May 28, 2013

Obama's LSAT score?

From Breitbart in 2012:
A new, self-published book [Barack O'Liberal] by “pragmatic libertarian” Alan R. Lockwood claims that Barack Obama, while brilliant, may have entered Harvard Law School in the bottom 20% of his class, based on mediocre college grades--and high Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores.  
Lockwood arrives at his conclusions with the help of demographic data published in 1990 by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT. ...
Ironically, data leading to Obama’s likely LSAT scores have been publicly available “for over two decades from, among other places, the Library of Congress,” Lockwood says. 
According to Lockwood, LSAC data reveal that during the 1987-88 academic year, ten African-American students from Columbia University applied to law school. Only two earned LSAT scores above the 63rd percentile, and those each had scores in the 94-98th percentile--i.e. scores between 42 and 45 on the 48-point scale then in use (166 to 171 on today’s 180-point scale). The other students earned scores that would have been extremely unlikely to qualify for admission, even considering factors such as affirmative action.  
Other demographic data from LSAC--including the fact that there were only two 27-year-old African-American students five years out of college that year who achieved scores in that range--further suggest that Obama’s LSAT scores were among the two from Columbia in the 94-98th percentile.  
Therefore it is likely, Lockwood concludes, that Obama was admitted to Harvard with LSAT scores near the median of his class (Lockwood suggests a score of 43). 
However, Lockwood argues, Obama’s grades were less competitive. Biographer David Maraniss notes that Obama claimed to be a B-plus student at Occidental College--roughly a 3.3 GPA. His GPA at Columbia was reportedly 3.7, and so his combined GPA was near 3.5. (Lockwood takes these numbers roughly as given, though he says they could be slightly inflated.)  
That could put him at the bottom 20% of his law school class, 80% of whom had both a GPA above 3.5 and LSAT scores above the 95th percentile. 
Obama might have been rejected “under an LSAT-GPA only system,” Lockwood argues. Yet he confirms that Obama excelled once at Harvard Law, graduating in the top 14% of his class--and famously becoming the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. 

This sounds pretty reasonable, although I haven't checked the methodology or sources. But it's a clever way of approaching the question. You look at various demographic crosstabs that Obama's score would appear under and look for scores that show up in each. Of course, there's a big assumption that Obama wasn't one of the 63rd percentile or lower applicants, but assuming he was one of the two very bright black applicants from Columbia who applied to any law school doesn't seem unreasonable.

A commenter notes that the highest score in Obama's possible range (98th percentile) would put him only at the 25th percentile among the current HLS class. (Most elite educational institutions have seen test score inflation over the last generation, however, so Obama's percentile among first year students was probably a little higher back then.) Scoring at the 25th percentile, combined with mediocre college grades, makes your odds of getting in pretty low without some other juice. It's a big pyramid of applicants and Obama was down toward the broad base. As Obama said while at HLS, he likely benefitted from affirmative action.

On the other hand, most non-STEM higher educational institutions aren't terribly difficult once you've got your foot in the door. If you are black, you can take a lot of race and law type classes (Obama's specialty) to free up time for networking and working on the law review.

Obama's election as editor of the Harvard Law Review was a political decision: the favorite had been a brilliant Jewish leftist radical who wanted to promote the ascendant Critical Legal Theory -- Obama rallied the conservative Federalist Society voters to block the far left Crits by implying that he'd be a caretaker editor not a crusader for the rising leftist postmodernist theories, which he was, and that they could pat themselves on the back for voting for the first black editor. But you have to be pretty smart just to be a plausible caretaker editor.

As I've theorized in the past, very good LSAT scores fits in with the report that Obama only applied to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford law schools, with no safety schools. With his high LSAT score and his affirmative action brownie points (and, as a commenter notes, his Harvard legacy brownie points), he knew he was a lock to get in to one of those schools.

This also may help explain Obama's failure to develop as a legal scholar despite being given every imaginable opportunity over a dozen years or so (including being given a huge advance to write an analytical book about law and race, which he utterly failed to do, eventually producing an autobiography instead. Obama is about as smart as the average elite law school student, but not as smart as the average elite law school professor.

As a lecturer at the U. of Chicago Law School, Obama was perfectly competent to explain in lucid prose both current sides of issues in his specialty of discrimination law (see his tests and answer sheets), but he's not a creative intellect who can push beyond the current talking points. And, presumably, he's smart enough to know that, which is why he didn't embarrass himself by delivering the book for which he'd been paid six figures. Of course, he was still offered tenure by the posh U. of Chicago Law School despite publishing nothing on the law, an offer that would have been astonishing to a white lecturer, as two legal scholars told the NYT in 2008.

I've also theorized that the day Obama received his LSAT scores in the mail may be when his personality changed from the introverted nobody depicted in David Maraniss' biography to the grandiose Future President of the United States who reminded classmate Jackie Foxx of the Runaways when they were at Harvard Law School together of her former bandmate Joan Jett's tricks. (I've never taken the LSAT but I presume it focuses more than the SAT on Obama's strong suits such as verbal logic and vocabulary, but not on math, which doesn't appear to be an Obama strength.) For most of his life, Obama had receded into the background (an acquaintance who had known both Obama and George Stephanopolous at Columbia said Obama made almost no impression relative to the future Clinton aide and broadcaster). But, suddenly at Harvard Law, validated by his LSAT scores and surrounded by 22-year-old law nerds, the 27-year-old Obama was a rock star.

Of course, the irony is terrific. Cognitive testing was recommended by Cyril Burt a century or so ago as a way to find diamonds in the rough among the lower classes, a service to Britain for which he was knighted by a Labour Government. But we have all been told over and over that standardized tests are biased against blacks. Yet in the case of the President of the United States, testing worked just like Sir Cyril said it would: a black loner gets quantitative proof that he really is as smart as he thinks he is and blossoms.

Why wouldn't Mr. Obama release his strong test scores? First, there's the family problem. There is evidence that Mrs. Obama remains sore about her not scoring well on standardized tests (for example, she failed to pass the relatively easy Illinois bar exam at her first opportunity while her husband did pass), which she likes to imply is due to bias. Her husband's fine score on the LSAT suggests that the problem lies not in the tests, but in Mrs. Obama.

Second, has any journalist ever flat out asked Obama what his test scores are? How do we know he wouldn't tell him? I don't mean, has any journalist sent a request to his press secretary which got denied, I mean, has any journalist ever asked Obama face to face about his tests scores? He seems like the kind of guy who would remember all his standardized test scores in detail. In 2011, Maraniss got some time with him in the Oval Office and asked him about his grades at Occidental and Columbia, and Obama gave detailed, plausible-sounding responses. I would hardly be astonished if Obama turned out to be just as forthcoming about test scores if anybody ever asked him.

163 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://thetalkingpictures.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/magic-mike-and-the-dismantling-of-heterosexuality/

Soderbugger

Anonymous said...

Obama has a higher percentage of white genes than his spouse.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"This also may help explain Obama's failure to develop as a legal scholar despite being given every imaginable opportunity over a dozen years or so. Obama is as smart as the average elite law school student, but not as smart as the average elite law school professor."

No, he was too busy working on his political career. Also, if he wrote too much, he would have given himself away as 'very liberal'.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

If Obama was in the 95% percentile among those who took LSAT, what was his percentile among Harvard students, most of whom were prolly in in the upper 90s percentile.

And what does it mean for Obama to have graduated in the upper 14%?

Didn't Michelle Obama graduate with honors from Princeton for her 'sea of whiteness, sheeeet' doctoral thesis?

Didn't Sotomayor graduate third in her class at Yale? Hmmmmmm.

I mean who are the professors doing the grading and how?

Anonymous said...

A B+ and an A- are pretty good. What's the issue here?

Badger Pundit said...

Steve, math was phased out on the LSAT in the early 1980s, and Obama didn't enter law school until the late 80s, so it seems pretty clear he didn't have to worry about math on the LSAT.

As far as what the test's like, the testing company has an official sample (from 2007) here:
http://www.lsac.org/jd/pdfs/sampleptjune.pdf

Good question about whether anyone's asked Obama point-blank about his test scores. Obama tends to depict himself as not having been a very serious student, and apparently he didn't receive undergrad honors, so he's not really hiding anything by declining to reveal grades. by contrast, presumably Obama would have an interest in revealing top test scores, for example, to rebut theories that he somehow got extra-special preference in admissions to law school (e.g., that his applications listed him as foreign born). Then again, having hidden all this information so far, why in the world should he ever reveal it? At this point it seems that the main remaining significance of all that isn't known about Obama is to remind people how poorly the mainstream media did in vetting him back in 2007-08.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't Mr. Obama release his strong test scores? First, there's the family problem. There is evidence that Mrs. Obama remains sore about her not scoring well on standardized tests, which she likes to imply is due to bias. Her husband's fine score on the LSAT suggests that the problem lies not in the tests but in Mrs. Obama.

Lol, why you mad tho?

Anonymous said...

Could it possibly be that back in those days at Harvard Law, the average LSAT was really only at about the 96% level?

I find on the Harvard Law website the following:

"As reported to the ABA, the 75/25 percentile GPAs for the class entering in 2011 were 3.97/3.78 and the 75/25 percentile LSATs were 176/171."

http://www.law.harvard.edu/prospective/jd/apply/the-application-process/jdfaq.html#medianLSAT

And I find the following chart regarding the percentile breakdown of the scores:

http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/lsat-percentiles-scores.html

Which pegs 171 at 98% exactly, and 176 at 99.6%.

Obviously, even the 171 is at the topmost of the range of the 94-98% range mentioned in Lockwood's report.

Frankly I find it hard to believe that the percentile numbers over these years have changed much at Harvard Law. Certainly in comparable institutions, including Harvard College itself, there has been very little movement.

And certainly a score nearer the 94% figure would put the LSAT way below even the 25% mark at Harvard Law, and, one expects, well within the ordinary Affirmative Action range, though likely somewhat high within that range.

Anonymous said...

If only Obama was a Republican we'd know exactly what his LSAT scores were, along with every other little detail about his life. Rick Perry's college transcripts ere leaked to the press during the primary season.

That's the power of the lefty cabal in action.

Augustine the Black said...

Anonymous said...
"Obama has a higher percentage of white genes than his spouse."

I have the feeling you don't understand statistics very well. It seems to be the case that you think genes account for all of the IQ gap. Well, then, I'll be a ready companion - as a very black person myself, I'll volunteer to take any test with you (of your choice) to illustrate why not every white person you know surpasses every black person in IQ.

I have a very low percentage of white genes. Deal? :). Otherwise, I can suggest any number of fine statistics courses you can improve your knowledge with.

A Working Class American said...

steve wrote:
I've never taken the LSAT but I presume it focuses more than the SAT on Obama's strong suits such as verbal logic and vocabulary, but not on math, which doesn't appear to be an Obama strength
============================

Three parts on the LSAT: understanding of long textual excerpts; understanding of paragraphs; and logic games, which is a logic/math/procedural section. Actually, the logic games portion relies as much on ability to be orderly and work calmly as anything else. Practice helps the most in that section.

Logic games was my weak suit. I got a 94th percentile overall (at age 40).

Anonymous said...

Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ. The average Harvard student is at around 133, but this is with the diversity pool included.

Take it away and the average Harvard student would most likely land somewhere Obama is.

Bill Clinton is at what, 148 to 155 IQ? Nixon was slightly higher than Obama but not far off. Reagan was certainly quite a bit lower than Obama.

So would FDR have been if he were alive today.

Yet Reagan/FDR are the two greatest 20th century presidents if you had asked the Democratic and Republican bases to name just one of their own from that century.

This probably shows the limits of IQ. You need to be in the 90th or so percentile relative to the rest of the population, so you're no dummy, but once there the performance in the presidency correlated with IQ drops heavily. (Note: see Hoover's very high IQ in comparison with FDR's moderate IQ).

