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IEET > Security > Rights > Neuroethics > Life > Enablement > Vision > Technoprogressivism > Affiliate Scholar > Hank Pellissier

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Let’s Elevate Global IQ


Hank Pellissier
By Hank Pellissier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Aug 22, 2011

What we call modern “civilization” is seven billion people coexisting—often grumpily—on a resource-shrinking planet. The future often seems dystopian: will we poison ourselves, blow each other up, starve pathetically, die of thirst, bake to extinction via solar radiation, be annihilated by epidemics, or simply slaughter ourselves door-to-door, like Rwandans or Bosnians, for imbecilic racial or ideological reasons?

How can we avoid these nightmares? Why are we afflicted? Couldn’t we circumvent them all… if we were just… Smarter? Wouldn’t the world be a safer, healthier place… if we were all… mentally… Brilliant?

130 Ways to Boost Humanity’s Brainpower (Part I)

Let’s elevate Global IQ! Intelligent people are (generally) less impulsive, less violent, less criminal, and stronger in problem-solving abilities. What if our average IQ jumped from 100 to the equivalent of 130? At that level, we’d all be as clever, wise, and resourceful as today’s Ivy League graduate. Plus, with the bell curve leaping up two standard deviations, the number of “geniuses” (IQ 145+) would skyrocket to 1.05 billion, and the planet would be nearly crime-free due to few remaining in the “danger zone” of 80-90 IQ where the preponderance of offenders dwell.

In a 130 IQ world, staggering inventions would tsunami daily out of patent offices into the marketplace. There’d be a Chronic Intelligence Explosion, an Organic Singularity. International dilemmas that today seem brain-numbingly difficult would be solved easily in a 130 IQ world, gleefully mastered like children’s crossword puzzles.


superbrainCan we do this? Can we boost the populace’s global IQ by 30%? Is it actually possible?

Yes, I believe so. IQ has already risen 15 points per person in the USA since 1950, almost three points per decade, propelled by advances in health and education.

Some might say that our intelligence is limited by biology. I disagree. Experts assert that only 50% of IQ is based on genetics. Environment determines the remaining half. Together, we have the ability to create an IQ-enriching habitat that will substantially enlarge our IQs. Plus, our increasing skill at genetic engineering and in developing pharmaceutical “smart drugs” will push IQ up even further.

Neurologists and other researchers have discovered myriad factors that elevate or decimate intelligence. PubMed.gov—the website of the USA’s National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine—lists 12,708 research studies that analyzed what makes us stupid or smart. I propose that we utilize this data at home, in the schools, on the Internet, and via government sanctions and support. Together, let’s lift up our minds and create beautiful brain architecture inside every skull.


With a little research, I’ve compiled 130+ ways to elevate global IQ, divided into six categories. In this article, I’ll introduce some of the most significant factors. (All the rest will be included in a new book* I’m currently working on.)

Examine these ideas carefully and you’ll discover multiple ways you can biggie-up your own brain, your friends’ and families’ noggins, and especially, the next generation’s.

Pre-Natal & Natal

Full Term - Babies delivered at 40+ weeks have bigger heads and bigger brains, and enjoy an average 4.9 points higher IQ than premature infants, reports a 1994 study conducted by the Henry Ford Health Services Center, in Detroit, Michigan.

Gestational Exercise - Pregnant women who exercise 30 minutes a day can increase their baby’s IQ by 8 points, claims Richard E. Nisbett, author of Intelligence and How to Get It.

Omega 3 - Adding Omega 3 oils into Mom’s bloodstream will add 7.55 points to their Verbal IQ, suggests a 2008 UK study from Southampton General Hospital.

Iodine Deficiency & Supplementation - Expectant mothers who received iodine supplementation in geographical areas that had inadequate iodine in the diet elevated their children’s IQs by 12.45 IQ points. Children born 3.5 years after supplementation began received a boost of 17.25 points. The study was conducted in 2005 by Tianjin Medical University. The World Health Organization labels iodine deficiency the “single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation”—it causes cretinism and goiters.

Pesticides - A 2011 UC Berkeley study indicates that high prenatal (and postnatal) exposure to organophosphate pesticides caused a deficit of 7.0 IQ points.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (Heavy Alcohol Exposure) - Children afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome have an average IQ of 75, notes a 2009 study from the University of Bergen (Norway)

Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure - Gestating women who imbibe two alcoholic drinks per day hamper their child’s IQ with a 7 point loss, claims a 1990 University of Washington study.

