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Morons for Bush?
May 6, 2004 9:37 AM   Subscribe

2000 Election results ranked by avg statewide IQ. Shame on me for even posting this here in this slavering den of liberal fervor, but if it's true, it certainly is kinda fascinating.
posted by jonson (75 comments total)

 
Shame on me for even posting this here in this slavering den of liberal fervor


I can't tell if this is a joke or not, as its so hard to keep up with who is liberal/conservative here, but if it's not, it's crap like that that makes me not want to read or listen to you.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:40 AM on May 6, 2004


I'm shocked! Shocked!

Hey, how come Connecticut is the egghead state ?
posted by y2karl at 9:43 AM on May 6, 2004


Woohoo! Connecticut represent!

Seriously, this thread's going to get ugly fast. I'll start: There is absolutely no way that an IQ survey of each state is even (1) remotely accurate, or (2) remotely correlative to intelligence. Bad science makes for ugly politics. Move on.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:45 AM on May 6, 2004


First off, in your face Colorado.

Secondly, IQ tests were not meant to measure normal intelligence (ie. numbers above 100), I say this as someone on the left side of the spectrum.
posted by drezdn at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2004


It is well known that IQ is not a relevant way to measure "true" intelligence, and that many factors go into determining the political makeup of a stare's electorate, including historic tradition, perceived affinity with the candidate, differences in campaign targetting, media influence, and haha ha hahaha ha ha ha!
posted by Hildago at 9:47 AM on May 6, 2004


Voting decisions are not an intellectual one, but a moral one.

A vote for Bush at this point, for example, is endemic to flawed character.

Further, there are many left wing zealots with a devastating lack of intellect (anyone been to a political march recently?) and many intelligent right wing figures (Newt Gingrich.)
posted by four panels at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2004


Hey, how come Connecticut is the egghead state ?

Well, karl, when I moved from CT to New York, I simultaneously raised the IQ's of both states.

Tell you the truth, I'm kind of amazed that even the highest states average IQ is only 113. Are most people really that dumb? I don't really believe so.
posted by jonmc at 9:50 AM on May 6, 2004


Voting decisions are not an intellectual one, but a moral one.

A vote for Bush at this point, for example, is endemic to flawed character.

Further, there are many left wing zealots with a devastating lack of intellect (anyone been to a political march recently?) and many intelligent right wing figures (Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz.)
posted by four panels at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2004


Anyone have the pedophile-population-density-by-state-correlated-with-election-winner graph handy?

And I loved this note: Note: Several readers have written in regarding our "typo" in calling Florida for Gore. We thank our readers for bringing this to our attention for, even though Gore did get the most votes in Fla., he did not end up carrying the state. The correction has been made.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2004


I edit for all to see.
posted by four panels at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2004


*snicker*

It makes some sense: Gore played the wooden intellectual in 2000, Bush the starry-eyed good old boy. This country's growingly anti-intellectual in a lot of parts and therefore here you have such a list.

Maybe.
posted by xmutex at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2004


Let's not argue about the validity of IQ tests, or the average intelligence of Republicans and Democrats. I recognize that this precludes most of the likely discussion.

I'll just say that I strongly doubt that average IQ varies that greatly by state. Looks to me like an ad hoc estimate of average IQs of states, not the result of a well-designed, reliable study.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:56 AM on May 6, 2004


This plays to all my prejudices nicely, so I should think this is great in the abstract. But intelligence quotient as a hard number just isn't meaningful.

I do wish that it meant something, because my chest would swell with pride an New England getting 3 of the top 5 and 4 of the top ten.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:58 AM on May 6, 2004


I wonder how well these IQ maps correlate with state per capita spending on education ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2004


Tell you the truth, I'm kind of amazed that even the highest states average IQ is only 113. Are most people really that dumb? I don't really believe so.

Isn't the global average supposed to be 100? Wouldn't an average higher than that indicate a fundamental flaw in the testing?
posted by mr_roboto at 10:03 AM on May 6, 2004


I don't know. Those words are hard.
posted by yerfatma at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2004


There's also the possibility that a high-IQ person in say, Utah, might move to New York or Massachussetts because he got into Harvard or Columbia, thus skewing the numbers.
posted by jonmc at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2004


I don't know. Those words are hard.

