Self-Flattery Blues

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A phony chart has been circulating in the left wing of the blogosphere, claiming to show that states that voted for Gore have higher average IQs than states that voted for Bush. No word yet on whether there's a chart that shows which voters think they're smarter.

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  1. Jennifer, you can’t just change your name to “Phil” and think we won’t catch on. The quadruple-posting gives you away every time 🙂

    Seriously, though, I’m tired of the red/blue comparisons. It’s a nice way to divide people and legitimize your victory by pointing out that the bad/stupid/immoral/whatever people voted for the other guy. Or you can assuage your anger over your defeat by assure yourself that all of the “good” people voted for your side, and the only reason your side lost is that there are more “bad” people in this world.

    It’s especially useful after a heavily-contested election like 2000. You can brush aside any questions about the legitimacy of the outcome by insisting that all of the good, God-fearing people voted for your side so it must be right. Or you can brush aside any questions about the legitimacy of your candidate’s tactics by assuring yourself that the other guy’s supporters were a bunch of yahoos, so surely it was legitimate for your candidate to fight him by any means necessary.

    A pox on both your houses! And if that pox leads to low birth weight babies with statistically lower IQ’s, so much the better! 🙂

  2. I always thought a high IQ meant you were intelligent enough to do well on a test you weren’t smart enough to avoid taking. ;-]

    Actually, even if we had a state breakdown of some type of intelligence score it would be meaningless. States become “red” or “blue” because a near 50-50 split of voters falls one way or the other. And in most states the largest group of voters is the one that doesn’t show up.

    A county-level list would be a little more meaningful.

    What really happens is that the intelligent voters in each state vote the way I do, and the other voters vote the opposite.

  3. Oh, thoreau, you just see right through me!

  4. joe:

    “Different people from difference families don’t have the same upbringing, even if they are in the same state.”

    Nor do they share the same genetics. I do not make the claim that intelligence is entirely genetic (in fact I agree that ‘nuture’ can win over ‘nature’).

    If, however, the upbringing of a person is the main factor in one’s ‘intelligence,’ as well as political leanings, then liberal/conservative leanings can serve as a surrogate for intelligence testing (to take from your earlier undoubted postulate). (In “upbringing,” include the concept of local/regional culture.)

    But if intelligence is unmeasureable, then all scales for such measurement are invalid, and therfore your argument that liberal = smart, conservative = stupid is internally inconsistent.

    See where the urban=smart, rural=stupid argument takes you?

  5. I forgot to mention that there’s one state which might actually have a lower IQ: Florida. After seeing how the simple task of punching a hole befuddled them, I’m willing to believe that FL has a lower IQ 🙂

  6. So its a hoax. I wanted to believe it, because I think if people had more facts about the candidates, they would never, ever, vote for a candidate like George W. Bush. Bob Dole or Richard Lugar perhaps, but not Bush.

  7. to green’s point:

    There are significant number of people who recognized all of the facts on record about Bush, thought he was something of a boob, and STILL vastly preferred him to the alternative.

    Much like the Kerry folks nowadays.

  8. Jason, you have summarized why I voted for Bush in 2000, and why I will do so again in 2004. Not so much because of Bush’s wonderfulness, but because of Kerry’s awfulness.

    Call me an ABK voter.

  9. The IQ measures your ability to remember facts to which you were previously exposed. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no use as a metric except in geek pissing contests.

    liberal = smart, conservative = stupid is internally inconsistent.

    I won’t scroll up but joe if you really said that, you should put your head in a doorway and slam the door. Repeatedly.

  10. Most IQ tests are not about remembering facts.

    The really good ones are one on one interviews with trained raters while you manipulate blocks, etc. in timed tests. Knowledge of actual ‘facts’ counts for less that 20% of the test.

  11. Someone want to explain to me why Idaho is supposedly “dumb,” and yet back in high school the state average for IOWAs/ACTs/etc. was higher than the national average? Hmm.

  12. Czar,
    Average ACT and SAT scores can be highly deceiving. My home state of AL has higher than average SAT scores. The reason is that almost all in-state schools require the ACT, so the SAT takers are highly skewed toward those planning to attend school out-of-state. I think those planning to go out-of-state to school tend to have higher scores regardless of the state. One can find unselective schools in any state so there is usually not much reason to venture far unless you are looking to attend a more selective school.

    On a related note, I read a few years ago that SC was trying to raise its average SAT scores by restricting the students who could take the exam to those who had achieved a certain academic level or accomplishment. I also read recently that some colleges wait list students with test scores and/or grades above the normal range for their students. In other words, say a student has a perfect SAT/ACT score and applies to State U. The officials at State U realize that he is far more likely to attend an Ivy League or similar school. Apparently, the percentage of accepted students who actually attend is one of the criteria USNWR and other rankings use. Therefore, some schools don’t accept students with impeccable credentials if they think they are unlikely to attend the school. Interesting incentives.