Cigarette Smoking - A 1996 University of Mons Hainaut, Belgium, study of women who smoked during pregnancy, concludes, alarmingly, “we found a difference of more than 15 IQ points in favor of the children of nonsmoking mothers.” A 2010 Estonian study of prenatal smoking impact by their National Institute for Health Development found a 3.3 point IQ deficit. A 2005 study by Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, recorded a 6.2 IQ point difference. Other researchers have contested these claims.

Hydrocarbons (smog) - A 2009 Columbia University study revealed that NYC children prenatally exposed to air pollution suffered a 4.31 IQ loss. Children examined in a 2010 Columbia study in Krakow, Poland, showed a 3.8 point IQ loss.

Cocaine Exposure - A Drexel University study in 2008 indicated that boys prenatally-exposed to cocaine had lower IQs at 4, 6, and 9 years of age.

Maternal Stress (Elevated Cortisol) - A 2009 study of 832 children at UC San Francisco concluded that children exposed to elevated cortisol levels in the womb, caused by maternal stress, experienced an average verbal IQ loss of 3.83 points.

Valproate (anti-epileptic drug) Exposure - Children natal-exposed to Valproate had IQ scores up to 9 points lower than children exposed to other anti-epileptic medications, notes a 2009 Emory University study.

Excess Mercury - Reports vary, but a 2005 Harvard School of Public Health study concluded that excessive prenatal intake of mercury in fish can cost children up to 1.5 points in IQ. Other reports have been inconclusive.

Twins? - Multiple children that share a womb are at risk of receiving suboptimal nutrition for their developing brains, with adverse neurobiological effects. Heavier monozygotic twins have a verbal IQ that is up to 7.5 points higher than the lighter twin. Differentials undoubtedly increase with triplets, quadruplets, etc.

Teen Moms - The offspring of adolescent mothers scored 4.0 points lower on IQ tests, claims a 2009 University of Pittsburgh study. The children—studied at age 6—had a smaller average head circumference than kids of adult mothers.

Artificial Wombs - A futuristic option to safeguard fetus intelligence is Artificial Wombs. These contraptions are still a few decades away, but imagine: fetuses would be safe inside them, sheltered from potential chemical abuse, fed nourishing amounts of Omega-3, “exercised” regularly in rolling motions, and delivered without danger at a large healthy size, perhaps ten or twelve pounds. Plus, there’d be no sensory deprivation—as opponents fear—they’d be sung to, and cooed at, by recordings of their parents’ voices.

Parent Licenses - Defining parenthood as a privilege that needs to be earned, not a guaranteed natural right, would do wonders for global IQ. If women who are destined to damage their baby’s cognitive abilities—because they drink alcohol excessively, chain-smoke, or ingest brain-damaging drugs—were deprived of childbearing opportunities, it would elevate global IQ. If it’s illegal to smash a person’s head against a wall, subjecting them to brain damage, why isn’t it illegal to flood the noggin of a fetus with elements that cripple cognition?

Breech Birth - Males born via breech birth have approximately a 7 point lower IQ than boys who were born in cephalic presentation, claims a 1999 University of Aarhus, Denmark, study.

Vacuum? Elective C-Section? - A 1979 German study published in Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol indicated that children “spontaneously born” had an IQ of 108.7. This was significantly lower than children born aided by a c-section (114.4), forceps (116.6) or vacuum (117.7). Another study, in 1991 from Huron Road Hospital, in East Cleveland, Ohio, revealed that IQs of children born via emergency c-section after prolonged labor were “significantly lower” than those delivered after elective c-section with no labor.

Early Years

Iodine Deficiency - Children who do not receive sufficient quantities of the 53rd element can suffer 12.2 point IQ drop, according to data compiled in 2002 by Tianjin Medical University. The World Health Organization labels iodine deficiency the “single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation.”

Lead Poisoning - A 2011 University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey study of children in Chennai, India, reported a decrease of up to 9 IQ points. Before Egypt eliminated leaded gasoline [pdf], the average child there lost 4.25 IQ points. A 2001 School of Public Health at Albany Rensselaer study estimated the cost of lead overexposure as a “permanent loss of IQ of approximately 5 to 7 points.”

Malnutrition - A 2003 UCLA study of 1,559 children on the island of Mauritius revealed that the subjects (3 years old when surveyed) had a 15.3 IQ deficit at the age of 11.

