Friday, November 16, 2007

III - Is the Establishment Reviving Eugenics?

The American importers of Binet's test immediately and uncritically asserted that scholastic success is the standard to which Intelligence Quotient or (IQ) refers, and, that IQ is a direct measure of innate mental capacity. They flatly rejected Binet's assertion that intelligence is not fixed and that it can be augmented by training. The American claims, contrary to Binet's methods and his own assertions about the same, have become the dogmatic basis for the mental testing or psychometric movement.

American history is replete with strange and unsavory convergences of science, technology, society, and governance. While people are more accustomed to questioning disparities in society, and to the extent that their moral and testicular fortitude permits, indirectly questioning seeming disparities in governance, most folks don't venture very far into the realm of critical examination of technology and science. In this society, the myth surrounding a white laboratory coat is almost the equivalent of the myth surrounding a priestly vestment. By and large, folks just don't question information presented to them as "science".

Consequently, most often the interplay of science, technology and society is commonly overlooked or misunderstood. In order to overcome this tendency, it is absolutely necessary to carefully evaluate the objectivity of what passes for science to ascertain whether it is in fact scientific at all. There is scant little historical or present day evidence of objectivity or scientific method in the practice of psychometry and psychotechnology - and the value-laden and purposive uses to which these "disciplines" have been put - should be enough to make your hair stand on end.

In what I've read of David Mill's online commentary - he comes across as a relatively conservative apologist for American culture and its associated systems of production. Critical interrogation of the whats, whys, and wherefores in this society - not his strong suite. So his comment yesterday in support of the notion that IQ is something ontologically real and genetically determined didn't really surprise me. I suspect that Mills buys into the American myth of IQ hook, line, and sinker. To wit;
The intelligence question is the hardest one for intelligent people to face. Intelligent people know that intelligence is real. And intelligent people know that not every child born has an equal capacity for intelligence.
On the other hand, my online and discursive acquaintance with Michael Fisher shows him a relatively fierce critic and interrogator of American culture and its associated systems of production. So I have to admit a measure of disappointment in the equally preloaded set of assumptions that my here-to-date historically astute and very erudite Bro. Fisher brought to the question of IQ as posed by Mills;
There's only one logical move you can make now, Craig without showin' ya azz. Which move happens to be the correct one and in congruence with reality.
Really.....?

The fact of the matter is that there are so many different equally effective angles of approach for dismantling the invidious myth of IQ - that one wonders why it persists to the present day at all? As best I can ascertain, the ONLY reason that the myth of IQ persists is that it serves the governance purposes of the U.S. Establishment. In that capacity, it is trotted out periodically under a new version release, frosted over with a new and improved "scientific" veneer, and re-presented as the "new and improved" myth of IQ.

As I indicated in my comments to the first installment, my first encounter with IQ came as an unwitting child under the Nixon Administration's Model Cities program which was conducting IQ testing in the hood under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and the Public Health Service. Around 1970 there were some very serious proposals aimed at the development and deployment of allegedly scientific solutions to some of the "pressing social problems" facing American society. There was considerable social unrest in America at that time - due to the unjust war in Vietnam, racial and social injustice in America, political assasinations, and mass uprisings in many cities.

During that period, psychometricians were very active in support of psychotechnologists who were actively peddling their wares to the government as a means of solving the problem of violence control. Mind you, a nation which had unleashed ultraviolence on southeast asia and conscripted and pressed into service hundreds of thousands of its poor youth, was preoccupied with the problem of violence control here at home? Public officials and prison authorities began to receive and look favorably on proposals to use psychosurgery as a means of "treating" allegedly uncontrollable ghetto residents and prison inmates. I digress...., this is about the heritability of IQ - psychosurgery and other forms of barbarous medieval libertinage deserve a series all of their own.