Obama's bright enough to be president and then some. His main issue is that he's an introvert, he also has a strong and visceral dislike of politics such as it is made and prefers to outsource his agenda to the lesser minions to let them duke it out while he just threatens with the veto from above(but everyone knows he doesn't have the energy to engage so his threats are usually meaningsless).

Compare this with LBJ, another moderate IQ guy who was very aggressive and a people person, loved the personal and psychological side of politics. He gots lots of stuff done. Obama had a supermajority unlike anything anyone had in over 40 years. He had no excuses and only got a single major bill, and that bill was essentially a ripoff from a Republican plan from the 1980s.

Cracks me up when I hear people rant against Obamacare. It's a terrible bill, to be sure, but that's because it's a total give away to the insurance companies and other major corporations, just like most GOP policy is, at it's core.

P.S. also slightly amusing that you let your dislike of the man get the better of you and lash out at him and calling him a 'loner', when you've previously indicated that you too are an introvert and that need not be a sign of liking to be alone, just doing better with less people than someone who is more needy. I think you even wrote you 'empathize' with the president's introversion and how it interferes with his agenda and getting stuff done. How times change when the knives are out!

Anonymous said...

As a lawyer who got a pretty high score on the LSAT and who studied under some great law professors, I must say, there is no connection between these things and being an effective political leader.

The LSAT is all about reading comprehension and verbal logic - no math, science, history, or even vocabulary. It seems to be designed to test for verbal intelligence, to the exclusion of everything else.

Elite law professors are quite brilliant men for the most part, but their field is a hoary cul-de-sac of learning, focusing only on analyzing the minds of long-dead men by reading opinions which were likely only written in service of long-dead financial interests. It is useless beyond imaging to the non-specialist, including practicing lawyers. Legal scholars spend most of their time inventing and analyzing "tests" of their own making, classifying opinions according to those tests, and bad-mouthing other professor's tests. It's slightly more relevant to the modern world than studying Kabbalah all day, but not by much.

It is complicated and jargon-rich, but so is lepidoptery.

You can measure the relevance of law professors by asking any practicing lawyer when he last read an article in a law journal written by a law professor. In 12 years of litigation practice I haven't read one, nor seen one reference to scholarly articles in cases or pleadings. This is true across specialties, with the partial exception of Constitutional Law - a specialty practiced by a tiny handful of people.

The LSAT does one thing well - bar people of moderate intelligence from going to law school.

Law school does one thing well - train lawyers. However, whether that's because it's an effective system, or whether it's just because we don't allow too many idiots in the door, who can say?

I happen to think Obama's been a decent President, but it's possible that that's just because the last one set the bar so low.

Anonymous said...

If Obama were white, his scores would have been leaked by the Clintons back in 2007

i think our host hit the nail on the head, releasing obama's scores would hurt michele's feelings

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks for the description of law school professors. Sounds like a lovely job, plus you get time off to write bestselling detective novels. I should have been a law professor.

Anonymous said...

"I have the feeling you don't understand statistics very well. It seems to be the case that you think genes account for all of the IQ gap. Well, then, I'll be a ready companion - as a very black person myself, I'll volunteer to take any test with you (of your choice) to illustrate why not every white person you know surpasses every black person in IQ.

I have a very low percentage of white genes. Deal? :). Otherwise, I can suggest any number of fine statistics courses you can improve your knowledge with. "


I'm not the guy you're after but I'll still volunteer to say that you don't seem to get statistics yourself.

The probability of Obama having a higher IQ because of his much higher white genes than Michelle is a no-brainer(pun intended).

Thus, it's a very reasonable assumption to make. That there are black people with very little white blood who have higher IQ than most whites isn't relevatory, but it is rare - which is precisely the point you missed.

Put it another way, so maybe even you can understand: it would have been much more surprising if Michelle would have had a higher IQ than Barack.

Partly because of lower white admixture, but also partly because the black part of Obama was from a professor. So even his weak part was one of the strongest in that class.

Therefore, it isn't surprising he turned out to be a pretty bright guy. It's amusing though, he got his confidence from his father but his mothers introversion. The result is pretty hilarious at times.

Sidenote:

I never fail to be amused at conservatives attempts to "expose" Obama as a fraud or whatever. Face it folks, the guy is far brighter than the vast majority of you guys. And even if there's someone here who might have a higher IQ than he has, he's the president and you're not. So he's a much better achiever than you are. And no, blaming it on his skin color doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good except that Obama was a legacy student, not just a black student.

Anonymous said...

"No, he was too busy working on his political career. Also, if he wrote too much, he would have given himself away as 'very liberal'."

But isn't this too clever by half?

You're making major assumptions here, although not too outlandish. Do you really think Obama was deadset to be president at age 29? Possibly, given his narcissism. But still hard to prove.

Further, even if we run with that theory, going into the law profession isn't probably the best way forward for someone who actively wants to conceal what he thinks. It's an argumentative profession. Even if he didn't publish any works, he was still doing coursework and had recommended reading etc, all of it heavily liberal and race-related. His first book was similarly very much of the same flavor.

Obama also had the most liberal voting record as a senator in Congress. So all those theories don't really go anymore.

The truth is probably more banal - and less exciting - it was probably a combination of laziness and uninterest. Obama wrote about how he despised his chosen profession. He probably went into it because he isn't mathematical, and being a lawyer - at least in the 80s - wasn't still being seen as a joke like it is today. And he's competitive so being a professor is necessary for his ego.

But I still think he thought about being president from an early age, like you, but I don't think his lack of work was tactical - it was genuine boredom and laziness.

Anonymous said...

According to this:

http://carrefoursagesse.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/converting-lsat-scores-to-iqs/

A 168 score would correspond to about a 130-ish IQ score, which seems about right for Obama.

Like Steve I suspect a strong split in math/verbal scores, and that's why he didn't wind up at Stanford or an Ivy to begin with: he bombed on the quant portion of the PSAT/SAT, as in really, really bombed.

It would be interesting to see his test/retest scores on the LSAT. Maybe we wound up with him as president because of a two-sigma testing fluke; he got lucky on the test, in other words.

Anonymous said...

Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ

By whom, using what method?

pumpsie green said...

He wouldn't have been surrounded by 22-year olds. The average age was probably 26.

Anonymous said...

pretty damn fair, even sympathetic, article about Obama here, Steve.

You give credit where its due, while lacing in your own steve sailor-flavored analysis.

bravo.

Anonymous said...

"while brilliant"? Give me break.

Even those here who claim he's verbally gifted need to explain to me how the guy can mispronounce words like "corpsman" over and over. He must not even read much.

Steve Sailer said...

Not knowing the correct pronunciation of a word might be evidence of reading more than listening.

Anonymous said...

"Yet Reagan/FDR are the two greatest 20th century presidents if you had asked the Democratic and Republican bases to name just one of their own from that century."

greatness in politics is 'when, where'.

If Clinton were president in the 80s and if Reagan had been president in the 90s, Clinton would have been seen as greater. Cold War might have ended under a Democratic president as well, as Gorby was the crucial factor.

Just Curious said...

I am curious about my IQ.

I also scored a 42 on the LSAT the same year Obama took it.

I ended up going to a top five law school (not Harvard though ...they rejected my ass... hey I am a White dude).

When I was in sixth grade I took a number of standardized tests, including an IQ test, and my parents wre contacted and invited to the school and asked by the school psychologist and principal if they would consent to me being skipped to the eighth grade (they declined because I told them I didn't want to... I guess I was naturally lazy and maybe a little bit afraid of the bigger kids).

It also turned out that on some of the math and english reading tests I was administered I was already performing at a high school level.

At the time in sixth grade I don't believe I or my parents were told what I actually scored on the IQ test other than that it was high.

My scores on the GRE were 780 verbal and 720 Math.

My SAT scores were not too great 700 on the verbal and 620 on the math (but I was stoned a lot ... a real lot in high school and didn't study...hey it was the 1970s... I straightend out when I got to college which probably accounts for the much higher GRE scores).

Where would all these scores roughly place my IQ?

Can anyone ball park it for me?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Is there a full list of Obama's HLS class? With bios perhaps it would be possible to identify the other black Columbia grads (if in fact they chose to go to HLS.)

Anonymous said...

According to

http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/greiq.aspx

a 1500 GRE would put you around 150 IQ.

Anonymous said...

It's very unlikely that Obama scored in the mid to high 90 percentile range. Even wiith the benefit of AA, he went to occidental for college, which indicates he did pretty poorly on his SATs. Large differences between sat and LSAT do occur, but its the exception. And I don't see obama as the type to buckle down with intense LSAT studying.

My guess is that he made enough connections over the years with academic leftist types who put in good words for him at Harvard.

Steve Sailer said...

There are only two high-scoring black Columbia graduates who applied to any law school in 1987-88 not just Harvard.

Alternatively, if somebody could identify two black Columbia undergrad grads from any law school class of 1991 who are now, say, federal appeals court judges, that might falsify the assumption that Obama had to be one of the Columbia Two.

But the picture painted by this author seems like it fits most of the other evidence.

Anonymous said...

"Not knowing the correct pronunciation of a word might be evidence of reading more than listening."

I mispronounce words I understand all the time. It's a legacy of being the only reader in an unintellectual environment. I read words rather than heard them.

Anonymous said...

Compare this with LBJ, another moderate IQ guy who was very aggressive and a people person, loved the personal and psychological side of politics. He gots lots of stuff done.

Meh. In the case of LBJ, I would have been far happier if he had just sat on his ass for his whole tenure (1964-1969).

Anonymous said...

"There are only two high-scoring black Columbia graduates who applied to any law school in 1987-88 not just Harvard."

Link?

Steve Sailer said...

"And I don't see obama as the type to buckle down with intense LSAT studying."

What, was his "community organizing" job taking up all his time? He was pretty disillusioned with that, so it would hardly be surprising that he focused his energies in 1987 on getting a good LSAT score.

Sure, he was an overweight dope-smoking high school screw-off in Hawaii in the 1970s and at Oxy in the early 1980s, but Maraniss reports him studying hard at Columbia, the first time he'd really been challenged. That's one reason that so few people remember him at Columbia. He had to spend a lot of time in the library to keep up with his classes.

The notion that Obama benefited from the wave of Reagan-era yuppie seriousness seems highly plausible.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

I don't think there's any doubt that Obama's a smart guy. His father was a smart African and his white mother was smart too.

Is he a genius? No, but few politicians are.

The real issue about Obama is 'who made him and why'?

Anonymous said...

http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/saudi-billionaire-did-help-obama-into-harvard/

Anonymous said...

I believe I read Al Gore scored a 133 and 134 on two IQ tests he took in HS, and Gore went to Harvard, whereas Obama went to Occidental and Columbia when that university was at it's nadir, late 1970's to 1980's. Gore's GPA at graduation in 1969 was in the 3.6 range, this was in the pre-grade inflation 1960's Harvard, whereas Obama presumably was scoring 3.5 GPA at Occidental/Columbia. Columbia by the 1980's according to the a NYT article I read was admitting about half it's applicants, unlike Harvard, Yale, Princeton who were then like now admitting a much more select group of ( less than 15 percent ) Long story short, 138 seems high for Obama. I would guess more in the 125 range, like JFK, who also got into Harvard because of who his father was. He certainly wouldn't score as well as the last 2 British PM's: Brown, and Cameron who excelled at Edinburgh and Oxford respectively.