For New Hampshire, maybe. We can handle it in Massachusetts. If I still lived in Maine, I would have just printed the article out to fold a hat.

(Mainers, I kid because I love. Y'all are my homies and I will mourn you until I join you! I'll pour out a two-liter of Moxie onto the lawn tonight!)
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2004


I bet the IQ maps match up quite nicely with student test scores, state-by-state. My home state of SC was always close to last in education, and darned if it isn't close to the bottom of this one, too.
posted by BobFrapples at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2004


California! Über meisten! California! Ooo-ber meisten!
[/Jello]
posted by squirrel at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2004


Tell you the truth, I'm kind of amazed that even the highest states average IQ is only 113. Are most people really that dumb? I don't really believe so.

Oh, yes, they are.

According to this chart, my life has been one constant slide (CT -> NY -> FL -> NC) into ignorance.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2004


I suspect those IQ scores are fabricated, or at least based on a seriously flawed study (or set of studies). Do any organizations even do IQ testing on randomly selected people? That is what you would need in order to get accurate estimates of statewide averages.

Also, IQ tests have a national average of 100 and a standard deviation of about 10 or 15 (depending on the test that was used). It seems incredibly unlikely that some states had average IQs of 1 standard deviation above the mean, while other states had averages of 1 standard deviation below the mean.
posted by nixxon at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2004


Take this with a grain of salt.

After all, with all that brainpower (America's Smartest Electorate?) Connecticut has elected a governor (Rowland) who might be impeached, a mayor who diverted building contracts to cronies (Bridgeport, Ganim), and another mayor, set up for a payoff sting, but instead caught arranging sex with underage girls (Waterbury, Giordano).

So the Nutmeg State (a nickname based on fraud) is becoming known as "Corrupticut". (And I'm from there.)

/Auriemma for Governor
posted by kurumi at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2004


I'll pour out a two-liter of Moxie onto the lawn tonight!

Careful chummy, it'll kill the grass.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2004


This is stupid and offensive, and I say that as a Democrat. If anything, this sort of IQ disparity says more about IQ as a measurement than the subjects measured. Americans (and IMnonexpertO people in general) are simply not genetically diverse enough for the IQ differences of large populations to reflect any differences in inborn intelligence. Instead, it should be obvious to all, factors like education and wealth are indicated.

Give me a study where hundreds of people from Montana and CT are adopted as infants into a neutral state in a double-blind manner. Do you really think the Montana "stock" would have lower IQs?

Now, why education correlates negatively with voting Republican (and believing in God while we're at it) is an interesting if unoriginal topic of discussion.
posted by callmejay at 10:35 AM on May 6, 2004


How many people take IQ tests in the first place? Where are they required? Were they ever required in any particular states?
posted by raysmj at 10:37 AM on May 6, 2004


Oh, yes, they are.

I dunno.

I've seen plenty of "smart" people say and do all kinds of stupid shit (myself included). Sometimes I think the main use people put their superior intellect to is coming up with rationalizations for stupidity.

And of course, there are all kinds of intelligences. And the list dosen't account for the fact that things like malnutrition and poor education can negatively effect IQ.

And like someone else said brains does not neccessarily translate into moral fiber or even good company. I've met some smart people who were rotten motherfuckers and some people who'd score low on IQ tests who were stand-up guys. I will grant that mean and stupid is a lethal combination.

This is of course all moot when it comes to the state of Florida, which seems to be where people go to become stupid.
posted by jonmc at 10:39 AM on May 6, 2004


Talking about IQ tests is never worthwhile. The only thing an IQ test measures is how good you are at doing IQ tests.

