Continued : IQ, "Society", "Race" and Human Biology

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Continued : IQ, "Society", "Race" and Human Biology

Postby BadgerJelly on March 13th, 2018, 3:18 am 


note: Decided to start afresh with a less provocative title!

Maybe I have jumped the gun (as per usual) and not made the founding of this position clear enough to warrant the kind of responses I was hoping for.

IQ and Intelligence

I have assumed that people accept IQ as measuring (in part) human intelligence. I am by no means suggesting that IQ is the only factor in predicting human "success" (knowledge, and competence in a given field of interest), because generally there are jobs that pay well where IQ doesn't need to be sky high.

What we can see, in any given field of interest, is that the most capable and admired people tend to have a higher IQ.

Anything regarding other personality traits is factor out, as much as possible, from IQ tests. One thing that cannot be factored out is stress tolerance, but I think this is reasonable enough to a degree.

As an example of why stress tolerance is a factor I can say that when I am under pressure I tend to perform particularly well, yet in IQ tests the situation is one of a degree of pressure (obviously! it is a test and some may find it more important than others, thus perform differently down to stress levels - and some people may perform better under different degrees of pressure, this is something to take into account.)

I think Lomax pointed out that IQ tests for special awareness and reasoning. If we are talking about "intelligence" as an attribute that can be measured (to whatever degree) we measure by comparison. With 100 being the average score of people who've taken the test it is possible your IQ will change when more people take the test, there is no set solid unchanging score because it is a comparative score.

In the US the SATS are basically IQ tests under a different name (although they obviously only extend to US citizens - factoring in general knowledge of US culture.)

The simple way of looking at all of this is to say that people who are good at solving complex problems are generally considered to be "intelligent" people. IQ tests are generally set up to test people's abilities to solve various complex problems. Therefore IQ is a general measurement of intelligence.

Just to be CLEAR this does not mean scoring high in an IQ test tells us whether or not you are "creative," but there is a higher probability that you'll be more creative if you score higher in IQ.

To wealth. Being intelligent doesn't guarantee wealth, but over all greater intelligence (higher IQ) means you get to the answer quicker than others, and to some degree deal with pressure well enough not to flounder in an IQ - generally speaking. This does not mean only wealthy people are intelligent, such an interpretation would be myopic to say the least. What we can see though is that high IQ is a good predictor of future wealth, and that, despite Serpent point, on average IQ, rather than your inherited wealth, is a stronger predictor for future wealth (this is not to dismiss out of hand the role inheritance of wealth plays, only to state it is not as strong a predictor as IQ.

There is also the famous case in Finland and PETA. They stopped taking tests for years and then when they return to taking tests they performed better than anyone else. So the claim that taking tests makes you better at taking tests is not really some absolute truth (although I would not deny that practice helps in some areas so there is some wiggle room here to look into.)

If you find this hard to accept then this entire thread is mute to you and I'll have to start one looking specifically at IQ (which is what is happening here already it seems - and part of the problem I was pointing out in the OP, it is not something people like to look at because they find it in some way demeaning to "measure" people. This is a very admirable reaction in my mind, yet also part of the conflict that blocks many from setting aside the general distaste of being "measured" like an object.)

IQ and Race

Now I am assuming you accept that IQ shows (at least in part) "intelligence." We're all no doubt aware of the stats for black, Asian and various other ethnic groups.

People do regard themselves as this or that "race," or "ethnic group" and some of couldn't care less. Thanks to DNA tests we can pretty much reveal the illusion of cosmetic distinction over any significant biological difference. Some people who look "white" possess genetics from "black" backgrounds and someone who looks "black" possess genetic inheritance from "white" backgrounds; and to quite large degrees in some cases so as to make the mere appearance contrary to the actual genetic distinction.

So we know we cannot merely LOOK at someone and distinguish them by race, but that we can assume some ancestry with a reasonable predictive capacity.

As I have shown we cannot really assume large enough genetic differences to conclude one ethnic group is cognitively different from another. The more research done into humans does show that a lot of who we are and how we behave is in place from a very, very early age. Slight fluctuation in nutrition prenatally can literally change the course of a persons life, for better or worse. This of course points to genetics as being, at least in part, strongly influenced by environmental factors - prenatal conditions.

