The Meaning of ‘g’ and it’s Measures

I am one of those awful people who mention IQ in public from time to time so I thought a few quick words of background on it might not go astray:

IQ tests exist because ‘g’ (general intelligence) exists. It just is a fact that people who are good at solving one sort of problem tend to be good at solving lots of other different problems. Some problems, however, are particularly good at detecting people who are generally good at solving problems. Researchers speak of such “good-predictor” problems as ones that “load highly on ‘g’”. And, pesky though it may be, the problems that load most highly on ‘g’ (i.e. the ones that are the purest measure of general intelligence) are also the ones that differentiate blacks and whites most strongly. As Charles Murray explains:

“As long ago as 1927, Charles Spearman, the pioneer psychometrician who discovered ‘g’, proposed a hypothesis to explain the pattern: the size of the black-white difference would be “most marked in just those [subtests] which are known to be saturated with g.” In other words, Spearman conjectured that the black-white difference would be greatest on tests that were the purest measures of intelligence, as opposed to tests of knowledge or memory.

A concrete example illustrates how Spearman’s hypothesis works. Two items in the Wechsler and Stanford-Binet IQ tests are known as “forward digit span” and “backward digit span.” In the forward version, the subject repeats a random sequence of one-digit numbers given by the examiner, starting with two digits and adding another with each iteration. The subject’s score is the number of digits that he can repeat without error on two consecutive trials. Digits-backward works exactly the same way except that the digits must be repeated in the opposite order.

Digits-backward is much more ‘g’-loaded than digits-forward. Try it yourself and you will see why. Digits-forward is a straightforward matter of short-term memory. Digits-backward makes your brain work much harder. The black-white difference in digits-backward is about twice as large as the difference in digits-forward. It is a clean example of an effect that resists cultural explanation. It cannot be explained by differential educational attainment, income, or any other socioeconomic factor. Parenting style is irrelevant. Reluctance to “act white” is irrelevant. Motivation is irrelevant. There is no way that any of these variables could systematically encourage black performance in digits-forward while depressing it in digits-backward in the same test at the same time with the same examiner in the same setting”.

Elsewhere

Leftists still dreaming: “Evoking other cities transformed by revolutionary leaders, like Managua, Nicaragua, in 1979, or Havana 20 years before that, Caracas is attracting students and celebrities, academics and activists, grandmothers and 1970′s-era hippies – a new generation of Sandalistas, as some call them. Some, including many Americans, have come to stay. But others come for a new brand of revolutionary tourism organized by the government or by private groups. Venezuela welcomes them all”

What a world without U.S. power looks like: “At places like Davos and Harvard, the world’s sages rarely stop fretting about the dangers of a too powerful America. Well, if you want to know what the world looks like without U.S. leadership, Exhibit A is Darfur in Sudan. Today’s leading authority on Darfur is the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who prophesied a world “nasty, brutish and short.” At least 200,000 civilians have been killed in the past three years and two million more have become refugees. The source of the problem is the Arab rulers in Khartoum, who have pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign against black Muslims in western Sudan. They’ve equipped the Janjaweed Arab tribesmen to do the dirty work, and that militia is now attacking civilians across the border in Chad, creating 20,000 more refugees.”

Brave new world of New Zealand (Leftist government, of course): “The Government is examining a proposal to have children tagged and numbered in a central database to stem abuse and failure at school. Personal details of every New Zealand child, including welfare and health concerns, would be entered into the database, to be shared by schools, social agencies and health authorities. It would be similar to Scottish and British initiatives, with a single ID number issued for each child, enabling authorities to be alerted to potential problems.”

The myth of water privatization failures: “Water distribution and sanitation have traditionally been a public responsibility. Currently, 97 percent of water distribution in developing countries is in the hands of governments. So the responsibility for above-described failures and fatalities lies with incompetent and negligent governments. And yet, in the few cases where the private sector has been given a role in water distribution, there have been large and sometimes violent outcries against privatization.”

Zoning is theft: “Zoning is theft, pure and simple. In his fantastic introduction to the Austrian School, Economics for Real People, Gene Callahan correctly identifies eminent domain as a form of property theft, especially noting the use of government condemnation in order to secure rightfully owned property for commercial development. It is easy to see government as the crowbar that influence-seekers use to jimmy locks and force private property owners from their land. Here we have the clear picture of Ma and Pa Kettle and clan fighting the law and ‘progress’ armed only with shotguns, corn squeezing, chewing tobacco and shear grit. The flip side to eminent domain, zoning, is not so easily seen. But as Bastiat revealed, the unseen is as important as the seen.”

Polygamy : “The closet is now empty. Newsweek runs a story on polygamy, “Polygamists Unite!” In the wake of the gay-marriage movement, polygamy is making its move. “‘Polygamy rights is the next civil-rights battle,’ says Mark Henkel, who, as founder of the Christian evangelical polygamy organization TruthBearer.org, is at the forefront of the movement. His argument: if Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.” Charles Krauthammer has a few unsatisfying thoughts on this, once called, polygamy diversion, by so-called gay rights advocates. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.you know the rest.”

A good article on Hollywood Leftism here. Excerpt: “To this day, Hollywood still clings to the myth of martyrdom on the Left-a Left that defended Communism and today soft-pedals the terrorist threat-as Billingsley put it-”while earning, substantial fortunes in the very country they attacked as repressive and fascist.” In Hollywood’s land of dreams, as author Richard Grenier once said, “Capitalism is evil except for the three-picture deal with Paramount, the Malibu mansion, the swimming pool, the tennis court, and the Mercedes Benz.” To which Billingsley adds, “Or, as Marx himself might have framed it: From each according to his credulity, to each according to his greed.”