal remedies.

  5. TWS says:

    Greg,
    Don’t get complacent. Those islanders are just waiting for a survey ship to land by mistake. Pretty soon you’re going to see the Sentinelese ‘Khan’ and his genetic supermen taking over the USS Reliant and the Genesis project. Numbers are about the same and they have certainly been isolated from the human race as long as ‘Khan Noonien Singh’ and his bunch were on Ceti Alpha V.

    Which brings me back to your last post. IIRC from reading the books, Khan was mostly ‘spell checked’ with a little borrowing from selected individuals and a soupcon of mountain gorilla for strength. How far are we from that kind of work in humans? Not the mountain gorilla strength but the borrowing from other humans and spell checking? That would be worth more to our economy and social structure than all the ‘Obamacare’ in the world.

    • billswift says:

      Khan was a wimp. Go read Stirling’s novel “Drakon” and the short stories in “Drakas!” for really nasty super-humans.

    • Nyk says:

      Interesting to know that the Federation banned all sorts of research into curing aging and other cognitive enhancement and transhumanism stuff after the Khan debacle, and goes out of its way to depict all augments as wannabe Hitlers as worse as the Borg. Of course, the Federation dogma is proven wrong by DS9’s own dear doctor Bashir: not all augments go wrong, but the Feds just look the other way and persist in their dogma. The Federation also promotes multiculturalism and has no use for money and free markets.

      Roddenberry really was a visionary when imagining what the future probably looks like.

  6. Leonard says:

    An “IQ” test invented by some random pre-scientific tribe would almost certainly test whatever that tribe felt was valuable, but it would not be very heavily g-loaded. By contrast, the modern Western IQ test, being scientific, can be very heavily g-loaded. (I would say “is” g-loaded except that we insist on giving IQ tests called “achievement” tests which are intentionally less g-loaded than they could be. But the West did invent and does use Raven’s and other such tests.)

    • Matt says:

      The way I understand it is:

      g is “just” a large principal component that emerges from performance on a battery of tests in an IQ test.

      This being the case, if a very large principal component emerged from the battery of tests the random pre-scientific tribe devised, then we would have to say say those tests would be heavily g-loaded (and the more so the larger the principal component), because they load heavily on a large common factor and that is all g is.

      But of course, even if this happened, we’d still be more likely to care about the g (large principal component) produced by our IQ tests, rather than this “g”, for the reason Greg gives:

      “IQ, as measured by IQ scores, is a decent measure of the cognitive skills that you need in order for technical innovation or more routine science and engineering.”

      That is, our batteries of tests that produce our g is more interesting for our civilization than their batteries of tests that might produce another “g”.

      • saintonge235 says:

        All this stuff about alternative “IQ” tests always amuses me. Notice no one ever attempts to make one? The nearest they come are vocabulary tests heavily loaded with slang and dialect terms. Sometimes skill tests are proposed. But never anything that actually measures any mental ability.

        Steven J. ‘Call him a commie he won’t even frown’ Gould, in THE MISMEASURE OF MAN spent a chapter looking at WWI era intelligence tests, and claiming they were oh so horribly culturally biased. But he did sort of mention, in an aside, that his students at Harvard scored very well on them, despite unfamiliarity with turn-of-the-century culture.

        But the truth is not PC, so we won’t be looking for it for the foreseeable future.

    • saintonge235 says:

              I once saw a “black IQ test”, or part of it.  The part printed was slang current in some black neighborhood, somewhere. The author of the test, and the author of the article about it, both demonstrated a lack of intelligence.

              Be fun to see somebody try this nonsense somewhere, though.

