January 25, 2008

Super Bowl QB IQs: 136 and 124

The NFL requires draft prospects to take the 12 minute Wonderlic IQ test. The average score is 21 (up from 20, perhaps due to the Flynn Effect), with each additional right answer the equivalent of 2 extra IQ points.

The New England Patriots' All-Galaxy quarterback Tom Brady (a record 50 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions in the regular season) got 33 right out of 50 for an IQ of 124 (about the 95th percentile). The Giants' younger Eli Manning, little brother of Brady nemesis Peyton Manning (for whom I've seen reports of 108 and 114), scored a 39 for a very high 136.

I'd still bet on Brady (if his foot is okay).

How often in American life do we see two competitors going head to head who average 130? We didn't in the last Presidential, where the average was probably around 120.

A couple of caveats: the Wonderlic is the quickest and dirtiest of the legitimate commercial IQ test, so there's a bigger margin of error. Players are allowed to take it more than once, so these rumored scores might not be their average, just their high scores. And with so much money riding on draft choices, I wouldn't be hugely shocked to find that now and then some player's agent had somehow gotten his hands on the questions ahead of time. (I recall one QB a few years ago who went from something like 88 to 132 when he took it again.)

I don't see a strong correlation between scores and performance for quarterbacks. But there's a substantial restriction of range problem: All NFL quarterbacks were previously college quarterbacks, so the players who were really bad at mastering a complicated playbook were already removed from the picture. I could believe that Dan Marino, who had maybe the greatest throwing motion ever, scored below 100 -- he peaked in about his third season and didn't really adjust after that as the league adjusted to him.

Of course, a lot of what NFL quarterbacks need are cognitive skills that aren't tested well by traditional IQ tests. For example, what the Air Force calls "situational awareness" is very important in a dogfight -- you can't concentrate too much on one thing or you'll get shot down by somebody you weren't paying attention to -- and in a football game. High IQ people, such as mathematicians, can sometimes have too much focus on what they are concentrating upon to function well in daily life.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watch Vince Young's continued struggles as a NFL QB...his inability to read defenses,audible and propensity of turning the ball over(29 total this year,19 INT) in a very conservative passing game reflects his alleged SIX!!! score on the Wonderlic.

UCLA's new hire Norm Chow can attest to it...The Titans best offensive output this year? With the 35 year old journeyman Kerry Collins at the helm vs Houston.

astorian said...

IQ can be a very valuable stat, but I'm not sure it tells us much about quarterbacks. I mean, Rhodes Scholar Pat Haden is obviously a lot smarter than Jim Kelly, but is there any doubt who you'd rather have on your team?

The best quarterbacks tend to be instinctive rather than intellectual. Indeed, I've found many stellar quarterbacks to be surprisingly dim.

Funny thing is, if you're looking for highly intelligent NFL players, the place you'll find them is the LAST place you'd expect: on the offensive line. The casual fan would probably THINK that's a place where you could get away with being big, strong and dumb... but guards, centers and tackles are usually the most cerebral players on an NFL team.

Anonymous said...

Dan Dornick tight end for Seattle is an MD.

Black Sea said...

One of the knocks against Peyton Manning is that he isn't much of a team leader, both in the locker room and on the field. His IQ could be a factor in this.

I believe that in one of your posts, Steve, you theorized that an effective leader shouldn't - in terms of intelligence - be to far out ahead of those he leads. If the gap is too great, maybe more than 20 points, communication, loyalty, and a sense of identification break down.

Maybe Manning's effectiveness as a leader is undermined by the fact that he doesn't have that much in common with most of his teammates. Therefore, it's difficult for him to establish a strong sense of rapport.

Anonymous said...

". I could believe that Dan Marino, who had maybe the greatest throwing motion ever"

I'll second that. Dan was The Man. Looking back at his statistics, though, his completion percentage was pretty low compared to today's game. I guess the game has changed but it's hard to understand how a guy that talented and productive had such a relatively low completion % as compared to the Ken Anderson levels of accuracy stats that are so commonplace today.

I wonder what the Singletaries and Butkii scores were. Linebackers need to be able to think, it would seem to me, more than any position other than QB.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

Re: offensive linemen and IQ. I think Steve has written about this. Their high IQ lets them learn those complicated blocking schemes, and recognize and execute them just as soon as they hear the number of the play called. Defensive linemen must react to those schemes with improvisation, and thus require a mental faculty that IQ doesn't measure.

L said...

I disagree with Black Sea. While I can believe that Manning has an IQ gap with his players (although I doubt it), I have yet to see evidence of lack of leadership. He clearly manages to get his WRs to spend lots of time with him. That takes some level of leadership.

You also can't install a ridiculously complex offense without some level of leadership and respect for the QB. Yes, I disagree completely with Black Sea. I will have to see some evidence of "lack of leadership" from Manning.

While we're speculating irresponsibly about people, youtube Dan Marino's flubs on HBO and his rages at screwing up. It doesn't stun me if he's an physically talented mental overachiever.

Lucius Vorenus said...

This is a little off-topic, but while I was eating my Raisin Bran this morning, and flipping through the channels on TV, I came upon one of those Bud Greenspan documentaries about the Olympics, on Showtime, and he did an extended piece on the Katarina Witt-Debi Thomas rivalry.

I had never heard Debi Thomas speak before, and it was rather shocking to hear how stupid she was [I think Katrina Witt spoke better English than she did] - she had absolutely no business being a student at Stanford University.

Both Greenspan and Witt talked at great length about how Thomas had lost her "edge" [gotten "psyched-out"] in the minutes prior to her skate in the 1988 freestyle finals, and it dawned on me that it really wasn't fair to have expected any more out of such a low-IQ kid who had been thrust into the limelight like that.

PS: I got to wondering what had become of Katarina Witt, and it looks like she just turned 42, is never married, and has no children. Shame that - really a tragedy - because it looks like she had the plumbing to have been quite the baby-maker.

So then I researched it a little more, and this is what I came up with for the 1988 women's freestyle skating:

Katarina Witt, Gold
born December 3, 1965
42 years old
0 children
nndb.com

Elizabeth Manley, Silver
born August 7, 1965
42 years old
0 children
en.wikipedia.org

Debi Thomas
born March 25, 1967
42 years old, going on 43
1 child, born 1997
en.wikipedia.org

That's looking like a TFR of 0.333 children per woman per fertile lifetime, which is an "extinction within in a generation" level of fertility.

PS: I would not want to be one of Debi Thomas's orthopedics patients.

Sam said...

Steve-

Have you ever thought of comparing the IQ's of the current Republican & Democratic candidates based off of their ACT/SAT/GMAT/LSAT etc. scores? I thought your article on Kerry and Bush's IQ a while back was quite interesting.

green mamba said...

"Funny thing is, if you're looking for highly intelligent NFL players, the place you'll find them is the LAST place you'd expect: on the offensive line. The casual fan would probably THINK that's a place where you could get away with being big, strong and dumb... but guards, centers and tackles are usually the most cerebral players on an NFL team."

That's an interesting observation, and it correlates with some average IQ scores at different positions that Steve posted some time ago (offensive lineman were the highest).

Tom Thayer, a former offensive lineman for the Bears, now does radio play-by-play for them, and he's articulate and highly analytical.

Re: quarterback IQs. When I saw Brett Favre throw that dumb interception toward the end of the Packers' loss to the Giants last Sunday, I was reminded that the Wonderlic IQ score Steve reported for him was not terribly high (112, I think).

rightsaidfred said...

From what I understand of IQ, after a certain level, more does not make you better, e.g. great poets may all have an IQ of at least 140, but having a higher IQ confers no better poetic ability.

Maybe, then, a good NFL quarterback would have a 110 IQ, but more IQ points does not a better quarterback make.

Anonymous said...

Black -- that's a knock on Eli, not Peyton.

Leadership generally amounts to confidence and calm that the QB can produce a winning drive. A story about the greatest QB ever Joe Montana was that in a time-out, trailing the Bengals, he looked down the field and told his team-mates "That's John Candy!" in the other end zone. His team-mates knew they would win.

A number of QBs have said they kept a mental map of every player on the field, offensive and defensive, and how they would move as time progressed, to be successful. Because they couldn't look. The prior Superbowl Peyton said he was watching a replay of a Chicago Bears game and saw the Bears run a defensive stunt he knew he could beat, the night before the game. He saw the stunt at the line of scrimmage and changed the play for a big chunk of yards.

Probably verbal acuity or anything else not related to spatial reasoning is unimportant mentally to QBs. Offensive Linemen of course also have to recognize spatially the defensive stunt to block. So their spatial reasoning abilities are probably high.

Black Sea said...

"Black -- that's a knock on Eli, not Peyton."

Sorry, your're right. I meant Eli, not Peyton.

