The good folks at Gene Expression eviscerate David Brooks’ recently proffered (and facile) argument that IQ is not that important any more. He should tell that to the ambitious young kids trying to get into Harvard and pass their Calculus B exams. Alternately, he should have this conversation with the cashier at his local Piggly Wiggly . . . if that fine establishment meets his BoBo criteria, that is. Seriously: IQ matters, it predicts many outcomes, it is increasingly sorting people out by occupation, and its study has been conducted with a great deal of rigor. Consider this passage from Alex B. at GnXp:
IQ (at least as derived from a Full Scale score) has been, and still is, very reliable for most age groups and subpopulations, no matter how you measure reliability. For example, the Woodcock-Johnson, one of the more theoretically sound measures of cognitive ability, reports in their new normative update that the coefficient alpha values (which are a lower bound of reliability) above .90 for all ages ranging from 3 to over 80. Given that the maximum value alpha can take is 1 (under almost all circumstances), this is pretty good evidence. If you look at the technical manual for the Wechsler, Stanford-Binet, or Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, you’ll find very similar values (I refer to these only because their norms span a very large age group, and the full scale score is derived from multiple subtests). I challenge Mr. Brooks to find a more reliably-measured psychological construct in psychology, nay, in the social sciences.
These serious and dispassionate scholars often must conduct their work in secret, e.g., the brilliant anonymous statistician, La Griffe du Lion. It is telling because we imagine ourselves to be a free society, but we react with horror and ostracism whenever our important myths are challenged. This confinement of thought, unfortunately, has infected the academy. Though we are legally free to write and think and speak as we wish, employment and other pressures radically restrain free thought and free expression when such expression threatens the dominant ideology of equality, tabula rasa, and multiculturalism. Worse, group-think in the media and publishing industries prevents entire books and ideas from being widely disseminated. Just ask Larry Summers or Solzhenitsyn.