Fury (
13 Feb 1995 01:00:56 GMT

In article <3hbp80$> (Jeff Inman) writes:

> (For example, there is the measurable characteristic that we refer to
> as "intelligence", which may or may not have anything to do with the
> worth of a person, and which may itself only be somewhat heritable.)

I'm not so sure the characteristic that is measurable by "I.Q." tests
is the characteristic commonly referred to as "intelligence." If by
intelligence we mean the vague, poorly defined characteristic most of
us imagine that makes some people apparantly better able to learn than
others, it is most definitely /not/ measurable with anything but the
barest of accuracy by so-called "intelligence" tests. These tests,
whatever their history, are useful today mostly to help school
psychologists determine what might be causing a child's difficulty with
school work. What they test meaningfully is one's adaptation to
societal norms as well as reflexes, short-term memory, and so on.
There is generally a correlation between these types of skills and what
is commonly referred to as "intelligence," so we notice that people who
we consider intelligent also generally get high scores on such tests.
However, it should not be surprising that a subsection of society,
culturally identified as "black," which is in many ways culturally
separate from the majority, would score slightly less high on tests
that are really measuring how well an individual conforms with the
expectations of the majority subsection. This consideration is linked
to similar factors which also could lead to lower scores on such tests,
such as the poorer quality education generally available to
economically disadvantaged social classes.

"But the first thing next morning we reflected |
If one by one we counted people out |
For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long | -- Robert Frost,
To get so we had no one left to live with." | "The Star-Splitter"