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5th of May, 2004 POST·MERIDIEM 05:25

On Ashkenazim[1] having an average IQ of 111, and why calling them more intelligent based on that (and their historical performance in Soviet chess tournaments, too) is justified;

Ar an 3ú lá de mí 5, scríobh J.

> [is the test culturally skewed?] 

Yes, it is. But that’s fine, because it measures something that is culture-specific; I’m sure you’ve come across the idea that if a Melanesian islander of the nineteenth century wrote an IQ test, those that do well in IQ tests in the West would probably crash and burn. Well, the “faculty of understanding,” as the OED describes intelligence, is, empirically, judged relative to our culture—it’s only rarely that you judge someone as intelligent based on their chess playing technique, it’s much more often how they behave within the constraints of what’s appropriate in a given social situation, how they express themselves [themself? :-)] in the language that’s available.

> [IQ differences should be ascribed to differing values and education rather than raw brainpower.] 

I’m tending to the view that cold hard brainpower is formed more by education, values and experience than by anything else. Mild tabula rasa , if you will :-) .

(This was private mail, so I’ve rephrased my correspondent’s commentary.)

[1] http://​dictionary.​com/​search?q=ashkenazim

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