  7. dave chamberlin says:

    Behind the comment by Victor is the sentiment that IQ tests are a device that holds people back. That they aren’t to be trusted and have done more harm than good. The exact opposite is the case. IQ tests in the form of college entrance exams have allowed upward mobility of the capable, be they poor, minorities, or women and this in turn played a major role in the boom economy of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    There seems to be enormous misdirected frustration and anger by people who feel confused and powerless by a complex world they don’t understand towards any discussion that broaches the touchy subject of variation in intellegence. I wish I was smarter, but I don’t seethe with anger that I’m not. Most people have no idea why they get hopping mad when the conversation turns to “hey the world is not as simple as you want to believe it is.” They aren’t really that mad about politics or religion, they are mad that the world is beyond their understanding or control.

    • Julian O'Dea says:

      Plenty of very smart people have dumb ideas about the world. I suppose reading The Economist is a well regarded way of understanding the world, but even their writers are full of blind spots about religion and gender.

      I am not at all an IQ sceptic, but I would point out that Hans Eysenck used to include the Irish as a low-IQ group. I don’t think that has held up too well. I seem to recall Irish schoolkids doing better in maths than English kids some time back.

      Does anybody seriously think that the Irish lack of achievement in, say, science was due to a lack of ability compared with the Scots or English? History and opportunity do sometimes make a difference.

      • Hugh Mann says:

        You’d sort of expect societies where the brightest and most charismatic tended to be celibate (priests) would have slightly lower IQs than one where religious leaders (high-status job before say 1960s) could raise large broods. Many cases of high-achieving clerical offspring, from Austen, Robert Hooke and Lord Nelson to Merkel and Gordon Brown (I didn’t say the achievements necessarily had to be good).

  8. Jim says:

    Dave – There’s more to it than that. There is an ideological motive to be upset about variations in IQ. The people who get most upset such as Stephen Jay Gould are not generally themselves low IQ. In my experience few ordinary people of average IQ are that much concerned about it. The average truck driver doesn’t give a flying fuck about his inability to master quantum mechanics.

    • erica says:

      During the Civil Rights era, advocacy groups such as the NAACP argued (still do) that black kids were more likely to be in slow-down courses or in special ed. classes than their white counterparts. They argued (still do) that finding a higher % of black kids in such classes is nothing more than the result of purposeful discrimination. To be fair, there was indeed a great deal of discrimination in some districts, in some towns, in some geographic areas of the country. Some students indeed were “evaluated” for placement on the basis of their group identity rather than their individual abilities. This was one ugly example of institutional racism.

      However, when the NAACP and other advocacy groups saw that when individual students were tested (IQ as well as achievement tests) and evaluated not only on those tests but also on their classroom performance and when still large percentages of them remained in the slower rather than more rigorous classes on the basis of the results of those evaluation tools, they decided to push for getting rid of such testing. They decided to argue that the testing was rigged or unfair or blah, blah, blah. We’ve heard it all now, for decades.

      There couldn’t be any other reason for the results of the testing, after all…

    • jamesg1103 says:

      Jim:

      I’m glad you mentioned Gould on this subject since it gives me an opportunity for posting my absolutely favorite all-time Gould quote:

      “I am hopeless at deductive sequencing — I never scored particularly well on so-called objective tests of intelligence because they stress logical reasoning … “”

      That was in the New York Review of Books, March 29, 1984 issue.

      I

  9. Sean says:

    The original purpose of brainpower was probably to talk people round. The kind of IQ that is discussed in the post is not directly important in the major biologically significant live events. If Blacks are selected for an older type of intelligence we would expect them to be far better at plausibly glib ‘smooth talking’, (ie putting on a stylish and impressive front), than IQ tests can measure . Liberals may be right that Blacks have aspects of adaptive intellect that intelligence tests can’t measure. Conservatives may have them too.

    Badcock again – “Conservatives, in other words, may score lower on adaptation to a modern technological style of intelligence, but may score higher on traditional social intelligence whose loss we may well live to regret.”

    • Billy Chav says:

      The medieval schoolmen recognized this when they allotted two parts of the trivium to rhetoric and logic. Although in fairness to the schoolmen, Al Sharpton’s style of oraotory is probably not what they intended by ‘rhetoric.’