A Working Class American said...

anon wrote:
Elite law professors are quite brilliant men for the most part, but their field is a hoary cul-de-sac of learning, focusing only on analyzing the minds of long-dead men by reading opinions which were likely only written in service of long-dead financial interests. It is useless beyond imaging to the non-specialist, including practicing lawyers. Legal scholars spend most of their time inventing and analyzing "tests" of their own making, classifying opinions according to those tests, and bad-mouthing other professor's tests. It's slightly more relevant to the modern world than studying Kabbalah all day, but not by much.
//////////////////

Agreed. Law school is mostly legal history, an inculcation into the legal culture.

anon wrote:
Law school does one thing well - train lawyers.
=====================


Disagree. It teaches you to spot issues. Or rather you teach yourself or make grades. But only mentoring and practice in the field can make you a lawyer. If you want to stay in the field more than a few years, you have to be a good salesperson who can build a social network. Or, failing that, have a spouse or family member give you money for advertising or feed you referrals. it's really about sales and social network.

Anonymous said...


I never fail to be amused at conservatives attempts to "expose" Obama as a fraud or whatever. Face it folks, the guy is far brighter than the vast majority of you guys. And even if there's someone here who might have a higher IQ than he has, he's the president and you're not. So he's a much better achiever than you are. And no, blaming it on his skin color doesn't cut it.


Sure it does. Just like blaming George Bush's ability to sail into the White House can be blamed on his family's connections and influence. Plenty regular white guys with better than George Bush's abilities cannot get where he got because of unearned privilege. Just like Obama and his unearned privileges.

Neither Obama nor Bush had much in the way of achievements.

Steve Sailer said...

"Links?"

I provided a link to the site of Lockwood, who did the work. I'd suggest that if you want to learn more, you should buy Lockwood's book.

Anonymous said...

Columbia was not at its "nadir" in the early 80s, though it isn't clear whether you had in mind traditional ideas of excellence, such as academic rigor. Today its student body is richer but tackier (google Nutella theft). Moreover at that point Columbia was last man standing in the Ivies with real mandatory core classes (unlike Harvard's easily gamed requirements). By the late 80s undergrad rigor at even Yale and Stanford was in the crapper. Steve is right: these glorified country clubs make a big spectacle out of admitting a well-trained elite, then don't ask much of the pupils after the matriculation date. They don't even make you come up with reason to take a semester off... Or 2 semesters, or more... It's a customer service model. Unz's recent articles/posts esp. "Harvard As Hedge Fund" comported with my own experience a little over a decade after his.

I wouldn't expect the HLS routine presented any challenges to a person of Obama's peculiar capabilities. It's not "The Paper Chase"--you attend it because you already "belong" there.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

There are smart people who try to use their smarts to help dumb people become less dumb.

There are smart people who try to use their smarts to dupe and manipulate dumb people.

Most smart people do the latter while pretending to do the former.

Steve Sailer said...

"Columbia was last man standing in the Ivies with real mandatory core classes (unlike Harvard's easily gamed requirements)."

Maraniss reports that the Columbia's core curriculum proved a real challenge to Obama and he responded by spending vastly more time studying that he had before in his life.

Anonymous said...

"I provided a link to the site of Lockwood, who did the work. I'd suggest that if you want to learn more, you should buy Lockwood's book."

I went to his site, and all indications are that these detailed school/race/LSAT/year applied/years out of college breakdown don't in fact come from lsac's score report or library of congress but from the author's ass.

Until I see it, I have a hard time believing that LSAC published such highly detailed information for columbia college (and presumably all colleges). In fact, its so detailed that it would almost certainly violate confidentiality terms. I'm sure back then some colleges had so few black students applying to law school that you would be able to personally identify some of these applicants with 100% certainty, if one were so inclined.

Steve Sailer said...

The realization that clever use of cross tabs could be used to identify individuals only became an issue in recent years. I can recall seeing reports start to block access to tiny crosstabs I had seen before, so I'm hardly convinced that the LSAC would have done this in 1990. Look, here's the President and nobody did it until 2012.

Anonymous said...


"As a lawyer who got a pretty high score on the LSAT and who studied under some great law professors..."

"I happen to think Obama's been a decent President..."


Tells me all I need to know about the "logic" the LSAT hopes to measure unless.

And, no, man, no need to compare this failure of a POTUS to the one who preceded him. Bad is bad.

Anonymous said...

"Face it folks, the guy is far brighter than the vast majority of you guys."

I really doubt that. I'd say his overall IQ would be somewhere near the middle of this group. I'd guess his verbal IQ would be higher than the ave. Steve reader and his math IQ lower than those readers.

Hunsdon said...

What did Shakespeare say about lawyers again?

Speaking as one of the breed myself, I think America could stand to have a good bit fewer lawyers amongst our solons and "conscript fathers." (That's a Rome reference, homey.) Lawyers specialize in technical arguments, and ruthless advocacy in the pursuit of their client's case. The legal system in America is, of course, an adversarial system, whether we're talking civil or criminal.

This is bad for governance.

The art of governance is the art of compromise, of reaching an acceptable ground where everyone walks away happy, or at least where everyone walks away only a little dissatisfied. "Politics," as they say, "is the art of the possible."

Lawyers are about winning. At, I am ashamed to say, all costs. Clients, after all, could compromise on their own. They hire lawyers to WIN.

I'm not particularly thinking about Obama in this comment. For all his basic leftiness on domestic policies, I think he's done a yeoman's job of resisting the neocons' siren song to intervene here, there, and everywhere. (And if we must intervene, he seems to prefer not to put boots on the ground, but to hunt and peck with drones.)

Also, based on my experience, law school doesn't prepare one to be a lawyer at all. Law school teaches critical thinking, how to parse and dissect an argument, how to probe its weaknesses, and how to blarney past its strengths.

Anonymous said...

"I mispronounce words I understand all the time. It's a legacy of being the only reader in an unintellectual environment. I read words rather than heard them."

Ah, the sweet sting of humiliation when you, as a working class person, first pronounce "Goethe" in a literature class.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


Even those here who claim he's verbally gifted need to explain to me how the guy can mispronounce words like "corpsman" over and over. He must not even read much.

5/28/13, 4:47 PM

Blogger Steve Sailer said...
Not knowing the correct pronunciation of a word might be evidence of reading more than listening
____________________

Then, he's damned deaf, Steve, because you can't go anywhere in Hawaii without hearing terms relating to the Navy over and over and that includes "corpsman."

There were two other simple words he's mispronounced in his speeches but damned if I can't recall them right now, but I was stunned.

Equally puzzling and troubling is that he KEEPS mispronouncing these same words, making me think not a single aide feels he'd welcome the correction or not a single aide knows enough to know the words were mangled. ( I'd imagine a speech writer doesn't view this as his job.)

He is lazy. He told Barbara Walters that he had a tendency to laziness and that staying in the islands would only exacerbate that tendency. I think it's one of the few times he's been honest about himself, and frankly, he's right about how living in a place like Hawaii can contribute to a certain mindset that doesn't foster stretching oneself.

Anonymous said...

"There are only two high-scoring black Columbia graduates who applied to any law school in 1987-88 not just Harvard."

OK, but I'd expect high scoring black students to apply to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. If you can find a roster of the 1991 (?) class for all three schools and spot the 27 yo Columbia grads you'd go a long ways to finding the two grads with high scores.

jody said...

"Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ."

i'm one million percent sure it's below that. it might be around 120 but not much higher than that. it's not even 130.

this guy just isn't that smart. we now have 5 years of evidence of this. he never says anything highly intelligent. NEVER. he's under the world's most intense microscope and has not spoken or written anything highly intelligent all that time. under any condition, whether improvised or planned out ahead of time. never. instead, he demonstrates occassionally that he is innumerate. nobody with a 138 IQ is innumerate. i grew up around people this smart all my life. my public school district deliberately grouped them together. everybody from IQ 140 to IQ 160 or so was in the same program. they were all national merit scholars, they all qualifed for mensa. obama wasn't, and doesn't.

i know what they sound like, i know what they talk like. i'm around people of that intelligence or greater all day every day. i communicate with them routinely. i can tell you, obama isn't one of them. i've never been more sure somebody didn't have a 138 IQ. never.

"Bill Clinton is at what, 148 to 155 IQ? Nixon was slightly higher than Obama but not far off. Reagan was certainly quite a bit lower than Obama"

richard nixon had about a 145 IQ. he was the smartest president in the last 100 years. too smart probably. you start to lose your ability to relate to people when you get that smart. bill clinton was probably second smartest and jim carter probably about third. the only president in decades to have an undergraduate science degree, from annapolis no less.

as other posters have previously said, that obama is not a national merit scholar puts a hard limit on what his performance would likely be on a pencil and paper IQ test. that limit is below 130.

i tire of this bullshit discussion every time this stupid topic comes up. NO, barack obama IS NOT brilliant. he's not even all that smart. he's smart enough to be president for sure, but that's it's. obviously from an ideological perspective however he is the last politician in america you would ever want to hold the office.

"Long story short, 138 seems high for Obama. I would guess more in the 125 range, like JFK, who also got into Harvard because of who his father was."

this.

JFK scored about 120 when he took an intelligence test. that's about where obama is.

Cail Corishev said...

Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ.

By whom, based on what?

Obama's fans don't talk about his IQ, except to say it must be really, really high because we all know he's the smartest guy ever and just so keen.

The only serious estimate I've seen, outside Steve's discussion of it, was Vox Day's. He came up with 116 (and an upper limit of 129). That was pretty close to my own guess, based on the fact that people see him as near-genius level, about 2SD above average. That would put him at about 135 if he were white, but since they're comparing him to other blacks, the same deviation would put him at about 120.

Augustine the Black said...

Is there any way to respond to people directly? Having a single thread is not very productive for conversation, because disparate comments get lumped together, Steve. Is this a Blogger feature?

FWIW: Anonymous responded to me earlier:

"You don't understand statistics either ... Thus, it's a very reasonable assumption to make. That there are black people with very little white blood who have higher IQ than most whites isn't relevatory, but it is rare - which is precisely the point you missed."

I didn't miss the point. I do think, by sheer, probability Obama would be likely to have a higher IQ. The point I was trying to get at was that the comment I was replying to seemed to think that higher white gene mix meant higher IQ (argument form: Mulattoes are smarter than Blacks), which is not even remotely true given the overlap and spread. This is the belief of certain kinds of conservatives, not all.

peterike said...

'Twasn't grades that got Obama into Hahvad, 'twas gunnegshuns.

Dude is neck deep in CIA.

Anonymous said...

Not knowing the correct pronunciation of a word might be evidence of reading more than listening."

I mispronounce words I understand all the time. It's a legacy of being the only reader in an unintellectual environment. I read words rather than heard them.
_____________________________

You wouldn't be mispronouncing them if you were the POTUS and actually gave a damn about saying words correctly while you represented the United States. You wouldn't mispronounce them if you fostered an environment among your aides that allowed them to tell you when you effed up. You wouldn't mispronounce them if your ego weren't so large you never asked for suggestions, help.

The first damn time he mispronounced "navy corpsman" he was delivering a speech honoring those in the military.

Look, the guy covers up what he doesn't know all the time...or don't you recall his interview on tv during the televising of a baseball game (I think it was the All-Star game) in which he claimed to have been a frequent visitor to "Cominskey Field" to root for his "beloved White Sox"? You think an actual fan (not just a fan of the White Sox but a fan of baseball, period) and frequent visitor to a place arguably second only to Yankee Stadium in baseball lore (think the Black Sox scandal) would have mispronounced the name of that place? He effed up not just one word of its name but TWO. He worked in the South Side of Chicago for God's sake.

He realized he was in trouble when the interviewer asked him to name his favorite Sox player(s) (ummm, they had recently won the Series)and he_ couldn't_ come_ up_ with_ a_ single_ name so he said, "Ummm, you know, as a kid who lived in Hawaii, I kinda followed the team nearest to me, the Oakland A's." By now, the interviewer realized he had a problem on his hands--the POTUS was looking like a fool on national tv, looking like a poseur, and when he didn't name a single player on the Sox or the A's, the interviewer changed the subject pronto.

ben tillman said...

