A lot of people (including myself) are accustomed to discussing science using the terms “race” and “intelligence”. I suggest we stop doing this. Why? Using such terms leaves one open to arguments that target the coherence of the terms intelligence and race, or the existence of such traits, rather than empirical evidence concerning the subject.
Instead, we should always use the terms “g” and “breeding groups”/”genetic populations” (etc; if anyone can think of a pithier synonym, please suggest it).
This will improve the quality of discourse tenfold – with virtually no effort expenditure!
(NB – I am not suggesting we use these new terms as euphemisms or synonyms for the old ones. However, the terms “intelligence” and “race” have accumulated nonscientific baggage (as Arthur Jensen correctly noted), and hence they are misleading.)
You often hear that the Raven’s Matrices is the best measure of g extant. This very likely isn’t true, at least when the Raven’s has a fairly stringent time limit. (Maybe its g-loading increases if it is given as a power test.)
1) The Wechsler includes a Raven’s-like task called “Matrix Reasoning”, which is not even close to the most g-loaded subtest. In fact, it ties for 8th place as most g-loaded! (Cf. http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2014/02/intelligence-tests-test-intelligence.html)
2) The MISTRA study of twins included a 15-minute short version of the Raven’s amongst three IQ test batteries, which had a g-loading of 0.67 (high, but not especially so, compared to the other tests).
The Vale of Synaesthesia
‘Many bodily sensations have an entirely unique quality, different in kind from anything else in our experience…’
Sometimes I think that the weird things of this new land are God’s compensation for our exile; and sometimes I think they are His punishment for our defeat. I have lived in this hut as a hermit well on twenty years; I was a young monk when we fled; and in those times I have seen the most bizarre of prodigies. I have hiked up trails where the plants flee before my feet. I have spent seven days in search of a certain dryad, gone into the hollow where the heads of the statues move, and slept between a finely mossed boulder and a tree whose sap congealed to muculent tentacles that soothed my bruises. I have seen oaks whose bark is as thin and pliable as the finest writing-cloth; and berries whose ink is the deepest red or black-blue, vivid as an ink that scribes would dream of. And yet even the most credulous man shall not believe my story of the vale of the senses. Now, before my illness takes me, I shall write it.
When we first landed and were not yet wise to the eccentricities, our numbers were depleted by mischievous nymphs, who would appear before monks wholly naked and lead them into the lair of some scaled beast. These slew more of our men than had the schism, or the giants, or the Battle of the Lake. Therefore when, in the midst of my midday meditation, I was awoken by the gelid touch of a wholly nude and translucent woman, who at once leapt backward and grinned at me, I knew not to disturb her. I resolved to give her no mind, and closed my eyes again. But just as soon I felt her hand on my shoulder once more. I could not stop myself: my eyes flew open, and I clenched my fists in rage. And when now I looked upon her, a certain susurrus came to mind: or rather it was everything, it was what I truly sensed, and she was but an instantiation or an impression called to mind by that keen whisper. Then, though neither rage nor lust had the better of me, I felt myself rise; and the whisper retreated in kind.
Later I came to my senses as one who feels suddenly awake after hours at a menial task. I found myself running over ugly and iron-hard boles and roots. My feet were bleeding horribly, staining the grey roots. The wounds upon my feet were not the thin ones made by thorns, but deep and split wide and lined with wet soil: they bore the signature of wide sharp rocks. The soil beneath the roots was visible only between the dense boles; yet those roots ended in thin trunks, like great blades of grass, and sword-sharp withal.
With a grunt I realized that this place was strange to me. Where had she led me? (She yet danced before me, and I yet ran for her, splitting in greater degree the numb cavernous wounds.) I remembered that I had chased her through mists, and over a sort of precipice whose side was steeper than the hills’ soft cliffs. But I could create no precise route in my mind.
At once the boughs became thin and broken, and the soil dropped wholly away. I saw that I was walking upon a thin lattice of sap-slick roots; but no soil pushed through the warp and weft. Then I saw how horribly the twigs sagged, and I realized the trick the nisse had played. Crying out, I dropped to my knees; whereupon the twigs broke further, oozing a mucoid and translucent sap. But the sight of that sap brought strongly to mind – indeed, was linked in such a way that I cannot separate the two – the smell of cane, which I had not smelt since my boyhood in Agaroz. And as I wondered about this, I was filled with fear. Yes, I had been right in my horror: when I pushed open the twigs and looked through them, there was no ground below. There was only empty air, thin mists, and far below a bit of green. My heart thudded; I could not bear to push open the twigs further, to see the land below any better. I looked about for the path that led onto the lattice, but I could not see it: the twigs stretched out far; I was suspended God knew how many feet above the ground, as in a great net. I looked about for the nisse, sobbing my words of rage at her; but she was gone. (Or rather I could hear no longer the susurrus that conjured her up in my mind.) Wherefore I struck the net with great violence and rage; and the twigs at last split completely, and I was emptied into the trembling and ghastly air.
I cannot remember my fall, after the first instant. When my senses returned it was with a sudden jarring strike, and nausea and pain, and flashes of sight: of a green meadow, of the spurting-up of ichor about me, of odd colors against the horizon, of the vivid sugar-sap from the twigs, covering my robe and my hands. Here my memory resumes wholly. I was consumed with a sort of unendurable pain, as one who strikes his elbow against a sharp metal; but this trembling pain was instead linked in my head to a soft yellow lake under a clear sky. Anon this pain and the visions it called to mind subsided; then I looked about me with clear mind, and shouted.
