An Open Letter on IQ and Eugenics

 

I wrote this to a regular reader, always polite, who has a particular fixed idea. His idea is that IQ tests prove certain races to be superior to others, ergo identity politics and collectivism must govern human polities. This is used as a basis for rejecting Christian notions about equality in the eyes of God, and republican notions about equally protecting the natural rights of man.

As politely as I can, I would like to dismiss any eager missionary of this collectivist cult of eugenics, unless and until one of you comes up with an argument or bit of evidence that is not a mere tired repetition of talking points long ago exploded.

So allow me to use the same words in an open letter to all member of the Junk Science cult of IQ as I used to him.

Dear True Believer,

I would venture to say that your attempts to argue me out of the Christian, American, and healthy worldview which judges each individual by his individual merit in order to adopt your pagan, uncivilized and sick worldview of punishing the innocent who are members of disfavored groups and rewarding the guilty who are members of favored groups has exactly zero chances of success.

To restate your conclusions over and over and over again, without ever once examining the flawed premises on which they are based, is not persuasive.

IQ is junk science because it pretends to measure an imponderable, which is impossible by definition; and because it does not and can not control its variables.

IQ tests, like beauty contests, takes a quantitative measure of what amounts to the number of instances a judge makes a judgement call about an imponderable. It does not measure the imponderable. A girl who has won the local, regional, state, and national beauty contest, and who is crowned Miss World and Miss Universe may indeed be more winsome  than a girl who has only won two local beauty contests: but she is not more beautiful in the ratio of 6:2.

Beauty is not a thing that comes in units. It is not a measurable quantity. Likewise for intelligence.

Counting the number of times she wins a contest, or counting the number of times a judge assesses an answer on a test to be within the limits of a correct answer, does not make the underlying reality something open to being quantified.

Does this mean a high score on an IQ test means nothing? But no means. It means about as much, or about as little, as winning a beauty contest, or counting the number of times someone has won a Hugo Award in science fiction for best non-pro magazine. You can be sure a man who aces IQ tests is clever with tests and is not buffaloed when it comes to abstract thought. Likewise, a girl who wins beauty contests can be assumed to be fit and pretty and know how to walk in heels.

But it is not science. Attempts to give such tests the prestige of science are humbug.

IQ science does not make predictions, aside from the common sense predictions one might see predicting, for example, that a beauty contest winner or a star athlete will receive more applause and attention than an ugly girl or an weak and awkward boy.

The number of beauty queens who go on to careers as actresses can also be counted, but the number is not a scientific measurement of a material thing. It is an historical number, like counting the number of kings of England or the number of wars fought in the Eighteenth Century.

But, again, ugliness and awkwardness are not physical properties that can be measured, they are spiritual, mental, or behavioral properties which have a physical manifestation, or they are spiritual or mental judgments relating the physical to the non physical.

Science, on the other hand, real science, has to do with studying the physical properties of physical objects and deducing the ratios that are constant in repeated iterations of similar motions.

Any statement which cannot, in theory, be reduced to a statement about mass, length, duration, current, luminous intensity, temperature, moles of substance, is not a scientific statement, and is not, even in theory, open to confirmation by purely empirical means.

Since wisdom, quickwittedness, a talent for math or for poems, or booklearning, or skill at manipulating words or for visualizing spatial relations in one’s imagination, or a knack for abstract thought are all related to symbols (that is the correlative between the sign and the thing signified) they cannot be reduced to things signified.

And, again, wisdom, quickwittedness, a talent for math or for poems, or booklearning, or skill at manipulating words or for visualizing spatial relations, or a knack for abstract thought can none of them be expressed in terms of grams, meters, seconds, amperes, candlepower, degrees kelvin, moles.

Now, to stave off the predictable strawman attack, allow me to say that I do not say IQ means nothing. As a general way to assess a man’s ability to take tests, it is unobjectionable.

As a predictor of crime rates in a given population, I would not be surprised if it were about as accurate as beauty contests. (The number of beauty queens involved in crimes is low, when compared to a general population.)

I would also say it IQ test scores are a good predictor for how well, for example, a student might do in law school, in much the same way that counting how often a girl wins a beauty contest is a good predictor for how well she will doing in a modeling career.

But this does not mean that beauty is a thing science can measure or study. While certain aspects of beauty are clearly genetic (pretty mothers often have daughters who are also pretty, due to family resemblance) so too are certain aspects of booklearning and wit and sobriety and an aptitude for law school.

None of this means that there is a lawschool gene or a legal gene.

Some might argue that IQ must be measuring something, on the grounds that whites and blacks, on average, form a different bell curve of test scores, even among folks of similar backgrounds and upbringing.

This is a circular argument: it says that everything is either nature or nurture, either genetics or education. Since education cannot improve innate aptitude for intelligence (by definition, for then it is not innate), therefore the innate aptitude for booklearning must be genetic … because… uh … well what else can it be?

Persuasive as that argument seems at first, it is merely assuming its own conclusion.

