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Dracos Donating Member (318 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 04:56 PM
Original message
A conservative “scholar” wants to keep students out of college
Charles Murray would rather you didn’t go to college. It probably won’t prepare you for any occupation, and, odds are, you’re not smart enough to benefit from a college education anyway. You shouldn’t feel bad – you were born this way. And those lucky few who form the cognitive elite? Well, their “spread of wealth at the top of American society has created an explosive increase in the demand for craftsmen.” So drop those books and grab your hammer. You’ll be just fine, and society will be saved from its futile attempts to make you any smarter.

But Charles Murray probably isn’t worth listening to. A senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Murray became infamous as co-author of The Bell Curve, a controversial work of pseudo-scientific racism published in 1993. The book argued that IQ is the strongest and most consistent predictor of future success, that intelligence is largely inherited, and that low-intelligence is especially prevalent among African-Americans. Trusting that mathematically-derived psychometrics were objective and above scrutiny, with journalists lacking the expertise to prove otherwise, mainstream publications treated the book relatively uncritically. Murray made the supporting evidence for this research available only after most of the outrage died down By the time The Bell Curve was thoroughlydiscredited for its logical fallacies and simple errors, the damage had been done.
Full Story; http://campusprogress.org/features/1420/murrays-morons
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. The Bell Curve was just a replay of old, discredited ideas first presented by
Artur Jensen, a prof of ed psych at Berkeley, in a 1968 Harvard Ed Review paper.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. 'The Bell Curve' is very flawed scientifically apart from all else.
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 05:34 PM by LeftishBrit
It seems to be proposing 5 main principles, of which only 2 have ANY basis in fact.

(1) IQ predicts social and occupational success. Yes, it does - but prediction does not equal 'cause'.

(2) Within a group, genes contribute to variations in IQ. Yes, there is strong evidence that they do to some extent; less clear to what extent.

(3) The evidence mentioned in (2) suggests that genes are a major cause of IQ differences BETWEEN groups. No evidence has been obtained for this - and one recent study casts serious doubt on it. This was a twin study by Turkheimer et al (2003), which suggested that genes contribute strongly to variations in IQ in a well-off sample, but very little to variations in IQ in a poor sample. In other words, genes become more important where environment is adequate, but are much less important where many people are suffering environmental deprivation.

(4) The fact that genes contribute something to IQ variation means that nothing can be done about IQ. Not so. E.g. children from very deprived families or institutions can show massive IQ increases after being adopted into a supportive family. And something is making people nowadays have higher IQs than their parents and grandparents did (see below).

(5) As people with lower IQs reproduce more than people with those with higher IQs, we will become less genetically intelligent over time. Therefore, people with low IQs, and generally poor people as they are seen as more likely to have low IQs, should not receive too much 'welfare', as this will only encourage them to reproduce and reduce the overall IQ of the population.

Actually this theory has been put forward ever since IQ tests were invented 100 years ago, and there's been plenty of time to actually test it. And it's wrong. Average IQ has not gotten lower with time. In fact, in all the countries where it's been studied, the average IQ has been getting steadily higher (the so-called 'Flynn effect').

Unfortunately, it seems that Herrnstein and Murray's IQs have not shared in the Flynn effect! They seem to be throwbacks in that way, as well as in others.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Doesn't matter much. It's still thoroughly believed by a *certain* segement of America.
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. IQ score can't be correlated to and is not predictive of ability nor success.
W is proof of that.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. Yes, of course. Your analysis is pretty good.
The fundamental, inaccurate assumption has to do with the nature of the heritability coefficient. In environmentally homogeneous populations (e.g. nice middle-class, stable homes with adequate diet, cognitive stimulation, etc.), the between-family environmental variation is relatively insignificant, thereby both decreasing total IQ variance & magnifying the amount of the remaining IQ variance to be accounted for by within-group genetic variation. This assumption falls apart when you try to generalize it to other, more environmentally heterogeneous groups where the environmental contributions to total variance may be much larger.

In his 1968 paper, Jensen relied heavily on the old Cyril Burt twin studies, which in 1976 or '77 were shown to be fraudulent. Burt claimed heritability coefficients of about .80 in his samples. I don't know that anyone has replicated his findings.

Incidentally, Hans Eysenck was my academic "grandfather;" I did my PhD at Wisconsin with Frank Farley, who had studied under Eysenck.