  10. Anonymous says:

    We’ve replaced animal muscle power with fossil fuels, thereby discounting physical abilities and placing a premium on mental abilities. Fossil fuels won’t last forever, however.

    • Diane Ritter says:

      Luckily, however, by then, high g individuals will have figured out how to make solar power (or fusion power or fission power or genetically designed oil producing bacteria power…) as cheap as fossil fuel power is now.

      This is a very, very high probability scenario. THE high probability scenario, in fact. Fossil fuels aren’t predicted to become scarce as current levels of consumption for something like 200 years.

  11. poison says:

    It is more correct to say that low IQ hurts than that high IQ pays off. The highest-IQ professions are not the ones that are most handsomely paid, and in our own lives we all know high IQ people who generally suck at life. This is why Murray is wrong…just look at the highest IQ professions and fields in the sciences and engineering, etc., and you will see they’re not the highest paid or at the top of modern civilization. Nor is very high IQ common among politicians (power) and I don’t know of a link between very high IQ and health. Again, more correct to say that abnormally low IQ hurts than that very high IQ pays off. It pays off in some cases for others maybe.

    • dearieme says:

      Many high IQ people just find something more interesting to do than make money.

      • poison says:

        It’s not clear they could make money, or get power even if they wanted. Another skill and especially personality set is required for those things. Some average or above average IQ is required in most cases, but not especially high IQ. It’s also more likely that very high IQ people are prone to neuroticism and less likely to breed.

      • Diane Ritter says:

        Yes, intellectually interesting jobs tend to pay less than intellectually UN-interesting jobs that require the same level of g to perform. Because people are getting part of their compensation in forms other than money.

  12. Kiwiguy says:

    Roissy also explained why you get this kind of obfuscation.

    “Lest we forget, there’s a reason why emotions run so hot on this issue. Not only does it cut straight to the beating heart of equalist ideology — the predominant ideology, arguably, of the last 150 years in the West — but the ramifications of the subject under debate are huge. ..

    This dismissive hand-waving about “a certain kind of test” reveals more than it conceals. It is meant to assuage egos and smooth the airwaves for sensible, rational discussion on the topic. But egalitarians and the SWPL industrial complex know that these softening words cannot contain the horrible, unrelenting, monstrous truth that stalks every cooing syllable. IQ is F*CKING HUGELY IMPORTANT to your chance to live a happy, successful life filled with wonder and glee and gadgets and crime-free neighborhoods in a modern, technofantastical, information-highwayed, cognitively stratifying first world Western nation.

    The enemies of truth know this, and that is why they tirelessly work to shut down any talk about it, and to smear and slander and shun those who would deign to lift the veil of lies for a peek underneath.

    Their reasons are obvious, and understandable. But they are still lords of lies. And their time is almost up.”

    http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/the-iq-war-smears/

    • dave chamberlin says:

      nice link Kiwiguy, you quoted some of the best lines but not my favorite. “The left has their creationism.” and it is their equalist ideology.

    • erica says:

      “But egalitarians and the SWPL industrial complex know that these softening words cannot contain the horrible, unrelenting, monstrous truth that stalks every cooing syllable.”

      That is why they stutter and blather so when you ask them, “Why do you live behind gates in areas as far away as you can get from the rabble? Do you not believe these people will change?”

  13. DJ says:

    The “Jewish intelligence is selection for civilization” thing seems to come down to the issue of whether it is dysgenic or eugenic to select for verbal combat over more holistic forms of combat. If you limit your combat to the verbal, you might be selecting against verbal communication and for regression to primitive signals. This might be dysgenic.

  14. ironrailsironweights says:

    On the other hand, living in a hunter-gatherer society isn’t all that bad, what with relatively little work needed and reasonably long life expectancies.

