Friday 14 June 2024


I discovered that 100% of online racists who religiously believe incorrectly that black people have a lower IQ on average don’t actually know what IQ measurements are and the limitations.

Some people like to quote statistics but don’t actually have the wisdom to interpret the data correctly. This is what I have found when people make statements like “People from X have a lower IQ than ..”

The demography (the split of ages 0-15, 16-64, and 65+) is different from country to country, and continent to continent.

The concept of IQ tests was pioneered by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon in France in the early 20th century. Initially, their aim was to identify children who might need extra assistance in school. Their focus was on measuring a child's mental age in comparison to their chronological age.

Over time, IQ tests evolved in various ways. One notable change was the development of standardized tests, like the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), which provided a more consistent way to measure intelligence across different ages and populations.

Strengths of IQ tests include their ability to assess certain cognitive abilities and predict academic success in some cases. However, they also have weaknesses, such as cultural biases, as well as limitations in assessing creativity, emotional intelligence, and practical skills.

Valid measurements of intelligence go beyond IQ tests. Other methods include multiple intelligences theory by Howard Gardner, which identifies various types of intelligence (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic). Additionally, assessments of emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, and practical abilities contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of a person's capabilities beyond what traditional IQ tests measure.

Typically, children under 10 do not have the same IQ as adults aged over 18. IQ tends to develop and stabilize as individuals grow older. While some children may display high intelligence, their cognitive abilities are still in the process of development and are not typically at the same level as adults. IQ scores tend to increase as a person matures and gains more knowledge and experience over time.

In IQ testing, 100 is considered the average score. When someone scores above 100, it suggests they performed better than the average for their age group, and below 100 indicates they performed below the average.

Regarding the relationship between age group and an IQ score of 100, this number serves as a baseline or average score within a specific age group. For instance, a score of 100 for a 10-year-old means they performed at the expected level for a child of that age. Similarly, a score of 100 for a 30-year-old reflects an average performance for someone within that age bracket.

Comparing IQ tests across countries involves several challenges due to cultural, linguistic, and educational differences. One method used is to standardize the tests through extensive sampling and normalization processes. Researchers adapt tests to ensure they measure the same cognitive abilities across different populations. However, even with adjustments, cultural biases may persist, making direct comparisons challenging. Consequently, some researchers caution against making direct comparisons between IQ scores across diverse cultures and countries.

These strengths and weaknesses of the IQ test result in perverse results when scores are applied to Africa or quoted without context.

3% of Africa is over 65, whereas 40% is under age 15 (source: Statista 2022). In Europe 19% are over 65, while 16% are under age 15 (source: Statista 2022). In Asia, 10% of the population is over 65, while 24% are under age 15 (source: Statista 2022). The population of Asia is 4.6 billion, out of the world’s total population of 8.0 billion (57.5%). The global age percentage of the population under 15 of 25% and over 65 of 10% is therefore determined based on weighted averages by Asia.

Imagine for instance that a French person would never take an IQ test in Hausa. A German would never take an IQ test in Twi. Without 15 years of training, a French citizen would not be able to demonstrate the same level of verbal reasoning, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed as a fluent Hausa speaker if they had to take the test in a foreign language.

Imagine also that a child is generally not smarter than an adult, which is why in most countries they can’t drive, drink, get married, work, vote or have sex until a certain age. Yet the average iQ of a continent with 40% children may be casually compared with a continent with 16% children, without any further explanations that an IQ score is not meaningful if it is not adjusted for age, culture and language fluency.

Moreover, the assertion that racial disparities in IQ within Western countries eliminate cultural biases is incorrect. Even within the same country, socio-economic factors, educational quality, and historical disadvantages play significant roles in shaping IQ scores. Black individuals in the US, for example, often face systemic barriers that impact their educational and cognitive development, making direct comparisons with other racial groups problematic. That is documented, and not disputed.

I wrote this reply to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and limitations when comparing IQ scores across different populations, especially when making claims about the IQ of Africans or any other specific group. It highlights the historical context of IQ tests, their strengths, and limitations, emphasizing the importance of considering cultural, linguistic, and age-related factors.

I point out the challenges in directly comparing IQ scores between individuals or groups from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as the significant impact of age demographics on such comparisons. Additionally, it addresses the issue of language proficiency and its influence on test performance, underlining how individuals may perform differently when taking tests in their non-native languages.

Furthermore, I emphasize the importance of understanding that IQ scores are not standalone measures of intelligence but need adjustments for factors like age, culture, and language fluency to be meaningful in comparative analyses. Overall, this analysis provides a nuanced view, cautioning against oversimplified or generalized claims about IQ scores across diverse populations.

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