The Left\'s Love-Hate Relationship With IQ

In general, the left is fairly hostile to the idea that IQ has any significant explanatory power outside of academics, particularly when it comes to things like the racial income gap or the apparent decline of social mobility in the United States.

So I find it amusing that so many on the left are so eager to believe things like this and this. If IQ is just a meaningless and futile attempt to distill something as complex and multifacted as intelligence into a single number, then how much can it matter if Bush has an IQ of 91 or that the 16 states with the highest averaged IQs all voted for Kerry?

The other irony here is that these numbers should be utterly implausible, or at least raise a huge red flag, to anyone who knows anything about IQ. A person with an IQ of 91 is extremely unlikely to get into and graduate from Yale and the Harvard Business school, no matter how good his connections are, and IQs above 170 are so rare as to render almost completely implausible the claim that three of our last nine presidents have had IQs of 174 or more. Likewise the claim that the mean IQs of two states might differ by as much as two standard deviations (roughly the difference between the US and sub-Saharan Africa). How is it that people who could be taken in by such blatant hoaxes feel that they have the knowledge necessary to hold informed opinions on topics such as the validity of IQ as a measure of intelligence and its ability to explain social phenomena?

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