People just seem to love the idea of "scientifically" measuring intelligence so much that they don't want to part with the IQ test, no matter how flawed it is.
posted by reklaw at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2004


From the author's web site:

The theory I have advanced to explain these race differences in IQ is that when early humans migrated from Africa into Eurasia they encountered the difficulty of survival during cold winters. This problem was especially severe during the ice ages. Plant foods were not available for much of the year and survival required the hunting and dismembering of large animals for food and the ability to make tools, weapons and clothing, to build shelters and make fires. These problems required higher intelligence and exerted selection pressure for enhanced intelligence, particularly on the Orientals.

thanks to goetter over at the monkey place for the link.
posted by petebest at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2004


Okay, reklaw, let's accept that point - then why the correlation between performance on the flawed test and voting record?
posted by jonson at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2004


I think the site in the FPP nicked the stats from this list which also includes average income.
posted by zsazsa at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2004


intelligent right wing figures (Newt Gingrich.)

Oh, and Wolfie, can't forget him, even if in a later edit.

Can I start laughing yet? Surely you can't be serious? An intellect only a momma could love? I hear Newt is re-e-a-a-l-l smart about wimmen folk. :-)
posted by nofundy at 11:02 AM on May 6, 2004


not a big surprise, considering all the exit poll interviews of Bush voters who specifically didn't vote for Gore because he was "too smart."
posted by badstone at 11:31 AM on May 6, 2004


I would just like to thank the city of Austin for keeping the state of Texas above the 80s.

*ducks*
posted by whatnot at 11:34 AM on May 6, 2004


Statistics are funny to me. Is Mississippi's average IQ really 85? Isn't that borderline retarded or something? How is this possible? Why do I ask so many questions?
posted by quadog at 11:38 AM on May 6, 2004


It is well known that IQ is not a relevant way to measure "true" intelligence, and that many factors go into determining the political makeup of a stare's electorate, including historic tradition, perceived affinity with the candidate, differences in campaign targetting, media influence, and haha ha hahaha ha ha ha!

Oh man that really cracked me up.
posted by jennyb at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2004


not a big surprise, considering all the exit poll interviews of Bush voters who specifically didn't vote for Gore because he was "too smart."

This is just a theory, but when people are ostentaious about displaying their intellect, it makes people a mite nervous, like the person is either talking down to them or trying to sneak something past them. It's a peculiar vein of thought that I suppose we're all prey to; look at the expressions, "wise guy," "smart ass," "smart aleck" "egghead." This dosen't come from nowhere.

I'm not saying this is the correct way to view things, but attitudes like taht don't arise in a vacuum and there's gotta be reasons for them besides envy or meanness.
posted by jonmc at 11:48 AM on May 6, 2004


"There's also the possibility that a high-IQ person in say, Utah, might move to New York or Massachussetts..."

I already said I wasn't moving, all right? Stop badgering me about it!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:04 PM on May 6, 2004


When trying to decipher the meaning of this link, here's some interesting stuff to ponder...
In his book The Millionaire Mind, Thomas J. Stanley's research found that the majority of Americans with a net worth of one million dollars or more were not outstanding academic performers. Most were not at the top of their classes in school, many scored 900 or less on the SAT, and some never even went to college.

This chart indicates that folks with lower IQs tend to vote Republican. Perhaps there are higher concentrations of wealthy americans living in these supposedly "stupider" states. Perhaps these people identify with the right because they view politics from the view of their own interests, whereas more intellectual types think more in terms of the interests of society as a whole.

I know, I'm reaching with such outlandish specuation. After all, there's plenty of wealthy people in Connecticut.
posted by cleverevans at 12:09 PM on May 6, 2004


quadog: Neither Mississippi public schools, nor any other state institutions, force IQ tests on the bulk of its younger population. They are only required, I believe, in establishing cases of mental retardation.
posted by raysmj at 12:10 PM on May 6, 2004


See, this is exactly why I live in Texas. Here, I am a GOD.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:13 PM on May 6, 2004


And, of course, in Mississippi, searching for mental retardation is like the blind groping for the blind?