As to whether I've speculated (irresponsibly) on Eli's leadership ability, I'll admit that, since I don't play for the Giants, I don't know what kind of leader he is. However, Tiki Barber has commented that Eli needs to make his presence more strongly felt as an offensive leader. You can take that for whatever it's worth.

Fred said...

"As to whether I've speculated (irresponsibly) on Eli's leadership ability, I'll admit that, since I don't play for the Giants, I don't know what kind of leader he is. However, Tiki Barber has commented that Eli needs to make his presence more strongly felt as an offensive leader. You can take that for whatever it's worth."

I've always been an Eli fan -- even when he's played poorly, he's always demonstrated a lot of class and heart. That hasn't changed now that he's been playing extremely well over the last several games. I still believe he will evolve into a great player. Black Sea's comment above reminds me of something a good friend of mine said about Eli yesterday.

My friend doesn't have a particularly high-IQ, but he is quite intuitive about people (as a result of this, he earns a living that puts him in the top federal tax bracket). His opinion about Eli was that he thought the loss of Jeremy Shockey to injury has helped Eli play at a higher level. Shockey had the strongest personality of anyone on the offense, and his demonstrations of exasperation anytime the ball wasn't thrown to him were common, as were his episodes of shouting at Eli on the sidelines after the offense had come off the field. Shockey's replacement at TE, Boss, might not have Shockey's talent, but is a competent and productive enough player. He's also not a prima donna like Shockey.

Perhaps the retirement of Tiki Barber -- another dominant personality on the offense -- has been similarly beneficial to Eli this year, particularly since, as with Shockey's replacement, Barber's replacements at RB (mainly Jacobs and Bradshaw) have been collectively just as effective at rushing (although the Giants do miss Barber's ability to catch passes out of the back field).

Mary Pat said...

Interesting about the last point -- I recently did some testing at the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation (jocrf.org), where they measure stuff like 3-d visualization, memory for numbers, tonal memory, flow of ideas, etc. The tests usually involve measuring speed and/or accuracy on items against a reference peer group (as performance changes by age, but your performance relative to the proper reference group will remain stable). The individual aptitudes tested have low (if any) correlations with each other. They keep stats on satisfaction/success in various careers and these aptitudes, as the testing is used to give career advice.

Some of the stuff they test on seems like it would be relevant to sports, such as the 3-d visualization, but in asking them on the stats they keep, they haven't found an aptitude profile that particularly help with sports. I should ask them if they've broken it down by sport or position, but they probably don't have enough data points for that. But who knows - perhaps the NFL had them do a study once on QBs. It seems a natural position to try to test for.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Mary Pat: Some of the stuff they test on seems like it would be relevant to sports, such as the 3-d visualization, but in asking them on the stats they keep, they haven't found an aptitude profile that particularly help with sports.

Years and years ago, I remember reading about a famous baseball player [I think it was Willie Mays] who was off-the-charts on tests of peripheral vision.

Truth said...

"had never heard Debi Thomas speak before, and it was rather shocking to hear how stupid she was"

Well, that's highly interesting, when taking a quick glance at this dummie's post skating biography:



After her figure skating career, Thomas went back to school to become an orthopedic surgeon. She graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in engineering and from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1997. Thomas followed this with a surgical residency at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital and an orthopedic surgery residency at the Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew University Medical Center in South Central Los Angeles.
In June 2005, Debi graduated from the Orthopaedic Residency Program at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles. She spent the next year preparing for Step I of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons' exam and working at King-Drew Medical Center as a junior attending physician specialist. In July 2006, she began a one-year fellowship at the Dorr Arthritis Institute at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, California.

Wow, all of that though affirmative action! Where do I sign up?

By the way, the most noteworthy thing Witt as managed with her genius level IQ post skating is taking her clothes off for playboy. Maybe, it's a good thing the right one bred.

Anonymous said...

Re Katarina Witt and Thomas, good points on the intelligence.

Witt's problem is that like many high-status women there are just not that many straight and decent men who are higher status. I know a number of beautiful and accomplished women who complain that that their looks plus status automatically rule out most guys (not enough accomplishment). On a higher level, actress-whatever Hillary Duff was mocked by Jay Leno at why she at age 17 was dating a Maroon 5 rocker with tattoos. Her answer was that she had nothing in common with a teenager riding a skate board as she made millions of dollars, was famous, etc.

And no I would not want to be Thomas's patient either.

Anonymous said...

Here's something else odd-- the number of NFL quarterbacks with autistic children-- Doug Flutie, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Rodney Peete come immediately to mind. It's a small number and could be a statistical fluke, yet it's also suggestive that the highly spatial-based intelligence possessed by quarterbacks is somehow related to autism.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Truth: Wow, all of that though affirmative action! Where do I sign up?

