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Talkback Radio

It's simply amazing what you can learn on talkback radio, here in Australia anyway. I'm not often in the car alone but when I am I like to listen to a Radio National station that features guest speakers on various subjects and invites comment from listeners who can become involved in the conversation. One such guest, who was responsible for a phenomenon called the 'Flynn Effect' was most interesting. His hypothesis is that the IQ's of 21st century educated westerners are increasing at the rate of 3-5% over time because of the way that we are now being taught to process information. He said that the analytical process and abstract thinking methodology has increased our capacity to think in the way that the IQ tests have been designed and we are therefore able to process the test puzzles etc. more easily.

Apparently he sparked off some controversy when he suggested that dark skinned people, who usually don't perform as well in the current IQ test format (because it is very western in orientation) are improving at a rate of some 15+% over time. He reasons that people of other cultures are now exposed to a greater degree of education and opportunity and therefore their mental capacity and ability to reason increases exponentially. Also that, in America at least, African Americans often came from single parent, underprivileged families that may be lacking in nutrition and that this impeded their mental development. He stated that up until school age mental development of white children and black children was somewhat level but a distinct difference was noted as the children progressed in age.

It had long been considered that dark skinned people were incapable of having the same intelligence as white people and therefore could never be expected to achieve at the same level as whites. This theory has long ago been debunked but it was the basis for much inequality in the past and gave rise to segregated schooling in America and apartheid in South Africa. It was also given as a reason for why dark skinned people were only capable of being servants to the white supremacists and needed whites to manage them. There is much evidence in our own times that given the opportunity and embracing the cultural shifts in our developing world dark skinned people are advancing intellectually at a far more rapid rate than whites. He cited Kenya as an example of a black nation that is incredibly progressive and successful.

One listener put forward the example of Australian aboriginals who are severely disadvantaged when it comes to intelligence testing because their inherent mindset is so totally different to western thinking. For example they have a totally different concept of how time is measured and their culture has no need for mathematical formulas or concepts. But, given time and opportunity to understand and embrace western thinking and technology even Australian aboriginals are proving to be just as capable mentally as their white brothers and sisters. Another component of this discussion was the influence of unbalanced sampling when making comparisons between the races or genders.

It was a long held belief that men were far more mentally astute than women which is why women were excluded from the professions and were denied an equal education with boys. In the western world this imbalance has been largely rectified over time but sadly it is not so in most of the third world countries where women are still discouraged from being able to be schooled and skilled alongside of boys. Women are still being treated as second class citizens which gives rise to the harsh treatment of women as little more than servants to males and sex slaves etc. that persists in the under-developed countries around the world.

I found the the topic most interesting because some of those false preconceptions about demonstrable intelligence capabilities persist even in our civilised world. We find it hard to imagine how, in the past, racial and sexual discrimination were as depraved as history reveals but it was obviously birthed in such primitive notions of white intelligence supremacy.

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