Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cheese Heads

According to this report, the French are far stupider than the British.

BRITAIN and France have experienced long periods of conflict and rivalry, but now victory in one area can be claimed: Britons are more intelligent on average than the French. A new European league of IQ scores has ranked the British in eighth place, well above the French, who are 19th. According to Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster, Britons have an average IQ of 100. The French scored 94. Top of the table were the Germans, with an IQ of 107. The Brits were also beaten by the Dutch, Poles, Swedes, Italians, Austrians and Swiss.

Now, wait just a minute, are you sure about that Professor? I mean, look at this story from today's EUObserver:

Two of Europe’s largest countries are to be paralysed by strikes today (28 March) over social reforms.In France, trade unions have called on public and private sector workers to protest against a new youth employment law, while in the UK 1.5 million local government workers are planning to strike over retirement rights and cuts to pensions. The British unions say it could turn into be the biggest action since the 1926 general strike, according to Reuters.
I don't see a whole lot of intellectual difference here. (Ok, if the Brits don't burn all of the automobiles in town and then complain that they can't get to work, they'll prove the brighter.)
Professor Lynn also weighs in on Continental history:

Professor Lynn ascribes the differences between British and French intelligence
levels to the results of military conflict. He described it as "a hitherto unrecognised law of history" that "the side with the higher IQ normally wins, unless they are hugely outnumbered, as Germany was after 1942".

Well. In that case I sure hope the British don't get into a spat with those brainiacs in Switzerland. They'll get their butts kicked. Of course, I don't see the smarts in starting a war where you are hugely outnumbered either, but that's just me.
Actually, reading about Lynns research is, well, creepy. He's written several books on the subject of genetics and its impact on national and ethnic IQ's and its just spooky. Read this excerpt for the review of his book Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis:
His conclusions are that the East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) have the highest mean IQ at 105. These are followed by the Europeans (IQ 100). Some way below these are the Inuit (Eskimos) (IQ 91), South East Asians (IQ 87), Native American Indians (IQ 87), Pacific Islanders (IQ 85), South Asians and North Africans (IQ 84). Well below these come the sub-Saharan Africans (IQ 67) followed by the Australian Aborigines (IQ 62). The least intelligent races are the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert togetherwith the Pygmies of the Congo rain forests (IQ 54).

After the ten chapters setting out the evidence for each of the ten races there follows a chapter on the reliability and validity of the measures. These show that the studies have high reliability in the sense that different studies of racial IQs give closely similar results. For instance, East Asians invariably obtain high IQs, not onlyin their own native homelands but in Singapore, Malaysia, Hawaii and North America. To establish the validity of the racial IQs he shows that they have high correlations with performance in the international studies of achievement in mathematics and science. Racial IQs also have high correlations with national economic development, providing a major contribution to the problem of why the peoples of some nations are rich and others poor. He argues further that the IQ differences between the races explain the differences in achievement in making the Neolithic transition from hunter-gathering to settled agriculture, the building of early civilizations, and the development of mature civilizations during the last two thousand years.
Haven't we heard this before? Oh, yes. Now I remember. Dangerous stuff in the wrong hands, Professor. And there are plenty of wrong hands standing idly by.
And why should we believe this Lynn fellow anyway. Wasn't he the same guy that just last year said that men are smarter than women and nearly got me killed by a mob of 4 or 5 red haired women of Irish descent and temperament? Like I said, dangerous.


Cassandra said...

I don't know where to even start on this.

He has shown that the problem of why some nations are rich and others poor is largely explained by the intelligence of the populations

I would love to see how he eliminated the influence of the 97,643 other variables that could possibly be affecting economic development, not to mention the startling notion that perhaps, just perhaps, there are more smart living in the richer nations, not that the richer nations are better off because they had more smart folks to begin with.

I think my brain just exploded.

spd rdr said...

That's one less smart person in America!

KJ said...

I don't know what is the truth here, but I appreciate the fact that it is being studied. If we really did evolve in the Darwinian sense, doesn't it make sense that certain humans in certain environments maybe needed more "brains" than "brawn," and "evolved" accordingly?

And no matter what people do, why do some places never grow up economically.

Cassandra said...

mr rdr... [thwack!] :)

I don't have a problem with people studying things like this either, KJ.

I am just more skeptical than most about drawing conclusions from data, perhaps because I look at data all day long and I know how hard it is to eliminate noise, random variation, influence of other variables, etc.

And the way you set up studies and frame hypotheses is tremdously important, yet I'm convinced that's where most of these guys spend the least time.

But it's all grist for the old mill :)

re: intelligence, I once told my bosses that some of our 'dumbest' clients come up with the best questions and, ironically, have spotted some of our weak points competitively with other tools on the market.

I don't think they believed me, but people who aren't naturally quick are often careful thinkers. They may not leap to a conclusion with impressive speed, but because they have to go slowly, they see things others miss.

So native intelligence isn't everything - we need plodders too.

Cassandra said...

/spoken by a plodder, natch.

Anonymous said...

This is just one knucklehead's opinion, but I think that France's obsession with soccer (they call it football, can you imagine that
?) is a sure sign of low IQ and frankly, moral turpitude. Mopery with intent to creep, and all that.

I mean soccer. Really.

If you think I'm being sarcastic here, just compare the explaination of how the wish-bone offense works in REAL football, compared to all the stupid 'headers' and such in soccer. I think you can see which requires more REAL intelligence here. QED.

And I won't even get into the comparisons with turning a 6-4-3 double play, or throwing a really good curve ball. Or hitting one.

Soccer. Really.

-"Don Brouhaha, knucklehead at large"