  13. I think you’re taking my jibes far too seriously.

  14. If you look at the states that went Republican in 2000, they did so by about 10% according to Zogby. So the IQ figures listed on the chart as “average” for the state are the average between the 45% of Dems in the Red States, and the 55% of Repubs. The states that went Dem in 2000 did so overwhelmingly, typically by close to a 2:1 margin.

    In the Blue states, the chart shows an average IQ of maybe 106 – approaching a standard deviation above the norm. So the Dem’s must all average at about 75th percentile on intelligence, right? Actually, they need to be even smarter, since 33% of their states are still Republican – and the chart “proves” how dumb Republicans are.

    To buy into the chart, you would have to believe that the Dems average out at 1 – 1.5 standard deviations above the norm for IQ – higher than the average in their states. Don’t forget, they have to make up for that chunk of population that is Republican within their state – and based on this chart, having even a couple Republicans skews the results.

    You also have to believe that the Republicans are wayy below the norm – those Red State results are around 90 on the average, and with the narrow population of R voters in those states, assuming Dems are in the 1 SD+ range, it would take a disproportionate number of awfully stupid R voters to bring the numbers down that far – we’re talking a lot of folks 2 SD- the norm. Don’t forget – the average Dem has a 110 – 112 IQ, by these calculations, so to get the narrowly divided red states down to 90, takes some doing – it takes a lot of people with a 72.

    In short, the premise of the fake chart is this:

    On the average, Republicans are borderline mentally retarded to fully mentally retarded.

    Nice.

  15. This site has a relevant discussion of the hoax.

    http://tinyurl.com/3h5c8

  16. I’m so smart I am almost as smart as I think I am.

  17. Would these be the same people who scoff at the notion of standardized testing and IQs as inherently racist and irredeemably narrow-minded?

  18. Does an IQ test measure anything, really? I mean, apart from one’s ability to take an IQ test?

  19. RC, my thoughts exactly. The chart is obviously bs, because the higher numbers of immigrants and ethnic communities in Gore states would cause them to score lower on IQ tests than the lily white states that went for Bush.

    I have no doubt that Gore states are, on average, smarter than Bush states, but there’s no way IQ tests can accurately measure such things across different demographics.

  20. Hmmm, has anyone checked out the IQ of EDITORS of the left wing of the blogosphere? What about their EQ? (Ethical Quotient)

  21. “I have no doubt that Gore states are, on average, smarter than Bush states, but there’s no way IQ tests can accurately measure such things across different demographics.”

    Come on. You simply can’t make that claim if there is no supporting evidence. Can you just drive through an area and tell if people are smart? Regardless of IQ’s faults, I trust it more than a qualified ‘feeling.’

    What kind of blinkered logic are you employing? You can’t simultaenously make the claims that intelligence can’t be measured and that “on average,” certain areas are smarter than others. Where are you getting your data? Your “smart-dar?”

    You “have no doubt.” Please.

  22. An IQ scale I like to use is looking at Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Springer ratings in Gore states vs Bush states.

  23. There was a survey going around showing the opposite back in 2000… that the Dems would fall for this four years later answers the question of who’s smarter.

  24. I thought EQ was Emotional Quotient. I feel bad now.

  25. db: It’s simple. A smart person is someone who agrees with you. A dumb person is someone who disagrees with you. This applies for all values of “you”.

  26. I was being a smartass, db. There is no inherent trait accurately called “intelligence.” If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished.

  27. Joe:

    A higher number of immigrants will lower average IQ scores? I am under the impression that asian immigrants, or at least their children, score higher on standardized tests than do white kids.

  28. Barney Frank`s constituent`s have an average IQ of 113. Ron Paul`s constituent`s have an average IQ of 92.
    I see a problem here!Yes indeed PHONY.

  29. Fred, Asian immigrants are a small % of the total immigrant population.

  30. I guess this explains why all of the people in the red voting districts are driving Mercedes and living in homes that start at half a million dollars while the people in the blue voting districts are shooting each other in government owned projects.

    Thanks, that cleared it up.

  31. Whatever IQ tests measure — which appears mostly to be “Whatever the people who designed the IQ test thought was important in determining who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’,” there is an innate component of some kind to intelligence. The evidence in favor is so strong that denying it is being deliberately ignorant. Is it the most important factor in how smart one is? No. Is it most important for determining how successful one will be? No. Is it an important contributor? Yes.

