Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Does National IQ Depend on Parasite Infections?

  1. #1
    Funding Member
    „Friend of Germanics”
    Funding Membership Inactive
    The Horned God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Last Online
    Friday, June 30th, 2017 @ 08:09 PM
    Ethnicity
    Irish
    Subrace
    Atlantid
    Country
    Other Other
    Location
    Ireland
    Gender
    Age
    42
    Family
    Single adult
    Posts
    2,243
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    15
    Thanked in
    15 Posts

    Does National IQ Depend on Parasite Infections?

    Does national IQ depend on parasite infections? Er…


    I was originally going to avoid this, but decided to do it for the critical analysis, because I suspect it will be widely but badly covered, and because I also suspect that very little of this coverage will point out the publication record of these authors. Which is worth pointing out. Have fun in the comments!]

    Why do different countries have different IQs? You’d first answer probably has something to do with education, but a trio of US scientists have put forward a radically different hypothesis – international variation in intelligence is related to the prevalence of parasites in a country. As is, according to them, pretty much ever y major aspect of human culture (but more on this later)…

    Christopher Eppig, Corey Fincher and Randy Thornhill (yes, that one) from the University of New Mexico have suggested that fighting off parasitic infections during childhood takes up valuable energy that might otherwise go towards the development of the brain. More parasites mean less well developed brains and weaker mental abilities.

    To test their controversial idea, the trio collected average IQ values for countries all over the world using three separate sets of data. They also used the World Health Organisation’s data on global “disability-adjusted life years” (DALYs), a measure of a country’s disease burden that looks at the number of years of ‘healthy’ life lost by an average citizen because of poor health. They found a strong correlation between these two figures, both across all nations and within each continent (except South America).

    They claimed that the prevalence of infectious diseases is the “most powerful predictor of average national IQ”, even after they adjusted the results for other factors, like each country’s temperature, GDP, literacy rate, enrolment in secondary school and more. They also suggest that this could help to explain the mysterious Flynn effect, where IQ increases sharply as a nation develops.

    The very obvious caveat to all of this is that old adage that correlation is not causation. In this case, a link between infections and IQ tells us nothing about whether infected people grow up to be less intelligent, or whether intelligent people are less likely to become infected. Intelligence, after all, could affect one’s understanding of what a disease is, how to avoid it, and how to seek help for an infection. And perhaps a third factor is at work here – higher education could lead to both greater intelligence and the knowledge to avoid common infections. Readers may enjoy trying to come up with alternative explanations of their own.

    These problems become particularly astute when you’re looking for correlations between statistics that represent entire nations. This broad-brush ‘ecological’ approach tells us nothing at the individual level. In a given country, do children who acquire early infections grow up to have lower IQs? We simply don’t know.

    In fairness to Eppig, Fincher and Thornhill, they say, “We are not arguing that global variation in intelligence is only caused by parasite stress.” They also frame their paper as a way of introducing a hypothesis and suggest ways of testing it. Fair enough, but they have supported their hypothesis with data that are, at best, inconclusive. As such, I wonder what this study is doing in a Royal Society journal rather than, say, Medical Hypotheses.

    Indeed, as I alluded to earlier, this new paper is the latest in a long line of hypothesis-generating publications from Fincher and Thornhill linking parasites and infections to pretty much any sweeping aspect of human life you can think of. Through similar studies based on correlations at the national level, Thornhill and Fincher have suggested that infections are linked to individualism and collectivism, religious diversity, linguistic diversity, armed conflicts and civil war, and democracy and liberal values. Like any attempt to explain very complex patterns of human behaviour through a single cause, this ought to raise an eyebrow. I’m raising two.

    Source.
    The thing to take away from this article is the fact that here for the first time a mainstream publication is no longer denying the existence of differences in national IQ's, only debating the cause!
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

  2. #2
    Moderator
    „Friend of Germanics”
    Funding Membership Inactive
    GroeneWolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Ethnicity
    Dutch
    Subrace
    Don't know
    Country
    Netherlands Netherlands
    State
    Utrecht Utrecht
    Gender
    Age
    38
    Family
    Single adult
    Posts
    3,078
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    337
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    442
    Thanked in
    249 Posts
    I am a bit skeptic about this claim. Might be part of it, but it seems more like they want to make the difference in intelligence coming from a political-cultural acceptable reason and then ignore the nature-part of the equation. Or only make a side remark there might be other causes, but keeping those vague.

    Also Moroccans in the Netherlands score just as well as those who where raised in their native country. Where the public health situation is most likely worse. And the ones who grew up here, had less of those pests to deal with and had more access to health care.
    The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature that
    it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble or
    cultivated by good examples and a refined education.
    - Sir Richard Steele

Similar Threads

  1. Democracy May Depend on the Ignorant
    By Nachtengel in forum Political Theory
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Friday, December 16th, 2011, 01:18 PM
  2. German E. Coli Infections Leap to 1,534
    By Ælfrun in forum Health, Fitness & Nutrition
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011, 03:20 PM
  3. Cervical cancer virus risk may depend on race
    By Northerner in forum Bio-Anthropology & Human Variation
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Saturday, August 5th, 2006, 02:34 AM
  4. 'The Jew as World Parasite' (1944)
    By Ahnenerbe in forum Cultural & Linguistic Anthropology
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 03:07 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •