Intelligence and Uncertainty

“Intelligence” is a pretty good political and cultural litmus test nowadays.  I don’t mean possession of the thing; I mean your reaction to the word.

The Left, though they fucking love science, have declared the human brain off limits to scientific inquiry.  Intelligence is entirely cultural, they say, and you’re racist for even wondering if the obvious superficial differences between races go deeper.  (Some Lefties go even further, of course, and maintain that there are different kinds of intelligence — emotional intelligence, for example — but as these are obvious rationalizations let’s leave them alone in their sadness).  All humans have the same raw mental processing power, they insist.  Culture unlocks it, and not coincidentally SWPL culture is the very best at that.  Indeed you could be forgiven for thinking that Liberalism causes intelligence — they sure act as if it does, hence the Fundamental Paradox of Internet Liberalism.*

Vast swathes of the “Right,” on the other hand, insist that intelligence is nothing but biology.  Culture has nothing to do with IQ, and IQ is destiny — Whitey von Saxon with the 101 IQ will be a software engineer; Dindu Nuffin with the 99 IQ can be, at best, Whitey’s janitor (Schlomo Goldstein with the 120 IQ, of course, rules the world, but don’t worry — despite his double-digit IQ advantage we still see through his laughably transparent schemes.  Every. Single. Time).

I’m willing to concede that a lot of this is rhetoric.  Measurable, easily observed differences in IQ, and their near-certain correlation with certain kinds of behavior, drive Lefties nuts, and it’s always fun to get science’s BFFs frothing at the mouth about how this one particular science doesn’t count (see also: Global Warming, basic economics, anything else that falls under “math is hard”).  But a lot of it isn’t, and so we see “our” smart guys being just as dumb as theirs.

Whatever the differences in raw processing power may have been — or if there even were any — it’s obvious that folks in the past had vastly different functional intelligence, and that much of the difference was cultural.  Read anything from the Early Modern period and you’ll see it right away.  They can remember much better than we can, for example, holding long strings of complicated ratiocination in their heads without difficulty — by the time we’ve kinda sorta parsed out the first of Puritan’s propositions, his coreligionists have raised an army and beheaded the king.  This was true for a long, long time.  (One of the reasons the Gettysburg Address is so famous, for instance, is because it was short — orators back then went on for hours, and indeed the keynote speaker, Edward Everett, did go on for hours.  Lots of people didn’t even hear Lincoln; he’d finished before they even knew he got started).  This is not to say they were necessarily smarter back then — our blinky-light light-speed world would melt their brains, as surely as we’d die of brain-melting boredom in theirs.  It’s just different, and no amount of pontificating about “biology is destiny” can remove the cultural component.

That certainty is the other thing bedeviling us, our allies on the “Right” as much as our enemies on the Left.  Again, I’m willing to concede that a lot of this is rhetoric — acknowledging that lots of, say, Black misbehavior stems almost entirely from mental requirements in a technological society would go a long way towards crafting a useful social policy, and “IQ is destiny” is far from the worst slogan to ever rally troops.  But it’s alienating, and it results in what we can call the Fundamental Paradox of Internet Conservatism — “no no, I don’t hate Black people; in fact I wish them the best!  But if they’re destined to be nothing but hewers of wood and drawers of water, everywhere, forever, well…. I didn’t invent modern society, did I?  IQ is destiny!”  Dogmatic certainty is the Left’s game, and look where it has gotten them — they’re dogmatically certain about so many things, none of which is compatible with any other, that I’m continually surprised their heads don’t explode from the cognitive dissonance.  Let’s not fall into the same trap, gentlemen.

 

 

*You Reich-wingers are too stupid to understand how awesome liberalism is, and I can prove it — if you were smart enough to understand what I’m saying, you’d be Liberals.  And yet, here I am, arguing with you anyway.

17 thoughts on “Intelligence and Uncertainty

  1. “Dogmatic certainty is the Left’s game, and look where it has gotten them — they’re dogmatically certain about so many things, none of which is compatible with any other, that I’m continually surprised their heads don’t explode from the cognitive dissonance. Let’s not fall into the same trap, gentlemen.”