Iron Deficiency - After anemic children in India were given iron supplementation, 88.6% of them experienced IQ gains, with 51.4% gaining more than 10 points. The 2010 study was by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in Chandrigahr, India.

Pesticides - A 2011 UC Berkeley study indicates that high postnatal (and postnatal) exposure to organophosphate pesticides caused a deficit of 7 IQ points.

Domestic Violence - A 2003 Boston University study noted that “children exposed to high levels of domestic violence have IQs that are, on average, 8 points lower than unexposed children.”

Breast-feeding - A 2010 Bristol, UK, study reported an increase of 5.49 IQ points in children who were breast-fed for three months. A 2006 Brown University study also recorded a 5.0 IQ rise, in low birth weight infants who received breast milk. Other studies have denied any breast-feeding benefits.

Manganese Poisoning - A ten-fold increase of the 25th element in children’s drinking water led to a 2.4 point IQ loss, notes a 2011 University of Quebec at Montreal study.

Phenobarbital (for children) - Children treated for febrile seizures with phenobarbital had their IQs reduced by 3.71 points, reports a 1999 University of Washington study.

Zinc Deficiency - Children aged 6-11 with zinc deficiency showed “marked improvement in memory after supplementation,” claims a 2011 report from Madras Medical College in India.

Indoor Mold - A 2011 Jagiellonian University Medical College study, in Krakow, Poland, reports that young children living in mold-contaminated homes had “tripled the risk of low IQ scoring.”

Maternal Depression - A 2010 Cambridge University study concluded that boys, but not girls, had their IQs lowered if their mothers experienced postpartum depression. A 2001 Cardiff University study reported “the children of women who were depressed at three months postpartum had significantly lower IQ scores.” A 2004 University of Pittsburgh study noticed an “increase in caregiver depression was related to decline in IQ scores.”

Acupuncture Supplement - Mentally retarded infants in Shanxi, China, were treated with needles and other therapies for six months. Half the subjects increased their IQ by 15 points. The 1994 study was conducted by the Second People’s Hospital of Yangquan.

Protozoan Diarrhea - Children with a history of protozoan diarrhea (i.e., giardial) end up with a “significantly lower IQ,” claims a 2011 study of 116 slum youngsters, scrutinized by the Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India.

Healthy Diet - Data on the eating habits of 3,966 children was compiled in 2011 by University of Bristol (UK) researchers. The conclusion was that a poor diet (high fat and sugar content) led to a decrease in IQ of 1.67 points, and a health-conscious diet (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) resulted in a 1.20 point-IQ increase.

Maternal Bonding - A 2010 study of 4 year-olds reports that close relationships between mother-child produced a higher IQ. Haceteppe University Faculty of Medicine, in Ankara, Turkey, conducted the research.

Mother’s Education - In Maximizing Intelligence, by David J. Armor, the author claims: “At age five, children whose mothers are high school dropouts have an average IQ of 93, while children whose mothers finished college have an average IQ of 108, a spread of 15 points.” These figures are supported by substantial research.

Psychosocial Stimulation - The University of the West Indies conducted research in 2005 of stunted Jamaican children aged 9-24 months. The study concluded that psychosocial stimulation of the subjects produced “higher full scale IQ scores.” Similarly, deprived children removed from Romanian institutions experienced gains in IQ, notes a 2011 article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Keep Families Small - Children in small families (three kids or fewer) have a higher average IQ than children in families of four or more children. Oldest children also generally have the highest IQ, claims a 2008 report [pdf] by researchers from UCLA and University College Dublin, compiled from data from the Norwegian School of Economics.

Fluoride Poisoning - A 2007 study of rural communities in Mexico by Universidad de San Luis Potosi asserts that 6-10 year-old children who had excessively high fluoride in their drinking water experienced a 10.2 point drop in IQ scores. A similar 10.0 IQ drop was evidenced by children aged 8-12 exposed to high-fluoride drinking water in Shanxi, China, notes a 2007 report from the Shanxi Institute for Prevention and Treatment of Endemic Disease.

Economic and Social Class - The difference in IQ between the lower and the upper-middle economic classes in the United States is 12-18 points, “depending on the study,” notes Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times. Dominant social classes around the world also have higher IQs: Catholics in North Ireland have an average IQ 15 points less than Protestants, Maori IQ in New Zealand is less than European, Roma (Gypsy) IQ is low throughout Europe, and Sephardic Jews have a lower IQ than Ashkenazi in Israel.


