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07/16/2006

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N.E.Hatfield

When it comes to the statistical analysis of intelligence (aka, the bell curve) one question comes to mind. Are we really comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges? Or is there something more insidious really going on?

Personally I believe a good Eugenics program is the answer. Not withstanding it's rather dark history. Ahh, the Brave New World! ;)

Haris

Bernard:

Judge Posner did not suggest that Jews in the 1930's could have simply hopped on a ship and escaped. If anything, he would probably agree with you that it was quite difficult to flee Germany and Poland, which is precisely why only the most able people were able to do it. There is no need to be offended at the Judge's statement. It wasn't a justification of what happened, nor did it blame the victims who failed to escape.

Bernard Yomtov

If anything, he would probably agree with you that it was quite difficult to flee Germany and Poland, which is precisely why only the most able people were able to do it.

I think the issue of "ability" overlooks a lot of reasons why people might or might not have seen "the handwriting on the wall earliest and left Europe in the 1930s before it was too late." This would include country of origin, luck, money, family size and obligations, and no doubt connections and the like.

In any case, as I mentioned, the proposition is silly precisely because of the relatively small number of Jews who were able to escape.

There is no need to be offended at the Judge's statement. It wasn't a justification of what happened, nor did it blame the victims who failed to escape.

I agree it certainly wasn't a justification, but by implication it does suggest that those who died were in some way less able or intelligent than those who escaped.

Lab_Frog

Opps, I meant to post this here but first posted it under Becker's part.
Perhaps one reason for the lower results of men in college is that they are less concerned with pleasing the professors and getting along with the system, and more interested in learning what they think is important.
A crude statistical method to see if this is true would be to look at the rate of male and female students who sell back their books, with the assumption that those who sell back their books are more likely to be in college more for grades and credentials rather than to actually learn (all else equal of course, but factors like wealth should be very close to equal).

Johan Richter

A couple of notes on the genetics of Posners post based on my very rudimentary knowledge.

Some people thought it would take very long time before a selection for more intelligent people would give any measurebale results. I do not think that is neccessarily true. In Western countries the heritable component of intelligence is quite big. An equation known as "the breeder's equation" then tells us that a selection pressure for intelligence would have a big effect.

One place where I disagree with Posner is where he claims that just because there a strong genetic component to intelligence there is nothing we can do about its level. As any textbook in population genetcis will tell you, the heritability of a trait can only be defined relative to a specific population in a specific enviroment. It tells you nothing about how much you can change that trait by changing the enviroment.

In this case it would for example be easy to lower the average IQ by changing the enviroment despite the strong genetic component. Ie ban all education, force all kids to inhale toxic fumes etc.

Half Sigma

"Some people thought it would take very long time before a selection for more intelligent people would give any measurebale results. I do not think that is neccessarily true."

It's not true. Just look at the amazing things breeders have done with dogs. It's hard to believe that tiny Toy Poodles and huge German Shepherds are the same species, but yes, they are.

Artificial selection would work on people as well as it works on dogs.

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