Re: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Sat Aug 18 2001 - 00:42:04 BST

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    From: Bill Spight <>
    Subject: Re: Gene-Meme Co-evolution in Reverse?
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    Dear Joe,


    "The rising-IQ trend is often called the Flynn Effect after New
    Zealand sociologist James Flynn, who first noticed the phenomenon
    in the 1980s. Since 1984, Dr. Flynn has published a series of
    papers showing that IQs in at least 13 developed countries have
    gained five to 25 points in recent decades.

    He managed to find what others had missed because he did not look
    at average IQ scores, which rank how people compare with each
    other at a certain point.

    Instead, Dr. Flynn looked at the number of questions people
    answered correctly on the intelligence tests over the years and
    found everyone from school children to soldiers was scoring
    progressively better.Interestingly, Dr. Flynn does not
    necessarily believe the Flynn Effect points to a rise in

    "If people, children, were really becoming smarter, teachers
    would be saying, 'My gosh I can't believe how fast kids learn
    today,' and they are not saying that," he said in an interview
    this week.

    "If people were really getting as smart as the test scores
    suggest, we should be blinded by brilliance."He suggests that the
    rising-IQ trend tells us more about what society demands of
    people's mental abilities than about their actual intelligence
    level because the gains have been in very specific skills.

    So the data is misreported. IQ scores have not been rising. And thus IQ,
    whatever the term may mean, if anything, has not been rising. What has
    been increasing is specific knowledge, both declarative and procedural.
    So people today would have scored higher on previous IQ tests. The Flynn
    Effect illustrates the cultural relativity of IQ tests, reflecting
    cultural change over time.




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