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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
4. Hmmm, cognitive elite vs intellectually elite vs business elite...
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 05:41 PM by HypnoToad
Those are 3 different arenas, and there are many others - how long shall we deliberate? Artistic elite, technical elite... whatever. And that microcephalic nitwit should be smart enough to realize there are MANY forms of intelligence; more than what his inadequate comprehension can understand, it seems.
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. Pet peeve
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 06:16 PM by sleebarker
In school I was identified as "gifted". Took the SAT in 7th grade and got a 570 on verbal (in 1993, so at least two recenterings ago and before analogies were taken out) and went to Duke's TIP program (got a full scholarship each summer based on need) and all that. So sure, if you think IQ is real and means anything, I probably have a high one.

My parents were both factory workers and my father died when I had just turned seven without a will, which meant that we lost our house. Let's just say that if I hadn't had my mental breakdown when I got to college, I just might have been able to scrape through and get a four year degree from the public state school I went to. There definitely wasn't enough money in the family coffers for enough years at private prestigious schools for a PhD, which is why I get so frigging upset when people say "Well, if you're so intelligent, why aren't you out curing cancer?" and stupid shit like that.

As it is, the associate's degree I have hasn't been proved to be worth anything and hasn't gotten me any jobs. Hard to believe that two more years of school would have made a big difference in that. Actually, one of our leasing agents graduated from the school that I left. I seriously doubt he makes much more than I do and he's a lot less happy.

So...thus far, the high IQ hasn't magically translated into material riches.

IQ is not a good predictor of future material success. The amount of money that your parents have is the best predictor of future material success, and this Murray dude wants to keep it that way.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Why did dying without a will lose the house?
That usually just means state intestacy distribution rules apply.
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Those rules could force the house to be sold, and the proceeds divided up amongst several heirs.
Just a guess. :shrug:
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. There was a wife.
She would have received everything under the intestacy rules of 50/50 states.

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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Yeah, you're right. I knew that, honest! D'oh!
Clearly, more info is needed to explain this situation.
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Caria Donating Member (241 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Young widows with young children
often find themselves in terrible financial positions - too much debt, not enough equity, and little hope of making enough money to keep up with the mortgage.

And then if there are children from a previous relationship, they (or their guardians) can force the sale of a house to get whatever is their share of the equity.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #24
35. However, that's not what the original poster said.
He said they lost the house because the father died intestate.

Were you there too?
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. My AAS degree didn't land me a relevant job either...
I'm going back for my Bachelors', I've nothing to lose and education is a good thing, who cares what any naysayer says. Life is a gamble enough as it is. But the law of probability, the B.S. I get may ultimately be BS. Dunno. There is no safe field right now, and it's weird when people tell me to see which fields are safe. No, there aren't any. But one can either quit and press on. I chose to press on, and trust me, I've read books and picked up equipment to do something very nasty to myself (I've since then discarded it all and see a counselor on a regular basis.)

I do agree with what you say, don't get my ramblings wrong, and I do also want to welcome you to DU! :pals:
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Hello, sleebarker- welcome to DU!
:hi:
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Cabcere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. Maybe Mr. Murray is just
feeling a little bit threatened? :shrug: I'm no expert on the subject, but I do remember learning in my comparative politics class last year that there is a statistically significant correlation between education level and political ideology. Of course it's not 100% true all the time, but the global trend shows that the better educated people are, the more likely they are to be more politically liberal/"leftist." (I doubt very much Mr. Murray is concerned about this, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, anyway.) :)
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
7. Still peddling
the same old shit, Murray is.

Is there some way we could get him addicted to Night Train and make him sleep on park benches?

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zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
8. I thought the "educated elite" were aborting all pregnancies.
Wouldn't that then result in an overwhelming majority of conservatives? Boggles the mind, freeptard logic ... you'd think that, if liberals were not producing offspring via abortion, then the conservatives would be all for abortions ...
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
10. *
"Cognitive elite"? Fuck you, Murray.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
16. George W Bush, dumbest person in history, got a college degree and is president now
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 07:35 PM by ComerPerro
wonder what the "scholar" would say about that?