I can't tell whether you're being sarcastic/facetious.

Also, it's possible that Bud Greenspan intentionally edited the clips to make Debi Thomas sound like a moron [and to make Katarina Witt sound much smarter than she really is].

But I'm telling you, Katarina Witt spoke better English than Debi Thomas, and if DT is any indication of what it takes to get a degree from Stanford, then, well, what's the point of even paying the tuition?

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: Witt's problem is that like many high-status women there are just not that many straight and decent men who are higher status.

Which means that a girl like Witt is going to have to marry down if she wants children.

I've known a number of girls, who, when faced with the decision, have done just that.

So a girl like Witt is going to have to decide: Which is more important - status, or children?

astorian said...

One point about Vince Young's poor showing on the Wunderlic Test: Vince didn't have serious, professional representation. His "agent" was his uncle, assisted by a lawyer who was a family friend.

Now, Vince did a lot of dumb things between the Rose Bowl and Draft Day, things he never would have done if he'd hired a serious, reputable professional sports agent. It appears Vince had no idea that an intelligence test was coming! A Leigh Steinberg or a Tom Condon would have told him exactly what to expect, exactly how to prepare. He may or may not have scored high on it, but he wouldn't have scored a 6 because he'd had to take the test on the spur of the moment.

Will Vince Young be a successful QB in the NFL? My track record in predicting success for quarterbacks is so horrible (hint: I though Todd Blackledge was the best QB in the class of 1983, and was sure Eric Zeier was the next Joe Montana!), I won't bother to make a prediction. But I don't think lack of intelligence is his problem. IF he fails, it will be due to a mental laziness that awesome physical gifts can bring.

That is, he has to put in the hard work of studying film and learning to read defenses, instead of just looking around once, thinking "I don't see a wide open receiver, I guess I'll just take off running."

As an Austinite, I like Vince, and really hope he succeeds. But his inability or unwillingness to learn from a top coordinator like Norm Chow is a bad sign. Jeff Fisher has to make sure Vince understands that the coaches are the bosses, and that Vince will not be allowed to chase off any more coordinators.

Vince is such a tremendous talent that he could easily become a perennial coach-killer is he isn't brought into line.

Peter said...

Witt's problem is that like many high-status women there are just not that many straight and decent men who are higher status. I know a number of beautiful and accomplished women who complain that that their looks plus status automatically rule out most guys (not enough accomplishment)

What about all the nerdy but successful men working in IT? Or is their nerdiness a deal-breaker?

Truth said...

"I can't tell whether you're being sarcastic/facetious."

Well there's a good reason for that my friend: I can't really tell either!

You see, I just wish someone had told when I was 17 which line us black folk had to stand on to get an Engineering degree from Stanford, a Medical Degree from Northwestern and a passing bar exam score.

I spent a few months looking for it and apparently I went to the wrong line because I had to struggle for 5 years to get my liberal arts degree.

In any event, 17 year old American athletes don't tend to speak English like Queen Elizabeth....something to do with the age or the Bangers and Mash, I'm not sure which, If you would say that Debbie Thomas is less articulate than say, Tonya Harding, or even Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton, I'd have to disagree.

"But I'm telling you, Katarina Witt spoke better English than Debi Thomas, and if DT is any indication of what it takes to get a degree from Stanford, then, well, what's the point of even paying the tuition?"

Well, DT is also an indication of licenced surgeons, so what's the point of going to the hospital?

And as you and anonymous would not like to be one of Mrs. Thoma's surgery patients, maybe you'd prefer to be one of Miss Witt's?

By the way, the whole marrying up/down thing is somewhat silly in my opinion. The only way this can be accomplished is in marrying a being with a different chromsome count...which makes childrearing difficult. If the world's most sought-after supermodel marries a 60 year old plumber, I don't necessarily assume he's getting the better end of the deal.

PS: If you cannot identify this:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.theothersideofkim.com/images/uploads/2005files/katerina_witt101.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.theothersideofkim.com/index.php/beauties/8130/&h=514&w=350&sz=48&hl=en&start=5&um=1&tbnid=YAPcAuzROAZp1M:&tbnh=131&tbnw=89&prev=/images%3Fq%3DKaterina%2BWitt%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DN

As a lesbian, you may be reading the wrong blog.

Anonymous said...

