Re: IQ AND RACE. The taboo subject.

Ilya Vinarsky (ivin@volans.EECS.Berkeley.EDU)
15 Feb 1995 09:22:15 GMT

In article <3hrv8f$>, Gordon Fitch <> wrote:
>the jobs to which affirmative action is applied. Very, very
>few jobs stretch anyone's intelligence to its limit; hence,

Is it really true? I work as a headwaiter in my student co-op; that is,
I do the dishes, wash the floor, scrub the grill, help the cooks etc.
What surprised me at first is that this job actually requires some amount
of intelligence, that is that it is possible to do it better or worse
depending on whether or not you care to engage your brain. Little things
like organizing the workplace (stacking plates before washing them,
putting a trash can within arm's reach), not spending too much time
polishing the dishes that will go into the sanitizer anyway, doing something
else when the sanitizer is being filled with hot water etc. - together, they
add up to something, so I am significantly better at it now than I was
on the first day.

Probably a better description of the relationship between intelligence and
job ability would be the following: for every job, there is a lower limit
as to how dumb one can be to do the job, and an upper limit as to how smart
one has to be for his or her actual intelligence to have anything to do with
job performance (ie, would Donald Knuth really scrub the grill better
or faster than me?). For those whose intelligence is in between (literally
if it is one-dimensional, and a "weighted sum" of those kinds that are
relevant to the job if it is multi-dimensional), it is very relevant.

I assume, Gordon, that you are at least a graduate student (in terms of your
educational level). The graduate students I have seen at UC Berkeley,
both in the mathematics and the CS departments (less so in the IEOR department
:-)) are, on the average, a very smart and talented bunch that is extremely
select; I think the CS department accepts 1 grad school applicant out of 10.
These people would probably be grossly overqualified for just about any
real-world job out there. This is, for better or for worse, not true for
the rest of us. Please understand this.

Ilya Vinarsky When smashing monuments, save the pedestals -
They always come in handy.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec.