Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Unshattered intelligence

James Flynn has a rather curious article just up which is headed "shattering intelligence". That title would however seem to be more an aspiration than an achievement. The basic point of the article is that the environment can in some cases make a considerable difference to the development of a specific ability. But nobody has ever said otherwise. The estimates of how much of IQ is genetically determined usually range around two thirds. The other third is environmental.

So, other than the title, Flynn's article is perfectly conventional psychometrics. He explains well that there is a high degree of generality to intellectual ability (IQ or 'g') and that efforts to improve on the environmental contribution to IQ tend to have only temporary success. The genetic influence keeps re-asserting itself.

His recommendation for improving one's IQ -- that one should immerse oneself in intellectual pursuits -- is fair enough. That should be of some small help in some problem solving. But if you are not pretty smart to start with you are just not likely to immerse yourself in that sort of thing. And if you are very bright, you almost cannot help yourself from getting immersed in intellectual pursuits. You just find complex things interesting and simple things boring. I think Flynn has put the cart before the horse and is not going very far that way.

For all that, his latest article reveals Flynn as much closer to the facts than he once was. His Leftist biases have led him into some pretty strange claims in the past.



How frustrating for miserable Leftists: "American voters are generally happy with their own lives. Eighty-six percent of Americans say they are content with their jobs, according to the General Social Survey. Seventy-six percent of Americans say they are satisfied with their family income, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Sixty-two percent of Americans expect their personal situation to get better over the next five years, according to a Harris Poll, compared with only 7 percent who expect it to get worse. Researchers from Pew found that 65 percent of Americans are satisfied over all with their own lives - one of the highest rates of personal satisfaction in the world today."

Mr. Perks goes to Lansing: "One newspaper calls Leon Drolet, head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, 'a bully.' State Rep. Ed Gaffney calls him a 'brown-shirted, knuckle-dragging thug.' The Detroit Free Press calls him 'One of the most unpopular figures in Lansing,' Michigan's capital. What does all this name-calling mean? It means Drolet and the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance (MTA) are having a real impact. You see, the political establishment -- from politicians to special interests -- want to raise taxes. The Michigan Taxpayers Alliance does not want a tax hike. The group wants state government to make do with less, just as Michigan taxpayers are having to do during their state's recession."

Anti-Photo ID Legislation Would Promote Election Fraud, Says Group: "Legislation introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) to prohibit photo ID requirements for voting in federal elections would promote election fraud, say members of the black leadership network Project 21. "Representative Ellison's proposal is fundamentally flawed and potentially harmful to the integrity of our democratic process," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "Why invite that which can only lead to unimaginable fraud and corruption?" Imposing existing Minnesota election law on a national scale, the "Voter Access Protection Act of 2007" (H.R. 4026) would ban the use of photo ID for voter verification in federal elections. Rep. Ellison calls photo ID requirements "burdensome" and liken them to a "modern-day poll tax." He further charges that the Bush Administrations enforcement of voting rights issues effectively promotes "voter suppression of minorities, seniors and young people."

Saving Afghan kids: "About 90,000 children who would have died before the age of 5 under Taleban rule in Afghanistan will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care, according to President Karzai, who thanked international aid agencies and Afghan health workers yesterday. The under5 mortality rate has declined from an estimated 257 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to about 191 per 1,000 in 2006, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Some 250,000 underfives are still dying each year mainly from malnutrition, TB and malaria."

Lucky Belgium. No government! ""Belgium is heading for a record 150 days with no government unless the Christian Democrat and Liberal election winners resolve a spat blocking their bid to form a coalition. ... There is no deadline for forming a government, but the deadlock could lead some politicians to break from the effort and force the King to appoint a different Prime Minister-designate for new negotiations. Belgium faces the 150-day mark without a government on Wednesday."

Despite the Gloom, More Bush Boom: "If things are so bad, why are they so good? With all the gloom coming out of Wall Street, the Democrats on the campaign trail, and the mainstream media, a remarkable thing just happened: Real gross domestic product, the best summary report of the American economy, came in at a breathtaking 3.9 percent annual rate for the third quarter. In fact, following the 3.8 percent growth rate for the second quarter, the U.S. economy has posted its strongest quarterly growth in four years. The economy actually appears to be speeding up, following the relatively sluggish performance of the prior 18 months."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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