    So, what is the difference between “dogmatic certainty” and REAL “certainty”? Are you saying we have to be “flexible” and compromise our cause to make someone else feel comfortable? There are, of course, absolutes. How does the saying go? If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The truth is the truth, regardless of whose feelings are hurt.

    • As I said, dogmatic certainty is the Left’s thing. Think about how they behave about anything and everything. E.g. “global warming” – it MUST be true that the globe is warming; any evidence to the contrary must be explained away, or “statistically normalized,” or it doesn’t count, or it’s not real science, or you’re in Big Oil’s pocket, or ur a racis. It’s something, always something. And then, when the evidence is too overwhelming to ignore, it’s “duh, and why do you hate science for ever thinking otherwise!” (We’ll see this in the next ten years or so — “global warming” will become “global cooling” again, like it was in the Seventies, with the exact same freakout… and the exact same “solution”).

      Nothing is monocausal, there is no one explanation for anything, and nothing is “destiny.” IQ is real, race is real, they are both important, and their intersection goes a long way to explaining a lot of things. But neither is THE explanation for anything, and neither determines what WILL happen. Talking like this is effective rhetoric in some situations, but it’s not true, and by continuing to talk this way, we alienate a lot of people… and give a lot of our allies the wrong idea.

      • Here’s another way of putting it that I think Sev will agree with.

        There’s an infamous meme that a scientific theory must be disprovable. i.e. if 2 + 2 = 4, then the way to disprove it is to find a situation where 2 + 2 produces 5 or 3 or whatever. Conversely, “red is the best color” has no possible way to disprove it.

        Well what’s the method to disprove something? Like morgan points out: definitions. Thus if you argue with leftists, you’ll notice they often work to keep their dogmas as undefined as possible – because if they were to define them, then those dogmas could be disproven. i.e. “Liberals are smart.” Well how do you define “liberal” and “smart”? Good luck ever getting anything nailed down from them.

        Thus liberals are always certain in their dogmas because their dogmas by nature can never ever be disproved. Sev is warning the nuRight to be careful about falling into the same trap with things like, “IQ is best.” Well…

        (Besides, as both Jordan Peterson and CS Lewis point out, the problem with smarts is that it makes man a more clever devil.)

      • You did not answer the question: What is the difference between “dogmatic certainty” and REAL “certainty”? Gravity exists, doesn’t it? That is scientific certainty. Blacks and Whites are intellectually different. That is anecdotal certainty. You then state that “nothing is monocausal, there is no one explanation for anything, and nothing is “destiny”. I’m sorry, but that is “dogmatic certainty”. Reproduction in humans, for instance. Oh sure, you can do it missionary style, doggie style, even use a turkey baster, but reproduction in humans occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg. Period. I know you didn’t mean exactly what you said, but when you use terms like nothing or everything you have locked yourself into dogmatic certainty.

        • Sheesh. Yeah, because “possible behavioral effects of IQ differentials between races” is exactly the same kind of thing as “gravity” and “fertilization.” So, ok — nothing **in human affairs** is monocausal. There, feel better?

          And yeah, I’m **certain** about that. For you see, this is a post about rhetoric — the selective presentation of statements in order to persuade. Both our enemies on the Left and our friends on the Right get caught up in…. well, in exactly the kind of thing you’re doing here.

          It is NOT possible to prove that there are occupations, behaviors, etc. that are forever closed to the 99 IQ Black guy, that are wide open to the 101 IQ White guy, and acting like it is makes you sound like a sperglord. It is not beneficial to our side (and yes, it’s OUR side, as a five second troll through the archives shows). I thought that was pretty obvious — so obvious, in fact, that I hesitated to even write a “no duh” post like this — but shows you what I know, I guess.

          • “It is NOT possible to prove that there are occupations, behaviors, etc. that are forever closed to the 99 IQ Black guy, that are wide open to the 101 IQ White guy, and acting like it is makes you sound like a sperglord.”

            No one, except you, ever said it was. But, it is possible to show, via anecdotal evidence and testosterone levels that blacks are more violent than Whites as a group.

