The Liberal Bell Curve

What will Sully and Charles Murray say about this?

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

Heh. For serious critique of the study see PZ Meyers.

Speaking for me only

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    John Stuart Mill (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:04:52 AM EST
    "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative."

    So nothing new here.  Heh.

    The exact quote from Mr. Mill (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Kent Allard on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:30:20 AM EST

    I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

        * Letter to the Conservative MP, Sir John Pakington (March 1866)

    Thanks! (none / 0) (#16)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 05:00:52 PM EST
    I'll never trust the website I got that from again.

    Which is actually even more insulting (none / 0) (#33)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 04:44:43 PM EST
    I mean c'mon JSM was basically saying that its common knowledge that stupid people are generally conservative.

    Insulting To Whom? (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 05:50:42 PM EST
    Stupid people, or Conservatives?

    See, "merit based" admissions policies (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:24:25 AM EST
    discriminate against conservatives!


    I must be a genius (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 05:50:06 AM EST
    Liberal 'non exclusive' (well there's a new term for it) woman...

    Really just means no one can stand me for any length of time. It really does all go together.

    It's hard (none / 0) (#43)
    by CST on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 09:21:22 AM EST
    Finding someone who can appreciate genius :)

    I'm pretty sure it's been observed elsewhere... (none / 0) (#1)
    by seabe on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 10:47:17 AM EST
    however, Pz Myers has more than a few quibbles with this study:


    To be clear (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 10:57:21 AM EST
    I am laughing at these ridiculous studies, not endorsing them.

    Irrespective (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Politalkix on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:04:44 PM EST
    Irrespective of whether one believes or endorses such studies or not, one should never lose an opportunity to make fun of Republicans. Not doing so would be political malpractise :-).

    "malpractise" (none / 0) (#17)
    by diogenes on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 06:54:42 PM EST
    Stupid or not, most Republicans know how to spell malpractiCe.  

    That probably depends on which (none / 0) (#19)
    by observed on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 07:04:27 PM EST
    flavour of English you use.

    They're not all morans (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 08:54:49 PM EST
    But they lack a sense (none / 0) (#21)
    by Politalkix on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 09:05:00 PM EST
    of humor (or humour :-)). And when they get angry they lose their photogenisity
    (or photogenicity :-))!

    Does that have something (none / 0) (#23)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 09:12:06 PM EST
    to do with phlogistan ..and spontaneous wingnut combustion?

    When you consider (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 09:07:57 PM EST
    the fact that your chosen one from 2000 to 2008 had trouble articulating a coherent sentence in public - which leads to speculations regarding his ability to think in private - maybe you shouldnt push the superior literacy thing too hard, Diogenes.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#24)
    by Politalkix on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 09:46:01 PM EST
    Diogenes (DiogeneC?) was not being elitist about the superior spelling skills of Republicans. He probably wants us to spell more conservatively like real Americans (such as Dan Quayle) do? :-)  

    Bush spoke Texan (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:17:05 AM EST
    And had better grades than Kerry.

    Whatever that means.


    Since when is mangled (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 03:04:54 PM EST
    english "Texan"?

    There are just as many articulate Texans as there are articulate people from other states.


    Since Texans, and others (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 08:05:17 PM EST
    out here in the great flyover country, understood him I rest my case. That you, and others, did not understand him is your loss, not Bush's or mine.

    And only time will tell if it is better to have a manner like professor refereeing a debate or a  Presidential manner.

    But based on the rapid fall of the former I opine that the latter is the clear winner.


    A 30% approval rating (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 09:46:58 PM EST
    before the eight years were up tells me they understood him a lot less and started having second thoughts about whether being a walking punchline around the world has anything to do with being "Presidential".

    Im just going to (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 09:51:51 PM EST
    have to find a way to carry on after the loss of never understanding Bush. Somehow, some way :)

    Incorrect (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 10:12:51 PM EST
    GWB's fall was more dramatic. From 90% approval rating after the WTC attack to 25% approval.
    Please check out approval percentages of all post WWII Presidents in this link.