We’ll stop here, but please note the abundance of critical factors in creating or destroying IQ:

Did your mother smoke? Were you breast-fed? Born in a smoggy city, after a difficult labor? Ate some lead chips with your nine brothers and sisters? Got sprayed with pesticide? Etc. etc., and I’m only one-third of the way through the full list, plus I’ve had to leave out dozens of other determining factors.

No human being has ever received all the possible benefits that would have enhanced their IQ, but what if everyone did?


* Additional ideas will be included in Hank’s upcoming book, tentatively entitled Smarter Brains, Smarter Planet.


Hank Pellissier was IEET’s Managing Director on January-October in 2012, and an IEET Affiliate Scholar. He’s the author of two e-books, Invent Utopia Now and Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so High? He is currently at BrighterBrains.org
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COMMENTS


You shouldn’t forget that increasing the intelligence of people who would otherwise have low IQ, would in fact lower the average IQ.
IQ 100 is defined as the median of the population.

So the only way to rise the average IQ are to increase the IQ of people who have already an high IQ, or lower the IQ of people who are in the lower above 100 ranges.

For example implementing no smoking for mothers would rise IQs mainly in populations which have a lower general IQ due to other factors still. So it will rise the median more than the average. Which means after the normalisation average IQs will have fallen.
I don’t mind this outcome. But for someone who cares about his IQ number might not.





Human Intelligence has come a long way since the Ice Age. But despite our increasing intelligence; we are still violent, reactive, fear-ridden primates, enslaved to our sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight/freeze). Perhaps it is our EQ that needs uplifting. Maybe if we had empathic intelligence equal to our cognitive abilities, our current intelligence might be enough. Brilliance without a matching level of compassion would just increase our species’ narcissism. Our desire to be godlings has always resulted in disaster historically. Better to be secular, rational, bodhisattvas with wisdom and compassion in equal measure.





Tobias - thanks for pointing that out.  FYI - there’s an interesting “movie” at the link below that suggests that the mean IQ of the planet is actually shrinking - and has been since 1950 - it’s at
http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/IQ/1950-2050/





@ Jim - regarding EQ, I find it difficult to discuss because it is not widely used or accepted (yet?) in the scientific community. Here’s a link about how I feel about it at present: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/job.318/abstract
“Secular thinking” has been associated with a higher IQ, and I’m going to mention it as a factor in an upcoming essay.





@ Jim, since you’re interested in secularism and IQ, here’s another link:
http://www.asanet.org/images/journals/docs/pdf/spq/Mar10SPQFeature.pdf

regarding your earlier point, about IQ and violence, when charts depicting national IQs are looked at, one notices stats like this:
Japan (one of the world’s safest nations) - 106 IQ
The Congo - one of the most dangerous - 64 IQ

it is true, Hitler (estimated 141 IQ) and other dangerous leaders often have high IQs, but perhaps their policies would not prevail if the citizenry they represented was more intelligent.





I wonder how many of the items in the list are causative and how many are correlative.





“it is true, Hitler (estimated 141 IQ) and other dangerous leaders often have high IQs, but perhaps their policies would not prevail if the citizenry they represented was more intelligent.”

I agree. The greatest gain to be had from implementing the above information would be a narrowing of the IQ gap. i.e. I don’t expect crime to decrease much, if at all, if the relative gap remains the same.





@ MichaelB - thanks, I agree.  I think the IQ Gap (and it is large, up to 18 points, between the American upper and lower economic classes) can be tightened through egalitarian measures that guarantee better education and health services for everyone. Even in categories like “Mother’s Education” there’s a 15 point spread - this could be alleviated if higher education was greater subsidized.

Pollution, poisons, and nutritional deficiencies that damage IQ, like Lead, Pesticides, or Iodine Deficiency, are also inflicted overwhelmingly upon the poor.





If everyone had an IQ over 130 (current measurement system), it would mean even less than it does now, but that would matter little - an insane genius would soon destroy every human.  Ethical training should be included, but wasn’t.





@ James - I’m not sure “ethical training” really works, if there’s “insane” damage due to social, environmental or genetic factors. Here’s a link for you below—the opening sentence says:
“Violent and anti-social behavior is usually attributed to social factors, including poverty, poor education, family instability [and] lower IQ.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19758571





Another way of looking at this: Idiocracy lies in our past. People like Archimedes freaked out the ordinary, low-IQ people in the Greco-Roman world because their population generated so few people that intelligent, much less knew what to make of them or how to employ them productively. Now the average run of Americans, at least, feel comfortable enough with the behavior of Archimedes-comparable people to watch fictional portrayals of them on TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory.”