*ducks*
posted by FormlessOne at 12:16 PM on May 6, 2004


If you're "LittleMissCranky", wouldn't that make you a GODDESS?
posted by FormlessOne at 12:16 PM on May 6, 2004


I encourage those of you who are taking this chart with any degree of seriousness to click on the link at the top of the article, and read some of the critical reviews on amazon for the book in quesiton. It's a book that seems to, among other things, posit that the continent of Africa in general has an average IQ below the global norm. And it hardly even has to be said that a book with such a premise was most likely written from an agenda hostile to certain ethnic backgrounds, not out of a desire to advance our understanding of history.
posted by bingo at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2004


Formless One: Whatever. Thanks for chirping in! I believe, meanwhile, that the tests are given by school district, or the decision to grant them is made by district and not by the state itself. Maybe that's all changed. I don't know. But I do know that I never had to take an IQ test when growing up there. My older sisters, who like me went to public schools, did have to take some sort of IQ test. It should be noted, however, that the eldest sister entered the first grade in the year before a federal court order to totally desegregate came through, in the late '60s. The other sister started two years later, and I started three years after that. Desegregation affected plenty of rules.
posted by raysmj at 12:41 PM on May 6, 2004


Perhaps these people identify with the right because they view politics from the view of their own interests, whereas more intellectual types think more in terms of the interests of society as a whole.

Intelligence /= moral fiber, remember? But it's a common fallacy.
posted by jonmc at 12:48 PM on May 6, 2004


the list dosen't account for the fact that things like malnutrition and poor education can negatively effect IQ.

Of course not. Factors like the level of education, wealth, health, drug abuse, and cultural biases for or against the kinds of behaviour that lead people to become good at taking IQ tests are the most obvious explanations for the results. Although local geography can have a cultural influence, I don't think anyone would look to it first in explaining why one state has a higher collective IQ than another.

I'm a little surprised at the magnitude of variation between states, but I'd be even more surprised if there wasn't any.

...
A significant percentage of Americans are factually incorrect about very important issues. These include whether we found WMDs in Iraq, Iraq's ties to 9/11, and Iraq's ties to al Queda and terrorism in general.

IQ tests do accurately measure one's ability to score well on IQ tests by solving logic problems. That kind of puzzle-solving ability is exactly the sort of thing you need to make sense of American television news broadcasts.
posted by sfenders at 1:03 PM on May 6, 2004


Actually, jonmc, one social survey after another does show a strong correlation between education and respect for rights, less acceptance of authoritarian practices, etc. Liberality of this sort also increases with income, but the affect of education is more significant. There is some debate, however, as regards the difference between whether a belief as stated to a survey taker will mean much when push comes to shove. Being formally educated and having innate intelligence are different things, though.
posted by raysmj at 1:06 PM on May 6, 2004


It's easier to get reliable data on how many states' residents have college/grad school degrees, so comparing those states with voting records would be more accurate (though the results would probably be essentially the same.)

Of course, I'm probably just being defensive, because my state (Colorado) according to this post just makes it to an IQ of 99, although we have a very high degree of residents with college/grad degrees.
posted by kozad at 1:09 PM on May 6, 2004


There is some debate, however, as regards the difference between whether a belief as stated to a survey taker will mean much when push comes to shove.

Bingo. The smart bastard knows enough to say what people want to hear. A dumb bastard will make his bastardy obvious out of stupidity. And the things you mentioned are political principles, which are more abstracted from daily life, as oppsed to peoples day to day behavior.

Liberality of this sort also increases with income,

Again, it's much easier to think about others when your own needs and wants are sated.

True, this is merely anecdotal, obervation talking, but it's another way of saying correllation does not equal causation.
posted by jonmc at 1:16 PM on May 6, 2004


This post is so inflammatory it needs a shot of cortisone.

Here's a little experiment: choose two data sets at random, then plot both onto a map. Bang! A connection is made, and with instant crediblity, the credibility of images. Maybe you can even get a book out of it.

A third thing- why aren't these intellectual 'elites' ruling the country?
posted by Miles Long at 1:22 PM on May 6, 2004


That's me! Look, if you're taking this even remotely seriously, it's not worth the time (hence the "chirping.") I'm watching folks chime in with ever-increasing academic weight on what amounts to an amusing little chart with just as little relevance. I'm sure I'll probably get whacked via reply from someone more self-important than I about having the temerity to waste bandwidth on some indulgently flip comment, but, hey, that's how it goes.