Surely Bush's education wasn't bought and paid for, right?
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
17. I Happen to Agree With Him - *Sort of* - But for VERY Different Reasons
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 07:52 PM by Crisco
1. Mergers and consolidations are wiping out mid-level white-collar jobs across the board. Those who thrive are those who have the personality traits of aggression coupled with self-promotion. It's one thing to put yourself on a spinning wheel to get to the top, but to get to the *middle?* Is it worth sacrificing the time?

2. Higher education is an industry that exists to profit and, increasingly, take over *training* of even low-level employees, training that was once the financial investment of the companies doing the hiring. We had two interns from the ORD program at Vanderbilt last year. Part of their requirements for getting a BA was taking an unpaid internship 32 hours per week! They paid over 10k each to work - nearly full-time - for and train with us! How fucked up is that?

In my wildest dreams, academia decides to completely eliminate "me too" degrees and return to the basics - Economics, Liberal Arts, Law. On edit: an even better dream: students themselves wise-up and take the broader programs.

3. IQ has nothing to do with it. The highest IQ boy I went to high school with (over 130) makes saddles for a living.

4. There is an outcry for well-made goods, and there are people who can afford to go beyond IKEA and other mass-produced crap. Antiques stores carry very little well-made items of popular styles from the 1960s on, because there were so little that were well-made. And it's only going to get worse. Tastes evolve beyond Louis 14 and Art Deco, you know?


The downside: you have to deal with idiots who have more money than brains.
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
18. Only 25% of Americans have a college degree anyway; he wants a smaller elite?
Who's paying for his research I wonder?
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
19. I know a man who is a real penny-pincher.
He isn't a genius. I think he works in the pesticide business. But he's really careful with his money and I suspect he and his wife will retire wealthy. But I think he wants his kids to go to college.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
21. I wanna know how this guy keeps his ass from getting kicked or worse.
Serious. How does he get away with it?
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
23. That racialist fuckwit again?
I've always thought that the supposed IQ differences between whites and blacks was because minorities didn't get as much out of the Flynn Effect then whites because of socio-economic factors. I would guess that people who grow up in very poor areas don't get as much good nutrition and intellectual stimulation then the population at large, and those factors are believed to be what is behind the Flynn Effect.
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Downtown Hound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 11:41 PM
Response to Original message
25. Probably because he knows that a freshman
in college can rip all of his bullshit to shreds. One of the things we did in our anthropology class was tear "The Bell Curve" apart.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
26. He's a corporatist: he wants lumpen proletariat to exploit. His earlier racist claptrap ...
... was intended to create consensus to exploit non-Aryans.

Since he merely produces propaganda serving specific class interests, nothing he writes really deserves the honor of specific refutation
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
27. Kinda funny how well things line up
I mean, the people you deny an education to for fifty years just happen to be the same people who do poorly on tests... wow. I guess he must be totally right.
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ftr23532 Donating Member (334 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
28. Here's some info on the groups that provided the data for much of the Bell Curve's findings
Much of the Bell Curve's evidence was based on the "research" from the publication Mankind Quarterly, which has been often charged with being pseudo-scientific publication that provides "scientific" evidence for white supremacist ideology. One of its founders is Roger Pearson, a "racialist" from Europe brought over to the US by Willis Carto of the far-Right Liberty Lobby. Pearson was both an editor of the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review publication in the 70's and ran the US branch of Reverend Moon's World Anti-Communist League (WACL) around this same time (Pearson had to step down Policy Review when the WaPo reported on all the fascists infesting WACL).

Mankind Quarterly is funded by the rather controversial Pioneer Fund, which Pearson is also closely affiliated with. Some other notable figures from the Pioneer Fund include Tom Ellis (here's more on him) and J. Phillip Rushton, who recently made an appearance on CNN discussing research that showed males are, on average, more intelligence the females. This is all part of the larger and older history of far-Right groups promoting fascistic agendas.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
29. Conservatives are at it again.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 07:00 AM
Response to Original message
30. It's the Leo Strauss of education! nt
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
31. Serious question
Not meaning to be inflammatory but I have a question.

If good nutrition, education and mental stimulation are what leads to increased IQ then why has the human race evolved steadily increasing intelligence in the first place?

Hunter gatherers are often near starvation, they lack formal education and the amount of mental stimulation is as low as what one might find in the average ghetto.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. Your model of hunter gatherers is flawed
Edited on Sun Feb-11-07 10:21 AM by HamdenRice
First on mental stimulation. Hunting/gathering is incredibly, mentally challenging. Most of us, raised on supermarket shopping, would die in a week in a relatively wild environment, even one teeming with game. They had to memorize vast amounts of knowledge about animal migrations, change of seasons, medicinal and poisonous plants, paths through forests, how to make stone and later metal tools, clothing, ornaments -- all kept in their heads because they didn't have the benefit of writing. In addition to this encyclopedic knowledge, they had time to stuff their minds further with folk tales, family and tribal history, spirit quests, and other mystical knowledge.

Hunter/gatherers are generally much more mentally challenged than us, possess far more information, and are constantly "in school" learning from elders and the environment. By contrast, we deal in one kind of information -- the kind we receive from reading, audio and video.

As for nutrition, contrary to the stereotype, anthropologists have shown that before they were pushed to marginal environments, hunter gatherers ate healthy well balanced diets, especially rich in meats, fresh vegetable matter and tubers. In fact, it was the increasing success at hunting and hence diet that allowed early man's brain to grow. It was a positive feedback loop -- more meat, meant bigger brains, which meant more knowledge about hunting, weapons and tools, which meant more kills, which meant more meat, and on and on.

There is even some evidence that early modern humans and early domesticated dogs (who vastly increased human success in hunting) were both smarter than present day people and present day dogs, and both varieties had bigger brains. But all that success led to farming, less stimulation and decreasing intelligence because the big brains of hunter gatherers and early domestic dogs was no longer needed.

On edit: I would add the same observation about the mental stimulation of the "ghetto" -- you are confusing WHAT knowledge people have with HOW MUCH knowledge they have.
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
32. kick, waiting for an answer
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
34. This is why most college educators are liberal.
Most people who feel that a college education is irrelevant wouldn't be so hypocritical enough to accept a position that provides that education.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
36. I remember the Bell Curve
thoroughly discredited by the fact that they deliberately elimated the data that did not fit their preconceived notions. Complete scientific fraud.

In any case, whether a degree helps you get a job or job depends on the field and the economics at the time you graduate. I also believe in education for education's sake. Everyone benefits from that in one way or another.

Besides, where you once might have been able to pick up a hammer and find decent paying work, you no longer can do that.
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
37. That was the answer I was waiting for
Sometimes questions work better than statements at illuminating certain subjects.

There is even some evidence that early modern humans and early domesticated dogs (who vastly increased human success in hunting) were both smarter than present day people and present day dogs, and both varieties had bigger brains. But all that success led to farming, less stimulation and decreasing intelligence because the big brains of hunter gatherers and early domestic dogs was no longer needed.

That is what I thought, an extreme envionment requires more intelligence for survival than a more benign one.

As Larry Niven once wrote, "How much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a tuber".

How then to explain the Flynn effect?
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. I think it's specialization
My father was an urban bureaucrat for most of his working life, but he could and did do plumbing, electrical work, house painting, framing carpentry and finish carpentry (without power tools), and as a former farm boy could grow many kinds of crops, raise animals and distinguish perhaps 30 species of trees, by their leaves, bark and even as wood, all of which takes knowledge and information, but none of that knowledge would be tested on an IQ test.

I can do finish carpentry and light plumbing and electrical work, can grow maybe tomatoes, know the difference between maybe 5 tree species, and have spent my entire career in various kinds of "information" based work.

Young people I know can't do really anything manual, can barely change a light bulb without breakig the fixture, hardly know anything about nature, have never even seen a live pig or chicken let alone taken care of one, but they can read, watch TV, play video games and do school type work. While it's often said the current environment is more stimulating, my feeling is it is only stimulating toward knowledge that IQ tests test. Each generation is getting more focused on modern "information" but that doesn't mean that we are actually getting smarter.

Just my opinion.
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Jonathan50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Your answer seems entirely reasonable to me
While it's often said the current environment is more stimulating, my feeling is it is only stimulating toward knowledge that IQ tests test. Each generation is getting more focused on modern "information" but that doesn't mean that we are actually getting smarter.

That's probably the best explanation I've heard.

Do you know whether there is any research that would speak to this issue?

Here is an IQ test I found informative:'

http://web.tickle.com/tests/uiq/index_main.jsp
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