Saturday, February 14, 2009

IQ rediscovered -- including its heritability and its link to social class

Charles Murray documented all this years ago. Vocabulary is the best single predictor of IQ. Including gestures in vocabulary does however give the new study some originality.
Children who communicate using a wide variety of gestures at the age of 14 months have a much larger vocabulary at age four-and-a-half, and fare much better in school, a study said. [Something that IQ studies told us long ago]

Researchers from the University of Chicago worked with 50 Chicago-area families with different social backgrounds, filming children and their careers during ordinary activities at home for 90-minute sessions. The study, published in the journal Science, found that "differences in child gesture could be traced to differences in parent gesture."

On top of that, psychologist Meredith Rowe said the study found that socioeconomic status differences are clearly evident in the initial stages of language learning. Fourteen-month-old children from "high-income, well-educated families used gesture to convey an average of 24 different meanings," said the researchers in a statement. Same-aged children from lower-income families conveyed only 13 different meaningful gestures. The differences continued on into the child's command of vocabulary in school, the study said.

"Child gesture could play an indirect role in word learning by eliciting timely speech from parents, for example, in response to her child's point at a doll, mother might say 'yes, that's a doll,' thus providing a word for the object that is the focus of the child's attention," the authors wrote in the report. Vocabulary is a "key predictor of school success and is a primary reason why children from low-income families enter school at a greater risk of failure than their peers from advantaged families," said co-author Susan Goldin-Meadow.


The irrational Leftist obsession with their "All men are equal" myth has led to IQ becoming a banished topic -- so the authors above may in fact have been simply unaware that what they had rediscovered was IQ. Certainly, anyone familiar with the IQ research would have predicted all of their findings.

The ban on even thinking about IQ does lead to a lot of follies, particularly in the education field. Vast efforts are made, for instance, to get average black educational achievement up to white levels. But no matter what bright ideas the educators try, the gap stubbornly remains. Again, anybody familiar with average black IQ scores would have predicted that result and told the educators to stop wasting time and money and direct their efforts in more profitable directions. If your theory is wrong, you won't get the results you expect and the results that the educators get certainly falsify their theories regularly -- while the same results validate the IQ concept.

Another folly -- this time in research about secondhand smoke -- that was brought on by ignoring IQ is set out on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog today.



Bipartisan "stimulus" nonsense: "The cynicism and shallowness of politics have been abundantly on display throughout the debate over the 'stimulus' bill. The Democrats insult the intelligence of the American people by peddling the following sophistry: Republicans were big spenders when they controlled the government. Republican criticism of Democrats for being big spenders is hypocrisy. Therefore, arguments against big government spending are invalid."

Obama "bipartisanhip" sinks without trace: "Obama is not having a good start to his presidency..... all in all it is clear that Obama is not succeeding in allaying people's fears about the economy, reforming ethics standards, or changing the "tone" in Washington. He's failing to deliver the change he campaigned on. I was unwilling to say this before, but Judd Gregg's withdrawal has really changed the equation. The stimulus bill has become a political fiasco. He has too many poorly vetted appointees. And as bad as only receiving three Republican votes for the stimulus bill in both houses of Congress was for signifying a new tone of bipartisanship, it doesn't compare to the crippling embarrassment of Republican Judd Gregg withdrawing his nomination as commerce Secretary. I'm giving Obama a single setback today for Gregg's withdrawl, but really it should count as more. It signals that there is little remaining hope for a new, bipartisan tone in Washington, and it is a profound and symbolic denouncement of Obama's stimulus bill." [Background on the Gregg withdrawal here]

Prosperity in a crisis: "What is most remarkable about the public debate about the stimulus bill is not the partisan bickering or even the astonishing price tag of the bill's congressional pet projects. Rather, it is the lack of an open debate among policymakers about what kinds of activity a 'stimulus' bill is supposed to, well, stimulate. We are on the verge of committing more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars to "stimulate" the economy with very little explanation by the nation's political leaders about how the bill will jump-start much of anything. At its current price tag, if the bill were divided equally as cash payments among American households, each family would get approximately $6000. Without a clear idea of what needs 'stimulating,' one cannot say why a healthy rebate check for each family is any less of a good idea than spending vast sums on projects whose dubious relationship to economic recovery members of Congress would rather have us ignore."

Free market bashing: "Since the inception of the current downturn, free market capitalism has taken quite the bashing. Supporters of significant government involvement in the economy deride the horrors of `unfettered capitalism' and a `free market run amuck.' Frequently, deregulation of capital markets is singled out as the most dastardly culprit, to which Pres. Obama seems to be alluding when he blames `relying on the worn-out dogmas of the past,' and `too little regulatory scrutiny.' Yet, after the last eight years in which we witnessed Sarbanes-Oxley, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and numerous attempts to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shoved aside by legislators, evidence of unregulated economic activity being the source of our crisis seems rather scant."

Free markets are, sadly, a myth: "In today's fiasco there is a lot [of] consternation about whether the free or the regulated market produced the mess. But there has not been a free market in place anywhere for many decades and even before then it has had only a limited scope in the economies of most countries. Politicians always took it for granted that they may manipulate the market, regiment market agents, both in small localities where they passed blue laws and curfews, and in the larger community where they passed protectionist laws and subsidies for faltering industries. Many other examples could be listed but the main point is that no free market has ever existed, not under Lincoln, nor Wilson, nor Hoover, certainly not FDR, or Eisenhower, Reagan or Bush. And it certainly isn't likely to exist under Barack Obama."

Bills would limit use of "state secrets": "House and Senate committees yesterday introduced bills that would sharply curtail the government's use of the 'state secrets' privilege, a policy used by President Bush to argue that a lawsuit involving allegations of torture should be dismissed - and a position that the Obama administration has now adopted. . The move surprised the court, angered the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case, and caused some legal observers to question why President Obama - who entered office vowing an open, transparent government that would reject harsh interrogations - would adopt Bush's position in a high-profile case alleging torture."

Obama's regulatory chief believes in paternalistic government: "The old joke runs, `I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' Most Americans are appropriately skeptical of such a claim, just as they are skeptical when told that they've won $10 million in a Nigerian lottery. But President Obama's selection of Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein to direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs threatens to turn this joke into grim reality. Sunstein is most famous for his approach to government regulation known as `libertarian paternalism,' detailed in his book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (co-authored with Richard Thaler). The basic premise of libertarian paternalism is that the government should use its power to `nudge' people into acting in their best interest, while leaving them the choice to `opt out.'"

Ending welfare reform as we knew it: "Pres. Barack Obama vowed to correct the mistakes of the Bush administration but instead is determined to undo one of the great successes of the Clinton years: welfare reform. Democrats have inserted provisions into the catch-all stimulus bill that will reverse Clinton-era welfare reform, re-establishing the wasteful, incentive-killing system whose transformation was the bipartisan pride of the 1990s."

The conservative-libertarian alliance: "The conservative-libertarian alliance is as fundamental as it is often troubling. There are three ways in which libertarians and conservatives are ultimately the same (and in which conservatives and libertarians differ radically from progressives): (1) Libertarians and conservatives agree on what kind of thing government is. (2) They agree on what humans are. (3) They experience themselves in the same way. That is, the basic libertarian and conservative positions are consonant with respect to (1) the ontology of government, (2) anthropology, and (3) personality. . Government is a physical power. Progressives, on the other hand, experience governmental power as being economic. Starting from the progressive view of government, you come to see government as a potential partner or donor. Starting from the libertarian/conservative view, however, you come to see government as a potential threat, whose only virtue is that it can minimize other threats."


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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