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IQ, Skepticism, and the Failure of Debate

10 Apr 2018, 21:09 UTC
IQ, Skepticism, and the Failure of Debate
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O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables!—Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain. [Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5]

Should I even try to explain this Twitter meme in a figure caption? No, I should not. Click for the original. [Source/credit: Matt Yglesias, https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/983398900190138369 ]IQ as a measure of intelligence is widely embraced by people across the political spectrum. It’s also among the most weaponized scientific concepts, used heavily against marginalized populations. IQ has been used to justify immigration restrictions from certain parts of the world, segregation of schools into “tracks” or separate facilities, and elimination of social programs. Because it’s based on testing and research, IQ has the cachet of “objectivity”. “You can’t argue against it,” say the IQ absolutists, “because it’s scientific. You can’t fight data.”
Of course, anyone who has studied the history and philosophy of science knows data isn’t just data. The questions we ask to get that data, the way we analyze the data, the use to which we put our analysis when it’s done … we bring biases into all of those things. When the data comes from particle physics, those biases ...

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