[ExI] A Gedanken Rational Eugenics Experiment (AGREE)

Omar Rahman rahmans at me.com
Fri Oct 25 22:04:24 UTC 2013

> Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2013 18:42:03 +0200
> From: Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se>
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Subject: Re: [ExI] A Gedanken Rational Eugenics Experiment (AGREE)
> Message-ID: <526A9F5B.4040804 at aleph.se>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"; Format="flowed"
> On 2013-10-25 09:22, Omar Rahman wrote:
>> Their whole notion of 'national IQ' is so deeply flawed it is 
>> laughable. Just looking at and attempting to account for the bias in 
>> IQ tests is difficult enough, but rubbing that together with a notion 
>> of GDP which is connected to a fiat currency produces a rich creamy 
>> mousse of pure bullshit.
> Hmm, you have a population of people. You measure something (IQ, weight, 
> liking of icecream). Of course there is a group mean, no matter how big 
> the group is. And that group mean might very well be a decent predictor 
> of things when comparing to other groups even if the test is lousy.
> While Lynn and Vahanen's original study was pretty crappy, their data 
> does work surprisingly well as a predictor of a lot of things (and some 
> temporal changes seem to be good predictors of changes in other 
> important variables). That is in itself curious, even if one does not 
> think they are measuring real intelligence differences. Newer and better 
> data seem to follow the same pattern, whatever it means.

I said 'their' notion not 'the' notion. Of course you can get a group of people together and survey them. 

What they didn't have is:

1.	Data - some countries were assigned 'national IQs' based on their neighbours scores
2.	Data - some countries had single surveys of under a hundred people
3.	An IQ test that performs consistently across cultures
4.	A notion of GDP which is independent of a foreign fiat currency
5.	A notion of historical context when speaking about development

Take any one of these points and their conclusions would not be supported, but taken together this amounts to seriously flawed work.

>> If you see 'data' indicating that the AVERAGE CITIZEN OF EQUATORIAL 
>> and you make any other conclusion than your data being horribly 
>> horribly wrong then well...
> Actually, measures of state IQs in the US also show that some states are 
> retarded. Is that a reason to say that those differences do not tell us 
> *anything*, or to conclude that maybe state IQ is not really the same 
> thing as an individual person's IQ?
> -- 
> Dr Anders Sandberg
> Future of Humanity Institute
> Oxford Martin School
> Oxford University

A measure of state IQ in the US might indeed tell us some interesting things because we could:

1.	Get data for all 50 states without guessing that North and South Dakota should be the same because they are next to other and both Dakotas after all
2.	Get a large enough sample, to avoid the effects of self selection and cherry picking
3.	Have relatively fewer cultural biases to account for in IQ testing (though this would still remain somewhat problematic)
4.	Not have to worry about currency conversions when calculating GDP numbers
5.	Have a well known historical context (though this would still be very problematic)

I'm not aware of any study which places some US state in a 'retarded' category. I looked around a bit and found a bunch of 'state IQ maps', with credibility ranging from outright hoaxes to things purporting to be based on 'official' data. Even the hoaxes didn't go past one standard deviation (15) from 100. Lynn and Vahanen placed Equatorial Guinea at 59. That's about 1/2 a standard deviation away from the average person with Down's syndrome. Would you find that data point believable enough for you to publish Anders? Of course you wouldn't so why should we take some publication with such 'data' seriously?


Omar Rahman
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