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Peer review: IQ data just made up?

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Recently, we’ve been covering stories about racists who use Darwinism as their justification (here, for example), irrespective of how their theories would be dismissed in a biology lab.

(But if they aren’t dismissed in the barroom, they are still potent.)

In “Dumb and Dumber: Are development experts becoming racists?” (Foreign Policy, April 30, 2012), Charles Kenny offers some useful information for countering claims that centre on Darwin’s predicted racial divergence in IQ (we are supposed to be on our way to becoming separate species … ):

As that surprising finding might suggest, most of Lynn and Vanhanen’s data is, in fact, made up. Of the 185 countries in their study, actual IQ estimates are available for only 81. The rest are “estimated” from neighboring countries. But even where there is data, it would be a stretch to call it high quality. A test of only 50 children ages 13 to 16 in Colombia and another of only 48 children ages 10 to 14 in Equatorial Guinea, for example, make it into their “nationally representative” dataset.

Psychologist Jelte Wicherts at the University of Amsterdam and colleagues trawled through Lynn and Vanhanen’s data on Africa. They found once again that few of the recorded tests even attempted to be nationally representative (looking at “Zulus in primary schools near Durban” for example), that the data set excluded a number of studies that pointed to higher average IQs, and that some studies included dated as far back as 1948 and involved as few as 17 people.

The problem with IQ studies is that they are often mired in the sociology scandals, and critical thinking can be the first casualty.

See also: Darwin in the schools: The history you don’t hear

What is it with IQ tests? It doesn't matter what the score is this year. Ten years later it would be different with a motivated kid. iQ stuff is not a good estimate of smarts anyways but anyways its just a snapshot of someone in a moment of time. It seems behind these things is a bigger conclusion of better brainism. They are not seeing people as thinking beings who can do anything but people who have intelligence written on their dna and as controlled as the length of their limbs for life. We are made in the image of a God. Our thinking that is. We have few limits and its all about motivation and near by information. It shows evolutionary presumptions of evolving intelligence is always behind things like this. Hitler and others gave it a made rep but they are chomping at the bit to establish brain size ism as standard belief. After making sure their own position of coarse! What happened to the old yankee belief in mankind?! Robert Byers
The social biases in IQ tests were well-know when I was studying social psychology 40 years ago. The saying was "IQ tests are very accurate measures of what IQ tests measure, but it isn't intelligence." Jon Garvey

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