24 May 2013

No Child Left Behind

It was always a puzzle: why would Dubya promote making kids smarter? It is well known that smarter folks lean leftward, while the dumb and gun-totin' and God-addled lean rightward. Dubya couldn't really be serious, he was just looking for an excuse to defund inner-city programs deemed too efficient at leveling the playing field.

But, of course, the right leaning always claim that smart folks don't really exist, or are just pointless elites. And, may be so. But comes today a study which demonstrates that smarter means having a better bullshit filter. Dubya's worst nightmare. He and his Koch snorting buddies can't be happy.
There may be ways to improve one's ability to filter out unnecessary information, Tadin said, but he isn't sure what such an exercise would look like. "Most so-called IQ enhancing exercises focus on how you process things that matter, not how to better suppress those that don't," he said.

Well, not really. The filter bit goes by the name, critical thinking. Here's the wiki. For those old enough, or willing to read some history, there's the In Box Test. There's no obvious Wiki article, which tells you something. Here's one victim's tale, so I guess it's still around.

Needless to say, but I will anyway, IQ measurement is the bete noire of psychometricians, arguably the first quants. It poses much the same problem faced by financial quants: there is no absolute zero; it's all relative. And, as with the financial quants, it's mostly a zero sum game.

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