Category Archive 'IQ'

07 Jan 2019

Dumber Every Decade

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Audacious Epigone points to the combined ills of inflated credentials and the plague of student debt. In large sections of today’s America, everybody expects to go to college. Everybody expects to be an upper middle class boss of something. But not everybody is actually all that smart.

Today’s bachelor’s degree is the equivalent of a high school graduation certificate from fifty years ago, and today’s graduate degree falls short of a bachelor’s degree from a generation ago.

This is an inevitable consequence of increasing the share of the population that attends college. In the sixties, 10% of American adults had college degrees. Since then that figure has more than tripled, to 34% today.

To say we’re well into the territory of diminishing returns is to understate the problem–-we’re past the point of negative returns. Most Americans in college today are not benefiting from being there. They’re foregoing work to accrue debt for degrees that, if they increase earning power at all, do so only marginally and they’re picking up an unhelpful sense of entitlement in the process.


13 Apr 2015

The Inappropriately Excluded

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Michael Ferguson offers a plausible explanation for the intellectual mediocrity and conformism of our establishment elite: the establishment selects against overly high intelligence (!).

The probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession such as Physician, Judge, Professor, Scientist, Corporate Executive, etc. increases with IQ to about 133. It then falls about 1/3 by 140. By 150 IQ the probability has fallen by 97%! In other words, a significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded from the population that addresses the biggest problems of our time or who are responsible for assuring the efficient operation of social, scientific, political and economic institutions. This benefits neither the excluded group nor society in general. For society, it is a horrendous waste of a very valuable resource. For the high IQ person it is a personal tragedy commonly resulting in unrealized social, educational and productive potential. …

Over an extensive range of studies and with remarkable consistency, from Physicians to Professors to CEOs, the mean IQ of intellectually elite professions is about 125 and the standard deviationn is about 6.5. For example, Gibson and Light found that 148 members of the Cambridge University faculty had a mean IQ of 126 with a standard deviation of 6.3. The highest score was 139. J.D. Matarazzo and S.G. Goldstein found that the mean IQ of 80 medical students was 125 with a standard deviation of about 6.7. There was one outlier at 149, but the next highest score was 138. This means that 95% of people in intellectually elite professions have IQs between 112 and 138 99.98% have IQs between 99 and 151.

By dividing the distribution function of the elite professions’ IQ by that of the general population, we can calculate the relative probability that a person of any given IQ will enter and remain in an intellectually elite profession. We find that the probability increases to about 133 and then begins to fall. By 140 it has fallen by about 1/3 and by 150 it has fallen by about 97%. In other words, for some reason, the 140s are really tough on one’s prospects for joining an intellectually elite profession. It seems that people with IQs over 140 are being systematically, and likely inappropriately, excluded. With the conservative assumption that, absent the exclusionary processes, IQs above 133 neither help nor hinder the achievement of elite profession membership, the excluded population is distributed as shown above. If we assume that the positive correlation seen below 133 IQ continues above 133, the excluded population would be larger and the exclusion more complete.


This is a theory which explains so very much.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

02 Jan 2011

Cleverness Absent Intelligence

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Ferdinand Bardamu thinks that contemporary Western society is too clever by half, though not nearly intelligent enough, and argues that cleverness is considerably over-rated.

Most of the people and cultures we think of as smart are merely clever. The Chinese and Japanese are entire races of clever sillies, which is why China will never become a superpower (despite the braying of the self-appointed “experts”) and why Japan has been stuck in a recession ever since the 80′s, when those same “experts” said that THEY would take over the world. Clever sillies…. are problematic because they justify the life-destroying, culture-wrecking idiocies they push with their “smartness.” Feminism, socialism, neoliberalism, multiculturalism, political correctness – all of them are pushed by clever sillies who are witty enough to implement a policy but too stupid to understand why it’s a bad idea. (Note: I don’t exclude myself from this analysis. I’m willing to admit that I’m not that smart.)

This is a big part of the reason why I am so hard on nerds. Nerdiness is, at its core, a manifestation of clever silliness. Nerds and their fellow travelers conflate cleverness and intelligence and suffer – and make everyone else around them suffer – because of it. Being able to do complex math in your head or invent elaborate theories about the hidden meanings of Star Trek episodes does not make you smart, they just mean you’re good at wasting your brainpower on things that don’t matter. Modern society encourages cleverness and punishes intelligence, which is why Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner direct the American economy while the people who could actually fix the recession are virtual unknowns.

His comments were provoked by Alte‘s observation that too much intelligence seems to spell doom for a society.

There is a definite point where the benefits of additional intelligence are outweighed by the associated decline in female fertility. Once a population crosses a certain “IQ limit”, it begins to shrink dramatically and sink into massive debt (in an attempt to sustain its living standard despite a declining population). At that point, those of lower IQ will begin to outbreed those of higher IQ, the country will default on its debts, and enter a period of economic decline and austerity. This is simply the natural ebb-and-flow of civilization. Civilizational leadership then passes on to the next “up-and-coming” region (currently Oceania, then the BRICs [Brazil, Russia, India, China –JDZ], then Africa).

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