Saturday, September 21, 2013

IQism, Racism and the Decay of the Great American University

To many psychologists, genius is simply a number that falls a certain number of standard deviations to the right of the mean on a bell curve. One of the longest running experiments on intelligence, however, suggests that true giftedness may depend as much on other factors like creativity and motivation. Since 1921, psychologists have studied a group of approximately 1500 children with an average IQ score of about 150 that were originally selected by Lewis Terman. The members of this group, known as the Termites, all grew up to be highly successful and productive, but not one of them achieved genius-level contributions. Genius seems to elude the best efforts of psychologists to capture its essence in a standardized test.
A Case Study of Genius, Ryan McPherson
The joy of racism is the sense it provides of innate superiority and, like being born into the aristocracy or inheriting a fortune, it provides an elevated status requiring no effort to maintain.

But being white no longer provides that advantage. If you're black or Jewish, OK, enjoy the psychic benefits of racism if you wish, but today white is rubbish and targeted for elimination as the dominant group within a generation, not only in America as proclaimed to applause by US President Bill Clinton during his 1998 commencement address at Portland State University, but across Europe.

So what is the alternative for those of idle disposition in need of a prop to their self-esteem? The answer, today, is IQism. By definition, half of us can beat an average score, and with a bit of test sophistication almost anyone can be above average. And if test preparation is not enough, a spoonful of glutamate before the test may give you an extra five to 25 points.

The American school system has done much to promote IQism. If SAT scores are all that really matters, a teacher's life is greatly simplified: preparing a class of restive adolescents for an IQ test is easier than inspiring them to high attainment in Greek or analytical algebra. What's more, the tests are scored by machine, which sure beats reading a stack of hand-written essays.

With the rise of IQism in America, top universities now select applicants for admission chiefly not on what they know, or on how effectively they apply what they know, but on a machine-scored test of facility in certain mental operations that measures neither judgment, nor passion, nor imagination.

But who cares if students, all of them fully adult, entering America's elite institutions of higher learning know virtually nothing: they're all really, really bright. No wonder so many students at Harvard cheat. Why bother with the books? If you're too poor to follow Ted Kennedy's example and pay someone else to sit the exam, by all means cheat in any other way you can. As a person of high IQ, your superiority is assured: the sweat of hard work, intellectual or otherwise, is for the lower grades of mankind.

Bizarrely, the SAT test was promoted by James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard University, to reduce the number of rich kids privileged by attendance at expensive private prep schools from being privileged by attendance at Harvard, an expensive private school. But as Charles Murray relates here the SAT test fails to predict academic performance of university entrants from poor schools any better than traditional subject-based entrance tests and thus is an expensive waste of time.

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