COTTO & CO: Dr. Jason Richwine on human intelligence and American Politics


OCALA, Fla., October 12, 2014 — Talking about IQ can be a tall order these days. This wasn’t always so, however. Until the mid-twentieth century, leading scientists made strides in researching how intelligence relates to human behavior. A consensus of them concluded that aptitude was hereditary, basing their collective opinion on data which demonstrated how genetics impact life outcomes.

The manipulation of said research for catastrophic ends by the Nazis made biological determinism forbidden throughout polite society.

From the late 1940s until the early 1990s, various social researchers alleged that all humans were blank slates whose intelligence and personalities were formed by environmental factors. Rapid technological advancement allowed the fields of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology to flourish. The result was a comprehensive debunking of blank slate ideology, and successive findings which indicated that one’s intelligence is principally rooted in his or her genes. Some scientists took this further, launching studies that jeopardized their careers. These academic rogues discovered genetic differences between entire demographic groups, with some having greater average IQ scores than others. Any given group’s IQ related to its wealth, health, political practices, scientific progress, and, in a general sense, level of societal development.

Enter Dr. Jason Richwine. The Harvard-educated social scientist was on his way to the top until spring of 2013. 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, Richwine ultimately stepped down from Heritage. He joins us for a conversation about the taboos of human intelligence as they relate to American politics on this episode of Cotto & Company; a thirty-minute-or-so online radio program featuring independent voices who shape our society.

Regardless of partisan registration, political philosophy, or personal worldview, the goal is sharing diverse, and often innovative, ideas that we all can learn from. I’m your host. As with my work as a Communities Digital News journalist and nationally syndicated columnist, I hope to bring about deeper understanding of the issues which impact our society. Even if we don’t always agree, we should be able to see eye to eye.

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