Race-Related IQ

Mon Dec 5 18:51:08 EST 1994

On Mon, 5 Dec 1994, Toby Bradshaw wrote:

Godawfully large amounts cut here
> >> I said components of itelligence are measurable in principle.  Do
> >> you believe they're not?  Here's an example.  In a full-sib human
> >> family there are 10 children.  One has Down's syndrome.  By giving
> >> a written test to each child at age 14, can you determine which one
> >> is afflicted?  Is this a measure of a component of intelligence?
> >>  
> >what kind of written test ?
> How should I know?
> >that's the point isn't it ?
> Not to me.  Do you think a test could be devised to reliably
> separate people with Down's syndrome from their sibs, based
> on cognitive powers?  "Yes" or "no" will do as an answer.

Thanks for keeping this one alive Toby - it is a lot more interesting 
than the regular avalanche of resumes I normally get from subscribing to 

First of all, you've been arguing well (at least better than that loon 
who said that Gould couldn't be trusted 'cause he was a Marxist - I hope 
he was joking :) for your point and I appreciate the points you picked 
out of my original posting - somone threw a soapbox in front of me and 
well. . .

To answer your question, I'd say no. If all was perfect and the group of kids
could be split into two - less and more intelligent, then a test would be 
possible. However, the problem arises with the use of the term "written 
test". I still do not consider that literacy can be used as as a sole 
indicator of general intelligence. I'm not suggesting that you do, but 
this form of reductionist thinking is what plagues the use of IQ as a 
test of "intelligence". The same can be said for variations on the theme, 
such as illustrative tests which are extremely difficult to set without 
some sort of bias - maybe not within one family, but I take it you used 
the 10 kid scenario as a model to show that the differences between the 
family members could be demonstrated by the use of this test. 

My position (although maybe not clearly stated :) is that IQ may or may 
not be heritable - and that certainly is a worthy cause of research - but 
that this should not really worry us (politically or ethically) as IQ is 
not a measure of "intelligence" or worth. The problem lies in the public 
perception of this value - helped in part by our friends in organisations 
such as MENSA.


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