    Well, that was the loss (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 10:21:49 PM EST
    of that latte drinking, liberal 75% of the country.

    In a year? (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 10:51:59 PM EST
    The timing is what is noticeable....

    Oh, alright. (none / 0) (#4)
    by seabe on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:06:05 AM EST
    You can never tell on the internets :)

    I wish PZMyers could write. (none / 0) (#13)
    by observed on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:22:54 PM EST
    His blog is fun, and he makes good arguments,  but he's convinced that he's terribly clever and original making observations about religion which date back hundreds or even thousands of years.

    Doomed (none / 0) (#5)
    by waldenpond on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:11:26 AM EST
    Doomed!  I tell you, were all doomed!  :)

    "More intelligent people don't have more children, so moving away from the trajectory is not going to happen," he said.

    Wonder how this correlates with recent (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:32:34 AM EST
    research about genetic marker predicative of male tendency to stray during marriage?

    Digby opines the smart men may (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:50:44 PM EST
    not be responding truthfully.  Shocking.

    I guess I'm a rub (none / 0) (#9)
    by cawaltz on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:47:32 AM EST
    My spirituality should effectively cancel out my liberalness. Or my liberalness should effectively cancel out my spirituality. Either way I end up just as smart or dumb as I was before this study was published to affirm it. Heh, it was the same thing with the dog or cat ownership study(we own both).

    Ivy Leaguers Have LEAD In Sell Outs And (none / 0) (#10)
    by seabos84 on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:52:40 AM EST
    Crap Politicking for 20+ yrs in our Dim-O-Crap party.

    Dudkakis - harvard law
    Clinton - yale law
    Gore - harvard
    Kerry - yale
    Obama - harvard law

    all of them got their clocks cleaned by school yard punk bullies like ailes, rove and atewater - none of whom went ivy.

    Oh yeah, Carter was from the petty bourgeois? kind of, got into Annapolis, rose through the ranks - Mondale was up from the ranks too

    both of them got their clocks cleaned by school yard punk bully roger ailes.

    Looks to me that if you're a liberal atheist, you're most likely to end up a sell out or a political incompetent, especially if you're an ivy leaguer!

    seriously, the REAL string pullers are out and out fascists - they have NO truth on their side, but, they have staggeringly effective lies.  they're masters of getting the peee-ons to pay top dollar for puddle water, AND, making sure the peeee-ons are not mad at the string pullers for the rules being stacked so the peee-ons have to buy over priced dirty puddle water.

    on our side, we have all kinds of education and we have all kinds of THE TRUTH in 400 page tomes, we can't GIVE spring water to the thirsty.

    IQ measures what? Your likelihood of being politically incompetent?


    I didn't realize all those dudes were (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:40:21 PM EST
    atheists . . . .  ;)

    IQ and intelligence (none / 0) (#25)
    by JamesTX on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 12:01:19 AM EST
    are different things. You and I can have different ideas, and probably do, about what intelligence is. And you are right that it ain't necessarily what it is traditionally cracked up to be.

    IQ, on the the other hand, is a test that was designed and still is designed to do one thing: predict grades in traditional Western academic settings.

    Grades in traditional Western academic settings have little to do with all those other things that we normally think of when we think of "real world" intelligence. For example, IQ doesn't predict career success or income very well, and we think of those things as being due to intelligence. You are right that people who do well in traditional Western academic settings may be totally incompetent in other situations.

    Again, the trick here is semantics. IQ isn't "intelligence" as we use the word in the vernacular.

    IQ is a test designed to predict performance in traditional Western academic settings. Since traditional Western academic settings are usually ... um ... librul...and um...atheist sorts of places, I surely hope the researcher who "discovered" this didn't get too awfully much grant money.


    I don't know about IQ, but the very similar SAT (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 07:36:22 AM EST
    correlates well with socioeconomic background.

