Tuesday, March 28, 2006

You'll never beat the Irish

Tuesday's Irish Times has a story (subs. req'd) with dreadful lack of context:

The average Irish IQ score is 96 compared with 100.5 in England and Wales and 97 in Scotland, according to Prof Richard Lynn, a former Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) psychologist and professor emeritus of the University of Ulster.

The context is that Richard Lynn provided key elements of the background research for The Bell Curve, a book focused on supposed racial differences in IQ scores and the implications thereof. The web is full of authoritative debunkings of this book, a few of which are linked in this old post of ours where we noted one of the key flaws in statistical analysis of "IQ": it rises over time, casting doubt on its claim to measure innate ability. Indeed, the claim that the Irish rank relatively low on this test should be run by Andrew Sullivan the next time someone gets the chance, because he has famously championed the book from the beginning. One hopes that he doesn't have his own version of Morrissey's song in his head as his own out for this awkward finding, given his frequent invoking of his Irish heritage: Irish Blood, English Brain.

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