So we have little grounding from looking at IQ as being a purely genetic product, and at the very least being under the influence of early biochemistry (which would involve geographic location, pollution in the area, eg. water supply, availability of proteins and general nutrition.)

From the get go it doesn't make sense to look at IQ (human intelligence) as being significantly a genetic marker that can distinguish between ethnic groups when the environment is known to play such a major role in fetal development.

IQ and Language

Just food for thought. I have seen some interesting studies shown by Gazzaniga where he showed that far eastern ADULTS when shown a picture very briefly on a screen answered differently to western ADULTS.

To explain briefly, a pic of a fish tank was flashed up on the screen with three different fish, some plants, a snail and a crab. The western adults said they saw a fish tank wish fish in it, whilst the eastern adults said they saw fish, plants, a snail and a crab. I believe this is due to language differences.

Korean mothers use "motherese" as all mothers do. When teaching children to speak the focus is on prepositions whilst most other language cultures focus learning on objects and categories. When tests in their early years Korean infants performed better on special problems than others, but worse in categorical problems. Once they hit a certain age all children converged and these distinctions disappeared.

A linguist studying in Italy noticed how Sicilians were often regarded as behaving in a childish manner. When he looked into the language he found that they tended not to use a tense heavy dialect, so temporal distinctions were less prominent - he suggested that this led to the culture of the Sicilians being less worried about the future and hence they seemed more "childish" in their demeanor.

So here we have some evidence of language perhaps effecting IQ scores.

IQ and geographical location - the issue of nationalism

Given our tribal nature, the basic need to find identity in the world, we compare the familiar with the unfamiliar. Hence, we've developed nationhood and geographically divided the world up. I few ignore the idea of ethnical differences and simply look at the local conditions for humans we can instantly see there are many differences to consider.

What is more is the consideration of actual genetic differences brought about, not due to innate predispositions, but due to being triggered by environmental factors - including diet of course. So, I am not disregarding "genetics" only disregarding "genetics" as a means to distinguish between ethnic groups for our purposes.

So here we could forget about the international borders and look, for starters, at food consumption to give a general feel. Then look at water supplies and such. We cannot draw conclusions from any one piece of data without justifying our reason for doing so, and we must always remain clear, within social sciences, that we are only looking at something as a partial factor of a broader and more complex field of investigation - but this doesn't mean that all positions and interpretations are equally as valid (such as with IQ where the measure holds up as a good indicator of human development in several areas - including health, wealth and general "success".)

IQ and social circumstances and education

This is probably the most difficult area because it is a clash of different circumstances and ideas. We have religious impact and political position, and the misguided adherence to "racial" differences and ideas of "privilege," and how the family unit effects child development alongside an education system (run and set up by people who have, on average, lower IQ scores than any other category of study - the social working, education and student counseling studies are the degrees that pile up at the bottom end of the IQ scale; make of that what you will.)

If you were to guess what subjects in university had students with the highest average IQ scores I am sure you'd guess correctly. Physics, mathematics and engineering are at the top, and philosophy is actually second in the ranking I looked at - will post at end of this OP (which surprised me at first before I realized the obvious use of logical reasoning and the complexity of language use in this area.)

"Conclusion" - I mean summation I guess!

IQ measures something and it is up to us to understand what is being measured. Is it one thing? The best attempt at a singular measure of intelligence from a soup of human characteristics we have? If not can we improve the method or simply help distinguish where it errs rather than throw the whole thing away as meaningless?

Race/ethnicity doesn't seem to measure anything as far as I can tell. It is more of a political product built off a human need to create identity and live in the world with a feeling of "place" and "belonging" - inherently not a bad thing, but unfortunately a tricky area subsumed by general human fears and desires.

Society doesn't seem to be measureable either. It is a roughshod selection of vying ideologies and neuroticisms. Society is a set method build upon lesser, and more measureable elements - such as wealth distribution, resource distribution and language distinctions. It is a complex beast of various forms set upon various forms under which there are only some real measureable element buried at the bottom.

