Race-Related IQ

Pio Donizete A. Zapella pdazapel at QUIM.IQ.USP.BR
Wed Nov 30 18:21:10 EST 1994

> >>If
> >>cognitive functions are modular, then each subsystem, and consequently each
> >>function, may be subject to independent genetic control.  If so, studying
> >>the heritability of IQ (a unitary measure of cognitive ability) makes no
> >>sense.  
> >By this line of reasoning, it would make no sense to measure the
> >heritability of grain yield in maize or stem volume growth in trees,
> >since these are the cumulative result of "subsystem" activity --
> >nutrient acquisition, photosynthetic efficiency, carbon partitioning
> >among organs, resistance to pests and disease, etc.  It remains the
> >case that "yield" parameters have their heritabilities measured
> >all the time as a guide for plant breeding.  The complexity of the
> >whole system is really irrelevant for calculation of heritability.
> >All that matters is that there is genetic variation for at least
> >one component of the system.  The more components that have genetic
> >variation, the more complex the analysis becomes (potentially).
> >-Toby Bradshaw
> >toby at u.washington.edu

Of course intelligence is influenced by genetic components and hence it 
is in part a inherited character. It seems clear also that intelligence is 
composed of a complex net of isolated parts which can be or not connected 
to each other. So the ability to measure multicomponent characteristics is not 
the point in the case of IQ tests. I think the primary problem is if one
CAN INDEED define what intelligence is and moreover if it can be done by
means of a set of tests.
"The mismeasure of Man" by Stephen J. Gould deals with the misusage of 
science to classify and discriminate people. One of those misusages was 
the IQ tests, once its very first aim was to help identifying scholars with 
learning problems in order to help them. However afterwards IQ tests were 
used by stupid people to segregate both non-caucasian people and (to some 
extent) women. After reading the book I was quite sure IQ tests were 
past, but I have been surprised by a recent report on Newsweek (sorry I 
can't remember the issue) in defense of IQ tests as a means to access 
one's intelligence. Maybe Gould worths a reading (just a suggestion).


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