    Pace joe — If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished. — cross-sectional studies on IQ and intelligence show that, when measured among separated siblings raised among different families, the siblings’ shared heredity causes more of the variance than the average IQs of the families in which they are placed. This is especially true of twins.

    There’s an excellent chapter in Matt Ridley’s book Genome, and several pertinent chapters in Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, that go into this deeply. Intelligence is partly innate, it is heritable, hereditydoes have a strong component, and IQ does measure something, although it is not even close to the sum total of a measure of g, nor is it the most accurate predictor of academic or career success.

  32. joe:
    “If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished.”

    So how does that explain all the people you grew up with who are more or less intellectually accomplished than you?

  33. Whatever IQ tests measure — which appears mostly to be “Whatever the people who designed the IQ test thought was important in determining who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’,” there is an innate component of some kind to intelligence. The evidence in favor is so strong that denying it is being deliberately ignorant. Is it the most important factor in how smart one is? No. Is it most important for determining how successful one will be? No. Is it an important contributor? Yes.

    Pace joe — If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished. — cross-sectional studies on IQ and intelligence show that, when measured among separated siblings raised among different families, the siblings’ shared heredity causes more of the variance than the average IQs of the families in which they are placed. This is especially true of twins.

    There’s an excellent chapter in Matt Ridley’s book Genome, and several pertinent chapters in Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, that go into this deeply. Intelligence is partly innate, it is heritable, hereditydoes have a strong component, and IQ does measure something, although it is not even close to the sum total of a measure of g, nor is it the most accurate predictor of academic or career success.

  34. Whatever IQ tests measure — which appears mostly to be “Whatever the people who designed the IQ test thought was important in determining who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’,” there is an innate component of some kind to intelligence. The evidence in favor is so strong that denying it is being deliberately ignorant. Is it the most important factor in how smart one is? No. Is it most important for determining how successful one will be? No. Is it an important contributor? Yes.

    Pace joe — If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished. — cross-sectional studies on IQ and intelligence show that, when measured among separated siblings raised among different families, the siblings’ shared heredity causes more of the variance than the average IQs of the families in which they are placed. This is especially true of twins.

    There’s an excellent chapter in Matt Ridley’s book Genome, and several pertinent chapters in Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, that go into this deeply. Intelligence is partly innate, it is heritable, hereditydoes have a strong component, and IQ does measure something, although it is not even close to the sum total of a measure of g, nor is it the most accurate predictor of academic or career success.

  35. Whatever IQ tests measure — which appears mostly to be “Whatever the people who designed the IQ test thought was important in determining who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’,” there is an innate component of some kind to intelligence. The evidence in favor is so strong that denying it is being deliberately ignorant. Is it the most important factor in how smart one is? No. Is it most important for determining how successful one will be? No. Is it an important contributor? Yes.

    Pace joe — If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished. — cross-sectional studies on IQ and intelligence show that, when measured among separated siblings raised among different families, the siblings’ shared heredity causes more of the variance than the average IQs of the families in which they are placed. This is especially true of twins.

    There’s an excellent chapter in Matt Ridley’s book Genome, and several pertinent chapters in Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, that go into this deeply. Intelligence is partly innate, it is heritable, hereditydoes have a strong component, and IQ does measure something, although it is not even close to the sum total of a measure of g, nor is it the most accurate predictor of academic or career success.

  36. Whatever IQ tests measure — which appears mostly to be “Whatever the people who designed the IQ test thought was important in determining who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’,” there is an innate component of some kind to intelligence. The evidence in favor is so strong that denying it is being deliberately ignorant. Is it the most important factor in how smart one is? No. Is it most important for determining how successful one will be? No. Is it an important contributor? Yes.

    Pace joe — If the population of Idaho or Arkansas had grown up with the same opportunities and advantages as that of Massachusetts or Washington, they would no doubt be just as intellectually accomplished. — cross-sectional studies on IQ and intelligence show that, when measured among separated siblings raised among different families, the siblings’ shared heredity causes more of the variance than the average IQs of the families in which they are placed. This is especially true of twins.

    There’s an excellent chapter in Matt Ridley’s book Genome, and several pertinent chapters in Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, that go into this deeply. Intelligence is partly innate, it is heritable, hereditydoes have a strong component, and IQ does measure something, although it is not even close to the sum total of a measure of g, nor is it the most accurate predictor of academic or career success.

  37. “So how does that explain all the people you grew up with who are more or less intellectually accomplished than you?’

    Variations withing populations, different environmental and cultural influences within a larger meta-culture, etc. Different people from difference families don’t have the same upbringing, even if they are in the same state.

  38. Sorry ’bout that.

  39. Hey, I wonder what the demographics are for the 20 or 30 libertarians in this country. Educated? Employed? City? Rural? Left eyelid twitching?

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