If you translate Debi Thomas' resume:

After her figure skating career, Thomas went back to school to become an orthopedic surgeon. She graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in engineering and from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1997. Thomas followed this with a surgical residency at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital and an orthopedic surgery residency at the Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew University Medical Center in South Central Los Angeles.
In June 2005, Debi graduated from the Orthopaedic Residency Program at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles. She spent the next year preparing for Step I of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons' exam and working at King-Drew Medical Center as a junior attending physician specialist. In July 2006, she began a one-year fellowship at the Dorr Arthritis Institute at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, California.


Translation: she failed Step 1 at least once. Moreover, she spent 6 years in med school (should be 4) and 8-9 years as a resident (should be 6 at most).

Note also that her residencies were at the infamous King-Drew, which was managed by blacks since its inception:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-031704kingdrew,0,4654336,full.story



Pharmacy errors that harm and even kill patients are not unusual in U.S. hospitals. At least 7,000 deaths are believed to occur each year from prescription mistakes, according to a 1999 report by the National Institute of Medicine.

But the scope and frequency of King/Drew's errors astonished experts consulted by The Times.

Wachter, who has written a book on medical errors, compared efforts to prevent mistakes to pieces of Swiss cheese.

When checks and balances are not in place, it's as if holes in the cheese align and problems slip through.

"Here you have slices of Swiss cheese where there are more holes than cheese," he said, referring to King/Drew.

Steve Sailer said...

Maybe she didn't immediately graduate from med school because she was busy being a famous, highly-paid skater?

DAJ said...

On Lucius Vorenus,

I like to commend the posters who are attempting to defend Debi Thomas. Yes. One can proffer many negative facts about the black race in general and numerous black celebrities, especially pertaining to the subject of intelligence. However, employing the skating and professional career of Debi Thomas as an example of lower intelligence compared to other related examples is disingenuous and betrays one’s lack of objectivity (and maybe animus towards the black race). If one wants to cite an example of a possibly low-IQ female figure skater, the white and blonde Tonya Harding definitely comes to the fore. Who appears to be a better candidate for displaying low IQ: the figure skater with a medical degree (Thomas) or the one with a GED (Harding), the figure skater with an apparently spotless legal record (Thomas) or the one with a rap sheet (Harding), the figure skater who seems to live a decent life (Thomas) or the one who participated in Internet porn (Harding)? Plus, when Katarina Witt was posing nude for Playboy, Thomas was working on her surgical residency. Yes, indeed! Debi undeniably looks like a good candidate of a low-IQ athlete vis-à-vis Tonya and Katarina.

By the way, to show that I have no ill-will towards Tonya, I will point out that Ms. Harding did admirably perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in order to help revive an 81-year old woman during the mid-1990s.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: Maybe she didn't immediately graduate from med school because she was busy being a famous, highly-paid skater?

Or maybe the only reason she got into any of these programs [to include Stanford U undergrad in the first place] was because she was a famous celebrity [think Brooke Shields at Princeton, or Chelsea Clinton at Oxford].

Look, for all I know, Bud Greenspan is a closet Nazi, and he intentionally edited the footage to make the negress look like a moron and the aryan to look like a genius.

I don't know - all I know is what I saw and what I heard, and Katarina Witt speaks better English than Debi Thomas.

And no - I would NOT want to be an orthopedic patient of Debi Thomas, MD.

Lucius Vorenus said...

astorian: As an Austinite, I like Vince, and really hope he succeeds. But his inability or unwillingness to learn from a top coordinator like Norm Chow is a bad sign. Jeff Fisher has to make sure Vince understands that the coaches are the bosses, and that Vince will not be allowed to chase off any more coordinators.

Vince is such a tremendous talent that he could easily become a perennial coach-killer is he isn't brought into line.


But, at the end of the day, you have to consider the possibility that he CAN'T be brought into line - that the Wonderlic score of 6 was a fairly accurate assessment of his intellectual acumen.

I.e. when the situation is hopeless, then you've got to have the intellectual fortitude to admit to yourself that the situation is hopeless.

Or else be prepared to suffer the consequences of not having that intellectual fortitude.

lucius vorenus said...

BTW, if anyone is interested, there are a number of new articles out about some guy who appears to have that "Gift" which can't be measured at the combines:

Once a role player, Patriots' Wes Welker now a budding star
sports.espn.go.com

DAJ said...

