East German psychologist and geneticist Volkmar Weiss has some fascinating results here about IQ scores. He shows that the PISA tests -- annual comparisons between countries of educational achievement -- are little more than IQ tests. He uses this to convert PISA scores into IQ scores and shows that the PISA results correspond very closely to the IQ averages for different countries that are reported by Lynn & Vanhanen -- With Japan very high-scoring and African countries very low-scoring (for instance). Volkmar thinks that once the PISA people realize what they are testing, they will stop doing it! Because the PISA tests are very carefully conducted and use good sampling, however, the PISA data are at the moment a very robust body of information about IQ. And the fact that the tests are conducted annually allows trends over time to be tracked very closely -- a huge improvement over existing IQ data.
Using both the IQ test and PISA data, Volkmar shows that the simple upward trend in IQ scores shown in 20th century data by Flynn has now been shot to ribbons. Some countries are showing declining IQ scores, some are holding steady and some are rising. Volkmar relates this to the percentage of poor people in the country. Countries with lots of poor people are getting dumber overall and countries with few poor people are getting brighter. It is not clear why that is. It may well however be due to immigration. As genetically less able people from (say) Africa move into (say) Britain, they drag down the average of both IQ scores and income.
By and large however, Volkmar presents raw data so what you make of it is to some degree a function of how closely you study it. I hope someone who is really on top of the subject takes Volkmar's data and puts it into better order than I have done in my few remarks above. Both Lynn and Rushton are aware of the data so I am hopeful of comments from them soon.
If we have to wait for their comments to come out in the academic journals, however, "soon" may be two years away. The last academic journal article that I had published took two years to come out even AFTER being accepted for publication! Fooey to that! Anything academic that I do these days I just put straight on the net and that is that.
One point I have not heard anybody make is that the Flynn findings are actually among the stronger proofs that the black IQ handicap is genetic. The rise in IQ scores for most of the 20th century has to be an environmental effect as the time period was much too short for genetic change. But the black/white gap remained roughly the same throughout the period. So if cancelling out environmental factors left the gap unchanged the remaining influence on the gap must be genetic! IN THEORY, there could still be environmental influences on IQ scores that could be improved but the fact that the improvement has now flattened out shows that environmental factors have now IN FACT done about all they can do for the IQ scores of the populations concerned. And yet the gap remains. Eppur si muove.
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