Re: Brain size, IQ

Ron Kephart (
1 Sep 1996 16:06:47 GMT (Bryant) wrote:

> There's been some discussion of IQ on sci.anthropology lately, and I'd
> appreciate any feedback from the interested and informed parties about my
> questions below. Thanks.

My feeling is that their is little or no point to the discussion of
IQ, because the discussions (at least the ones I have seen) take the
notion of "IQ" for granted as a measure of something called
"intelligence". I see the same thing happen in many discussions of
"race" where a North American emic taxonomy is assumed to be
biologically and etically correct and relevant to all H. sapiens.

"IQ" represents performance on a particular test, called an "IQ test",
by a particular individual at a particular time and place. As far as
I know, no one has ever proven that this measure represents
something "real" inside the heads of the people who take the tests.
Indeed, has anyone ever shown that there is, in fact, a "thing"
which can be called "intelligence" residing inside the heads of
humans or any other species? I don't think so.

Furthermore, the original stated purpose of the "IQ" test as conceived
by Binet was to identify children in schools who needed extra help.
The tests are now used to identify children who presumably
won't benefit from the goodies the "intelligent" children are destined
to receive. The reason usually given for this is that since we have
limited educational resources, the resources need to be aimed at the
children who can "benefit" the most from them. This is bogus
reasoning; we should be insisting that all children receive all the
resources they need (educational and otherwise) and we should be
assuming that all children can benefit from the goodies until they
themselves prove otherwise. I believe that we, as anthropologists,
are in a unique position to argue for this kind of educational policy;
I also believe that we should be arguing for it.

Ron Kephart
University of North Florida