According to Lockwood, LSAC data reveal that during the 1987-88 academic year, ten African-American students from Columbia University applied to law school. Only two earned LSAT scores above the 63rd percentile, and those each had scores in the 94-98th percentile--i.e. scores between 42 and 45 on the 48-point scale then in use (166 to 171 on today’s 180-point scale). The other students earned scores that would have been extremely unlikely to qualify for admission, even considering factors such as affirmative action.

In the mid-1980's every Black graduate of Brown who applied to Harvard or Yale law school with an LSAT of at least 41 was accepted.

Anonymous said...

Some of Steve's posts draw out his brightest readers. I think 10 to 20% of the commenters above are pro journalists. There is at least a 5% chance Anonymous who posted at 5:38 PM is a tipsy Jonah Goldberg.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the African-American Columbia grads from Obama's class with the top two LSAT scores matriculated at Yale Law.

Anonymous said...

I have the feeling you don't understand statistics very well. It seems to be the case that you think genes account for all of the IQ gap. Well, then, I'll be a ready companion - as a very black person myself, I'll volunteer to take any test with you (of your choice) to illustrate why not every white person you know surpasses every black person in IQ.

I have a very low percentage of white genes. Deal? :). Otherwise, I can suggest any number of fine statistics courses you can improve your knowledge with.


So, why is it that poor whites outperform middle class blacks on SAT scores and IQ tests?

Sure, genes do not account for all the IQ gap. There is evidence that IQ is 60-80% heritable. In the US, where the environment is excellent it is likely closer to 80% (that is, environment has less influence.). Moreover, that one SD difference between African-American IQs and white IQs suggests a strong genetic component.

Deal with it.

educationrealist@gmail.com said...

Man, I'm really skeptical. I think Obama's higher than average, reasonably at the 70-80th percentile, but over 90th? Really? If he'd done that well on the LSAT, then he would have equally good SAT verbal scores, and he didn't. SAT verbal scores that high (over 700) would have gotten him into a good school with a full ride, even with an average GPA.

And I can't come up with any reason why he would have had average SAT verbal and then suddenly blossomed into a brilliant LSAT student. The only possibility I can imagine is that his vocabulary is extremely weak when tested directly, but he can fake his way through a reading or analytic score. And while that's possible at lower percentiles, I don't see it happening at over 90%.

I haven't taken the actual LSAT, but at Kaplan you have to take one of their practice tests, which is purchased from the LSAC, and I scored north of 170 both times I took it while focusing on something else--and that was before I started teaching students the test, which I did for a year or so.

Finally, I find the data source odd. Is there some reason why LSAC gives its scores to the Library of Congress? Were they read into the Congressional Record at some point, for reasons unknown? I googled it and couldn't find anything like "the LSAC has to give its scores to the LoC every year". So was it a one-off event? Some sort of investigation?

I also find it very unlikely that the LSAC publishes the data in that format. While Columbia, Harvard and the rest might care for some weird reason about how many of their grads score high on the LSAT, they'd only really care about the ones that took the test right out of college, not five years later.

I'd really like to see his data, and no, not by buying his book.

ZZ said...

Harvard's current reported LSAT scores are not directly comparable to Obama's because starting around 2006, schools went from reporting the average of each student's LSAT scores to each student's highest score.

IOW, someone who gets a 170 on the LSAT now but thinks he might get a 174 has nothing to lose by trying again. At worst, he might rescore a 166 and the 170 will be his official score. In Obama's era, the average score would be the new score reported by schools. The net result is that students are much more likely to retake the test, and the average student now has higher than an average LSAT score.

When this change was made, just about every school, including HLS, saw its reported student LSAT scores jump by 2-3 points for both the 25th and 75th percentile.

"Could it possibly be that back in those days at Harvard Law, the average LSAT was really only at about the 96% level?"

I highly doubt it. Prior to around 1955 HLS was not especially competitive, but it certainly was when Obama applied. Harvard and Yale between them admit around 750 students each year, while about 100,000 people take the LSAT each year. They have never had a reason to dip much below the top 1.5% or so to fill their class. And affirmative action + children of big donors are well under 25% of the class and do not effect the median score.

I had a look at the historic data back in the late 90's when I applied, and it went back to around 1990. There was a very slow trend of Harvard and Yale becoming even more elite and pulling away from the lower-tier elite schools, but no substantial changes.

In summary, the median LSAT at Harvard and Yale has hovered around the 98.5-99th percentile for decades.

Relatedly, while Obama's magna cum laude graduation award, which is based entirely on GPA, which in turn is mostly based on blind-graded exams, is impressive, that does not mean he necessarily was in the top 14% of his class. Starting for the class of 2004, magna was reserved for the top 10% of each class. Before then it varied but was slowly increasing. I am not aware of any way to say for sure what magna translates to before then, but Obama may have been as low as the top 20-25% of his class. Still impressive of course when combined with being president of law review.

Translating LSAT to IQ is another interesting issue. The LSAT itself is carefully normed to provide a SD of 10 and mean of 150. How that translates to IQ depends on your assumption about the IQ's of LSAT takers. While certainly a few dimmer bulbs get into some college and then take it, the following is known about this population:

1. It is entirely high school graduates, and nearly entirely of college graduates

2. The list of top "LSAT feeder schools" includes in its top five UCLA, Berkeley, and Michigan. While large schools, none are in the top 20 largest schools by enrollment, their students are a much higher IQ group than the general college population.

To put it another way, about 400 Harvard College students or alumni each year take the LSAT, or about 25% of the total class. Harvard graduates thus make up about one in 250 LSAT takers of LSAT takers, while only making up 1 in 1300 of the general population. UCLA is 1% of LSAT takers, but only 0.28% each year's 18 years olds attend the school.

Based on all this, I think it is fair to say that IQ percentiles of LSAT takers is mostly in the 90th percentile and above.

Based on this assumption, if Obama scored a 96th percentile LSAT score, that puts him around the 99.6th percentile of the total population, around a 145 IQ.

Use of this method based on my own LSAT score results in a fairly close estimate of my actual Stanford-Binet IQ test score at age 12.

Anonymous said...

"The realization that clever use of cross tabs could be used to identify individuals only became an issue in recent years."

Does the guy at least reprint any portions of these graphs in his book, or do we just have to take his word for it that until recently lsac has released every bit of race/school/age/score/ data and cross tab for every year and school? Where exactly is all this data published?

I've read quite a bit on the subject of college and graduate school admissions over the years and I've never seen anything near that level of detail.

ZZ said...

In my last post I accidentally used male population rather than total population for my cohort denominator. Harvard graduates are about 1/2500 of each age cohort, twice as rare as I said before, and likewise UCLA freshmen are about 0.14% of their age cohort.

Anonymous said...

As Razib Khan said:

Researchers have found that African Pygmies with more non-Pygmy ancestry are taller.

Why should IQ be any different?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is more recent common ancestry between Obama and the Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia or b.t. Obama and Jesse Jackson.

ogunsiron said...

This is an article about a black british government member who attended Harvard Law school :

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/matthew-norman/matthew-norman-bottom-of-the-class-mr-lammy-1648278.html

The man most recently embarrased himself when he tweeted that there was a racist subtext to the whole business about white smoke and black smoke, when electing the Pope.

I watched some videos that show lammy's performance. It's stricking that he's a briton but seemed to know nothing about britain or even the caribbean but he knew everything about black american topics. European blacks are often like that. They reside in Europe but in their minds they're black americans.

Anonymous said...

Columbia was not at its "nadir" in the early 80s, though it isn't clear whether you had in mind traditional ideas of excellence, such as academic rigor.

I based it on a NYT article circa 1999/2000, which stated that recruitment of top students and fund raising hit rock bottom in the 1980's particularly compared to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. It implied that people were getting into the university with lower standards than most elite universities. Since it came from the mouthpiece of the MSM which also happens to be in the city, I assumed it was legit. The article tied Columbia's fortune to that of the city to some extent, implying when the city was declining economically so was the university. When the city's crime rate plummeted, the university started getting better students and fundraising rebounded after being in the doldrums post-1968. I was under the impression anyway that after the 1968 student riots that a lot of top faculty left for other top universities and NYC's burgeoning crime rate kept the process going for another twenty-odd years. Maybe standards were not relaxed in classes, but I'm sure a lot of parents didn't want their kids going to Columbia given the crime rate in the city in the 1970's and 80's.

Anonymous said...

The question is: why should we care about this?

Performance in higher education is only slightly less relevant to my impression of a president or member of Congress than their performance in high school.

I think some people care because they are just plain racist and hold this president to standards they would not to previous presidents.

Yet, the president has also put his alleged genius in play. His surrogates have frequently mentioned his supposed genius with historian Michael Beschloss proclaiming him the smartest president ever. The president himself has said he thinks he's smarter than all the people surrounding him.

While the president seems fairly bright at times, he's also shown no signs of the genius alleged by his surrogates or even the very high level of verbal/logic skills Steve thinks he has.

*His debate performances were middling, buoyed only by subpar competition.

*In interviews, he rarely delves into policy, sticking to syrupy bromides. He's been unable to explain or defend the Affordable Care Act, unlike Bill Clinton.

*He's mediocre, sometimes poor, in extemporaneous situations like press conferences.

*Journalists have said that behind the scenes he is cocky yet insecure.


I have no idea what his IQ is. I don't believe it's genius. I also don't think standardized tests are a good measure of IQ. The LSAT in particular at that time was not a good measure. There were so many perfect scores, they had to shift to the current 180 scale in 1991.

I do think the president and his surrogates spend too much time on image and not enough on governing.

Anonymous said...

"This also may help explain Obama's failure to develop as a legal scholar despite being given every imaginable opportunity over a dozen years or so (including being given a huge advance to write an analytical book about law and race, which he utterly failed to do, eventually producing an autobiography instead. Obama is about as smart as the average elite law school student, but not as smart as the average elite law school professor."

While this seems true, Chicago Law School faculty members, including one instrumental in hiring Obama, have told me that he never was interested in becoming a scholar in the first place. It's very common to have lecturers who do not publish papers but teach while working on their side projects (usually firm work, but in Obama's situation, starting a political career).

Cauthon said...

The LSAT in its current form is all verbal.

There's a reading comp section where you read a passage of a few paragraphs and then identify spurious assumptions, implied conclusions, etc.

Logical reasoning features arguments of a few sentences, and then you're asked to pick from the choices something that would weaken/strengthen, disprove, bolster the argument, etc. Seeing both sides of the argument helps here, and that's one of Obama's strengths, the ability to talk up both sides.

The hardest section is the logic games. They give a series of logical statements: A is larger than B, B is smaller than C, D is no greater than E, etc. Then they ask you a series of logical questions, sometimes throwing in an additional assumption to complement the original givens. They'll start with simple if/then, i.e. if D is greater than A, then E is what in relation to B? The later questions in the section and can require 2, 3, 4 deductions. It's tough under a time constraint.

I got a 169, 97th percentile. I did not attend an Ivy undergrad. I find it plausible that Obama would be in the same ballpark; smart, but not truly elite.

Anonymous said...

Also, the same source told me that he never was actually offered tenure. I don't know where that idea came from.

FleshEatingMonkey said...


Hey Anonymous ... can you at least bother to give yourself a name?

I just made one up just for this post and now it's much easier to identify it, respond to it. Since Steve's ouevre is in some very broad sense how human intellectual diversity affects us, our culture, our politics, our lives, i'd like to think his readers would have the intellectual capability and the public spiritedness to spend five seconds and type in an identifying name. (As well as, of course, sending him money. Which i'll get on the stick and do myself.)

eah said...

while brilliant

I can think of many adjectives to describe Obama, but "brilliant" is definitely not one of them. This and similar words are way overused to describe people who take 'soft' subjects in college. Many of whom are indeed smart. Just not "brilliant".

beowulf said...