    • billswift says:

      And very low population densities. At least 90% of the current world population would have to die back for hunter-gatherer societies to be viable again on a more than occasional and local scale.

  15. Don Strong says:

    When do you take on women?

  16. poison says:

    Gcochran,
    “IQ pays off in technical civilization – in terms of wealth, health, and power …” the only way you could show this is if you took the most wealthy individuals, powerful ones, and healthy ones (I’d say athletic is what counts, but…) and showed that they have higher IQ’s than those less wealthy, less powerful, etc.; I don’t think this bears out. Murray ignores the fact, as do you, that the technical and high-IQ professions are not the ones better paid. As a whole, I don’t know of any evidence that the wealthiest people in the US have the highest IQ, still less so the most powerful (what is average IQ of Congress and of those high in the govt. bureaucracy, etc.). Yes, low IQ hurts, but high or very high IQ is not required for success, wealth, health, or especially power in the US.

    Terman’s study,
    http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10192.aspx
    …his subject became generally “regular people.” Moderately successful middle- and upper-middle-class types, who apparently have smaller families than lower-IQ people. But no outstanding successes, wealth, power, etc.

    • Bob Arctor says:

      “Murray ignores the fact, as do you, that the technical and high-IQ professions are not the ones better paid.”

      Get a list of undergraduate majors by average salary and another list of majors by average SAT scores for entrants (read: IQ) and see with your own eyes that they correlate reasonably well, if not in an exactly monotonic fashion.

      “As a whole, I don’t know of any evidence that the wealthiest people in the US have the highest IQ, still less so the most powerful”

      Absolutely no one sane is asserting that there’s a perfect or near perfect correlation between IQ and wealth/power/success/whatever; you’re arguing against a strawman.

  17. Ian says:

    Surely it is significant that many jobs involving responsibility for the safety of others manage to include tests of mental aptitude as part of their recruitment procedures. Train drivers, firemen, the armed forces, pilots and so on.

    Where I work many of the posts require an undergraduate or masters degree and unfortunately there are no IQ or aptitude tests. One or two individuals stand out as truly clueless despite holding relevant masters degrees from admittedly second-rate universities. I can only guess they gained their degrees because there was some kind of collective marking for group work on projects, and so they were able to coast through thanks to the abilities of their fellow students.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever seen the questions on an IQ test? Sure they’re partially heritable but to say that they are a valid measure of innate intelligence is ridiculous.

    The egalitarian liberals claim 0% heritability, the masturbatory educated elitists claim 70-90% etc. Both obviously politically motivated.

    I think this analysis was the best and most objective I’ve heard so far.
    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/520.html

    • gcochran9 says:

      Cosma Shalizi is the one spreading politically-motivated horseshit. The heritability of an IQ score is just what people measure it to be from adoption or twin studies. You can’t say that it ought to be some other number – it is what it is. In adulthood, it’s around 80%, at least in Scandinavia.

      If it predicts grades (fairly well), or accident rates, or income, then it does. If it turns out that essentially nobody scoring in the bottom half of IQ turns into a hotshot electrical engineer (true), then that’s life.

      • Anonymous says:

        I mean yeah there will be a fairly strong correlation between almost any kind of test and outcome too though. All you have to do is look at those matrix reasoning, number sequencing or verbal segments to realize that someone educated would do better that never picked up a book.

        I mean sure there will people that will never be able to do some of the more advanced questions on there, but to say that 80% of that is determined from genes or is immutable is still quite laughable to me.

        How many people in the fortune 500 could do the 140+ IQ level matrix reasoning and number sequencing problems? I think a lot of this high heritability stuff is pushed by masturbatory scientists or mathematicians. A lot of the extremely low heritability estimates, we are all equally capable is garbage as well though.

  19. Anonymous says:

    than someone*

    I a word.

  20. > How many people in the fortune 500 could do the 140+ IQ level matrix reasoning and number sequencing problems?