            And you are still avoiding the question: What is the difference between “dogmatic certainty” and REAL “certainty”?

          • @Anonymous White Male,

            We’ll try this one more time: The difference between “dogmatic” certainty and REAL certainty is R-H-E-T-O-R-I-C-A-L. It is R-H-E-T-O-R-I-C.

            “Dogmatic certainty” is when you write something like this:

            it is possible to show, via anecdotal evidence and testosterone levels that blacks are more violent than Whites as a group.

            You can’t possibly be this obtuse. Here’s a group of 90 year old Black church ladies. And over here is a group of 20 year old White male meth heads. Which group is likelier to be violent, do you think?

            Now, before you rush off to the FBI to look up comparative crime statistics, I take your point — you meant “controlled for things like age, sex, socioeconomic status, etc., Blacks tend to be more violent, on average, than Whites, which would seem to correlate with their higher average testosterone levels, as you can see from this long list of published experiments…”

            Etc. Etc. Etc. But you didn’t write that. What you DID write makes it sound like all Blacks, everywhere, have higher testosterone, and because of that, and nothing else, Blacks are collectively more violent.

            Continuing to “argue” like this is exactly what I’m talking about with “dogmatic certainty.” Surely you would concede that culture plays some part in the Black crime statistics? And there’s some relationship between culture and socioeconomic status?

            None of this excuses Black criminality, of course. But — follow carefully — going off about “higher testosterone levels” proving that Blacks are more violent is exactly the same rhetorical strategy as claiming that “higher poverty rates” or “a legacy of racism” is responsible for Black misbehavior. It removes the individual from the picture — and it’s the individual, not testosterone or poverty or legacy of racism or whatever, who commits the crime.

            To reiterate a point that should’ve been crystal clear in the original post, I think it is good, right, and necessary to point out that things like IQ differentials and, yes, testosterone levels have important real-world consequences. I’m on record saying that groups with subpar IQs are screwed in a modern knowledge economy, and that any reasonable social policy — which we do not now have, nor have we ever had — must be aware of that.

            But running around saying “Blacks are more violent because testosterone” or “IQ is destiny” is counterproductive. You sound spergy at best, racist at worst, and — since the people who most need to be awakened to the reality of IQ differences still fear being called racist above all things — you’re doing way more harm than good a lot of the time.

            Cool? Because I’m done here.

  2. Oof. If you hadn’t equally trashed on libs I’d say you were going the South Park route…claim to hate conservatives, claim you REALLY hate liberals, then crap all over conservatives and barely touch the libs (while giving sweet, sweet airtime love to libertarianism.)

    My biggest problem with the ‘middle-T libs’, is that at some fairly recent point the party was hijacked by liberals. I unfollowed my best friend because he went from preaching about limited government to preaching about societal ills. His libertarian party newsfeed that he’d spam daily on Farcebook would be repeated verbatim the next day by such libertarian greats as Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.

    • As should be obvious from my other stuff here, I am NOT a Libertarian. They commit the same fallacy as Marxists — reducing Man to a cell on a spreadsheet. I’ve read Hobbes, so I know what a society based on nothing but contract and non-aggression leads to (seriously, tell me they wouldn’t sign off on the Leviathan right now if Charles II promised to legalize weed). And socially, they’re just Bakunin without the balls.

      My gripe is with anyone who pretends to have The One Answer to anything. Obviously I think “IQ is destiny” is a lot closer to the truth than “race is a social construction,” but acting as if it is the ONLY explanation leads to the same place, at about the same speed.

      • They commit the same fallacy as Marxists — reducing Man to a cell on a spreadsheet.

        I question how much of that is projection. Yes, liberals reduce people to little box they can get a handle on (your class, your race, your sex, etc). While I won’t say ALL libertarians, some I’ve run into don’t reduce man to a cell, but government and acknowledge that there is more to man but believe it is outside the purview of a philosophy on governance. Which is true. So usually when talking with libertarians you have to first establish how much of a civil society do they think will operate out there (religions, clubs, etc).