To belabor the Thomas/Witt discussion, I am providing a link with very short interviews of the two skating champions, beginning 6 minutes and 45 seconds into the recording. Can you really detect a sharp difference in their relative intelligences just by hearing them speak, unless you are engaging in an ulterior fishing expedition?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_qzFoAZBOY&feature=related

Here is another clip of Thomas and her speech, though it is more staged. Notice that she has the letters "M" and "D" following her name. On the other hand, while not seen in the links, the letters "P," "L," "A," "Y," "M," "A," "T," and "E" probably are apt to follow Katarina's name.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lwJQvpHGuY

Truth said...

"If you translate Debi Thomas' resume:"

My good friend:

If Debbie Thomas' skin color precludes her from being a competent surgeon, your translation skills would get you thrown out of the U.N. on your ear!

Debbie Thomas had just turned 21 years old when competing in the olympics, she was a Stanford student in Engineering (minor; pre-med) a five-year program while putting in the requisite SIX HOURS A DAY of practice to compete at this level.

I do not see anything there about failing a test, only that she took a year off to study which is quite commonplace with these exams, and even among 18 year-old Europeans studying for the Bac.

You make the rather reaching assumption that Thomas achieved her medical degree six years after her BS because she is dull, rather than because she took some time off (she is, after all an INTERNATIONAL CELEBRITY!)

You then state she took 8-9 years to complete her residency when it should have been six. Yes 6 to complete ONE residency. Thomas has TWO residencies, one at U. of Arkansas,(I guess that is a black-run University, just like Stanford and Northwestern?) and one at King-Drew.

Then you top off this incompetent exercise in reading comprehension by bringing up the PHARMACY errors in the hospital in which she works a s SURGEON.

Now, I don't claim to be a genius, but I would suggest that a Stanford student is among the top 20% in intelligence of all college students, an engineering major is among the top 20% in intelligence of all Stanford students, a medical student is among the top 20% in intelligence of all Stanford engineering students, one who passes the bar and completes residency is among the top 205 of all medical students, and one who completes the additional surgical requirements is among the top 20% in intelligence of all doctors.

Unlike Mrs. Thomas, math was never my best subject, but I can calculate her IQ to be, approximately...very high!

lucius vorenus said...

daj: However, employing the skating and professional career of Debi Thomas as an example of lower intelligence compared to other related examples is disingenuous and betrays one’s lack of objectivity (and maybe animus towards the black race)...

I'd tell you to go to Hades, but I'm sure that Steve Sailer would censor me if I did.

Look, I'm the one who watched Bud Greenspan interview these two girls.

But here's a thought: Why don't YOU sit down and watch the piece, and see what conclusions YOU come to:

BUD GREENSPAN'S FAVORITE STORIES OF WINTER OLYMPIC GLORY
http://www.sho.com/site/schedules/product_page.do?seriesid=0&episodeid=115075

You tell me which girl sounds thoughtful and insightful and poised when speaking in something other than her native tongue, and which girl sounds like a moron when speaking in her own native tongue.

And no, being [apparently] the only person on this thread who has actually heard Debi Thomas speak, under no circumstances whatsoever would I [voluntarily] consent to being one of her orthopedics patients.

DAJ said...

Lucius Vorenus,

Let me get see if I follow. A black woman undergoes thoroughly regimented training and becomes a successful international figure skating champion. She then graduates with an engineering degree from Stanford. If that was not enough, the lady graduates from an elite medical school and becomes a licensed surgeon. In spite of all of these laudable accomplishments that indicate her high intelligence and considerable discipline, you are still relentlessly determined to discredit and disqualify her ability and achievements. Ironically, you are eager to ascribe higher intelligence to a white East German woman who has failed to exhibit anything close to the post-skating intellectual feats of Thomas (even Britney Spears, for crying out loud, has not yet appeared fully nude in Playboy).

So if a black becomes a parasitic drug-dealing, welfare-receiving criminal, he or she must be viewed in a negative light. Likewise, if a black becomes a beloved skating champion and medical doctor, he or she must be viewed in a negative light. Those blacks sure can't do anything right.

Anonymous said...

Re the commenter who wondered about Dan Marino's passing completion stats compared to today's stars ... it's largely a function of the rule changes regarding defensive pass interference and roughing the quarterback. QBs like Marino and Bradshaw and Stabler played under much tougher conditions for passers than todays QBs do. No knock on today's athletes, but the rules of the game have changed -- sort of like the SAT.

Fred said...

"BTW, if anyone is interested, there are a number of new articles out about some guy who appears to have that "Gift" which can't be measured at the combines:

Once a role player, Patriots' Wes Welker now a budding star"


Welker's "gift" is that opposing defenses have to focus on stopping his all-world teammate Randy Moss, leaving Welker open much of the time. Welker is a worker, and he's competent, but any halfway decent receiver could put up Welker's numbers in that offense.