"No, he was too busy working on his political career. Also, if he wrote too much, he would have given himself away as 'very liberal'."

Exactly. Even if he had no White House plans when he started, a federal judgeship would be a reasonable career goal. If he were nominated, he'd have to explain (or explain away) to the Senate anything he'd written.

Anonymous said...

"Obama's election as editor of the Harvard Law Review was a political decision"...

Wasn't Obama's affirmative action admission and subsequent election as "President" of the Law Review - pretty much a popularity contest - while "Editor" of the review is for the actual smart guys who will write meaningful papers and be responsible for the content of the review.

Obama did nothing while he was there, which is fortunately not much more than he's doing now. Aside from golfing, vacationing, and saying "Let me be clear: I didn't know about that."

Aside from being a good speaker nothing about him is special. He has good handlers who dig up dirt on their opponents (sealed divorce records, tax records, etc.) and prep him well to lie and obfuscate during debates, and that's about it.

Peter the Shark said...

Not sure what the issue here is supposed to be. Yes, Obama benefited from affirmative action, so what? If anything Obama is one of the rare poster children for affirmative action. The whole point of affirmative action originally is that plenty of bright but not exceptionally talented white people manage to coast through life based mostly on their connections and we should balance the scales a bit. George W. Bush is just one of the most obvious examples, but John Kerry and Al Gore are also bright but not exceptional guys who have succeeded more due to family money and connections than any innate talent or drive. Arguably John Kennedy, and certainly Ted Kennedy, were also basically "legacies." So why do we care so much if a half black guy got a leg up so that liberals could feel good about themselves? Most of our Presidents "jumped the queue" one way or another. Is Obama any more of a disaster than Bush or Gore? The fact is most bright mediocre black guys certainly don't get to be President, and don't even advance very far in professional life from what I've seen. Steve, if you want to focus on the harm affirmative action does to our society forget the Obamas and go back to the ways working class white guys get screwed in fire departments, police departments, etc.

Anonymous said...

@Peter the Shark

Most of us, for now, are neither minorities eligible for AA or legacies from prominent Anglo families.

Anonymous said...

this guy just isn't that smart. we now have 5 years of evidence of this. he never says anything highly intelligent. NEVER.

Yes, but Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and everybody said he was smart, yet I don't recall Clinton ever saying anything "highly intelligent".

Cyril said...

It's a big misconception that the LSAT is purely verbal. Strong visual-spatial ability will make it easier to master the infamous "logic games" section. It's helpful if you can generate a mental model of the variable "slots," and visualize the placing of X in Y, T in V, etc. If you control for scores around ~170, math types will have an easier time with that section, while literary types (like me) will find it the most harrowing portion of the test.

Look at a sample LSAT and you'll see what I mean.

The best (not strictly IQ) test of pure verbal ability is the GRE verbal section, (which is much harder than the SAT verbal one).

dearieme said...

"he's not a creative intellect who can push beyond the current talking points": is he even an fine analytical thinker who can scrutinise assumptions more critically than the average lawyer?

"Mrs. Obama remains sore about her not scoring well on standardized tests ... which she likes to imply is due to bias. Her husband's fine score on the LSAT suggests that the problem lies not in the tests, but in Mrs. Obama."

I get the impression that in Britain almost all clever blacks are Africans rather than what are called Afro-Caribbeans, though it's the latter who are often of partial European descent.

JSM said...

"Researchers have found that African Pygmies with more non-Pygmy ancestry are taller."

Augustine the Black said
..."not every white person you know surpasses every black person in IQ."

Not every White person surpasses every Pygmy in height. (Some Whites are afflicted with dwarfism, after all.) But take any two random adult Whites and Pygmies, who's likely taller?

dearieme said...

"Law school teaches critical thinking, how to parse and dissect an argument, how to probe its weaknesses, and how to blarney past its strengths." They also, apparently, teach you to say "parse and dissect" when you mean "analyse". Still, your paid by the word, I suppose, whether accurate or not.

dearieme said...

Oops. Not "your" but "you're". Muphry's Law, eh?

JSM said...

"Aside from being a good speaker"

Oh, please. His verbal tic of changing cadence is as nerve-jangling to the listener as that alltime Grandmaster of Ham Acting William Shatner.

Anonymous said...

JSM, I agree. As a non-American, maybe I have an outsider perspective, but I find his tone to be aggressive and hectoring, almost bullying in the manner of a drill sergeant. But since we know that he is more of a Clintonian draft dodger in background and disposition, the effect is of a man out of his depth with authority; a try-hard.

To be fair, he was charming enough at the White House Corespondent's shindig when he seemed to drop the commander-in-chief persona. It may be a cultural thing, but do Americans really like a CEO who barks at them: 'Let me be clear... Let me be clear...'?

Gilbert P.

Hunsdon said...

dearieme said (in essence) lawyers are wordy.

Hunsdon said: To the very fiber of my being, with every breath in my body, with my deepest convictions, I can only say that I agree, concur, and have no objection to your argument, claim or thesis. To the best of my information and belief after reasonable investigation and inquiry, you have committed no flaws, fallacies or errors in the construction of your commentary on lawyer's mouthiness.

Anonymous said...

**The art of governance is the art of compromise, of reaching an acceptable ground where everyone walks away happy, or at least where everyone walks away only a little dissatisfied. "Politics," as they say, "is the art of the possible."

Lawyers are about winning. At, I am ashamed to say, all costs. Clients, after all, could compromise on their own. They hire lawyers to WIN.
**

95% of all lawsuits don't reach trial. Not all issues brought to a lawyer even become litigated. And many lawyers work in fields that aren't even *concerned* with litigation, such as real estate transactions.

The problem with lawyers as rulers isn't an unwillingness to compromise. It's that they think law is magic, they have a cynical view of the content of laws so they aren't careful enough with drafting, and complicated non-intuitive legal mechanisms are in their interest and/or don't seem complicated and non-intuitive to them for reasons of professional deformation.

-Osvaldo M.

Truth said...

Hey Champs;

I understand that Barry finds your silly little ruminations highly amusing.

peterike said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that Obama had somebody else take his LSATs for him?

Education Realist said...

I absolutely agree that the logic section of the LSAT is visual. However, if that were enough to kick butt on the LSAT, wouldn't Asians do better on the test? Whites average almost a full point higher, with a higher SD, which means they reach farther into the high scores.

"The best (not strictly IQ) test of pure verbal ability is the GRE verbal section, (which is much harder than the SAT verbal one)."


The GRE before the last chagen (around 2011). Agreed, but back in 1981, the SAT hadn't been recentered and they were roughly the same. That's why I think it so unlikely that Obama got over 600 on the verbal. Today, over 600 on the verbal is something only 6% of blacks do. Back in 1981, that number had to be smaller.

I'm not saying it's impossible. I'd just want more data. It does not, to me, sound credible on its face---and I'm still confused about the data source.

Anonymous said...

By checking Columbia class notes you could probably figure out who the two high scoring African Americans were. If you come up with two blacks other than Obama who made senior partner at major law firms than I'd be suspicious of claims Obama received one of the high scores on the LSAT. On the other hand, Obama did have the good fortune to be born to a smart white mother. So it's at least plausible he scored well.

VD said...

Based on this assumption, if Obama scored a 96th percentile LSAT score, that puts him around the 99.6th percentile of the total population, around a 145 IQ.

All of this babbling about LSAT scores is irrelevant. Obama went to Punahou, therefore he had to take the PSAT. He wasn't National Merit, therefore his IQ is below 129.

Steve, you may have made a logical error in assuming Obama must have been one of the two who scored well. I suspect he was not.

Paul Mendez said...

I've also theorized that the day Obama received his LSAT scores in the mail may be when his personality changed from the introverted nobody depicted in David Maraniss' biography to the grandiose Future President of the United States...

In college, I knew a guy who was basically an amiable goof. He was obviously intelligent, but a slacker and lacking basic social skills.

Then, he took the LSAT and received a perfect score. He literally changed overnight, into an insufferably arrogant and pedantic jerk. He suddenly became a connoisseur of everything and anything, and would gladly lecture you on why his tastes were superior to yours.

But lacking the work ethic or the people skills, his legal career never took off. Today, in his mid-50's, he's a bitter misanthrope who constantly rants about how stupid everyone and everything is. It's killing him to see lesser mortals than he succeeding in life.


Anonymous said...

Well meet the rarity. I'm a 100% Black both of my parents are from Ghana, Ashantis to be exact. Simply going by my GMAT score I'm smarter than the majority of people including most Whites. Although I probably fell in the middle range of GMAT scores among those in my class.

I'll readily concede the average IQ of Blacks is lower than the average IQ of Whites. However I take issue with folks attributing superior intelligence among Blacks being a result of White admixture. Obama's father was plucked from Kenya and admitted into Harvard. He was no dummy. Obama could have easily received his biological component of intelligence from his very African father.

Anonymous said...

"obama is not a national merit scholar puts a hard limit on what his performance would likely be on a pencil and paper IQ test. that limit is below 130."

Meh. By many accounts he was baked in high school, though I suspect some exaggeration for effect. High stakes testing has its advantages, but an off day or a good day can swing results by a fair amount. I think 130-ish IQ is a good guess; he can deliver on occasion, but it's not consistent, and his intellectual energy level seems to bounce around. I suspect his IQ is dimorphic with a strong split between verbal and quant, so a high LSAT would be an example of adults choosing environments congenial to their skills, or people choosing tests congenial to their test-taking ability.

The interesting thing about Obama is that his intellectual output seems so variable. He did "OK to good" at Oxy and Columbia. Apparently he did well on the LSAT and well at Harvard. But there isn't much evidence of really high level sustained intellectual performance outside of the law school years. He was good enough to hold up his end in an adjunct slot at Chicago, but didn't really engage in the intellectual environment there. The speeches the press held up as Lincoln-esque struck me as prevaricating damage control, or self-flattering bromides delivered with elevated chin as he bounced between teleprompters.

IQ has something to do with success in politics but the big five personality traits have a lot more of an effect. There are a lot of people who scored 170 on the LSAT but the intersecting set of elected politicians is not that large.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall Clinton ever saying anything "highly intelligent".

He did, but usually in a very tactical way. Such as extemporaneously constructing misleading sentences with hidden escape hatches.

discrete math comment said...

the year I took it (1993) the LSATs logic section was basically a disguised midterm from a "discrete math" course ("discrete math" is a real course, and is offered at my local juco). The verbal section was abominably poorly written, as if someone were pastiching Gibbon and translations from Hegel and Kant (one subject matter was the patterns on Navajo blankets).
Real knowledge of high-quality English prose (I had been reading a lot of Wodehouse and the King James version at the time)was a drawback.
Also, big elite law schools have an in-crowd made up of politically connected professors and bright students whom they want to help, and who form a smaller law school unto themselves (like All Souls in England, I think), and where standards are ... different.
(this is distinct from the success route of top top grades followed by circuit court and supreme court clerkships...)

Anonymous said...

I happen to think Obama's been a decent President, but it's possible that that's just because the last one set the bar so low.


No, it's probably because you're a lawyer and lawyers are some of the most left-wing people in the country. Even Republican lawyers are to the left of the center of America on most issues.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of affirmative action originally is that plenty of bright but not exceptionally talented white people manage to coast through life based mostly on their connections and we should balance the scales a bit. George W. Bush is just one of the most obvious examples, but John Kerry and Al Gore are also bright but not exceptional guys who have succeeded more due to family money and connections than any innate talent or drive.



The only logical conclusion is that we should do as Plato suggested and take all children away from their parents shortly after birth. That will eliminate those infernal "family money and connections"!

