What’s so scary about the genetics of IQ?

What’s so scary about the genetics of IQ?

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OCALA, Fla., March 5, 2014 — If there is one subject that people like to talk about, it’s intelligence. This goes doubly if one’s child is mentioned.

Curiously enough, the ultimate basis of human intellect remains a controversy among controversies. Scholars, scientists, political commentators, and many more have found themselves excluded from polite society due to their inquest for the facts about IQ.

Seeing as these facts almost always lead to biological heredity, or, in other words, genetic determinism, understanding why is no great feat. 

One of the most recognizable names in think tank America is Dr. Jason Richwine. The Harvard-educated social scientist was on his way to the top until late last spring. A staffer at the Heritage Foundation, he wrote a lengthy study about illegal immigration’s impact on our national interest. His findings generated widespread media attention, and perhaps more importantly, professional acclaim.

Shortly after, politically motivated bloggers let loose with quotations from Richwine’s doctoral dissertation, which focused on IQ and the Hispanic community’s fortunes. Despite finding strong support from most of the right-leaning punditocracy, Dr. Richwine ultimately stepped down from Heritage. While his work was defended as legitimate science by many, others claimed him to be a proponent of eugenic-inspired bigotry.

“There is no serious dispute among scholars that human cognitive abilities are determined partly by genes,” Dr. Richwine explains to Communities Digital News. He goes on to mention that “(s)tudying the genetic basis for human abilities need not have anything to do with eugenics, no more than studying the environmental basis makes someone a Communist.” 

The brouhaha over Dr. Richwine’s findings obscured a key development in modern science. During recent years, the study of human intelligence and its socioeconomic ramifications has attracted considerable academic interest. It no longer is relegated to the sub-level of academic racism. Why might this be? 

“The scientific (not the political) consensus is that intelligence is largely inherited,” Dr. Robert Weissberg tells CDN. For decades, the University of Illionis, Urbana emeritus professor was a popular columnist, author, and public speaker. In 2012, he was fired by the National Review for his opinions about ancestry-related intelligence. Ironically, this afforded him intense national exposure. Today, he continues to write about sociocultural relations.

Dr. Weissberg continues: “The data from identical twins raised apart is clear—they resemble each other even if raised in very different environments.” 

According to many researchers, the lower any given society’s average IQ is, the more social problems are had. Why is this, exactly?

“Stupid people do stupid things,” Dr. Weissberg remarks. “They often cannot appreciate the consequences of their behavior, for example, risking a long jail sentence to stead $10. Nor can the control impulses. Just ask anybody who has to deal with the underclass about such behavior.”

Steve Sailer is one of the few journalists who regularly writes about the relationship between intelligence and society. His relentlessly data-centric reportage has earned him no shortage of accolades and detractions. Sailer has managed to do what few other journalists dare: linking intelligence not only with economics, but political trends.

“When looking at different neighborhoods, your real estate agent will explain to you that, all else being equal, the higher the locals students’ test scores, the more expensive the homes,” he told this journalist in 2012. “There are a lot of reasons for this, such as that smart neighbors tend to do fewer stupid things like celebrating New Year’s Eve by shooting their guns off in the air.

“In 21st Century America, the worst thing about being poor is not that you can’t buy enough stuff, it’s that you can’t afford to get away from other poor people.”

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