We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
IQ is always an interesting topic. Ashkenazi Jews and Asians have the highest average IQs, and IQ testing correlates well with the SAT tests.
How genetic is it, and how moveable is it? Those are always studied and always in dispute. I always enjoy the company of people with higher IQs than mine, just as I enjoy playing tennis with more talented players.
How important is life "success" and life happiness to IQ? Not very much, I think, unless one aspires to being a Physics or Math genius. IQ is just one factor in a human personality but it is one, like height, which is readily apparent.
I just read the other day that Scottish ancestry is a good indicator of wealth. Something like 9.7 % of people with Scots ancestors are wealthy versus less than 2% for the total population. But don't quote my numbers!
Cultures that treasure intelligence tend to have smarter children because their intelligent have a better chance of reproducing. The Ashkenazi Jews were severely restricted as to land ownership and business opportunities and decided that among the better catches were the men who became rich anyway and the men studying the Torah. The Mandarin system in China valued and rewarded those who did well on national tests. China had a profound influence on all of East Asia.
One of the points made in The Bell Curve was that America started to self segregating in the 20th based on educational levels. It noted that parents who both went to university had an increased probability of having children who were smarter than either parent.
I knew Tutu Vanhanen back in the '90s, spent a fair amount of time around him then and haven't trusted any of his work since I listened to him twist himself into knots explaining that the US of the early 90s was much less diverse than Canada, France, or West Germany. He really had to cook the data hard to get that outcome.
As I remember now, one of his major points was that the US was so "Christian" as to have almost no religious diversity. Having known and worked with both Amish and snake-handling Baptists I would beg to differ.
IQ is not an especially good predictor of the success outcomes of individuals, , except, as you note, in a field that specifically requires candlepower. It is a very good predictor of the success of groups. This is because in any given endeavor, IQ is only one factor, and seldom the main one. Charm, diligence, connections, adaptability, self-control, or a dozen other advantages might be more important in a particular job. Yet a group with 5 more points on average provides a steady drip, drip, drip of folks who have those other advantages and do slightly better.
At the nation-level, the difference is enormous. Every few points seems to make a difference. We would rather it not be. But it is.
Jorg, I hadn't know that about Vanhanen, but it rings true. There was something about his tone which irritated me, and there were interpretations (similar to your one about Christians) that went beyond the data. Yet a lot of his stuff retains strength, even after critics have beaten out some of the weaker parts.
Assistant Village Idiot
Vicki Hearne, looking at a typical comprehension test, thinks IQ tests test how quickly you can believe things.
If you look at all the Nobel prizes, excluding the PC peace prize, it is rather evident that IQ is a fairly accurate predictor of success compared to any other predictor you choose. Hard work and ambition may help but none of the winners have a low or average IQ.
There is considerable evidence that some races of people have higher IQ'a just as some have lower IQ's. But in my experience Asians and jews have social and family traditions and support that value education and encourage success at all levels in their lives. You cannot discount this factor in the apparent higher IQ's.
Also, it is difficult to measure IQ and the tests designed to do it do not measure it. What they measure is what has been learned assuming what has been taught. If the parent is competent to overbearing the child will indeed learn more and perform better on an IQ test. Conversely if the parents do not make sure the child does homework and reads outside of school the child will not do well on the IQ test. This is true regardless of the IQ of the student. You can take any average to poor student and over one summer raise their IQ (as tested) by 5 to maybe 10 points. Would this even be possible if the IQ test accurately measured IQ?
I know a lot of geniuses and most are moderately successful but not more then average people I know. Two of my friends who are not geniuses are self made millionaires. One is a mechanic who owns his own gas station, repairs cars and buys and sells used cars. That's it! He was a millionaire by age 40 and lives like any average person in his community. The other owns a garbage pickup service, hardly the stuff dreams are made of. The thing both had in common was hard work and normal lifestyles.