Human biology and influence of environment on genetics. This we can measure, but the field is so vast we're forever playing catch up. It is here that ideas of "ethnic"/"racial" distinctions prey upon, and do so with poltical success because the science is dealing with an extremely broad range of things all interrelated. In the specific (yet broad) area of the neurosciences, there is the difficult problem of understanding human personality and how social structures are build of this ground.

Education shows something I find extremely interesting in regards to my above comment on IQ and how the average IQ relates to subject. The subjects that require little empathy are in the upper echelons of IQ ranings whilst the more empathic subjects are in the lower echelons of the IQ rankings. I guess we'd expect to see subjects in the middle of these rankings to be a combination of rational thought and ethical thought ... and we do with, psychology, social science, anthropology, business, sociology and history falling into the midrange.
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Re: Continued : IQ, "Society", "Race" and Human Biology

Postby wolfhnd on March 13th, 2018, 12:27 pm 

Language and IQ is an interesting topic. Without complex language humans would appear in their lifestyle and habits closer to their primate cousins. Language as a cognitive tool seems under appreciated. This may account for some propensity for a dualistic view.

Re: Continued : IQ, "Society", "Race" and Human Biology

Postby Event Horizon on March 13th, 2018, 1:46 pm 

It seems to me that populations can go through phases where they will make very significant advances over other populations. The Inca's, Myans, Egyptians, the Greek, the British and others have all had their day in the sun. It seems though technology, art and medicine goes through something like speciation or differentiation in biology, which also seems to come in phases.

My late mom read psycholinguistics. It sounds like a field that might interest you. It's a bit beyond me.
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Re: Continued : IQ, "Society", "Race" and Human Biology

Postby BadgerJelly on March 19th, 2018, 12:55 am 

Psychological and IQ (the significance between "race" identity and IQ)

This is an extension of IQ and "Race." As I stated in the OP there doesn't appear to be any serious genetic grounding for distinctions between "black", "white", or whatever "race". These may have difference embedded within them, but over all the difference between a "black" person and a "white" person genetically is no more significant than between a German and a Frenchman.

Nevertheless we have in society "racial identity." In other psychological traits, such as conscientiousness we can, to some degree, predict political disposition. These things are quite obvious on a basic level and we can see those who are more "open" tend toward more "liberal" views. This suggests "political views" to be, at least partly, shaped by personality type.

I am not quite sure what it is I see here, but it is something like a proclivity to adhere to "group identity" perhaps? A proclivity for political behavior, for something like "motivation" as a specific trait?

What is it that "motivates" people if not group identity? Can we begin to talk about "racial identity" as being an expression of some form of human motivation? If so are there different types of motivation; also how do these "motivations" fit alongside personality traits, and does such proclivity correlate in any significant way with intelligence?

By this I mean when we talk about "race" or "ethnicity", we're not talking about something we can measure - we cannot measure race/ethnicity in a meaningful way - but indirectly we can perhaps measure the proclivity, or need, for creating such a sense of "identity"? Right away we can see the obvious, I hope? That is that we'd look to neuroticism as a prime candidate because we're essentially talking about one end of the scale being the need for stability and comfort whilst the other is more dynamic and free-flowing.

I would expect more neurotic people to be more likely to clutch at a broader "group identity" and even maybe more "extroverted" people to grab for such things too?

To be crystal clear here, if "race" is not genetic then it is used, and taken up by people. If so how does this idea of "race" relate (if at all) to personality type and from this can such an attitude be related to some cognitive capacity (some aspect of "intelligence")?

If this is a quality of human beings, which it seems it is to me. Then we can also, obviously I hope, see that there are benefits for such proclivities (such as nothing other than simple social cohesion and an extended idea of family - something which Sapolsky also talks about in how animals act and the Dawkins view of the, rather clumsily named, "selfish gene" - Dawkins said so himself, so it is not merely my opinion that it was an unfortunate term, but Dawkins was partly politicizing his position and rightly so in the face of anti-scientific views.)
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