James Kabala said...

I am too young to remember Thomas firsthand (the first figure skating champion I remember was Yamaguchi in 1992), and I can't get the video Vorenus linked to to work (was there even a video there?), but through the miracle of Youtube I found an old profile of her from 1988:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK9gClMbi20

Not knowing Thomas, but having no reason to believe Vorenus a dishonest man, I was assuming Thomas would have either a thick accent or the typical inarticulateness under pressure of an unsophisticated twenty-year-old. Neither would be a true sign of low intelligence, but either could be mistaken for such. To my great surprise, she seemed more poised and articulate than most people, and certainly 99% of athletes. I will be less inclined to trust L.V.'s opinions in the future.

Here is a more recent print interview with her that theoretically could have been edited to make her look better, but I doubt it:

http://espn.go.com/skating/news/2000/0209/345701.html

rbc said...

black sea said, "I believe that in one of your posts, Steve, you theorized that an effective leader shouldn't - in terms of intelligence - be to far out ahead of those he leads. If the gap is too great, maybe more than 20 points, communication, loyalty, and a sense of identification break down."

Yes, that's certainly true. We've also known it was true for about 80% of the entire time there have been IQ tests (90% if you start counting with Terman rather than Binet). As Time magazine recently put it, "As early as 1926, Columbia education professor Leta Hollingworth noted that kids who score between 125 and 155 on IQ tests have the "socially optimal" level of intelligence; those with IQs over 160 are often socially isolated because they are so different from peers--more mini-adults than kids."

To use Aldous Huxley's terminology, Betas make much better leaders than Alphas do, because the Gammas who make up the bulk of the population can't understand what the Alphas are saying. Alphas can only lead effectively by being behind-the-scenes advisers to charismatic Betas. As readers of Steve's work should know, we already live in Brave New World -- the categories are an incontrovertible, biological fact of life, even though our society is radically different from the one the book described.

T said...

For what it's worth, Debi Thomas was hardly famous when she entered Stanford. She only earned her first national and world title while a freshman at Stanford (1986). She did take a break from her studies to train for the Olympics. There is an article in Stanford Magazine in which she talks about her journey to becoming a doctor and she cites her "rotten" study skills as hindering her. Though she probably won't be one of the top doctors in the nation, she still is a doctor and rightfully earned the qualification. As far as King/Drew is concerned, Thomas is one of the outspoken critics that is trying to bring attention to the ailing conditions at Drew/King.

I would not say Katarina Witt is necessarily smarter than Debi Thomas based upon a few interviews done when they were teenagers. Witt was pretty charismatic but that does not equate to being more intelligent. Witt has had a lucrative skating career for the last twenty years but I think Witt's opportunities were quite limited due to her upbringing in a restrictive East German Sports System.

Archie Manning said...

from the time article someone linked to:

[i know - same old sh#t, but this is despicable]

But such an uncomplicated view of intelligence--one that esteems IQ scores and raw mental power--has had at least one awkward consequence for the Davidson Academy: it doesn't mirror America. Twenty-six of the 45 students are boys; only two are black. (A total of 16 are minorities.) The school is unlikely ever to represent girls and African Americans proportionately because of a reality about IQ tests: more boys score at the high end of the IQ scale (and, it should be said, more score at the low end; girls' IQ variance is smaller). And for reasons that no one understands, African Americans' IQ scores have tended to cluster about a standard deviation below the average--evidence for some that the tests themselves are biased.

DAJ said...

I sure am posting a lot on this specific subject. Anyway, in all fairness, I try to understand the position of my interlocutor when engaging in argument on a particular matter.

Affirmative Action programs designed to benefit non-Asian minorities are prevalent in prestigious U.S. colleges. Such students often have lower scholastic credentials (SAT scores, MCAT scores, GPAs, etc) than their white and Asian counterparts. These are well documented facts. Therefore, Mr. Lucius Vorenus seems to hold the academic accomplishments of educated blacks like Debi Thomas with doubt, suspicion, and incredulity. The position is not entirely unreasonable.

However, I believe that undeserving students tend to let their lack of qualification known by struggling in their coursework, quitting or failing out of school, or taking up softer, more subjective, and less demanding majors. Engineering, at any school, is not one of these soft courses of study. In this particular major, one has to utilize algebra, calculus, and other higher modes of reasoning to solve difficult problems regarding thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, electromagnetism, and statics. One either knows how to calculate the answers or one does not. The students who know will pass and graduate. Those who do not know will fail and change majors. There is virtually no gray area.

