Strong opinions, weakly held

Malcolm Gladwell on IQ and race

Malcolm Gladwell has written a timely article on IQ, specifically about the Flynn effect, which is described thusly:

He collected intelligence-test results from Europe, from North America, from Asia, and from the developing world, until he had data for almost thirty countries. In every case, the story was pretty much the same. I.Q.s around the world appeared to be rising by 0.3 points per year, or three points per decade, for as far back as the tests had been administered. For some reason, human beings seemed to be getting smarter. Flynn has been writing about the implications of his findings—now known as the Flynn effect—for almost twenty-five years.

Needless to say, the implication of Flynn’s research is that if IQ is increasing so rapidly from generation to generation, it can’t be described as innate.

I’d recommend reading the whole article, not only is Gladwell’s argument interesting, but he includes plenty of entertaining anecdotes that are worth the price of admission. The explanation of achievement by Chinese immigrants to America is particularly good.


  1. Wow, and all the good the rising IQ is doing to the world!

  2. so, here are TWO things in the same week… in the economist, humans are evolving at an increased rate, physically, and (god i hate his smirking simplicities) mr. malcolm gadwell on flynn’s rising i.q. thing…..

    now, all you dot connectors, what is going on? hmm? i am going to put it in succinct terms, ones that no one will like, but the human race is spiritualizing, …. you read it here first…. (the ascension movement has the best metaphor for this)

    so, in about ten decades, when it is really obvious, maybe some ten year old phd candidate will come here and say, hey, somebody knew what was going on…

    who connects the dots in our culture, long-term wise?

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