Atrios wonders about William Saletan’s and Andrew Sullivan’s recurrent idiocy about IQ:
The thing about the perpetual attempts to claim that TEH SCIENCE proves that black people really are stupid is that there are two simple fallacies that they are based on.
The first one is that the “intelligence” tests used in the data actually measure some sort of immutable inherent or potential intelligence when in fact people can be educated to do better on the tests.
The second is that race generally or especially as understood in America bears any relationship to the concept of “population” as understood by geneticists.
That these things have been explained to the Saletans and Sullivans of the world over and over and over and over and over again for decades and they still fail to comprehend them tells us… I really don’t know. I have a hard time believing that they really are this stupid.
It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s that they’re willfully ignorant, in the same way that creationists are. Why they are willfully ignorant is a separate question, although it’s either that they’re bigots, or that they like the notion that intelligence (which they conflate with IQ) has a strong genetic component.
In Sullivan’s case, considering that he is a conservative, the idea that intelligence is largely heritable is probably appealing because it undercuts the liberal notion that people can be made smarter if we try hard enough–this reinforces the ‘natural order’ of things, which is a conservative ideal. In other words, genetic predetermination fits nicely with conservatism–it’s 21st century Social Darwinism.
Saletan is just a contrarian asshole.