Free scientific inquiry, RIP

Explore the genetic component of IQ at your peril, as sociologist Dr Noah Carl found out.

Freedom of speech, Cambridge style

The Cambridge don has been sacked for slaughtering the same sacred cows that his predominantly left-wing colleagues like to milk.

His dismissal was prompted by a letter from 586 academics who accuse Dr Carl of ‘racist pseudoscience’. His critics specifically held Dr Carl responsible for the use to which extremist groups put his work in their own xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Applying the same logic to rather better-known thinkers, Nietzsche was a Nazi, Hegel a Bolshevik and Darwin a bit of both – after all, their work was often cited by those rather disagreeable political movements.

Even closer to home, I’m a mass murderer because Anders Breivik quoted from my books in his diaries – and as to some of my friends, who were quoted much more widely, they have to be out and out monsters.

I’m not familiar with Dr Carl’s work, but I really don’t have to be to know what’s going on. The same brouhaha always ensues whenever a scholar as much as hints at the possibility that IQ may be genetically affected, never mind determined.

Dr Carl isn’t the first victim of such hysteria, nor will he be the last one. For it’s an indisputable fact that different races have different median IQs, and sociologists are paid to study mass trends.

Somehow we don’t demur when research shows that Orientals consistently outperform whites on IQ tests – even when taking such tests in English, their second language. (This goes a long way to refuting the insistence that IQ tests are culturally biased towards white people.)

However, when the same studies show that whites have a higher median IQ than blacks, we not only rip up the message but kill the messenger.

The scholarly integrity of such studies doesn’t matter, and neither do their scale and depth. Every hare-brained modern piety is a priori God’s own truth, meaning that anything that contradicts it isn’t just wrong but blasphemous.

Modern sensibilities crave uniformity, which is routinely confused with equality. It’s seen as an affront to everything modernity holds sacred when a research shows that the differences between the sexes go beyond their primary sexual characteristics, or that those among the races aren’t exclusively chromatic.

Truth is intellectually irrelevant if it’s ideologically offensive, which brings back the fond memories of my school days in the Soviet Union. In 1960, for example, my physics textbook defined the atom as “the smallest and further indivisible particle of matter”.

This was 43 years after Rutherford showed that the atom was indeed divisible, and 15 years after that discovery was put to such an explosive use in Japan. Our teachers knew it wasn’t so, as did we. We also knew that genetics wasn’t just a ‘bourgeois pseudoscience’, but that’s what we were taught.

Such was the education in one of the worst tyrannies the world has ever known, and it’s reassuring to observe how Cambridge University has chosen that obscurantism as a model to follow.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that, while the genetic component isn’t the only one in IQ, it’s extremely significant. They’ve also shown that IQ is the most reliable single predictor of future practical success in life.

Therefore IQ testing has important practical applications, for example in offering career advice to children or determining applicants’ suitability for certain jobs. (My own glittering career as insurance salesman in Houston 44 years ago lasted only a fortnight because an IQ test showed I was overqualified for the job.)

As to racial IQ differences, they are largely genetic, but not exclusively so. For example, studies in the US show that, when blacks move into the middle class, a generation or two later they show no statistically significant IQ differences from the middle-class whites.

Also, IQ measures not intelligence, but the potential for developing it, and some potentials are realised more fully than others. A child with an IQ of 110 who devotes his life to intellectual pursuits will grow up more intelligent than one with an IQ of 180 who pursues nothing but ‘happiness’.

In any case, who cares? Median numbers mean nothing when we look at individuals.

Statistical differences between groups numbering billions may be of academic interest, but they give no clue to the intelligence of a particular Chinese or Nigerian gentleman we meet at a party. Whatever the median IQs of their races, the former may well be less intelligent than us, and the latter considerably more so.

But that’s hardly the point, is it? The issue isn’t judged on merit, one way or the other. A mere suggestion that genetic differences exist and that they may not always favour the groups favoured by the bien pensants is sufficient grounds for persecution – if not quite yet prosecution.

I hope you’ll join me in a choral rendition of the Beatles’ song Back in the USSR. That’s what it feels like, and it’s not a feeling I cherish.

P.S. As myself a lifelong champion of equality, I’m pleased to observe that mass idiocy affects all racial groups to the same extent. For example, when 120 American secondary school pupils were given a test that in my father’s generation wouldn’t have baffled an average 10-year-old, 6 out of 10 was the highest score:

1 thought on “Free scientific inquiry, RIP”

  1. “As to racial IQ differences, they are largely genetic, but not exclusively so. ”

    About 80 % inherited and the other half nurturing. So it is thought by modern investigators.

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