>IQ 100 is defined as the median of the population.

Really? Then why doesn’t every country have a median IQ of 100? I consider that figure an artifact of the way psychologists in Western countries created IQ testing based on local samples. When IQ testing spread to other populations, then the differences suggested that something more like an absolute scale of intelligence exists.





Any thoughts about Stephen Murdoch’s book, “IQ: a smart history of a failed idea”?





@ Miranda—many people in the West are disinclined to care about IQ. This is not the case in East Asian nations like China, here’s a link:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/03/china.dna.children.ability/
Truth is, IQ seems to be a rather taboo topic among “educators”, but it is widely used in the science community.  Furthermore, the SAT test, where good results heavily assist in getting into college, and the international PISA test, are both quite similar to IQ tests.

Not surprisingly, in the PISA tests, the East Asian nations do astonishingly well.  China, Singapore, Korea, and Japan consistently placed in the top 8 in reading, mathematics, and science - while USA kids lag far far behind.

IMO, the frequent American disdain for IQ bears a strong correlation to what - viewed through other cultures - seems to be an equally disdainful attitude towards education in general.





We’re reaching the limits of the Prussian education model.

As I’ve explained before, the problem with IQ measurements is not that they aren’t accurate, it’s that they’re limited in what they actually measure, or in other words, IQ =! intelligence.

Furthermore, the SAT test, where good results heavily assist in getting into college

Right, exactly as I’ve been pointing out, these sorts of tests are designed to put children through the meat grinder of school—->career——->marriage——->death.

I like Andrea’s posts on how education is changing, because this entire paradigm is undergoing radical transformation.

The clear and beaten path to a ‘normal’ life through education and conformity is systematically failing.

All bets are off.





@Hank:  “IMO, the frequent American disdain for IQ bears a strong correlation to what - viewed through other cultures - seems to be an equally disdainful attitude towards education in general.”

I’ve never heard of any American disdainful of education. However, I’ve heard of plenty of Americans who are disdainful of /public school/ education.





@ Miranda - thanks for your comments. To clarify what I said earlier, it seems obvious that the average American family does not reverence education in the same way that say, Asian-Americans do, and this is evident when USA test scores are compared to the East Asian nations. I also don’t think Americans are proud of their education system, the way other nations are (Finland, South Korea, China, etc), and many of us are satisfied if our children get Bs.  Whereas, Asian-Americans are striving for As, and if you ask many Asian-Americans what school they want to go to, they will say Harvard or Stanford.

In China, perhaps the most admired personage in their history is Confucius. He was “just” a teacher.  For the USA to match this level of respect for education, we’d have to have hundreds of statues of John Dewey everywhere.

I met a Chinese student on my vacation last summer and I asked her if she, and other Chinese, minded school-and-studying 14 hours per day.  She said, “No, it is very exciting and fun to learn.” I don’t think the average American teen says things like this.

thanks for your interest in this topic.





Hi Hank,
I thought this quote would interest you, given your interest in Jewish education. It comes from Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, U.S. News and World Report :

“The Lakewood Yeshiva was the single most intellectually active, energetic, fascinating environment I have ever witnessed… it made Harvard Law School look like a kindergarten.”





I agree the real question isn’t IQ but education.  The current movement to have all students measure equally on standardized tests seems like a great way to lower creative IQ.  It is well-known that there are a variety of IQs, which you do not discuss in your article.  Social interation IQ, Spacial reasoning IQ, problem-solving IQ, aesthetic IQ, hand-eye coordination IQ.  As pointed out earlier, high IQs so not mean nice people.  I wonder what the average IQ is of deeply contented people is.  Not complacent, accepting of authority people, but living-in-the-moment, copassionate, contented people who accept life as full of wonder?  A test for this “trait” might do far more to taking us in the right direction than simply trying to raise conventional IQs, which does measure knowledge and exposure to ideas as much as any innate ability to use brainpower…





Hi Rebecca - my article shows that there are numerous environmental hazards to the development of IQ. The reason my article focuses on IQ is because that is a measurement that research scientists consistently apply to their studies. We should recognize that when a study indicates that a factor damages IQ, what it is indicating is damage to the brain. 