    I am a very smart guy, and I talked to some of the venture capitalists that were funding the firm at which I worked. They were very smart guys. Of course, since funding high tech, and talking to high techies, may not have been representative, but they were 140+

    • Anonymous says:

      I doubt many of them are much more intelligent than average people. Definitely not as intelligent as average scientists or even engineers or architects. I get a vibe form a lot of ‘high heritability’ guys that seems like that they have something invested in it or that high IQ means you’ll be better at anything. Here are some things I’ve heard said:

      -Any high IQ person could make a lot of money in business, “we” choose not to because we find better things to do than accumulate wealth.. Mhm. Being able to solve those puzzles and sequences also means your morals are that much better as well.

      -A high IQ person can have his pick of any “hot” woman. We just look for more important things in a mate. Sure.

      -Certain races will never produce people with genius IQ.

      -There’s only one type of intelligence. Hyenas outperform Chimps in group solving problems. Chimps perform Hyenas on everything else by far though.

      I tested myself a few years ago and scored 122. I know common sense is worthless in science, but to say that 80% of the results are based on genes is almost funny.

  21. Anonymous says:

    A long time ago I read a book on the Nuremberg trials which contained a table of the IQ’s of all the defendents as measured by Allied psychologists after their capture. I no longer have a copy of this book but going by memory I believe that Kaltenbrunner had the lowest IQ at 110 and that Seyss-Inquart had the highest IQ at around 150. As I recall the greatest number of IQ’s were in the 120’s.
    Were they more intelligent than average people in Germany or Europe? Even Kaltenbrunner would probably been over the 70th percentile of the German population. Most of the defendents were at least one standard deviation above the general German or European population.

    The people who rise to high rank in the power structure of modern high tech societies no doubt have their faults and they are rarely transcendent geniuses. But it is silly to believe that they are generally of average intelligence.

    • Anonymous says:

      And even then, we’d be smarter than a lot of them considering the Flynn Effect right? I think business is a much different mental skill set than what the IQ tests measure. I’d love to see Donald Trump or George bush take an IQ test.

      I believe that Intelligence is heritable, and that IQ measures cognitive levels. I just don’t buy into IQ being a “good enough” measure of innate, potential or immutable intelligence.

  22. Jim says:

    I recall that Steve Sailer estimated George Bush’s IQ on the basis of some tests he took in the military
    as about 120 or so. Weren’t talking Leibnitz here. There are probably about 30 million people in the US with IQ’s in excess of 120. But the average IQ in the US is 100. George Bush is significantly above average.
    Nobody is saying that IQ is the only personal trait that contributes to success in business or politics. But a person with an IQ of 100 is extremely unlikely to get very far in politics or become president of a Fortune 500 company.

  23. wesley allen. says:

    “well i can” and
    “you’d think we would notice” hilarious!
    well written.

  24. Pingback: Dealing With Intellectual Inferiority | More Right

  25. DataExplorer says:

    You are right that there is only 1 game in town. But from an evolutionary perspective it is not what you are thinking. The only goal that matters is passing on your genes to the next generation by having high fertility. In industrialized societies, low IQ groups seem to perform better at this than high IQ groups, so they are the ones that will win out in the end.

    • Diane Ritter says:

      These days, alas, not being smart enough to be able to master the technology of birth control is a high predictor of evolutionary success.

      I expect that will change though, shortly, at least shortly as measured in evolutionary terms. Cheap and easy and reversible long term birth control (ie, something you can swallow in a pill form that lasts 15 or 20 years) will not doubt be available sometime in the next 10 or 15 years or so, and I predict there will be a very strong push (in Western societies) to make it effectively free and universally and easily available to teenagers. Possibly not as cheap and easily available as the baskets of condoms you see sitting around today, free for the taking, but probably something on the same order of magnitude. And, that the medical intervention for reversing it will be more expensive, and you will have to be smart enough, and motivated enough to jump through some hoops to accomplish it.

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