Anonymous said...

"So, why is it that poor whites outperform middle class blacks on SAT scores and IQ tests?

Sure, genes do not account for all the IQ gap. There is evidence that IQ is 60-80% heritable. In the US, where the environment is excellent it is likely closer to 80% (that is, environment has less influence.). Moreover, that one SD difference between African-American IQs and white IQs suggests a strong genetic component.

Deal with it." - I'm not who you're responding to but it isn't poor whites that are outperforming wealthy blacks on the SAT(indeed the wealthy blacks probably clobbered them on that), but the children of poor whites that are outperforming the children of wealthy blacks.

Bill said...

As it turns out, the Library of Congress has a publicly available search facility. This facility allows you to do stuff like searching by keyword and limiting by year of publication. I don't pretend to know what book Lockwood used, but two of the books on this search results page seem like good places to start.

Many public libraries allow you to use something called "Interlibrary Loan," or, to the bibliophiles amongst us, ILL, to get books from far away libraries for low, low fees. Etc.

And, as Steve said, there is nothing even mildly surprising that 1990 vintage public data are identifiable with some sleuthing. It's within the last two decades that people started caring at all about this and within the last one decade that data providers have become serious about it.

This smart lady (no sarcasm: she's smart) spent a chunk of her career on things called "re-identification experiments." These are what they sound like---attempts to identify people in publicly available data via minimal sleuthing. I personally witnessed people trying to explain to her that, by pointing all this out and provoking the inevitable reaction, she was going to make life significantly more annoying for approximately every social scientist in the US, to absolutely no benefit to anyone. Which is exactly how it's played out.

Anonymous said...

166-171 isn't "very high." All the smart Jewish boys I know scored 175-180.

Anonymous said...

I always suspected Barack chose his transfer school based on a fuzzy notion of urban "Harlem" grittiness (notional, but we're talking about a Hawaiian here). Both Columbia and Penn were located in high-crime areas by the beginning of the 80s; Yale & Brown too, but they'd wisely gone w/ the fortress-style physical plant. Cambridge, Mass. had already begun rapidly gentrifying at that point. Meanwhile Palo Alto was mostly farmland.

Hunsdon said...

Osvaldo M.: Indeed, sir, indeed. But law school isn't about real estate transactions, and law school isn't about settling. Law school is about conscienceless advocacy. As for lawyers looking after lawyers, well, who'd a thunk it?

Anonymous said...

"Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ"

It's useful to think about what a 138 IQ means. That is the average IQ of an MIT freshman. You can't convince me that Obama is that smart (top 1%-tile). My suspicion is that Obama has Aspergers, which is frequently accompanied by specialized mental facilities, but not high general intelligence. This might explain why he seems to be absent so often from his job and why he takes so many vacations. He's off recuperating from having to talk to people 45 minutes a day.

Anonymous said...

Obama has Aspergers

LOL no. Aspies display poor social skills and lack social awareness; you don't choose to put yourself into the political arena with those personality deficits.

The truth is more mundane; he's pretty bright, but not a world-beater. Something of a narcissist introvert with an admixture of insecurity, if that makes sense. I think the "insecurity plus pretty bright but not a world beater" part explains his general reluctance to engage in intellectual and policy fights in public, where he fears, probably correctly, that he will be shown up. But in relatively private moments he bats around things like "I'm an better advisor than my advisors." He's also OK with ad hom arguments, a general indicator I think of his narcissism and insecurity.

But he can occasionally pull it off, fake it for longer periods, and he has friendly press that will cover for him for the rest.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile Palo Alto was mostly farmland.

Late 80's Silicon Valley wasn't farmland and hadn't been for 20 years. There's the open space to the west of campus but the area is mostly residential and low-rise office parks.

Like Steve, I question the sanity of anyone passing on the relentlessly pleasant Stanford.

Anonymous said...

Obama's father was plucked from Kenya and admitted into Harvard. He was no dummy. Obama could have easily received his biological component of intelligence from his very African father.

It's so funny that many people are willing to claim that the offspring of the wealthy who get in with legacies are not really that smart, but then, in an age when Affirmative action was already being practiced, especially with a view to the struggle against the Communists, to say that any foreign or minority student that got into Harvard was a genius.

What did he actually achieve for all that he was no dummy?

Svigor said...

Obama's IQ has been estimated at about 138 in IQ

Similarly, my penis has been estimated to be about 12 inches long.

Back in real life, the ceiling on Obama's IQ is about 125, IIRC (no Nat'l Merit Scholarship).

Svigor said...

"Deal with it." - I'm not who you're responding to but it isn't poor whites that are outperforming wealthy blacks on the SAT(indeed the wealthy blacks probably clobbered them on that), but the children of poor whites that are outperforming the children of wealthy blacks.

Yes, it's the children of poor whites who outscore the children of wealthy blacks, and no, the wealthy blacks probably don't clobber poor whites on the SATs; point being, I'm aware of data showing the former, and no of no studies showing the latter, but it's more likely than the alternative, given what we know (racial disparities, AA and the like, and the culture).

Anonymous said...

It's so funny that many people are willing to claim that the offspring of the wealthy who get in with legacies are not really that smart, but then, in an age when Affirmative action was already being practiced, especially with a view to the struggle against the Communists, to say that any foreign or minority student that got into Harvard was a genius.

What did he actually achieve for all that he was no dummy?


Why some folks continue to try to diminish the achievements of Blacks is beyond me. First off Obama's father was admitted into Harvard before the word affirmative action existed. He was admitted before the Immigration Act of 1965 and before the Civil Rights Act.

Harvard has been admitting Blacks since the 19th century are you suggesting that even Blacks admitted before for the Civil Rights Era were affirmative action admits? What did Harvard gain from admitting Blacks when it was not even culturally acceptable to do so?

Also just because his life dissolved into ruin doesn't negate his innate intelligence. Intelligent people don't always live up to potential.

East Bay Ralph said...

Anon 2:33, you must be one of the San Jose hicks we used to laugh at in the pre-Windows 3.0 era (or maybe not--a local would know the Stanford campus isn't inside PA). Anyway that bustling metropolis's innovative contributions to cowtipping and "complex hash processing" are duly noted.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, it's the children of poor whites who outscore the children of wealthy blacks, and no, the wealthy blacks probably don't clobber poor whites on the SATs; point being, I'm aware of data showing the former, and no of no studies showing the latter, but it's more likely than the alternative, given what we know (racial disparities, AA and the like, and the culture)." - Income itself suggests(but I admit this isn't proof, data or such. Affirmative action would pervert this to a certain extent, though I doubt there are that many 200K a year AA jobs) that the wealthier blacks started off with a higher IQ than the poorer whites.

Truth said...

"Similarly, my penis has been estimated to be about 12 inches long."

Can I get a confirmation on that one Svig? Oh wait, no one's seen it yet.

Anonymous said...

The Bell Curve has some interesting statistics on LSAT scores of applicants. In 1993, the year of the study, more than 1100 white students had LSAT scores of 170 or greater compared to only 3 black students (p.456) At ten of the most highly selective schools there was an average 2.9 standard deviation difference in LSAT. The smallest difference at any of these schools was 2.4 standard deviations. This means that the average black LSAT score at Harvard is down in the 50-60% percentile range. Why the assumption that Obama was one of America's top three Black scorers his year? He doesn't have much of a vocabulary and his use of logic is limited to straw man arguments. Who hasn't known smarter, more academic blacks than him? He has his charms but don't think they include high LSAT scores.

Rollo

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 3:27 PM said: Why some folks continue to try to diminish the achievements of Blacks is beyond me. First off Obama's father was admitted into Harvard before the word affirmative action existed.

Hunsdon said: Affirmative action is two words.

Mimmy said...

"Affirmative action would pervert this to a certain extent, though I doubt there are that many 200K a year AA jobs) that the wealthier blacks started off with a higher IQ than the poorer whites."

In keeping with the Obama theme, Michelle had a 300K AA job I think, basically pushing paper and having coffee at a Chicago hospital.

Grover P said...

Obama's scores STILL put him ABOVE the average white American.

And why would "Obama have an interest in revealing top test scores, for example, to rebut theories that he somehow got extra-special preference in admissions to law school?"

He has nothing to prove. The ball is in the court of his white detractors. If white people are all so fired up about test score revelations, why then let them reveal the GRE, SAT and other scores of the last 12 white presidents, Vice PResidents etc etc. What were Joe Biden's scores by the way? Come on white people, what's taking you so long in "revealing" the data?

And why is it that Asian scores so often surpass whites? Shouldn't white people have a "vested interest" in revealing their scores vis a vis Asians to prove they did not get special preference?

Oh wait.. white people have been getting special preference for almost four centuries. Damn... Now why don't all those white union boys and their descendants who forced out more qualified blacks with more seniority on US railroads so they could be replaced with lesser skilled, less senior whites step up and reveal their special preferences and how they benefitted? Why don't we hear more revelations as to how black firemen on the railroads circa WW1 were murdered so lesser qualified whites could get their jobs? Why don't we hear more about how more skilled Asians were driven out of various jobs in California not so long ago so lesser skilled whites could take their jobs?

The above are only some of the detailed facts laid out by conservatives such as Walter Williams in his classic The State Against Blacks.

Wait- there's more. Here's Harry Truman, on how white people implemented their special preferences and white quotas to force out better qualified blacks from jobs not too long ago. Murder was part of the package.. -QUOTE:

"..it was customary for people to take shots at the negro firemen and a number were murdered because it was thought that this was now a white-collar job and should go to a white man.. I am going to try to remedy it and if that ends up in my failure to be reelected, that failure will be in a good cause.. I am happy, however, that you wrote me because it gives me a chace to tell you what the facts are.

Sincerely yours,
Harry S. Truman


FROM: Off the Record: the Private Papers of Harry S. Truman. by Robert Ferrell, 1997, pg 147

What? No HBD white people queuing up to talk about white special preferences and quotas? I thought so...

Anonymous said...

First off Obama's father was admitted into Harvard before the word affirmative action existed.

He was part of an international scholarship program, an example of AA before there was AA. Harvard would bend over backward to admit someone in that program. It wasn't like he was applying out of the general population pool.

I don't see any evidence that Obama Sr did any great work at Harvard; he was asked to leave the PhD program, though that may have been due to his drinking, womanizing, and finances rather than bad grades. He did graduate Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawaii in three years with an economics degree, and had attended an exclusive Anglican boarding school in Kenya, almost certainly as a scholarship boy on the basis of merit. He was 23 or 24 when he started at UH.

Obama pere's paper here:

http://www.politico.com/pdf/PPM41_080411_bhobama_article_1965.pdf

doesn't seem indicative of any great intellect. I suspect Obama Sr was fairly intelligent, but in over his head.

Anonymous said...

What were Joe Biden's scores by the way?

Biden has always been viewed as an amusing intellectual mediocrity. He was more a jock than a scholar as an undergrad (506th of 688 in class rank at U Del, played football) and 76th out of 85 at Syracuse Law.

He's not a brains-type politician. He's an extroverted back-slapper type politician. Which can be fine. No one is trying to pawn him off as a genius. There are probably a number of white people dumber than him in the senate that manage to function.

Anonymous said...

\\ I suspect Obama Sr was fairly intelligent, but in over his head...\\

A dubious conjecture. He left one school, moved to another and finished his degree there. Hundreds of white people do the same every year, for various reasons, and its no big deal. Its only when a black man shows up that certain hypocritical whites suddenly discover a "problem" and become instant experts on black folk.

smartandwise said...

Relatedly, while Obama's magna cum laude graduation award, which is based entirely on GPA, which in turn is mostly based on blind-graded exams, is impressive,


Obama was the first African American president of the law review, so the professors might have felt pressure to make sure his grades were respectable to maintain the institution's credibility.