All of the other types of intelligence that you mention, that I do appreciate, are also - undoubtedly - suffering at near the same rate as IQ.  We cannot pretend that the only brain function damaged by the 42 different environmental hazards that I have listed is IQ.  Everything else that you, and I, are concerned about, is similarly compromised.

Let me know if you need further explanation - again, if there were scientific studies that reported on loss of “aesthetic IQ” - I’d include them.  But right now, there aren’t, so I think it is wise to examine the studies that we do have, and take subsequent precautionary steps to protect human brainpower.





In the “Askenazi IQ” post, I had written:

“it’s probably true that the people with the highest overall IQ in the world in the 1930s were the Germans. “

And you (Hank) had responded:

“regarding your third point, i.e., Germany perhaps having the world’s highest IQ in the 1930’s, you might be correct. I didn’t find info from that era, but a recent report claims Germany had the highest IQ in Europe in 2006. Germany’s 107 IQ was well ahead of Britain’s 100 and France’s 94. “

On the surface, it appears that you missed where I was heading. I was trying to hint that probably the smartest people of that time were supporters of Nazis.





@ Ronaldo - Ah, the Nazi question. Good point.  Although I personally don’t think it is accurate to even suggest that high IQ = Nazis, I do have a professor friend who teaches Nazi History and he is rather in agreement with you.

However, as I told Rebecca in an earlier post, the primary reason I am focusing my brain research on IQ is because it is the the “brain function” that is most commonly charted by researchers in their studies.  The information I have provided in this article indicates what aids and destroys cognitive development.  There is an abundance of information that indicates that damage to IQ equates to damage in other other cognitive abilities.  In other words, I believe you’re wrong.  I think improving brain function so that it elevates IQ will also improve other aspects of brain function, like Emotional Intelligence, empathy, creative ability, etc.

It seems like you (and Rebecca) are promoting some type of fear of high IQ?  That high IQ individuals are more dangerous than lower IQ?  Studies show that criminals generally have a sub-average IQ, although mass murderers like Hitler (IQ 141) and Stalin (130?) do not.

I think that high-IQ psychopaths are only able to manipulate a lower IQ citizenry. I believe a 130 average IQ world would be considerably safer than what we have at the present time.  Let me know if you disagree.





> “It seems like you (and Rebecca) are promoting some type of fear of high IQ? “

No, not fear. Just balance. Just trying to show that a nation with a high IQ _may_ not be the kind of nation anyone would want to live in.





@ Ronaldo - the nations with the present-day highest IQs are all in East Asia - Japan, Singapore, China, Taiwan and South Korea are all between 105-108 IQ.  About 1.5 billion people do live in those nations, but their numbers are a long way from 130 IQ.





Once again, the inherent problem with these things is that they’re based on a highly linear, institutionalized paradigmatic point of view.

There’s nothing wrong with high IQ, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with increasing it.

However, I think this sort of article suffers from a kind of tunnel vision.

All of the things listed that are detrimental to IQ are by products of the ills of a stratified society.

Increase egalitarianism, increase IQ.

What I’ve been trying to get across to Hank, is that making IQ an end object in itself is fruitless.

All of the things we ought to be doing should have the secondary effect of increasing IQ.

Unfortunately, Hank is still caught up in yesterdays paradigm of competition.

If we did what was right (empowerment of the disenfranchised), then we’d also see a boost in IQ (amongst other radical benefits as well).

I imagine that most of the world isn’t going to get this until the end of this decade.





@ iPan - “Increase egalitarianism, increase IQ”—

well said!  I very much agree with that!





I read an article yesterday you might find disheartening, but reinforces what I’ve been saying about r/K selection theory and abundance:

Unwanted pregnancies among poor women are going up.

Abundance is a form of population control, as well as an intelligence enhancer.

The status quo must change.





Hank, I can’t figure where you were going in your response to me. On the one hand, you pointed to the high IQ of Hitler. On the other hand you wrote, “Germany perhaps having the world’s highest IQ in the 1930’s, you might be correct. ” Then you said, “I think that high-IQ psychopaths are only able to manipulate a lower IQ citizenry. ” These three sentences don’t compute.





@ Ronaldo - Hi - sorry about any confusion. I certainly am not an authority on Nazi history. I know that there was great interest in eugenics at the time and that “racial superiority” was part of the Nazi philosophy.  And it seems possible (likely) that German awareness that they had a higher IQ could assist in their feelings of racial superiority. But past that, I am not prepared to assert or dispute anything without doing some research. I am not inclined to believe, though, that every nation that has a high IQ will embark on a Nazi program!

