Re: Post Office Quotient ... [WAS Re: A study comparing 150 IQ+ persons to 180 IQ+ persons]

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Thu Aug 24 2006 - 18:06:06 MDT


Michael Anissimov wrote:
> Richard,
>> I submit that with this measure you will be able to write a chart that
>> does not differ substantially from the one you presented:
> I submit that you are completely wrong on this. Rates of poverty,
> jailings, dropouts, parentless children, income, welfare-recipiency,
> etc. are not at all correlated with proximity to the post office. But
> they are tightly correlated with g.

Ah: the idea underlying my point was missed, I think: the POQ measure
is designed to capture the zones of economic depression that exist close
to downtowns and far from cities. We already *know* that this measure
will work, because we know that economic wellbeing correlates quite well
with IQ.

>> IQ is a direct measure of intelligence-in-the-large. (And please do not
>> go off on a red herring about the generality of g: those studies, no
>> matter how comprehensive, are still subject to the criticism that they
>> measure what CAN be measured, and have no relevance to components that
>> cannot be measured).
> So basically what you're saying is that no matter how comprehensive
> the test, and how powerfully predictive the values are, any test will
> tell us nothing. Ultimately, everything about reality can be
> measured. That's the whole foundation of science. If God exists, we
> will create instruments that can distinguish His influence from other
> influences.

Oh, again, a misunderstanding: there is no reason why intelligence in
the large may not be measured one day ... we simply cannot do it now.
And when it is measurable, it will not have to be one thing. It could
be a ragbag of fifty mechanisms, none of which we would want to say was
THE mechanism.

I won't do a line by line on the rest of what you say (although I should
say that I probably misunderstood something because I thought you were
advocating that high IQ was the best way of all possible ways to find a
singularity team and get the singularity to happen: apologies if I got
that wrong), but I do want to try to clarify the core point with one quote:

> It doesn't really matter if g is "THE" mechanism of
> intelligence or not, a strong predictor of behavior is a strong
> predictor of behavior.

This still falls foul of the core point, no? G could indeed be a very
strong predictor of many, many things that are easy to measure (income,
delinquency rates, etc), but that would then make g a strong predictor
of *some* aspects of behavior. My argument is that the aspects of
behavior that might really matter in some situations (like, e.g., me
talking to a candidate and finding her mind to be exquisitely sharp when
a variety of issues came up) might be just hopelessly impossible to
measure in an objective way. But in spite of that, I could assess
someone accurately.

My point, in complaining about the people who interpret g as THE
mechanism of intelligence, is not so much about its value as a predictor
of some aspects of behavior (conceded), but about the unwarranted
generalization from [statistical measure of what can be measured] to
[the whole mechanism of intelligence is what g measures].

My grouse, of course, runs deep: this happens in other, related areas.

Richard Loosemore

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