To put it another way, about 400 Harvard College students or alumni each year take the LSAT, or about 25% of the total class. Harvard graduates thus make up about one in 250 LSAT takers of LSAT takers, while only making up 1 in 1300 of the general population.

This implies that LSAT takers might be a tiny bit smarter than the average college grad (IQ 113) because probably about 1 in 400 college grads graduated from Harvard.


Based on all this, I think it is fair to say that IQ percentiles of LSAT takers is mostly in the 90th percentile and above.

Based on this assumption, if Obama scored a 96th percentile LSAT score, that puts him around the 99.6th percentile of the total population, around a 145 IQ.


The 99.6th percentile is an IQ of 138, not 145.

The general U.S. population has a mean IQ of 100 with an SD of 15. The LSAT population probably has a mean of 116 with an SD of 13, so being at the 96% on the LSAT (1.66 SD above the LSAT mean) would equal 1.66 * 13 + 116 = IQ 138, or roughly 140 if you like round numbers.

On the other hand, if Obama scored at the 63%ile on the LSAT and used his alleged connection with an Arab billionaire to get into Harvard, then his IQ would be 120. My guess is Obama's probably 140, because I know a lot of people with IQ's in the 120s and Obama's far more articulate.

On the other hand if his IQ is 140, why wasn't he a national merit scholar at a school known for producing them, why did he not attend a better undergraduate school despite attending a prestigious high school, having access to affirmative action, and having upper middle class family that was able to send him out of state? Why did he admit to benefiting from affirmative action in his academic career? It doesn't completely add up.

Use of this method based on my own LSAT score results in a fairly close estimate of my actual Stanford-Binet IQ test score at age 12.

Old forms of the Stanford-Binet are notorious for outdated norms and ratio IQ which yield wildly high scores at the upper end.

smartandwise said...

Howard Stern considers Joe Biden to be a very bright guy, especially compared to Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your theory is that Obama was very outgoing, well liked, charismatic and popular in high school. In fact, he was at the center of a gang of boys where he was the leader not unlike his life today. And these were mainly white boys. Don't ask me how I know, I know.

smartandwise said...

I suspect Obama Sr was fairly intelligent, but in over his head.

Whatever Obama's senior's IQ, it would have been 13 points higher had he been born in America, because as Steve Sailer brilliantly pointed out years ago, the malnutrition of Africa drags African IQ down relative to those equally black African Americans. And don't tell me malnutrion only affects the poor because even elites tend to be shorter in poor countries and past generations (flynn effect)

So even despite being reared in Africa, his IQ was still high enough to compete at Harvard in STEM. Imagine how bright he would have been with first world nutrition, and that was the fertile soil he planted his seed named barack. Add in some white PhD and bank vice president genes, and it's possible Obama has an IQ as high as 140

Anonymous said...

He left one school, moved to another and finished his degree there.

He got an undergrad at UH, started in the PhD program at Harvard, exited that program in 1964, and about a year later was granted an MA from Harvard, when he was back in Kenya. That was it as far as his academic credentials.

Nothing terribly wrong with that. Bright enough guy, not genius level. There's a lot of us like that around. You don't need to be a super-genius to be a politician. It isn't string theory or quantum mechanics.

BB said...

It's useful to think about what a 138 IQ means. That is the average IQ of an MIT freshman. You can't convince me that Obama is that smart (top 1%-tile).

Harvard Law graduates like to think of themselves as the top 1 % IQ wise. If that were true, they´d be doing topology and fractal geometry on the side as hobbies, or writing sonnets and symphonies, or dabbling in cold fusion.ORr even tudy ancient Greek and Mandarin just to entertain themsleves and their oversized intellects.
And sleep their way through their law degree.
If only!
The ugly truth is that Harvard and other Ivies produce smart and well- connected lawyers, not geniuses. With IQ´s the 120 range, just like Obama. (Obama I gather has an IQ of 115 after the dope and crack abuse of his youth).


Anonymous said...

his [Obama's baby daddy]IQ was still high enough to compete at Harvard in STEM.

Compete? He got to Harvard purely on his merits?

it's possible Obama has an IQ as high as 140

Really? Is there a shred of evidence that this is the case?

Anonymous said...

Oh, please. His verbal tic of changing cadence is as nerve-jangling to the listener as that alltime Grandmaster of Ham Acting William Shatner.

Lol!

And at least he has the sense to play on it, make that bug a feature.

Svigor said...

Can I get a confirmation on that one Svig? Oh wait, no one's seen it yet.

No need for envy, T. I'm sure you have a great personality.

Obama's scores STILL put him ABOVE the average white American.

Awesome! Too bad he can't run for Emperor of the Universe.

And why would "Obama have an interest in revealing top test scores, for example, to rebut theories that he somehow got extra-special preference in admissions to law school?"

He has nothing to prove.


He's proven he'd much rather go through the courts and spend money to keep his records sealed, than simply get-r-done with the stroke of a pen and unseal them.

The ball is in the court of his white detractors.

How so? All he has to do is flick his wrist and unseal the records. Instead he's spent lots of money on lawyers to keep them sealed.

If white people are all so fired up about test score revelations, why then let them reveal the GRE, SAT and other scores of the last 12 white presidents, Vice PResidents etc etc. What were Joe Biden's scores by the way? Come on white people, what's taking you so long in "revealing" the data?

Hey, if you want to change the subject, that's fine by me. Is someone trying to get the last 12 white presidents' records unsealed? Are the last 12 white presidents fighting those efforts in court? If so, then I think it's safe to say they have something to hide, too.

Everyone already knows Biden's a dipshit. Nobody's calling him a genius. And no one has tried to debunk the non-existent theories of Biden's genius by trying to get his records unsealed. And Biden hasn't spent piles of cash hiring lawyers to fight the non-existent efforts to get his records unsealed.

And why is it that Asian scores so often surpass whites? Shouldn't white people have a "vested interest" in revealing their scores vis a vis Asians to prove they did not get special preference?

If whites were a net-tax-recipient class living as parasites off of whites, you'd have a real point there.

Oh wait.. white people have been getting special preference for almost four centuries.

Actually, I think that goes all the way back to the 5th century B.C. or so, when God came down and gave the Greeks tons of cash. And it's been all White Privilege from there, baby.

Damn... Now why don't all those white union boys and their descendants who forced out more qualified blacks with more seniority on US railroads so they could be replaced with lesser skilled, less senior whites step up and reveal their special preferences and how they benefitted? Why don't we hear more revelations as to how black firemen on the railroads circa WW1 were murdered so lesser qualified whites could get their jobs? Why don't we hear more about how more skilled Asians were driven out of various jobs in California not so long ago so lesser skilled whites could take their jobs?

And that whole time, those plucky blacks flat-out refused to return to the paradise of black-run sub-Saharan Africa. It's a real mystery why they endured the horrible conditions in America.

Its only when a black man shows up that certain hypocritical whites suddenly discover a "problem" and become instant experts on black folk.

Yeah, that's a real pressing problem in America, how black men are held to higher standards than anyone else. *snicker*

Svigor said...

Er, make that "whites" living off "yellows."

Ambacti said...

"I didn't miss the point. I do think, by sheer, probability Obama would be likely to have a higher IQ. The point I was trying to get at was that the comment I was replying to seemed to think that higher white gene mix meant higher IQ (argument form: Mulattoes are smarter than Blacks), which is not even remotely true given the overlap and spread. This is the belief of certain kinds of conservatives, not all."

Percentage of white ancestry among African-Americans is corellated with higher intelligence, although not necessarily with skin tone. link

I cannot concieve of an IQ>120 individual who is mathematically incompetent. Does anyone have any evidence that such a thing even exists? The basis for cognitive g is that all intellectual capacities are strongly correlated, for example SAT math and reading scores. The only group who seem to have widely differing math/reading subscores are poor East Asians, who are likely to be recent immigrants and English language learners, see chart on bottom of page 200.

I find the proposition that Obama has massively divergent math/reading abilities highly improbable. The tendency of even race realist whites to overestimate the intelligence of well spoken Blacks is very real. Furthermore, all humanities classes are graded on a completely subjective basis. Mathematical ability is the truest measure of human intelligence and I have seen no evidence that Obama could handle anymore than high school mathematics, if even that. Let us save the label of intelligent for the blacks who can actually do college level mathematics.

I took the liberty of doing up Gaussian distribution IQ/population chart for the US in Whites/Jews/Blacks form. With 200 million whites with an Average IQ of 100, 6 million Jews with an average IQ of 115, and 44 million blacks with an average IQ of 85, we get: IQ>100 100mil/5mil/7mil, IQ>115 31mil/3mil/1mil, IQ>130 4.5mil/951,000/59,000, IQ>145 270,000/136,000/1392, IQ>160 6,334/8,100/13.

High IQ blacks and mulattoes are incredibly rare, there is nothing in Obama's educational history that would necessitate near genius level intelligence. Without conclusive evidence, I am inclined to resist Labelling him as one of the two high LSAT scoring blacks of the 1987-88 academic year. Let's not obfuscate the exceptional profiles of actual high-IQ blacks. When it comes to blacks studying humanities, affirmative action does not stop at the admissions desk.

"I suspect Obama Sr was fairly intelligent, but in over his head.

Washing out of a free ride at the Harvard econ doctoral program would suggest an IQ<120. Obama's mother's underwhelming academic career and personal dysfunction would suggest to me an IQ<115. Obama is likely within this range.

Anonymous said...

And don't tell me malnutrion only affects the poor because even elites tend to be shorter in poor countries and past generations (flynn effect).

Shorter than whom? I hope you aren't comparing Africans with American descendants of slaves. That's two different genetic pools.

Anonymous said...

My guess is Obama's probably 140, because I know a lot of people with IQ's in the 120s and Obama's far more articulate.

Is being articulate in the way Obama is articulate a good indicator of IQ?

Anonymous said...

I think if Obama had scored that exceptionally well on the LSAT we would have heard about it. That's probably some of the best evidence for its not being true.

Anonymous said...

"In keeping with the Obama theme, Michelle had a 300K AA job I think, basically pushing paper and having coffee at a Chicago hospital." - Well that is good work, if you can get it.

Bottledwater said...

High IQ blacks and mulattoes are incredibly rare, there is nothing in Obama's educational history that would necessitate near genius level intelligence. Without conclusive evidence, I am inclined to resist Labelling him as one of the two high LSAT scoring blacks of the 1987-88 academic year.

The theory is that he was one of the two highest black LSAT scores at Columbia that year, not the whole country.

ben tillman said...

"There are only two high-scoring black Columbia graduates who applied to any law school in 1987-88 not just Harvard."

OK, but I'd expect high scoring black students to apply to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.


Why would they apply to Stanford? Columbia and Michigan were considered superior to Stanford, and they were much closer to home.

Bottledwater said...

It's possible to be a genius and suck at math:

http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/can-geniuses-suck-at-math-of-course-they-can/

Math skill is highly correlated with IQ, but there are always individual exceptions. Bill Clinton is arguably the smartest president of the 20th century and he claims in his autobiography that he couldn't help Chelsea with 9th grade math, and no, he's not being self-depricating because Clinton spent his whole presidency marketing the idea that he's a genius, so he's not going to suddenly play dumb.

Bottledwater said...

I think if Obama had scored that exceptionally well on the LSAT we would have heard about it. That's probably some of the best evidence for its not being true.

I disagree. While an LSAT above the 95%ile is outstanding, it's nothing special for a magna cum laude harvard law president of the law review. Had he released this score people would say "yes he's brilliant, but not as brilliant as I thought"

Mr. Anon said...

"Obama's LSAT score?"

For a moment, I read that as "Obama's Last Score", and thought it was the title of a 1970s blaxsploitation movie.