Regarding any incoherence I might have had in my statements, I apologize. Rather than explain myself, statement by statement, I’d just like to reassert what I said in conclusion - that in my opinion, a higher IQ populace would be less easily manipulated by psychopaths than a low IQ populace. A high IQ populace is far better educated and far more logical, it’s even less “religious” according to examined data.

Your assertion seems to be that a high IQ populace is more likely to become “Nazis”? If that is your assertion, just let me know.

Again, sorry about any incoherence on my part.





Thank you Hank, a very interesting read! I’m convinced that there is a lot we can do as individuals and societies concerning the environmental factors. Will your next post (part II) cover genetic factors? I’m particularly interested in possible policies concerning donation of eggs and sperm from high IQ individuals. What such possibilities are already available? What policies could be constructed?





@ Abi - I think I will cover genetic factors in Part III—thanks for your feedback, I will definitely attempt to answer your questions in the next reports





> “Your assertion seems to be that a high IQ populace is more likely to become “Nazis”? If that is your assertion, just let me know.”

I think I’ve made it clear that that’s not my assertion.





I’ll just leave this here - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-is-average-iq-higher-in-some-places





@ meta - great link! thanks! I would also add to “infectious diseases” the problems of “nutritional deficiencies” and “pollution” - especially iodine deficiency, manganese poisoning, lead poisoning, pesticides…

Thanks for pointing this out - there are some very disturbing statistics out there, and I’m glad you aimed readers at the article. Let me know if you find anything else





Hank, there is no need to apologize: your sentences are not in contradiction to each other. The Germans did and still do have high IQs, however Hitler’s was much higher—he was a MENSA kind of guy. Goebbels was probably even smarter than Hitler.

You want to read something from someone of a lower IQ? a headline from today,
“Confusion Exists In Libya As To Gaddhafi’s Whereabouts”
Well of course; Gaddhafi is in hiding, the idea of hiding is to create confusion in the hunters’ minds about where the quarry is so the quarry cannot be found. Here is one more, a headline after a gunman killed one or two passengers in an airport was:
“LAX Shooter Intended To Kill”.
Well, no kidding; the gunman didn’t go to LAX to jet to Frisco so he could live in Haight Ashbury and wear flowers in his hair, did he? the gunman had less ecumenical intentions.

Makes one think IQs in journalism school are perhaps not as high as they ought to be.





... IMO Hitler’s IQ bordered on 150; Goebbels’ IQ was a few points above 150; since they are both long deceased there is naturally no way to confirm or deny such an assertion.
We shouldn’t blame Hitler or the Germans too much for what happened 70 years, eugenics wasn’t of German origin, plus racialist outsiders imported notions of extreme racialism into Germany earlier in the century—and before. Hank, it can be traced back to the 1880s or previous, during the Age of Imperialism.
What I don’t like is any German criticizing Israel; that’s IMO akin to a Southerner criticizing Liberia. Whether it is right / wrong, I do not care—it is unacceptable.





* post-post - thanks for the comments.  My understanding is that Germeny is now one of the best places in Europe for Jews to live - Jews are actually emigrating there.  Inversely, Jews are leaving Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden France.

I heard that Hitler’s Mein Kempf is still popularly read in the Middle East, I read that it can even be found in airports…?

we’re getting slightly off-topic here, but I will be putting out Part II in a couple of weeks.  I think I’ll make Part II all about Smart Drugs so that readers can utilize the info themselves





Hank, thank you for sharing interesting thoughts with us. However, what I missed here is a statement about the heritability of a great part of intelligence. Therefore the best way to increase global intelligence is to take care that the more intelligent ones on average have more children than the less intelligent ones.
Germany has been mentioned in this thread several times. It is a good example how things should not go. Here, by the way of social aids a.o. people of low socioeconomic status (and low intelligence) are encouraged to have children (often several or many) while a large part of the highly educated remain childless. The average german IQ is on the decline and wealth and democracy will follow the same path.

However,
looking forward to your next post,
Johanna





@ Johanna - thanks for your comments. My understanding is that there is now a “baby-boom” in northern Europe.  I was in Copenhagen last summer and it did seem like there were baby carriages everywhere.  But I am not sure how to address your concern.

