Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Brain differences in IQ

I suppose I rattle on rather a lot about IQ but the Left are so determined to ignore it that I feel a need to give countervailing attention to it. And as a much-published psychometrician myself I am in a good position to do so.

What no Leftist seems to want to believe is that IQ has a physical basis -- that smart people are born with better brains and there is not much you can do about it. Leftists hate that story because to them all the ills of society are due to things like "poverty" and it is only the deeds of a few evil people at the top who keep poor people in poverty. That a lot of poverty is due to the foolish decisions of the poor people concerned just cannot be allowed.

Anyway, there are quite a lot of brain differences that correlate with IQ but most of them require complicated instrumentation to detect. There is one, however, that can be examined very easily by anyone -- head size. People with bigger heads TEND (there are exceptions) to be smarter. The more grey matter you have, the smarter you are. Not really surprising but still anathema to the Left.

There is a research paper here which estimates that in the general population brain size (not quite the same as head size but closely related) correlates .50 with general intelligence. A correlation of .50 is quite huge in almost any study of human beings. Medical researchers would kill for a correlation like that. And the research was carried out by Phil Vernon -- one of the grand old men of psychometrics. And it was reported in one of the most widely cited journals in psychology. So even Leftists would find that hard to piss on. But the fact that Vernon studies such subjects at all makes him a "Fascist", of course.

Incidentally, autistic people, who very often have great mental abilities combined with poor social skills, also tend to have big heads and autism is an absolute plague in Silicon Valley, where you have to be REALLY smart to get anywhere. Anybody who has tried coding in "C" will know that. So it seems that, as with so many other things, you can overdo brain size too. When big-brained people in Silicon Valley mate they tend to have kids with even bigger brains and the result is a disaster. What seems to happen, as far as I can see, is that an extra large cerebral cortex firing into the rest of the brain overloads important centres in the rest of the brain. So the withdrawal that is typical of autistics is in fact an attempt to reduce stimulation that is already too great.


A unitary Iraq is a hopeless proposition

It’s about UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the so-called “International Compact” he intends to co-launch with Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki in Eygpt on Thursday. It has a lot of admirable words about the fundamental democratic rights of all Iraqi citizens, national reconciliation and the need to ensure the optimal use of the country’s resources for the common good. Noble stuff indeed; all very nice and civilised. But it’s when you get to the underlying philosophy that you realise what a load of flawed and tokenistic rubbish it really is. The plan is rooted in al-Maliki’s determination that Iraq be one united country despite the dreadful and unrelenting sectarian violence that is showing no sign of abating. In other words, it holds that Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again and that’s what the world should be working towards.

Why is the UN lending its efforts to this foolishness? Surely the time has come for the international community to dump the idea of One Iraq and start working towards partitioning the country so the killing can stop. A compelling case for the UN to adopt just such an approach was made in one of its own reports released just last week. The 11th quarterly report of the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq illuminated in graphic detail just how bad things have become.

As the UNAMI report says, the rising levels of violence, terrorist attacks and sectarian conflict are “increasingly acquiring a self-sustaining dynamic that could overwhelm the country’s fragile political processes and institutions”. If that’s not a powerful argument for partition I don’t know what is. If partition can stop people being murdered on a daily basis and ensure that kids get a decent feed and go to school, then why not? Why is the idea of One Iraq more important than that?

It means the UN should stop wasting its time trying to put all those pieces of Humpty Dumpty together and instead it should be working with the various stakeholders on the best ways to achieve two things - a peaceful partition as soon as possible and a fair and equitable means of dividing and distributing Iraq’s oil revenues after that is achieved. So far there are candidates in the US presidential race advocating the partition approach - Democrats Joe Biden and Bill Richardson and Republican Sam Brownback. There are bound to be more in the coming months.

More here (I hope Riehl World will not flay me for putting up this excerpt. He gets pretty heavy with any conservative bloggers who depart from current U.S. policy. I've got a thick hide, though and I have always thought that partition was the only way to go in Iraq. I even supported the sadly forgotten Biafra way back when).



TV debate last chance for desperate Segolene: "Segolene Royal, the left-wing finalist for the French presidency, has appeared to acknowledge that she needed a near-miracle from a debate on Wednesday to save her from defeat next Sunday by the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. As opinion polls showed Mr Sarkozy maintaining a five-point lead over the 53-year-old Socialist, Ms Royal threw caution to the winds and said that she could appoint Francois Bayrou, the centrist who was eliminated on April 22, as her prime minister. Ms Royal needs most of Mr Bayrou's seven million voters from the first round if she is to have a chance of defeating Mr Sarkozy, leader of the governing Union for a Popular Movement, on May 6."

Hillary's dishonesty coming out: "Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clinton's best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of "discrepancies" in her official story. Bernstein, who was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film All the President's Men, has spent eight years researching the unauthorised 640-page biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Senator Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past," said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, which publishes the book on June 19."

Fleeing France: "This Wednesday Marine Fretel, an intelligent, well-educated young French woman, will board a train to London. She has let her Paris flat, packed a large suitcase and said goodbye to family and friends. She does not expect to return. Fretel is one of the "Eurostar generation" of French professionals fleeing to London and other cities abroad in the hope of better careers in a land of opportunity. The farewell parties held each week in Paris are multiplying, and although the government puts a brave face on the exodus, this rush for the exit is an embarrassing symptom of chronic French woes as the country prepares to pick its new president. A dearth of jobs in France, the world's fifth largest economy, has turned London, less than three hours from Paris by Eurostar, into an eldorado for young professionals such as Fretel. Friends in London have told her that the British capital, unlike the one she is leaving behind, is a "city of dreams".... An estimated 300,000 French citizens live in Britain, which has the third largest expatriate community after Switzerland and America."


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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.

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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