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Chomsky on IQ and Inequality

dylancatlow
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7/4/2015 11:34:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
"With Charles Murray, Herrnstein was later to publish a widely read and controversial book, The Bell Curve. Herrnstein and Murray argue that social inequality (including racial inequality) is the result of inherited variations in IQ. Here, Chomsky presents his critique of Herrnstein"s position:

Herrnstein's argument is based first of all on the hypothesis that differences in mental abilities are inherited and that people close to one another in mental ability are more likely to marry and reproduce so that there will be a tendency toward long-term stratification by mental ability (which Herrnstein takes to be measured by I.Q). Secondly, Herrnstein argues that "success" requires mental ability and that social rewards "depend on success".

For Herrnstein's argument to have any force at all we must assume that people labor only for gain, and that the satisfaction found in interesting or socially beneficial work or in work well-done or in the respect shown to such activities, is not a sufficient "gain" to induce anyone to work. The assumption, in short, is that without material reward, people will vegetate. For this crucial assumption, no semblance of an argument is offered."

- This is a strawman of Hernnstein and Murray's position. They do not claim that everyone is motivated by money, only that when one is motivated by money, having high intelligence helps a great deal. It is not unreasonable to assume that very intelligent people are, on average, more productive than less intelligent people. Nor is it unreasonable to assume that, on average, greater productivity is rewarded with greater financial compensation. Moreover, the careers which smart people tend to find interesting often have higher salaries to begin with. This is because such jobs are usually intellectually demanding, and thus more difficult for employers to find suitable applicants for. They are also typically more productive jobs, because the tasks are "bigger".

"[Moreover], the question of the relation, if any, between race and intelligence has very little scientific importance (as it has no social importance, except under the assumptions of a racist society). As to social importance, a correlation between race and mean I.Q. (were this shown to exist) entails no social consequences except in a racist society in which each individual is assigned to a racial category and dealt with not as an individual in his own right, but as a representative of this category " In a non-racist society, the category of race would be of no greater significance [than height]. The mean I.Q. of individuals of a certain racial background is irrelevant to the situation of a particular individual, who is what he is. Recognizing this perfectly obvious fact, we are left with little, if any, plausible justification for an interest in the relation between mean I.Q. and race, apart from the "justification" provided by the existence of racial discrimination."

- This argument ignores the possibility that Hernnstein and Murray's research could be brought to bear on public policy in a negative sense. I.e., if it were shown that racial differences in intelligence were genetically influenced as opposed to wholly cultural, then any policy which takes for granted the idea that all races are equal in innate mental ability would no longer be tenable, thus saving society from wasteful spending.

Full article: http://newlearningonline.com...
HououinKyouma
Posts: 1,030
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8/17/2015 1:29:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/4/2015 11:34:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"With Charles Murray, Herrnstein was later to publish a widely read and controversial book, The Bell Curve. Herrnstein and Murray argue that social inequality (including racial inequality) is the result of inherited variations in IQ. Here, Chomsky presents his critique of Herrnstein"s position:

Herrnstein's argument is based first of all on the hypothesis that differences in mental abilities are inherited and that people close to one another in mental ability are more likely to marry and reproduce so that there will be a tendency toward long-term stratification by mental ability (which Herrnstein takes to be measured by I.Q). Secondly, Herrnstein argues that "success" requires mental ability and that social rewards "depend on success".

For Herrnstein's argument to have any force at all we must assume that people labor only for gain, and that the satisfaction found in interesting or socially beneficial work or in work well-done or in the respect shown to such activities, is not a sufficient "gain" to induce anyone to work. The assumption, in short, is that without material reward, people will vegetate. For this crucial assumption, no semblance of an argument is offered."

- This is a strawman of Hernnstein and Murray's position. They do not claim that everyone is motivated by money, only that when one is motivated by money, having high intelligence helps a great deal. It is not unreasonable to assume that very intelligent people are, on average, more productive than less intelligent people. Nor is it unreasonable to assume that, on average, greater productivity is rewarded with greater financial compensation. Moreover, the careers which smart people tend to find interesting often have higher salaries to begin with. This is because such jobs are usually intellectually demanding, and thus more difficult for employers to find suitable applicants for. They are also typically more productive jobs, because the tasks are "bigger".

"[Moreover], the question of the relation, if any, between race and intelligence has very little scientific importance (as it has no social importance, except under the assumptions of a racist society). As to social importance, a correlation between race and mean I.Q. (were this shown to exist) entails no social consequences except in a racist society in which each individual is assigned to a racial category and dealt with not as an individual in his own right, but as a representative of this category " In a non-racist society, the category of race would be of no greater significance [than height]. The mean I.Q. of individuals of a certain racial background is irrelevant to the situation of a particular individual, who is what he is. Recognizing this perfectly obvious fact, we are left with little, if any, plausible justification for an interest in the relation between mean I.Q. and race, apart from the "justification" provided by the existence of racial discrimination."

- This argument ignores the possibility that Hernnstein and Murray's research could be brought to bear on public policy in a negative sense. I.e., if it were shown that racial differences in intelligence were genetically influenced as opposed to wholly cultural, then any policy which takes for granted the idea that all races are equal in innate mental ability would no longer be tenable, thus saving society from wasteful spending.

Full article: http://newlearningonline.com...

As much as I dislike saying this, I have to agree with Chomsky. In a non-racist society the relationship between IQ and "race" would be an irrelevant triviality at best, and your last paragraph proves my point that the interest behind this research is not scientific but social, and is to be used as an excuse to re-institute segregation, under the guise of "economic reform" to cut "wasteful spending". As was the case with Arthur Jensen. I have to ask the question, how much money is "wasted" on providing equal opportunities in education to people of all "races"? I am willing to guess that it is not much.

Anyway, I doubt, that the mostly white advocates of this view would be willing to spend more money on the education of East Asians, Indians, and Jews, to the detriment of "whites", if these "races" were shown to be "racially superior" when it comes to intelligence.

Finally, we have to remember that race is a social, not a scientific category, which makes this entire field of research--to say once more--an interesting triviality, at best, or a waste of time, at worst.
"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire." F. Nietzsche.

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