I am not in favor of forcing high IQ people to have kids, nor am I in favor of prohibiting just-below-the-norm IQ people from having kids.
What can be done - without doing any of that - is to try to insure that everyone, no matter what their inherited IQ is - has all the opportunities to maintain and preferably elevate their intelligence.

One thing that might impact this - but just slightly— is—sperm donation and egg donation. Perhaps with more high IQ sperm available for a low price, and high IQ eggs also available, people will start “buying” the best product instead of making their own.  Is that just a wild thought?  what do you think?





Hank,
thank you very muc for answering.
There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding my suggestion to increase the birth rate among the highly educated people in society. You are not in favor of hindering people to have as many children as they want and forcing others to have more children than they would want to have. Neither am I ! But one has to consider that there is no such thing as a “natural” birth rate. Fertility rates are the result of a complex interaction of social, cultural, economic etc. factors. Therefore the comparatively low fertility of the highly educated in Germany is not “natural” but the result of all these factors. To assume that it is “normal” means to assume that the people with higher intelligence and higher education do not want to have children which is simply not the case. In contrast, the “deficit fertility” is highest among women with high education. So in my opinion one has to think about taking measures that enable the highly intelligent and educated people to have as many children as they want. Not only because this is good for society but also because it is unjust to punish intelligence and educational efforts with childlessness. I think every person should be enabled to live up to his or her full potential and for the majority of people this means raising their own children.
All the factors that you suggested above in order to increase IQ are worth to consider but I think that they cannot compensate a decrease in average intelligence due to deterioration of the genetic pool following low birth rates of the more intelligent part of the population.

Concerning egg and sperm donation: Egg donation is prohibited in Germany. Also single women are not allowed to take measures of reproductive medicine (although, once again, the educated women far more often find themselves in the situation of wanting a child but not having a partner - another factor of discrimination agains intelligent women in reproduction) . The law in Germany is very restrictive regarding assisted reproduction.
I regard egg and sperm donation as a good option for people who cannot have children otherwise. And yes, I think intelligent donors of both eggs and sperm should be favored.

By the way, these things are impossible to discuss in public in Germany. Because of Germany’s past, I guess.
Because of your suggestions how to increase global IQ you would be called a Nazi here immediately (and I too, of course). Of course, this is totally irrational, as I am sure you agree with me.

Best,
Johanna





@ Johanna—ah yes, of course, well, I, too have been called a “Neo-Nazi” for even slightly getting near the topic of eugenics. it is interesting that egg donation is prohibited in Germany - does that have to do with the fact that eugenics is now so taboo there? But it seems women could always some to the USA for an egg…

Regarding the original topic, I still don’t understand - do you think there are policies in place that make it difficult or discouraging for people with higher intelligence to have children? You talk about a complex interweaving of factors but I don’t know what any of them are.  It seems to me, as an American, that it would be easier to have children almost anywhere in Europe than in the USA because you have longer maternity and paternity leave, for starters, plus health insurance and free universities.  Seems like having kids is much more affordable.  By the way, I have 3 German female friends, Anke, Fusi, and Karen, I’ve known them for 23 years, and only one of them had kids. They are well-educated, etc.  But the two that didn’t want children enjoy traveling and their freedom, so they’ve never “settled down” with a family.  Anyway, that is just anecdotal, but you can let me know what these factors are, I’m interested.





‘Pollution, poisons, and nutritional deficiencies that damage IQ, like Lead, Pesticides, or Iodine Deficiency, are also inflicted overwhelmingly upon the poor.’

Not to forget that we are probably all paying a price in health and intelligence because of pollution. I was horrified to read in Bill Bryson’s book on science that our bones contain something like 200 times the amount of lead they did before leaded petrol was invented (by the same man who invented ozone munching chlorofluorocarbons ironically. The path to Hell is paved ...:( )

On the question of Nazis and high IQ, we should remember that high IQ or not, Germany was particularly badly hit by the Great Depression of the late 20s and they were economically desperate people. Hitler managed to initially tap into that and then gradually tightened the screws - for the whole world.

And let’s not forget the accidents of history. I read somewhere of one politician whose name I forget who might have been able to stop Hitler. But he died (of natural causes) in ‘28 or ‘29.

‘Mein Kampf’ in the Middle East? Don’t know about it being available at airports but yes you can get it, along with the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ (Tsarist antisemitic forgery). Let’s not get too excited just yet about the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, shall we?





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