As for the racial bent regarding the author's publications, it, too, isn't worth taking seriously.
posted by FormlessOne at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2004


I'm watching folks chime in with ever-increasing academic weight on what amounts to an amusing little chart with just as little relevance.

The chart itself is stupid. But that dosen't mean an interesting discussion on the topics surrounding it cant result.
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on May 6, 2004


encourage those of you who are taking this chart with any degree of seriousness to click on the link at the top of the article, and read some of the critical reviews on amazon for the book in quesiton.

bingo, Bingo.

the author also has written about:

Skin color and intelligence in African Americans.
Population and Environment, 2002, 23, 365-375.
Presents new evidence showing conclusively for the first time that lighter skinned blacks have higher IQs than darker skinned blacks. This supports the theory that the proportion of white ancestry is a determinant of the intelligence of African Americans.


this author is a complete and utter kneebiter. A total wanker.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2004


The Finnish author of the book where this "statistic" is from, Tatu Vanhanen, is known for his plain racistic opinions. One of his thesis is that the differences in wealth on different continents is due to evolution and thus intelligence.

Crap crap crappety crap.

But still, a entertaining stat...
posted by hoskala at 2:59 PM on May 6, 2004


I find it downright creepy the way so many of you are so quick to find half-baked reasons to dismiss this chart, or IQ in general, as meaningless. Anyone care to dispute the actual numbers? The source for the data is cited on the book's web page as "Raven, J.C., Court, J.H. and Raven, J. (1996) Standard Progressive Matrices. Oxford Psychologists Press."

By the way, black people in America do have, on average, lower IQ scores than the general population. Although that's been used as an excuse for various stupid ideas by various racists, it's still true. I strongly suspect it's due largely to environmental factors.
posted by sfenders at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2004


You know, the most excellent way to start a thread on Metafilter is to call it's readers a "slavering den."
posted by moonbiter at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2004


sfenders, haven't you heard? Facts are a nuisance in the New America. They must be tempered by being first put through a politically correct and/or a patriotically correct filter.
posted by skallas at 4:19 PM on May 6, 2004


I'd be stunned if this isn't complete crap.
Hey, guys! Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this is clearly a case of the former without the latter.
sfenders and skallas -- If you can find me an authoritative source for those numbers and explain to me why the methods used to generate them are meaningful and worthwhile, then you'll have an audience. Unless you can do that, data like these are worse than useless because they create a misleading and dangerous image. It's entirely possible to say without contradiction that any given collection of facts may not tell the whole truth.
posted by mote at 5:04 PM on May 6, 2004


A third thing- why aren't these intellectual 'elites' ruling the country?

...but some people insist that they are!
posted by Jimbob at 5:12 PM on May 6, 2004


Anyone care to dispute the actual numbers? The source for the data is cited on the book's web page as "Raven, J.C., Court, J.H. and Raven, J. (1996) Standard Progressive Matrices.

That's a cite to the test package, not the data.

I don't see anything on where they got the data for US states. If they're taking them from public authorities, why they're taken would make a difference. If Alabama is using the IQ test to see who needs special-ed and Connecticut is using it to qualify kids into G/T programs, you might expect just a weensy difference between their average scores.

I might buy some small difference, but the idea that mass averages across states will vary by two individual-level standard deviations is crazy enough to require lots of documentation all over the place.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:19 PM on May 6, 2004


If you can find me an authoritative source for those numbers and explain to me why the methods used to generate them are meaningful and worthwhile, then you'll have an audience.

I have no particular prejudice here except that seeing people dismiss it as ludicrous, with no good reason, leads me to suspect that there might be some truth in it.

It doesn't seem like such an extraordinary claim to me. Wide variations in measured intelligence between cultural groups are well-established. That's nothing new. Some versions of the linked chart also include average financial income by state. It too varies widely, as should not be surprising. So why not variation of measured IQ by state as well? It seems reasonable to me. It would be more surprising if those two things were not correlated. That there should also be a correlation with other things such as political preferences seems reasonable. Note that no claim is being made for any particular chain of causation here.