The question itself assumes nature and nurture are the sole contributors to a man’s personality and fate, which common sense also denies. Saint Mary was born immaculate of sin, despite being a daughter of Eve’s sinful race, and raised by Saint Anne, a sinner.

The argument between nature and nurture is a philosophical, not a scientific one, since the two influences cannot be studied in isolation, no, not even in studies of twins raised separately.

All one can say for certain is that the position at one extreme, saying men are born as blank slates on which experience writes as it will is as easily seen to be false as the position at the other, saying men are entirely the product of their bloodline, and that upbringing changes nothing. That musical talent ran through the Bach family would explode the one; that Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius explodes the other. Common sense abolishes both positions.

So if IQ tests do not mean that IQ is genetic, what do they mean?

I think they mean only what they say they mean: some men are good at booklearning, or a visualizing spatial relations, or at grasping abstract concepts.

What do they not mean?

What IQ does not mean is that some races of men are inferior to other races as a whole, ergo each individual in the race is inferior.

It does not mean we should include or exclude groups based on IQ rather than based on, say, a common judgement about their unlawfulness or capacity for civilized behavior or the sincerity of their Christian faith.

As for blacks in America, if they are inferior genetic stock, well, any descendants of slaves were brought here against their will. The idea of excluding them because they are heathens and savages is not an option. Such is our penance for the sins of our ancestors. The only solution is to be blind to their color and to judge each man by his individual merit or demerit.

This means neither condemning Negroes to harsher penalties in the legal system, nor rewarding them with affirmative action for having the lucky skin color. This means silencing all talk of racism and silencing all race-baiting, political correctness, race hatred, and identity politics.

The only solution is to silence or kill the Left, who continually appeal to the most savage instincts of the blacks in America, and who trap them in school systems designed to drive down their precious IQ scores.

Those who point out that other minorities, such as the Irish, brought here as indentured servants, have not been trapped as entirely as the blacks seem to think inferior black nature is to blame, and not the racism of the Left, who have made the blacks a particular target of their schemes for the last century or more: an attention no other minority has ever received.

You see, even if the blacks were in some sense less intelligent on average than whites, and the yellow man in some sense more intelligent, it has no bearing on their innate, natural rights, and it cannot serve as a justification to legal discrimination for or against the individuals.

If I am the smartest man in the room, and suddenly twelve idiot members of my race enter the room, statistically speaking, I am now a member of a group with a below average racial intelligence score. But I have not changed. A legal bar or a legal leg-up to me based on my race’s average IQ is logically irrelevant to any talent, aptitude, or personal quality I possess. In this case, I am being punished or rewarded because twelve idiots rushed into the room, but I have not changed an iota. If the social policy means to grant me rewards or punishments based on anything other than a behavior I can change, it is an injustice.

As I have said, I have a friend who believes in astrology. It is also junk science. She can point me to times when the horoscope and the events following have a clear correlation. But since I do not believe in the metaphysical theory on which astrology is based (i.e. paganism), no empirical data has any persuasive power to me.

Likewise, in the case of IQ eugenicists, since I do not believe the metaphysical theory on which IQ tests are based (i.e. unicorn dust fairy magic), any apparent correlation between one imponderable and another imponderable (such as IQ test scores and law school performance) has no persuasive power to me.

I see nothing wrong with letting a student pass or fail his classes based on his test scores, without any inquiry into his family tree to count the number of Slavs, Teutons, or Gaels in his pedigree.

I have no beef with someone who looks at inner city negros in America, or at white yobos in London slums, and says that they are unemployable.

Someone who claims that the mystic stars or mystic genes have the fairy magic power to curse the negro or the yobo, however, believes in witchcraft, and I do not.

Those unemployable, violent, adulterous, drunks either in London or Chicago are descended from men who had far fewer signs of savagery and barbarism marring their history.

I have often mentioned how the marriage rate was higher during the antebellum days among blacks, even among slaves, than it is among modern day Chicago blacks. I suspect you will find a similar statistic for slum dwellers in Queen Victoria’s time, when a concerted effort was made to improve the moral turpitude of the poor, and encourage Christian marriage.

You see, even if everything you say about inferior races is true, it is irrelevant. A stupid man can be tempted by the Dems to be even stupider, and to riot, no matter his IQ, just as a stupid man can be urged and pressured by the laws and customs and spirit of a Christian nation to marry his woman and raise his own kids.

I cannot change another man’s genetic predisposition to booklearning, or whatever make-believe it is IQ tests allegedly measure. By definition, such tests attempt to measure an aptitude or innate characteristic, not a property education can change.

But I can silence his tempters, or scourge them, or hang them by the neck until dead, before the tempters tempt the stupid men to riot, in order to preserve the public peace.

And, who knows? If we eliminate illiteracy among the poor, maybe they will suddenly develop, or some of them, an aptitude to booklearning which superstitious people like those who believe in IQ tests will attribute to their genes or their stars or whatever.

It has happened in the past with Irishmen. their genes improved in one generation of being in America, away from British landlords, or so eugenicists of IQ would have us believe.

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