    The SAT is quite (none / 0) (#30)
    by JamesTX on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 01:51:32 PM EST
    different. It measures achievement (what has been learned in school) and IQ measures ability (the potential or capacity to learn in school). Of course, these are difficult ideas to disentangle, but they are separate enough to have the entire history of special education assessment based on them being different. That is, a learning disability was until recently (and still can be) defined as a discrepancy between IQ and tests that measure what the SAT measures, specifically that the person has ample ability (IQ) but for some reason hasn't learned much (SAT). As usual, SES correlates with everything good. If you partial out SES from the correlation between IQ and income (that is, you remove the effects of the person's socioeconomic history -- the fact the Dad left them a trust fund) then the IQ doesn't predict much at all after that. SES is more than income. It includes how long your family has been cooking in the dough, and the social and personality characteristics that go along with a familial history of wealth.

    The claims about what the SAT measures (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 02:15:46 PM EST
    have varied over the years much more than the test itself. And it began life as a cheap IQ test.

    It may have (none / 0) (#41)
    by JamesTX on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 02:43:03 AM EST
    and I don't pretend to be an expert in its history or validity. I shouldn't have mentioned it because I have had this argument before, so it must be very important to somebody for some reason. People won't let go of the argument, and I don't have any real dog in the fight. I just used it as an example because it was mentioned, and I got sucked in again!  

    But there some fundamental facts that are clear. For some reason, it is important to some people, and I don't know that I understand why. But this I can say: I know it relies heavily on achievement whereas the classical IQ tests (such as Wechsler and Stanford-Binet) have many components that don't have a lot to do with academic knowledge (it would be nice if they did a better job of that, I know, but that is another story). I realize the constructs are overlapped and I said they can't be disentangled with tests, but SAT clearly focuses on what has been learned in school for the most part, and certainly relies on achievement to measure anything else. It is an achievement test in bold relief compared to the Wechsler or Stanford-Binet, regardless of what people say. The format of the test almost limits it to achievement (e.g. tests that purport to measure ability which are entirely written and group administered simply can't do that very well for obvious reasons). I am sure there are many motivations for some users of the test and those who market it to think of it as an ability test for whatever reason they need it to be so at the time. And I am not sure I want to disagree with them. It doesn't matter to me. Like I say, it is the test that was mentioned by the person I replied to, so I used it to explain a concept that isn't related to this argument. And achievement is normally a good proxy for ability, seeing that we think of the cases where the two diverge as being evidence of disorder. You mention that it began life as a "cheap" IQ test. There are several tests like that, and for the most part they are "cheap" in terms of IQ because they are really achievement tests or at least rely heavily on achievement for measurement of ability.

    As I say, I don't have a dog in this fight so I never have time to research why it is that this question comes up anytime I mention SAT, and how I continue to get sucked into this. I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me!


    I wish I had the time to properly answer this (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 06:38:09 AM EST
    Suffice to say that I personally find the SAT to be a test in search of a purpose. The last time I looked into it (when I was in high school in the early 2000s), about the single concrete claim that could be made about the it was that it had some predictive value for 1st year college grades. The problem with that is twofold: first, high school grades are MUCH more predictive, and second, the SAT actually correlates much better with IQ tests than just about anything else.  

    Put differently, no matter how much ETS and other defenders try to claim that the SAT is really about "achievement," their drive to make scores comparable over time means that the SAT is still adjusted to the fieldwork done in the 40s on WASPs applying to the Ivy League.


    Now you have (none / 0) (#44)
    by JamesTX on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 10:51:54 AM EST
    me interested, and I clearly don't have time either, but I always try to find out why people talk about tests, because they so seldom do. I would like to know why there is so much energy in this test. In most settings, including most academic settings, I couldn't get anybody to talk to me about tests if a payed them, because for the most part people know less than they care, and they don't care at all! When somebody writes more than ten words about a test, it is unusual, and I like to understand what is going on! Part of that is because I have supposedly spent my life becoming an expert in mental measurement. Of course, that has surely mostly been in vain, because I am neither intelligent enough nor well-connected enough to do anything with that knowledge.