Around were crescents of blue-green and sudden whitenesses; somehow funny and indeterminate; I could not make out their shape, though they were close to me. Silver and gold threads, ridged, were in the air, from ground to sky. Seas of liquids of vivid color, I thought, far off; and lightnings shaped like sheets and not bolts; and a black sky without star or moon, illuminated by these things about me. And all of these things called to mind music. When seen at once, single instruments; when in different perspectives, many, there were the sweetest and gentlest, or sometimes the most invigorating and lustful, of symphonies and melodies. On the mound where I lay – which was perhaps thirty feet in diametre, and ringed with flowers of the strangest colors I have ever seen, that gradually gave way to unbroken music-land – there were odd smells, and a sort of humming in the air, both of which were the faces of new colors still.
At that I woke. I had slept by the brook, my head against the boulder; but the vale had been no dream: strings of some ichor were on my belly, thin and mucoid. I was weak afterward. I felt my duties could not be resumed; and no doubt the rest of the world felt simply wan after those sights. I took to washing my beard often; sputum came up with each breath. I have taken badly ill. I hope those nymphs did not suck away my life.
It is coming back. It comes back.
These prodigies multiplied. When I was in the vale they came one after the other. I feel I am there now. There came the sudden pains that one feels when touching hot steel; and the tastes of the ugliest reds; and the stench of rotting verdure; and senses of mental contraction; and a sustained ajiorhúi throughout my body and legcurling; and pain that had no unpleasantness, and unpleasantness that had no vziu; and many spaces, that were not each in one another; and parallel motions in two directions; and black-dark nausea, and white-pale purity; and writing wherein each letter, each sound, had its own color, its own stench, its own taste; and as they grew greater I felt ko-light swelling over aga. I would get revenge. I strained against my senses, the many familiar and the more-many new, who memory I cannot stand. There she was. Brough I strained by on the knoll there was no net. There she was: and others. Ang fiendish mga binuhat, too weak, there is too much, nga may brough kanako din hi….Dugo helping, I knew it would come she was painted in many senses. Ang, get revenge. buot Then ko fading nga slowly ang but mga for pula kiss nga her-ba-ba may overme, i was in some bower, kahayag nga kahumot-abli, there were many of them. sa usa only ka. and indeed i was nangadunot…corridor, light by the in lake we my had to eyes flee: sharp the giants swords they carried of light, not felt…in thirty years: sliding hand; and there were none then who the crimson monks by the lake; smile; we fled after that Llyr, Llyr encampment why I became a hermit they forced me; i the did sweet not sprites plot whose with vacuum them, licking into a corridor, why the sun shines into the tapestries: and endeed i was, al-khalit go uzdrui ka-kohe, art lothinenua con briller. Together gryphon seized him, his eyeball split, en vziu agh writhing. In as steel, A shock. Lightning. Withdrawal. Submerge. Light: and I smashed against a boulder, my head, fully, bodily. Ce matin, j’ai perdu un roman.
I hope those nymphs did not suck away my life.
“So true it is, and so terrible too, that up to a certain point the thought or sight of misery enlists our best affections; but, in certain special cases, beyond that point it does not. They err who would assert that invariably this is owing to the inherent selfishness of the human heart. It rather proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying excessive and organic ill. To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain. And when at last it is perceived that such pity cannot lead to effectual succor, common sense bids the soul be rid of it.”
-Hermann Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener
I am trying to remember an animated children’s movie (based on a Dr. Seuss book, I think) that involved some God or caretaker deciding whether to send a disembodied child down into the world – in the process discussing whether life was worthwhile (of course, concluding that it was). Can anyone find this?
Update: One kindly soul on Twitter (zCBu9k7axY) has found the movie! It’s called The Hoober-Bloob Highway (released in 1975).
James Thompson has recently posted about the digit span test. It is, as he points out, a meritorious test in some ways: simple, relatively noncultural, easy to administer, well g-loaded, shows a very small Flynn effect.
I will tell an anecdote of The Span: my own is very high (about nine backward). My father’s is thirteen forward. Yet my letter span is rather worse, and letter span tests take more cognitive effort for me. This is because numbers are more aesthetically charged for me: synaesthetic, and highly freighted with aesthetic properties in general.
This probably affects a negligible number of people, and does nothing to the population norms. But it still proves the truth of that old maxim: give people both letter- and digit-span tests, when you must measure their short-term memory!
As I periodically do, I will beg kindly readers for some data on a national/racial group – this time the Cambodians. Lynn estimates their IQ in relation to surrounding countries, but has anyone any actual data?
The other day, I told a same-age friend about the Piffer paper; but I prefaced my summary of the paper by saying that I valued his friendship, and made him promise not to ostracize me over what I was about to say.
He found (my summary of) the paper interesting – but more importantly, he didn’t take offense; in fact, he said that he had read about race differences in intelligence online before, and had thought reasonable beforehand what Piffer’s paper argued about the bases of such differences. And that I should have known him well enough to know that I would not lose his friendship over something as trivial as that.