The range of variation between states doesn't seem unreasonably large when it's considered that such a diverse cultural group as black people across all the states has measured, on average, about the same as the lowest-ranked state. Admittedly, I cite that example since it's the only one I can be virtually certain is (and has been for years) widely accepted, based on a quick web search.

As for the provenance of the data... well, I have no idea of course, but I have found a number of good reviews of Lynn's book. The book has been around for a while, and was somewhat controversial, so it's received quite a bit of scrutiny. It has been taken seriously by innumerable economists and psychologists. Many reviewers question its analysis, but I haven't found any that accuse it of misrepresenting the data in any fundamental way. I'm willing to assume that it's very likely to be correct and gathered in some statistically meaningful way, just as I'm assuming that if the given election results were wrong, someone would have pointed it out by now.

Sorry, I'm not about to spend any more time researching this. But the facts so far lead me to believe it's probably true, and if not meaningful in the sense of fully explaining some profound truth, then it's at least an interesting result worthy of better than just an instant dismissal.
posted by sfenders at 6:44 PM on May 6, 2004


Man, it's a good thing the chart had those helpful colors, otherwise I would be completely lost.
posted by Poagao at 7:18 PM on May 6, 2004


Here's another interesting link which might serve to show that differences in mean IQ can be large between even closely-related groups: in this case, residents of the city of Baltimore, and those in its suburbs.
posted by sfenders at 7:27 PM on May 6, 2004


No one here is arguing that in a well-designed study of IQ, one will find some variations between different groups. There's all sorts of plausible and likely reasons that would happen, and variation purely as a function of race is one of them, assuming that "race" actually has a biological meaning, which it doesn't, so it's not. But racial variations in IQ can, and probably do, exist for sociological reasons.

I think the objection some of us have been making is that the differences described between states almost certainly cannot be correct, just because they're too big. US states are not sufficiently divergent enough to account for those large differences.

"The Bell Curve" is shit, in every way. If you don't understand that, then just go away until you do. I have no tolerance for defenders of that book.

IQ certainly means something. It means whatever it means. To the degree to which IQ scores correspond to what people think of when they intuitively evaluate other people's intelligence, then it's (to that degree) a measure of what people think of as "general intelligence", whether such a thing exists independently, or is only a synthetic aggregate value. How well it corresponds to that intuitive evaulation, and how much everyone agrees upon such intuitive evaluations, are seperate questions.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:44 PM on May 6, 2004


Using IQ for this sort of purpose is pointless, because IQ was originally invented as a test to sort out people on the lower end of the scale, which it does reasonably. Sorting out people on the high end of the scale, however, doesn't really work. Since none of those averages really say "these people are retarded" it's not really that interesting.

Also, in my experience, IQ tests test how good you are at taking IQ tests. People who are in some sort of prep school or even a middle-to-upper class public school tend to take lots of IQ tests. Therefore, this set of statistics shows that states voting Democrat tend to have more money. That's it. Period.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2004


the differences described between states almost certainly cannot be correct, just because they're too big. US states are not sufficiently divergent enough to account for those large differences.

Well if an entire large nation-wide racial group is not "too big", then why should individual states be? Everything I've found so far tells me it certainly can be correct. Stats for IQ are hard to find, probably because this is a touchy subject, but per capita personal income (link) varies from $43k in Connecticut to $23k in Mississippi ... is that not indicitave of a big difference between states?

And here (how convenient!) we have a press release describing a study which claims to show that socioeconomic conditions account for the 15-point lower scores of black children. Is it not reasonable to guess that the economic and social conditions between the richest state and the poorest might approximate the same degree of difference as that between broad racial groups?

The report states that three times as many black children live in families below the poverty line, compared to others. And here it is stated that the percentage of people considered to live in poverty varies from by state 6.2% to 18.8% - a factor of about three.

We'd have to factor in the population of each state to see just how closely the numbers line up, but it does look pretty reasonable.

Therefore, this set of statistics shows that states voting Democrat tend to have more money. That's it. Period.

