[ExI] Making [100 million] people smarter on the cheap.

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sat Dec 6 17:56:53 UTC 2008

At 03:28 PM 12/4/2008 -0500, JKC wrote:

>Nicholas D. Kristof proposed a way to raise the IQ of one BILLION 
>people between 10 and 15 points and do so at the cost of 2 cents per 
>person per year! ...

Not quite. What Kristof wrote was:

"When a pregnant woman doesn't have enough iodine in her body, her 
child may suffer irreversible brain damage and could have an I.Q. 
that is 10 to 15 points lower than it would otherwise be. An educated 
guess is that iodine deficiency results in a needless loss of more 
than 1 billion I.Q. points around the world."

So he's not suggesting that some one billion humans are 1 point 
lower, but that on average some 100 million, or fewer, are 10 points 
or more lower. Hence his horrifying anecdotal description:

"Occasionally in my travels I've been unnerved by coming across 
entire villages, in western China and elsewhere, eerily full of 
people with mental and physical handicaps, staggering about, unable 
to speak coherently." That's a *huge* deficit, and clearly there are 
many contributory causes.

Still, even 50 million somewhat brain-damaged people is a staggering 
and dreadful needless waste of potential. Yes, there'll be rumors 
that adding iodine to the salt or other foods is an Evil Crusader 
Plot, but not if the leaders of such nations and faiths can be 
persuaded to speak up in favor of doing so. It might suit some of 
them to stupidize their populations, but that's not a foregone conclusion.

Damien Broderick 

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