The same can probably be said about medical school. Human anatomy, biochemistry, neurology, and genetics are also Know-or-Don’t-Know/Can-or-Can’t disciplines. Most assuredly, passing a standardized licensing examination is completely objective and depends entirely on the knowledge and intelligence of the testee. I’d suspect that surgical residencies are of high rigor and scrutiny.

In light of the aforementioned, Debi Thomas appears to have merited her achievements. She has had academic opportunity after opportunity to fall on her face (no skating pun intended) and yet continued to succeed. That Ms. Thomas passed muster in very rigorous programs like engineering and medicine at very elite schools like Stanford and Northwestern is impressive and attests to her high intelligence. I contend that these feats, made over the course of years, carry much more weight in gauging her intelligence than hearing her speak, over the course of minutes or seconds, in a sports interview.

Truth said...

"Such students often have lower scholastic credentials (SAT scores, MCAT scores, GPAs, etc) than their white and Asian counterparts."

Yes, and to toss in the 900 lb. Gorilla, white students at these universities are given affirmative action to up their numbers in relation to Asians.

Fred said...

Daj,

You make a valid point about engineering programs -- if you don't have the intellectual chops, it's not likely you will make it through. And I agree with you that some folks on here will discount the intelligence of any black person, no matter how accomplished he or she is. This is illogical, of course, since despite the differences in average intelligence between groups, there are individuals of extremely high intelligence among blacks as well as other racial groups. Given Thomas's accomplishments, I would assume she is intelligent. I don't agree with you that graduating medical school is a sign of intelligence though.

Traditionally, medical schools have rarely failed students; the real filter is getting into medical school. Absent affirmative action, you would need to be intelligent to get into an American med school. When admissions standards have been lowered for affirmative action candidates though, even unqualified admits have subsequently graduated medical school. The most notorious example that comes to mind is that of Dr. Patrick Chavis.

Bill said...

Of course, a lot of what NFL quarterbacks need are cognitive skills that aren't tested well by traditional IQ tests. For example, what the Air Force calls "situational awareness" is very important in a dogfight -- you can't concentrate too much on one thing or you'll get shot down by somebody you weren't paying attention to -- and in a football game. High IQ people, such as mathematicians, can sometimes have too much focus on what they are concentrating upon to function well in daily life.

-SS


In school, I tutored a race-car driver who had ADD. It was very difficult for him to focus on any one thing for a long time, but he was highly aware of every movement and change in his surroundings. I also tutored an autistic kid (Asperger's) who would get completely absorbed in the task at hand. After dealing with these two, I came to the same conclusion about situational awareness.

There's obviously a spectrum of ability in regards to focus vs. awareness. The two are rarely combined, but I think it is possible for a number of people to switch between one mode and the other.

Perhaps another example of selection for diversity?

rbc said...

Archie Manning said, "from the time article someone linked to: [i know - same old sh#t, but this is despicable]"

Yeah, that passage is unfortunate. However, given the overall very positive tone of the article, quoting Miraca Gross's studies showing the immense benefits of radical acceleration and ending with "We shouldn't be so wary of those who can move a lot faster than the rest of us," I have to regard the paragraph you quote as a pro forma nod to establishment foolishness intended as a fig leaf for work which proves the opposite, like Cavalli-Sforza claiming he doesn't believe in the biological reality of race.

While it is very sad that people are constrained to mouth such empty platitudes to avoid being Watsoned, at least we can take comfort in the fact that what they're really saying the rest of the time is spreading the truth.

The truth, of course, is that the reason Davidson's demographics make some people uncomfortable is that it does look exactly like a certain part of America -- it is an extremely faithful representation of the true membership of the intellectual elite, which happens to have very different racial composition than the country as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said they dont see how IQ plays a big part cant have any reasoning skills himself.

What you have to understand about tests taken on paper though is they dont replicate decisions made in the real 4d world--yes time is a dimension--and some QBs may score low on paper but actually process information in regards to motion faster in 4 dimensions than someone on a 2d piece of paper.

The huge problem with the NFL is they judge so many thing by raw speed and dont focus on how the PATH you take is more important. Some of the greatest RBs were not fast or explosive tackle breakers but could SEE, in an instant, the optimal path.
Spatial intelligence can trump all and when combined with adequate physical skill can render many of the Combine stats meaningless.