Anonymous said...

nothing in Obama's educational history that would necessitate near genius level intelligence

130-ish and a talent for repeating the bullshit people want to hear isn't that outlandish. He was at least an OK student at Oxy and Columbia, and a better than average student at HLS. He seems to have varying levels of intellectual energy, and doesn't seem to be the type that can be "on" and doing heavy intellectual work for long stretches. He can do some sprints but needs a lot of down time; he's fairly lazy and needs structure.

His HLS grades are the fly in the ointment for those arguing for 120 and below. Absent that I could sort of maybe buy his being a Michelle Obama AA clone, only with a gift for vapid BS. But he got good grades in a competitive, elite environment, and was an adequate adjunct at U Chicago.

His not going for a white shoe law firm argues against his having some sort of stratospheric IQ. I think Obama tends to avoid give and take in unstructured high wattage environments; he also avoided this at U Chicago, and in DC is very hands-off. He suspects or knows that he can't hold up his end, so he avoids it, and backfilled his avoiding the sharks in New York with some bafflegab about the necessity of organizing the masses.

Why would they apply to Stanford?

Have you seen the campus? Relentlessly pleasant! It's the moral equivalent of sitting on the deck, a steak on the grill, watching the sunset, with a beer in one hand and a tanned, fit blonde in the other. After graduation it would be easy for a black guy to slip into a high paying slot in Silicon Valley with an organization looking for some diversity.

smartandwise said...

His HLS grades are the fly in the ointment for those arguing for 120 and below. Absent that I could sort of maybe buy his being a Michelle Obama AA clone, only with a gift for vapid BS. But he got good grades in a competitive, elite environment, and was an adequate adjunct at U Chicago.

If Richard Feynman can get a nobel prize in PHYSICS with an IQ of 125, then Obama could have got good grades at Harvard with IQ 120

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Obama's IQ is I do know he is more intelligent than the vast majority of Americans. What I take offense to as a full blooded African is the contention that his intelligence is due to his White ancestry.

I'm sure the nurturing of his intelligence benefitted greatly from being raised by upper middle class Whites. His inate intelligence could have easily been derived from his Harvard educated father and his paternal grandfather who was astute enough to adopt British mores while the rest of tribe continued their primitive practices.

Anonymous said...

Curious to those who think Obama Sr. got into Harvard based on special treatment, while providing no proof, also think the Africans who attended the Sarbonne or Oxford during this period also received special treatment?

Is the contention of some on this board that no African could possibly be admitted into elite institutions on merit alone?

Whitey Whiteman III said...


Was Obama even a National Achievement Scholar??

It was established in 1964 and only required around the 90 percentile, IIRC

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous smartandwise said...

If Richard Feynman can get a nobel prize in PHYSICS with an IQ of 125,..."

That's ridiculous. Feynman's IQ was much higher than 125.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Feynman's IQ was measured well by the test he took, or it was test error, or his self-reported score was some false modesty. (IQ and high stakes testing are not infallible.) He was also probably dimorphic on his test scores, but in an opposite way from what I suspect Obama is: instead of a high verbal and low math score, he had stratospheric math scores and OK verbal scores. The verbal score generally counts for more in g.

"Feynman received the highest score in the country by a large margin on the notoriously difficult Putnam mathematics competition exam, although he joined the MIT team on short notice and did not prepare for the test. He also reportedly had the highest scores on record on the math/physics graduate admission exams at Princeton. It seems quite possible to me that Feynman's cognitive abilities might have been a bit lopsided-his vocabulary and verbal ability were well above average, but perhaps not as great as his mathematical abilities. I recall looking at excerpts from a notebook Feynman kept while an undergraduate. While the notes covered very advanced topics for an undergraduate-including general relativity and the Dirac equation-it also contained a number of misspellings and grammatical errors. I doubt Feynman cared very much about such things. "

The problem with comparing Obama to Feynman is that Obama hasn't done anything comparable to what Feynman did.

Ambacti said...

"It's possible to be a genius and suck at math:

http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/can-geniuses-suck-at-math-of-course-they-can/

Math skill is highly correlated with IQ, but there are always individual exceptions. Bill Clinton is arguably the smartest president of the 20th century and he claims in his autobiography that he couldn't help Chelsea with 9th grade math, and no, he's not being self-depricating because Clinton spent his whole presidency marketing the idea that he's a genius, so he's not going to suddenly play dumb."


I have my doubts about this. Lindsay says his SAT scores were "not even that great", but aren't SAT scores strongly correlated with IQ? As for Bill Clinton, I highly doubt that the Rhodes scolar bombed the math portion of his SAT, it is entirely possible that his daughter's homework contained some novel mathematics with which he was not familiar, he may have played this up to gain the sympathy of the proles. Unfortunately, I could not find a credible source for Bill Clintons's SAT or LSAT scores.

"If Richard Feynman can get a nobel prize in PHYSICS with an IQ of 125, then Obama could have got good grades at Harvard with IQ 120"

This is a highly controversial alleged IQ score. It is fairly obvious that Feynman is a high-IQ Jew in the same club as Einstein, Schwinger, Noether, von Neumann, Wolfram, Witten and the rest of the gang. Razib Khan actually attempts to explain this apparently anomalous IQ score. He believes that Feynman allowed the media to emphasize his lowest high school IQ results in order to increase the apparent magnitude of his achievements.

Dan Kurt said...

re: smartandwise's proposals

Nice try with the SDs but SDs are not the same across race and sex. White Males' SD is 16 and the others drift down from there arguably between 12 and 10.

Makes a big difference.

Dan Kurt

Dan Kurt said...

re: Feynman's IQ being 125

What a joke. Just look through a copy of The Feynman's Lectures on Physics, a 1964 physics textbook by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands, based upon the lectures given by Feynman.

Dan Kurt

Dan Kurt said...

re: smartandwise "...if his [referring to Obama] IQ is 140, why wasn't he a national merit scholar at a school known for producing them..."?

Answer #1:

His IQ is not very high. You pick the number below 110.

Answer #2:

I know of a Prep School where all of the tests given to the SELECTED group of students in 1958 were lost and thus they all lost their chances at a national merit scholarship. And no they never were given a second chance to take it and as far as I know no law suit erupted. Many of those students got into stellar colleges and some won prestigious scholarships.

I don't believe Obama's test was lost it is only HIDDEN.

Dan Kurt

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said....

Some of Steve's posts draw out his brightest readers. I think 10 to 20% of the commenters above are pro journalists. There is at least a 5% chance Anonymous who posted at 5:38 PM is a tipsy Jonah Goldberg."

And how would journalists be Steve's brightest readers? For the most part, journalists are dull-witted conformists. They have few if any original thoughts themselves, and aren't even good at identifying good ideas that other people have.

alternative history said...

Yes, U. Mich. law school, that's practically in the hood.

No way a mover-shaker like Barry O's gonna apply to Stahnfahrd and then pull up stakes for the sticks... Surely he had the Doobie Brothers catalog already memorized but you know he couldn't stand all the decadent white counterculture people who remind him of his mum. If he had, though, it's a cinch he'd get appointed as a state judge... And then maybe serve 1/3rd of a term as U.S. Senator from 55-EV California... Oh wait

Anonymous said...

For anyone (such as the skeptic's blog above) who questions Lockwood's claims about the LSAT data for Obama, the data are completely documented in the 1,235 endnotes to Lockwood's book entitled Barack O'Liberal: The Education of President Obama. Based on official data published by the group that administers the LSAT (i.e., the Law School Admission Council) in its National Statistical Report 1984-85 through 1988-89 (available, for example, at the Library of Congress), Chapter 5 of Barack O'Liberal proves that Obama had an LSAT score that was either below 34 or in the 42-45 range. If he scored in the lower range, it's shown that he scored in about the bottom one percentile of his Harvard Law School class. The book also discloses a majority of Obama's college courses (with virtually no math or science classes), his likely undergrad GPA (and the reasons to be skeptical of his public claims about his GPA), the legal errors in his Harvard Law Review article, a second law review article he published (that has unattributed language uncannily similar to that of a famous philosopher), his opposition to including women in the Harvard Law Review's affirmative action program, the very liberal bias he had in the Harvard Law Review articles he selected for publication while president of the HLR, the overwhelming evidence that he benefited from affirmative action (as both Jesse Jackson and Obama have asserted), why Obama should have been the second (not the first) president of the HLR, and Obama's class rank at Harvard. Facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

on a tangent: what were george w's academic achievements? my point: both he and obama didn't get to be president due to personal merit; georgie got it because of daddy and barry got it by skin color; the world isn't fair; if it were, ron paul would be king of the universe

John77 said...

"I never fail to be amused at conservatives attempts to "expose" Obama as a fraud or whatever. Face it folks, the guy is far brighter than the vast majority of you guys. And even if there's someone here who might have a higher IQ than he has, he's the president and you're not. So he's a much better achiever than you are. And no, blaming it on his skin color doesn't cut it."

Most top law school grads are in fact smarter than B.O. (You generally need an LSAT score above the 98th percentile to have any shot at the top 10 schools.) I'm one of the many top school grads in that category.

And I'm sorry, but being admitted, hired, promoted, or elected to a position primary because of your skin color doesn't constitute an "achievement" by any reasonable measure. Bobo would never have been admitted to Occidental, Columbia, or HLS unless he were black. And he certainly wouldn't have been elected as Senator or President if not for the novelty of his ethnicity. Yes, the media is usually liberal. But it went way over the top in promoting and defending him because of his skin color. Even the most cursory objective vetting would have doomed him to major losses against both McCain and Romney, given that they were both far more qualified and moderate. Instead, he was annoited as the chosen one, his many glaring flaws (foreign muslim upbringing, wife who disliked America, spiritual adviser who hated America, muslim fathers, no real jobs, radical political views, etc.) almost completely overlooked in the press.

Being handed anything does not constitute an achievement, even when it's the presidency. I hope this helps.

John77 said...

"on a tangent: what were george w's academic achievements? my point: both he and obama didn't get to be president due to personal merit; georgie got it because of daddy and barry got it by skin color; the world isn't fair; if it were, ron paul would be king of the universe."

The difference -- GB clearly loved his country, while BO clearly doesn't even like it. GB embraced the values that made our country great, BO embraces the 3rd-world Marxism of his dad. Which will eventually turn us into a third-world country.

Finally, GB didn't get massive, unprecedented help from the media, like BO did.

John77 said...

"Bill Clinton is arguably the smartest president of the 20th century"

By what standard? Because he had the connections to be a Rhodes Scholar? The geographic diversity to be admitted into Yale? He's refused to release his SAT scores or LSAT. Or his IQ scores. And he generally sounds like the ignorant hick he is when he speaks.

I'm pretty sure that T.Roosevelt, JFK, FDR, Wilson, Hoover, Coolidge, Nixon, Eisenhower, and Bush I were all smarter than this particular hayseed. Don't forget that Clinton was only a medicore Governor of Arkansas, and inherited a strong economy (4% growth for a year before his inaguration), a world at peace, an expanding global market, etc. He left office with the tech boom collapsing, the economy in effective recession, and our national security in tatters. While he may have been fortunate to take office at a good time for America, it's difficult to argue he was a good, or particularly intelligent president in his own right.

Don't forget, this was the guy dumb enough to trust a crazy intern with his entire presidency/legacy, years after the Gary Hart scandal. Not bright.

Anonymous said...

iSteve and sheep:

I imagine your life's work or test scores aren't nearly as impressive as even the Obama's family dog. Put your measuring sticks away, klansmen. Your rhetoric and nonsense pushing just exposes how retarded you are. Work on yourself and spend less time spewing venom into the world.

Yellow September said...

Racism at all costs

Yellow September said...

Yep!!!!!^^^^^^^ so true