I think the only thing one could possibly take from this study is that people who tend toward marching to their own drummer, charting their own path, preferring contrarianism when possible, going against the grain — and any other metaphorical descriptions you can think of — tend to be more intelligent. Does running your life that way make you more intelligent or, does innate intelligence just make it more likely that you tell the rest of the world to go get stuffed? Ah, mere observation can be confounding!
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.
The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.
So, just to get this out of the way, I’m a sexually exclusive (married 9 yrs), anarchist atheist. IQ tests pretty high, but that was a long time ago. And I really can’t get over the fact that IQ tests are designed by smart people to test things they’re probably interested in. I don’t really trust them. I just have to wonder if they are designed more to test for non-ignorance. Ignorant people can be highly intelligent. It’s just that the right software has yet to be installed and executed. Perhaps knowledgeable commenters (Aaron?) can enlighten me.
I’ve always far preferred being around "hands on" people to intellectuals, except perhaps at fancy, exclusive cocktails and/or dinner parties. Intellectuals are really, really good at that shit. Auto mechanics? Not so much. I draw from people I’ve known and learned from in my own family & surroundings since I was a kid. I learned mostly hands on stuff like hunting, fishing, gardening, woodworking, auto working, painting, construction and a host of other things. Me and my family: we can beat ourselves out of concrete paper bags. Always have. Perhaps this is why I was the top rated junior officer by wide margin on my first ship in the Navy as a missile maintenance officer, then deck officer, and then electrical officer, obliterating guys with engineering degrees from top schools (I was a lazy business major) — even an MIT honors grad with a photographic memory who got 100% on every single test at Surface Warfare Officers School. I barely scraped by in that school with him, ’cause so much of it was bullshit and I figured I’d kick ass when we got down to practicalities: hands on, driving ships at all hours, and leading a division of men, some of which have 20 years and more of experience. So I sized ’em up and had no fear. For once, things went exactly as planned.
So that’s a lot of boorish self-indulgence in one paragraph. Kinda nauseating, but there you have it. I don’t really know of a better way of explaining where I’m coming from and this sentence is being written five days after I started this uncomfortable post. Let’s move on then, and take the variables one by one in hopefully an evolutionary context.
Sexual exclusivity. Well there’s hardly any doubt in my mind that a big part of our success as a genus, over other Homo, is reproductive success. Fecundity (the Nova series Becoming Human makes this point). But if you look at most of the animal kingdom, males are pretty much dogs. They’ll fuck anything they can stick it in, often by brute force. But don’t discount females in the human species, the tamers of males and the root of human success in my opinion. This is a tough one to work out for me. The animal is always there, but it’s easy to resist for all that a good female offers. Getting by with your teeth & claws (or human brain) is possible but it’s a hard life if that’s all that gets you by (or you’re too fucking stupid to get it). Females balance things out. For my money, we wouldn’t even exist but for the innate female-to-male taming…the frustratingly obvious, annoyingly practiced, devastatingly effective ability of females.
Fuck them! [with a grin]
But could you chalk it up to shame…and where does that come from on the evolutionary scale? I bet shame is old. Hell, you can even seemingly make a dog feel shame. Shame, whenever it came from, was but another arrow in the female quiver of lots of arrows. Or, perhaps it was the first…
Given that males could physically wipe out females in almost any species easily, combined with the fact they don’t, and never will, makes for a most interesting existence and I think the best, smartest and most practiced females are those who realize this implicitly. Is it that we hate to love them, or love to hate them, or a bit of both? Passion; love & hate, are two sides of the same coin and indifference is not indifferent. Questions…
…I just think that men who screw around on their wives or committed relationships are weak pussies unless all is out in the open and everyone is game, which is rare and probably irrational, which’ll come home to roost eventually.
Nothing I’m more motivated to avoid than shame.
Liberalism. Part II, maybe tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll do Atheism first. And I have a related article on cultural evolution to integrate. We’ll see.