How 'bout that.

Since none of those averages really say "these people are retarded" it's not really that interesting.

It is a pretty safe bet that right-leaning school districts will find more of their children retarded than their left-leaning counterparts, a fact that leftists have long suspected.
posted by sfenders at 8:45 PM on May 6, 2004


A couple of things:

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I.Q. tests actually measure what they are supposed to measure. Even if this is the case, these results are absolutely pointless except as a joke.

First of all, if the results were meant as a recruitment tool it is an abject failure. Anyone who thinks that the argument "Smarter people than you voted for the other guy, so you should too" is a good one is stunningly ignorant of human nature.

Secondly, high intelligence does not always lead to good decisions. By most accounts, many of the people in the current administration are highly intelligent (Condi Rice, Paul "there is no history of ethnic conflict in Iraq" Wolfowitz, et al), but aside from self-promotion it is hard to see how they are anything other than colossal fuck-ups as far as policy is concerned.

Furthermore, as Michael Shermer pointed out in a recent issue of Skeptic Magazine, smart people can believe weird things. This is because we come to believe things not simply through the process of rational, logical reflection, but also because of how we are raised, what we have experienced, and a wide variety of other processes. Even worse, smart people are skilled at defending beliefs arrived at for non-smart reasons. So it's hard to convince them that they are wrong about what they believe, even if it's a complete fantasy. History confirms this: There are plenty of brilliant people that have bought into some of the most abhorrent ideologies in history. Being smart does not make one immune to all of the other bugaboos of human psychology such as bias, groupthink, prejudice, etc.

So saying "all these smart people support this candidate/party" does not mean that, by definition, that candidate/party is the best one.

Finally, the results tells us nothing about what exactly one might do to change this situation. If I.Q. is a measure of innate intelligence, then there is nothing we can do to change that. Education won't work, because education doesn't make one innately smarter, it just makes one more informed. As far as I know, there is no "increase your intelligence" technique to make someone brighter. Of course, this starts getting into the issue of what it is exactly we mean when we say I.Q., and I don't really want to go there with this post.
posted by moonbiter at 9:04 PM on May 6, 2004


Dammit, posted too fast. Meant to finish with this:

In the end, all these results end up being are a huge ego stroke to anyone who finds themselves on the "correct" side of the issue. This kind of mental masturbation is fun and all, I guess, but I hardly see how it is helpful in the current climate of Left v. Right bile we are subjected to every day.
posted by moonbiter at 9:09 PM on May 6, 2004


I think the evidence is strong that IQ is not immutable in individuals, or in societies. It highly depends on the various qualities of the social environment, which can be changed by conscious effort by a child, his peers, his parents, the schools, the media, etc.

One thing I learned is that in Holland, average IQ rose by 21 points over 30 years. So clearly, I think the answer is that we should all strive to become more like Holland.
posted by sfenders at 10:05 PM on May 6, 2004


IQ scores are designed to have a standard deviation of 10 or 15 points; can't remember which offhand. At the individual level.

And the scores are telling us that there's a two or three individual-standard-deviation difference between states? To believe that, you'd have to think that the average person from CT has an IQ higher than ~97--99% of the people in whichever poor southern state was the lowest.

I'd buy some difference. But a difference of 30 points is much more likely to indicate data that have been diddled to give a desired outcome than it is to indicate anything else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 AM on May 7, 2004


I'd just like to point out that IQ is most definitely _not_ something one is born with, but is a product of a good education. If you want to instantly add 15 points to your IQ score go take a discrete math course that includes set theory.

Thus states with good education systems would almost certainly turn out students who perform better on these types of tests.

No need to be morally offended by these stats.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:00 AM on May 7, 2004


Not that it's on topic, but I still stand by my comment that this is a slavering den of liberal fervor!
posted by jonson at 11:48 AM on May 7, 2004


So this means, if I live in Mississippi and work in Tennessee, the two change daily?

uh, what were we talking about?
posted by Woney at 1:17 PM on May 7, 2004


Steve Sailer presents a pretty good case that it's a hoax.
posted by sfenders at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2004


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