Because talking about IQ implies that some people are better than others at something, and that Disrespects The Narrative.
“IQ is a metric of such dubiousness that almost no serious educational researcher uses it anymore,” the Guardian’s Ana Marie Cox wrote back in May. It was a breathtakingly ignorant statement. Psychologist Jelte Wicherts noted in response that a search for “IQ test” in Google’s academic database yielded more than 10,000 hits — just for the year 2013.
But Cox’s assertion is all too common. There is a large discrepancy between what educated laypeople believe about cognitive science and what experts actually know. Journalists are steeped in the lay wisdom, so they are repeatedly surprised when someone forthrightly discusses the real science of mental ability.
‘What educated people believe’ is, of course, Voice of the Crust-speak for The Narrative, as is ‘the lay wisdom’.
For people who have studied mental ability, what’s truly frustrating is the déjà vu they feel each time a media firestorm like this one erupts. Attempts by experts in the field to defend the embattled messenger inevitably fall on deaf ears. When the firestorm is over, the media’s mindset always resets to a state of comfortable ignorance, ready to be shocked all over again when the next messenger comes along.
That’s why they’re called the LameStream Media. These terms exist for a reason.
At stake here, incidentally, is not just knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but also how science informs public policy. The U.S. education system, for example, is suffused with mental testing, yet few in the political classes understand cognitive ability research. Angry and repeated condemnations of the science will not help.
They’re not interested in ‘helping’, they’re interested in defending the Party Line. That’s their job. Science has nothing to do with it — as is plain by what they call ‘science’, like the Global Warming scam.
In terms of group differences, people of northeast Asian descent have higher average IQ scores than people of European lineage, who in turn have higher average scores than people of sub-Saharan African descent. The average score for Hispanic Americans falls somewhere between the white and black American averages. Psychologists have tested and long rejected the notion that score differences can be explained simply by biased test questions. It is possible that genetic factors could influence IQ differences among ethnic groups, but many scientists are withholding judgment until DNA studies are able to link specific gene combinations with IQ.
But that is Contrary To The Narrative, and therefore constitutes ThoughtCrime. Those who are guilty of ThoughtCrime get subjected to the Two Minute Hate, as happened to this guy.
John Derbyshire, Patron Saint of Dyspepsia, explains it all to you:
Nor is it quite the case that “emotion trumps reason.” What mostly trumps reason is the yearning for respectability, leading us to conform to ambient dogmas—in the present-day West, the dogmas of Cultural Marxism, which waft around us like a noxious vapor.
“Purported IQ per se” is how you say “IQ” when you are a liberal or a race-whipped conservative with minimal interest in the human sciences and whose intellectual tissues have absorbed the poisonous gas of Cultural Marxism to some degree.
The practical effect of this is, of course, hypocrisy:
A neighbor of ours, a white lady of seamlessly liberal opinions, was dismayed to find that her normal, bright daughter was assigned to one of these inclusion classes. She came around to talk to us about it, quite distraught. I recall sitting on the sofa listening in dropped-jaw amazement to this straight-ticket left-Democrat Hillary voter wailing about her child being marooned among “DeShawns and Lateeshas.” (Those may not be the precise names she used, but they were names like that.)
Diversity For Thee But Not For Me is why, for example, nobody in Congress sends their kids to D.C. public schools. (Neither does Obama — God forbid his mulatto children should have to rub shoulders with, you know, actual Negroes.)
Science insists that there is an external world beyond our emotions and wish-fulfillment fantasies. It claims that we can find out true facts about that world, including facts with no immediate technological application. The human sciences insist even more audaciously that we ourselves are part of that world and can be described as dispassionately as stars, rocks, and microbes. Perhaps one day it will be socially acceptable to believe this.
But that’s not the way to bet.