    Hopefully you will find the time to give me some more information, because you apparently have substantial knowledge about something here and it is important enough for you to mention it. That is a rarity, so I like to soak up whatever knowledge I can find when that happens.

    Given that, I can only try to glean from the most salient points of your comment what is going on.

    The first tipoff was your term "defenders". Gosh, I wasn't even aware there were attackers! I want to make sure I don't get labeled as a "defender", because that is definitely not what I'm up to! I am not a SAT "defender". But that gives me some hint to help better understand, as we said in my day, "where you are coming from".

    My best reading between your lines is that you disagree with SAT being used in college admissions decisions, for whatever reason, and you feel strongly about it. And I take it the additional things you cite are being presented as evidence against such practice. You won't get any argument out of me on that! My saying it is an achievement test was not meant as a "defense" of the test. In fact, the point I am trying to make doesn't really have anything to do with SAT being valid for that purpose, although I realize that is its major charge. Besides, I err on the side of the downtrodden, anyway. If we are doing a rebellion here, I'm down! Tell me where to send money and sign up. Its a big powerful thing that keeps some people from getting what they want, and I'll side with those people any day! That's why I am here at TalkLeft!

    One thing that puzzles me is that I can't quite tell how you are using the quotes on "achievement". That is, are you saying SAT publishers are measuring something else (like SES) and using the quotes sarcastically, or are you questioning my use of the construct altogether?

    Yes, most ability and achievement measures are all contaminated with SES, whiteness, etc. In fact, at that point we are getting far beyond operational definitions into theory, which is a long way from the comparatively pragmatic issue of college admissions. In that vein, we don't have any good measures of ability, and a great deal of ability variance is cultural knowledge. On the other hand, there is evidence it is fair to talk about an ability construct which is orthogonal to cultural knowledge. It just isn't very amenable to measurement at this time.

    In fact, those are the very issues why I see SAT as an achievement test. Because it is further from that pure ability measure than most other ability measures, particularly the most widely accepted, and because it is enmeshed in the trappings of group academic tests. Even if there are components of pure ability measured by such tests, they are hidden behind things that one has to go to school to learn, and thus those things can interfere with the measurement of ability. When that is the case, the test seems to me best classified as an achievement test, because the relatively small amount of "pure" ability variance relies on achievement for expression. As always, this isn't a "defense". It is more of a characterization of what the test is most like.

    That is, if SAT measures ability, it doesn't do it very well, because of the kind of test it is. There no reason not to expect correlations with SES from either type of measure. There is no reason not to expect correlations between the two types of measures. In fact, the only way that I see that the constructs can be separated at all is by content analysis and tasks that measure ability that don't rely heavily on academic learning. But again, I'm not defending anything! I don't think I really like tests very much, anymore, truth be known.


    Kanazawa makes such ridiculous (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:18:49 PM EST
    speculations it's hard to take the findings seriously.

    even with blacks (none / 0) (#18)
    by diogenes on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 06:56:21 PM EST
    Of course, studies show that blacks (who are liberals compared to whites) have lower IQ's than whites, so I guess that the white liberals must be supergeniuses to offset this.  Just like that Wile E. Coyote, supergenius.

    As a liberal atheist (none / 0) (#29)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 11:05:54 AM EST
    As a liberal atheist who has been happily married for 20 years I can say that we faithful heathen commies definitely think we are smarter than the rest of you.

    wait ... (none / 0) (#45)
    by nyrias on Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 09:49:00 PM EST
    A study of IQ correlation to race .. it is racism.

    A study of IQ correlation to political inclination .. it is wisdom.

    Wow .. the double standard is astounding.

    (disclaimer: I am not a fan of the bell curve.)