Brain Thinking

Sunday Thoughts: Race and IQ Yet Again?

There are still those that believe in an extreme view that Race and IQ theories are paramount in how we view and value ourselves as humans. The theories are often touted by white supremacist groups but are also touted by far-leftist groups – though with an inverse twist. Conservatives find either side of these group’s arguments as extreme. The individual and individual values they bring are paramount in conservative ideology, not some group’s genetic identity. Nevertheless, let’s examine in a little detail these ideas.

What implications does this have for our future? Few dispute that there are differences in race and IQ (see here). Others note the national differences – see here. The question is, whether it is nature (i.e., genetics) or nurture (i.e., environmental). If the differences are nature, this may cause some to justify racism if we want to live in a merit-based society. If the differences are nurture, then one would need to examine the environmental issues that caused this – solutions are another subject.

There has been much research done (here is one) on whether IQ is nature or nurture. Here is another that suggests that nature has little to do with IQ. The reality is that it is a bit of both. After researching various studies, the consensus is that IQ obtained from nature is between 20 to 40%, though some disagree. The point here is that, for sure, IQ is not 100% nature.

Some believe that IQ is all that matters. They use a straw model that says, to be a star basketball player, one needs to have a minimum genetic height, or they will never be successful as a basketball player – justifying supremacy by genetics. They then extrapolate this to say a successful human needs a minimum IQ. Perhaps, but what minimum IQ would be a debate. This extrapolation is a gross exaggeration from a singular fit for purpose best of class objective onto a very complex purpose of being a successful person. One could use this same straw model when looking at communication skills and not just IQ skills.

IQ is not the only “value” skill needed to be successful. Others may be just as important. So what are some of these other “values” skills? There has been a lot of work done on developing “value” skill frameworks that demonstrate this – here, here, and here are just a few.

Putting on our thinking cap on, one can ask, what would be a logical grouping (or framework) of all needed “value” skills to be a successful person that is of equal weighting. The following is one potential framework and is not far from what others have developed:

Human Value Skills FrameworkThe following is a more detailed description of the four general, equal “value” skill areas of this value framework:

  • Interpersonal (25%) – are the behaviors and tactics a person uses to interact with others effectively. The term refers to a person’s ability to work well with others. Interpersonal skills range from organizational skills, communication, listening, and the ability to see/act with social cues.
  • Character (25%) – skills here refer to the ability to self-motivate, have wisdom, emotional balance, common sense, take appropriate risks, leadership, ambition, work ethic, and moral behavior.
  • Innovation (25%) – skills refer to the talent of creating and exploiting new ideas to gain value.
  • IQ (25%) – the capacity for logic, analysis, understanding, learning, knowledge, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

Looking at this model, if one merely focuses on taking an IQ test and measuring nature’s IQ, it is highly problematic. One may only be looking at best, about 10% of the entire required “value” skills needed to be successful. Deviations within this 10% could easily be made up with other nature “values” skills and/or using nurture to supplement.

It would be a gross exaggeration to assign any role of race and genetic IQ to any groups and then try to make policy. Environmental (i.e., culture) issues are another matter. Unfortunately, with the rise of race politics, these types of extreme views may still persist.

 RWR original article syndication source.

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Written by Tom Williams

Born down on the farm in America's Midwest, my early life was spent climbing the ladder via a long career in information technology. Starting as a technician, and after earning a degree going to night school, I eventually found a place working at ATT Bell Laboratories as a software engineer.

Later moving into management and then a long stint in a major management consulting firm working with major banking, telecommunications, and retail companies. Working in various states in America, I also spent considerable time living and working in several European countries - currently expat in France. As a side career, I was heavily involved in real estate development and an avid futures trader. This experience can give one a unique view of the world.

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