[ExI] No need for radical changes in human nature/was Re: Private and government R&D

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 10 05:56:07 UTC 2009

2009/7/10 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:
> On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 7:48 AM, Stathis Papaioannou<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2009/7/9 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:
>>> ### Peer-reviewed research indicates otherwise:
>>> http://law.jrank.org/pages/1368/Intelligence-Crime.html and other
>>> pages there, especially
>>> http://law.jrank.org/pages/1364/Intelligence-Crime-R-20-meaningful-correlation-size.html
>> The cited papers claim a "moderate correlation". That is not
>> equivalent to claiming that if people were smarter there would be less
>> violent crime.
> ### Read again. "randomly assigning high IQs to low-IQ individuals
> would decrease their criminal behavior by about 30 percent (i.e., from
> 60 percent to 40 percent)—certainly a meaningful change."

And that's a completely unwarranted assumption based on the evidence
of correlation. It's like discovering that people in prison are of
below average height, and concluding that increasing the average
height of the population will decrease crime.

> There are far, far greater differences in crime rates
>> between different countries and different regions within a country,
>> not accounted for by IQ variation. And even if it is accepted that IQ
>> is a predictor of crime all else being equal, it is still possible
>> that, for example, it is not IQ per se but IQ *inequality* that is the
>> cause of the problem, so that if the average IQ were raised but the IQ
>> spread remained the same the violent crime rate would remain
>> unchanged.
> ### Read http://law.jrank.org/pages/1365/Intelligence-Crime-Explaining-IQ-crime-correlation.html

That article includes various speculations as to whether and how there
may be a causal link between low IQ and crime, given the evidence
showing that there is some association.

> Also, you still haven't addressed the possibility that the
>> really terrible crimes that often go unpunished and don't show up in
>> statistics - demagogues inciting war and other violence - are due to
>> high IQ individuals. I'm all in favour of making people smarter, but I
>> have little confidence that it will make them nicer.
> ### OK, are you going to withdraw your assertion that low IQ does not
> predict increased criminality? You seem to be veering off into other
> issues now.

It's a variation of the idea that brighter people not only are less
likely to get caught if they commit a crime, but even better if they
are really bright, do terrible things to others without having it
recognised as a crime; for example, war. I would have thought that you
would be sympathetic to this idea, given that you believe that
government is by its nature violent. If I remember correctly, that was
the original point from which this discussion took off.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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