15 August 2007

IQ as an ideological football

Another book to which I am unable to publish a riposte, on a topic on which I have been prevented for decades from expressing my views: IQ: The Brilliant Idea That Failed by Stephen Murdoch (Duckworth, London, 2007).

As usual, this book utilises criticism of IQ tests as an attack on the concept of IQ and other innate intellectual and psychological factors per se, all based on the assumption that the tests will be used by immoral governments, and that we have egalitarian views on the way in which governments should and should not interfere in the lives of individuals, instead of considering the possibility that they should not interfere at all, in which case the accuracy and relevance of IQ tests or other assessments would be, as it should be, beside the point.

It is analogous to the way in which Richard Dawkins considers himself able to eliminate the possibility of anything outside the range of the current human conceptual system having any reality by pointing out that the concept of God held by large populations of people did not prevent them from doing various things to one another of which modern politically correct academics disapprove.

Similarly, also, his new series (The Enemies of Reason) on frauds and deceptions associated with the possibility of conceptual extensions of scientific understanding associated with the ‘paranormal’, to which I could also very well write and publish a book in reply (if I had time – my lack of time arises from lack of status, money and manpower) will actually have no effect at all on the possibilities which he is seeking to discredit.

In fact I have no inclination to ‘believe in’ any of his targets, such as astrology, homeopathy or the Tarot. But I do not rule out, as he does, the possibility that there may sometimes be factors involved which are not known about or understood.

I do not regard most of these things as more than a possible aid to the surfacing of subconscious intuitions, but as that they may sometimes work. Not that I set any great store by subconscious intuitions either; there were plenty of people at the SPR who consulted their higher selves or divine subconsciouses all the time and (apart from anything else) their higher selves never suggested to them that they might help me as a person very much in need of help, instead of hindering and obstructing me as everyone else did, whether they considered themselves to be ‘spiritually advanced’ or ‘socialist atheist intellectual’.

Nevertheless, I do not see any reason to suppose that their openness to the promptings of their own minds had any effects worse than those which arise from openness to the suggestions of counsellors, psychiatrists, educational experts, etc.