Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CNu vs UCBM - Grueling Dueling I

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. Albert Einstein

We shouldn’t ignore our simple, real-world understanding of what “intelligence” is – and what it means – as we navigate this politically and scientifically complex subject. David Mills

My forensic opponent has leveled the following charges against yours truly;
I will leave it to any interested reader to decide which of us spoke plainly and which one argued poorly... which one is ideology-driven and deliberately oblique.
So I'm going to break it down to really simple terms and see if we can bring the Millsian soft shoe to dialectical closure. According to Mills;

1. Intelligence is a faculty

2. One person is strictly smarter than another.

3. The faculty is inherited

4. There's little that society or the individual can or should do to alter where an individual is in the hierarchy.

5. Richer and higher status individuals (and families, since this characteristic is heritable) are richer and have a higher status, because they are smarter.

I believe that in a nutshell, these propositions capture the essence of David Mill's political position on IQ. (David, please correct me if I've over or understated your simple, real-world understanding of what intelligence is and the outcomes which it naturally engenders?)

David, do you understand what a social construct is? Here are a few examples:

academic performance
job performance

I know from our blackprof.com exchanges that you have a racially tinged interest in crime and criminality. Have you included in your crime category, kidnapping people, murdering them, raping them, and making them labor for you without compensation - a pretty good description of the American economic system for 300 years? Any chance that this crime and criminality could have had an adverse effect on Black folks heritable position and status within the American social hierarchy? The fact is, there is no scientific category that is more than tangentially connected to "race", and there is no known genetic marker that is more than tangentially connected to "IQ." Both of those, in the context you are using, are social constructions, not scientific ones.

There's more;

Speaking of politically and scientifically complex...

While Craig Nulan marches up and down the sidewalk wearing a sandwich board that says “IQ is meaningless!” on the front and “Psychometrics is racist!” on the back... guess what? A subset of the high-IQ population is doing things like mapping the human genome, putting machines on the surface of Mars (and communicating with them), and pondering the nature of subatomic particles.

Hell, it takes a high IQ to even comprehend that stuff, let alone do the actual science.

This in itself renders silly any black-partisan blustering about the unknowability of “intelligence,” or the relativism of different kinds of intelligences. Whitey done sent a spaceship past Saturn, got-dammit! How you sound, talkin’ ’bout “IQ ain’t shit”?

Here David has stepped up his argument from individuals to groups and enlarges on his argument that IQ correlates to various outcomes and has value for that reason. Race applies to groups. Given that race also correlates to outcomes, why not simply skip the middle man and claim that race is linked to group intelligence because it is linked to group outcomes? IQ tests, which are products of 19th and early 20th century acculturation - long before the advent of either neurology or genetics, and, at the height of the American racist imperialist ethos - is about group acculturation and its effect on group curricular assimilation. The fatal flaw in whatever the IQ test measures is that it isn't measuring anything beyond the same old environmental factors that it presumes to render irrelevant.

For discussions sake, let's play along with David and see what we have to believe in order to hold his group stratification scheme together, shall we?

1. We pretend that the IQ test developed in the late 19th century corresponds to natural human intelligence, instead of ways of getting ahead in a particular society.

2. A subpopulation of humans, (the Germanics) distinguished only by their skin color, suddenly spread a genetic feature that allowed them to be smarter - as defined by the symbol manipulations of the IQ test - but that the phylogenetic effect of that change lagged behind by, 5,000 years if we compare the Germanics with the poor benighted black folks who did their thing back in Egypt.

3. In fact, for 4,000 years, the symbol manipulation of, say, writing, was far advanced on the Nile, while our Germanics were making do with painting themselves blue and living in caves.

4. Unbeknownst to the rest of humanity though, the Germanics were secretly passing on an absolutely useless genetic mutation across all those millenia, because as Hitler pointed out, Gott im Himmel had a plan for them.

5. When they finally learned to manipulate symbols to the extent that they learned a writing system around 400 AD - they were poised for group explosion.

6. Then came the dark ages....,

7. Until around 500 years ago, across those long dark ages - these hardy Germanics were dwarfed, in terms of their technological and symbol manipulation knowledge by the Chinese, Japanese, North African, African, Mesoamerican, and other civilizations.

8. Thank altertumswissenschaft - all of a sudden - the secret genetic inheritance of the Germanics kicked in and propelled them to a position of group supremacy over all the benighted others.

9. Having arrived at their long-occulted genetic inheritance the lofty Germanics are now doing things like mapping the human genome, putting machines on the surface of Mars (and communicating with them), and pondering the nature of subatomic particles....., amen.

Taking my pop cultural cue from David, until the next installment - a musical outro;