        Of course since liberals believe all within the government, nothing outside of it, they tend to misread and project the libertarian arguments to just another reductionism. It would be like someone complaining about an accountant not caring about his clients well-being. Well he’s an accountant, his job is to worry about the clients’ money, not their well-being, he’s not a therapist or a parent. Sometimes we have to be careful not to fall into the same trap because the leftist paradigms are so pernicious.

        • Agreed, but if Libertarianism were ONLY a political philosophy, it wouldn’t be very interesting would it? I’m pretty sure I just recently wrote a post arguing that the purpose of government is pretty much just “mutual defense.” Take that in its strictest sense — the State should have only the minimal powers it needs to call out the militia when the Canadian hordes come pouring over the border — and the “conversation,” if you could call it that, is over in three seconds.

          I appreciate the pure-, true-, or whatever-Libertarian position, I really do. Problem is, a pure Libertarian philosophy of government is like a “pure heart” theory of cardiology — the cardiologist has nothing to do but look at the X-ray, say “yep, you’ve got a heart all right,” and suggest that, all else equal, the patient really ought to try to keep it beating. Practical politics, like practical cardiology, is about all the stuff that can go wrong.

          • Agreed, but if Libertarianism were ONLY a political philosophy, it wouldn’t be very interesting would it?

            That may explain its election performance. 😉

    • then crap all over conservatives and barely touch the libs (while giving sweet, sweet airtime love to libertarianism.)

      Hey, after an ENTIRE SEASON mocking PC and SJWs I take issue with the claim they “barely touch libs.” lol

      • The way I see it, PC Principle is still in charge and SJW’s never really took a pounding in the show. (They did that to themselves WHINING about SJW’s in the show being portrayed as…actual SJW’s.)

        Frankly, I think South Park went downhill after the first Cartman/Scott Tenorman episode. After that, suddenly Cartman’s less aggressive and losing constantly. (Think of the godawful “Tst” dog-training/Cesar Milan episode. I mean, old school Cartman would have torn the dog-whisperer a new one.) I’m not sure if you can chalk that one up to Trey and Matt though. Ever since they got bored and let the B-team libs write everything it’s been far less-effective in its message. I mean, did you notice Trump’s win completely flummoxed them? Suddenly the whole Mr. Garrison presidential thing just flatlined, they didn’t know what to do.

        • The way I see it, PC Principle is still in charge and SJW’s never really took a pounding in the show. (They did that to themselves WHINING about SJW’s in the show being portrayed as…actual SJW’s.)

          Ok I guess. Though considering SJWs were portrayed as ultra privileged white bros – you know, their satan figures in their theology – I’m not sure what more could be done to them.

          I mean, did you notice Trump’s win completely flummoxed them? Suddenly the whole Mr. Garrison presidential thing just flatlined, they didn’t know what to do.

          https://youtu.be/N7hN1FZNd28
          ^I think they’re right. Trey & Matt were probably prepared to go whole hog on Clinton but were as surprised by the win as everybody else. Such can be the fate of those who try to stay uber relevant.

          I’m sure these videos will be of interest to you.

          (Think of the godawful “Tst” dog-training/Cesar Milan episode. I mean, old school Cartman would have torn the dog-whisperer a new one.)

          I love that episode and die laughing every time. I give it a pass because, like Chris Rock points out, nothing is scarier than the words, “wait until your father gets home!” and it proves Cartman is in desperate need of a male authority figure in his life. I consider it far worse the episode where him and Wendy fight and the first one where he and Kyle fought (Kyle hit him and Cartman cried – the later, extended fight at Fox Studios was much improved). Jordan Peterson had an interesting bit on that episode:
          https://youtu.be/BTGhZZ-QkYo

          Though I do agree Cartman has been over due for another major “win” to remind people of how vicious he can be. It’s been awhile since the hippie episode.

          • I live in Eugene, Oregon, the city of hippies. It’s almost impossible to find a place to rent WITHOUT a drum circle in the attic. College Knowitall hippies run the city and every major business. I rely on Sev for my daily dose of conservatism 😛

          • P_Ang, what’s your address I’ll ship you some deathmetal post-haste!

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