Monday, August 29, 2005

On This Fall's Wingnut Fashions

I've had a preview of them, and it seems that we are going to be given the old idea that blacks and women aren't as smart as white men where it counts. Charles Murray is coming out with a long article (which I will skewer later on) about how this is indeed what we should all be talking about in the next few months.

The idea, of course, is that whatever exists, the status quo, is fair, just and reasonable. Because thinking people often doubt it, the wingnuts must try to prove it, over and over again, and the proof is based on the idea of group differences in intelligence. Intelligence, that nebulous, multi-dimensional and qualitative concept, is then naturally defined by the answers one gives to a small number of questions during one single day of ones life, and the questions often have to do with things like fishing or baseball scores or whether the respondent can fix the electrical system in the respondent's house etcetera.

Group differences in the answers to such questions, if they exist, are then often interpreted by people who don't understand the concept of a statistical distribution as meaning that ALL members of a specific group (say, white men) can answer these questions better are smarter than ALL members of the other groups, and are therefore entitled to more money, bigger cars and so on. Sadly, even if such group differences exist, they do not mean that any one person is "smarter" than any other person. Specifically, for all the trolls out there, this means that whatever your color or your sex you are most likely still dumb.

Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't give Murray's article any column space here. It's a totally crappy one, and talking about it may give it excessive meaning. I'll have to think about that one.