Going Up or Going Down?

I’ve seen this headline before, but today I decided to read the article. Apparently, there is actually some statistical research behind it, and it has a name and all; it’s called the Flynn effect, which is probably not named after Phineas Flynn, although it should be.genius
The idea is that IQ scores are rising, across the globe. People are getting smarter. I take it with a bit of skepticism. As anyone who follows politics and current events closely could tell you, it seems like the trend is in the opposite direction.
Also, anyone who, like me, teaches, at times despairs of the future. When I asked a junior high school class when Columbus discovered America, they were off by centuries. Sure, they’re Czech, but they didn’t do much better when asked about their own history.
On the other hand, when my son brings home math homework, I can’t help him because it’s over my head, and he’s only 12.
I suspect it’s like this: You’ve got 7 billion people in the world, which is a pretty large gene pool. People with IQs of 80 and 90 are going to marry other people with IQs of 80 and 90, and they’re going to have kids who are dumber still, so you’ve got the idiocracy thing happening. On the other hand, people who have IQs of over 140 or so are likely to marry each other as well, because that’s who you meet, that’s who it’s easy to talk to, and their kids are going to be smarter still. So, there’s a bit of movement in both directions.
To paraphrase Walt Whitman: We are vast. We contain multitudes.


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