Monday, April 19, 2004


Although I am a psychometrician by trade, my specialty is the measurement of attitudes and personality rather than the measurement of ability so I don't regularly follow the academic literature on IQ. I have been doing a bit of catch-up reading lately, however, and continue to be amazed at the gyrations Leftist psychologists go through in order to reach ideologically acceptable conclusions. One of the people best known for disparaging the importance of IQ (general problem-solving ability) is Robert Sternberg. He acknowledges the reality of IQ but says it is only one of three types of important mental functioning that can be measured.

But the other two he puts forward are pretty desperate proposals. The second one he himself summarizes as "street smarts" so is nothing more than knowledge of a particular culture or environment -- and nobody has ever disputed that you need both intelligence and knowledge to solve problems well. So while knowledge is important, to refer to it as an "ability" is evasive. And his third alternative is creativity -- which again seems reasonable at first. The problem with creativity, however, is that there appears to be no such thing. Different indices of creativity often fail to correlate with one another. You can be creative in one field and not in another. I myself, for instance, am highly creative at scientific writing or I would not have 250+ academic papers in print -- but I would not be able to write a novel for nuts. So although problem-solving ability is demonstrably general -- which is why we have the concept of IQ -- creativity is not. So Sternberg is still left with IQ as the single useful generalization about abilities.

And the criticisms of his work simply seem to have driven Sternberg to retreat further and further into dishonesty. He simply ignores whole bodies of data -- including things he had acknowledged in his own earlier work -- as Linda Gottfredson (PDF) points out.



Iran's role in the recent uprising in Iraq Iraq uprising planned and funded by Tehran's murderous Mullahs who have put al-Sadr on their payroll.
"My Battalion is Right in the Middle of Sadr's Challenge" Iraq is not the disaster bad news that you are seeing on CNN and other networks.
How the left debased the 9-11 tragedy and turned it into a Bush-bashing media carnival Not content with politicizing the deaths of their own loved ones, these people had the gross indecency to try and politicise the deaths of others whose closest relatives are still grieving.
No Excuse This Time Around It's so bad it's almost impossible for any speaker who is Jewish or from Israel to speak on campus. The Arab coalition and their clueless, Jew-hating supporters are strong and the universities have been greatly weakened by the politically correct dribble that is being taught to the students there.
A socialist journalist bags laissez faire and tax cuts Defending the free market from a journalist's vicious libels.

Details here


No comments: