My posts below on IQ, politics & religion resulted in a fair amount of blogospheric response, and weird comments. A few quick points
1) I think results on standardized tests are informative and correlate reasonably with a host of life outcomes. If you don’t think they do, that’s fine, I don’t particularly care. But just do note that your dismissal of IQ carries no weight with me. Additionally, though I believe IQ to be substantially heritable, even that’s not necessarily important in this case (since I am not focusing on evolution). Rather, realized test scores correlate with other outcomes.
2) As I said, I’m not too hung up on Kanazawa’s paper itself. I’m not too fixated on the causal mechanism either, and barely paid attention to the evolutionary model. Rather, I focused on the description of the distribution. The particular results are not novel, they are in line with findings which have come before.
3) If you poke around the World Values Survey (use education as a proxy for intelligence, go back to #1 and note that I’m more concerned about realized intelligence in this case, not a reified construct of g) and the GSS you can see similar trends.
4) Some readers point out that the relationships may not be monotonic. This is evident with education and political party voting in the United States, as Democrats are the most and least educated segments. This is fair, and I would like to see surveys of the political views of the super high IQ vs. the above average. I have found data which shows that political moderates are actually the least intelligent, probably because smart people have clear & distinct ideological viewpoints, while stupid people express wishy-washy moderation since they’re just stupid.
5) Correlation is not transitive and Kanazawa measured verbal intelligence. Correlation is not necessarily transitive. But it might be, and in any case, as I suggest above I wasn’t too concerned with being psychometrically precise here in terms of g. Additionally, caution in this case is modulated by other results which point in the same direction.
6) IQ has a fat tail, so the normal approximation is “nonsense.” No, the fat tail is really powerful extremely deviated from the median. At IQ 130 there are only 10% more than you’d expect, and at IQ 145 only two times as many. Of the people with IQs above 130 only 5% or so have IQs above 145. So though the fat tailing is a problem, it becomes a problem precisely in the proportion which is the smallest of the high IQ segment.
Some conservatives and religious people are pointing out that just because smart people believe X it does not follow that X is true. No shit. I don’t know who is stupid here, the people who believe this, or the people who believe that people believe this. Others point out that we haven’t established the causal chain here, so it doesn’t matter. Actually, it does. As a non-liberal person who has conversations almost exclusively with people whose IQs are north of 130, and sometimes north of 145, it is very rare that I come across individuals with non-Left liberal or libertarian viewpoints. Part of this is the selection-bias of social milieu, but I think that it goes beyond that, and at the commanding heights of the elite, which tends to be high IQ, there are certain views which are extremely overrepresented and that distorts public policy (whether the distortion is good or bad depends on your viewpoint). In any case, as someone who is a “person of the Right,” and has viewpoints which are outside of the liberal/libertarian arc I am sensitized to the biases which the cognitively endowed seem to take for granted (I’m not politically interested enough to really care too much, this is more an observation and fact of my life, not an injustice which needs to be corrected).
It is important that when it comes to politics people need to make a distinction between liberalism on social issues and general political affiliations or party voting. The view that IQ tends to correlate positively with social liberalism seems much more robust to me than that IQ correlates with ideology in general, or that IQ correlates with party voting (there is some data which suggests that Republicans may be smarter than Democrats, though it depends on how you slice the data).
But enough chatter. Here are some data from the GSS. The variables:
ROW: ABANY GOD BIBLE FREETRD, MORETRDE
I filtered so that only whites in the sample were included (blacks invariably have much lower WORDSUM scores no matter other variables).
I combined categories for WORDSUM, so 0-4 = dumb, 5-8 = average, and 9-10 = smart. 18.5% are dumb, are 66.4% are average, and 15.2% are smart in this sample. The N for the total sample is over 20,000, but some variables have smaller N’s, so I invite you replicate and poke around the data yourself (which is why I provide link and variables). You can look at the confidence intervals and how robust these findings are yourself.
The rows below add up to 100%. So for example in the first row of data, 23.8% of atheists are smart. What you’re seeing are the proportion of smart, average and dumb people in each class.
|Confidence in the existence of God|
|Believe but Doubts||14.1||71.7||14.2|
|Know God Exists||18.2||70.2||11.2|
|Feelings about the Bible|
|Word of God||29.1||65.4||5.5|
|Book of Fables||13||59.2||27.8|
|Think of self as liberal or conservative|
|Abortion if woman wants for any reason|
|Homosexual relations are….|
|Almost Always Wrong||13.8||68.5||17.7|
|Not Wrong at All||9.6||63.9||26.6|
|More trade, less jobs in USA|
|Created More Jobs||10.3||64.7||25|
|About the Same||10||70.3||19.8|
|Taken them Away||19.1||77.8||3.2|
|Free trade leads to better products|
|Neither Agree nor Disagree||9.4||72||18.6|
One thing to take away: the intelligent are more liberal, broadly. That is, they support liberal trade policies, even though the modern Left-liberal party, the Democrats, is more hostile to free trade than the Republicans, who have traditionally operated as a Right-liberal party. It is not coincidental I think that the Democratic party in the United States, led by cognitive elites, have done little to rollback the push of globalization which has resulted in an erosion of the employment possibilities of working class Americans. Similarly, it is not coincidental I think that the modern Republican party, led by cognitive elites, has done little to rollback the push toward liberal social permissiveness in the United States. I recall back when George W. Bush was elected that Bob Guccione’s lawyers were drafting a new porn code which would protect them from obscenity prosecutions (something with John Ashcroft was actually working on before 9/11). That all seems quaint now.