Bell Curve

Raising the Third World's I.Q. with Iodine?

compiled by Lewis Loflin

December 4, 2008 Nicholas D. Kristof reports from Pakistan he has the answer for the low IQs of many Asians and Africans. It's iodized salt! He reports,

Almost one-third of the world's people don't get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness.

When a pregnant woman doesn't have enough iodine in her body, her child may suffer irreversible brain damage and could have an I.Q. that is 10 to 15 points lower than it would otherwise be. An educated guess is that iodine deficiency results in a needless loss of more than 1 billion I.Q. points around the world.

It is true that malnutrition is a big problem in many of these dysfunctional and backward countries. Most of this malnutrition is due to these violent and dysfunctional cultures. Case in point was the once prosperous Rhodesia, today called Zimbabwe. Under white rule there was no starvation and the nation was a food exporter.

Faced with British and American boycotts, they (the West) helped install Communist Mugabe around 1980. ZANLA under Mugabe shot down civilian airliners and butchered the survivors. The West demanded black rule, now we got black mass starvation. Mugabe is still in power today. Iodized salt won't fix this problem.

He writes about Pakistan, a Muslim terrorist state. To quote, "Pakistan is typical of the challenges. Until recently, 6 in 10 Pakistani schoolchildren were iodine-deficient. Iodine just wasn't on anyone's mind. "I had never heard of iodized salt," said Haji Sajjawal Khan, a 65-year-old owner of a small salt factory here, near the capital of Islamabad.

Officials from the Micronutrient Initiative and other aid agencies reached out to factory owners like Mr. Khan and encouraged them to iodize salt, in part to help make Pakistanis healthier and more intelligent. "It will prevent people's necks from being swollen and will make people smarter. So he agreed to add an iodine drip into his salt grinder."

One of the obstacles is the rumor that iodized salt is actually a contraceptive, a dastardly plot by outsiders to keep Muslims from having babies. That conspiracy theory spread partly because the same do-good advertising agency that marketed iodized salt also marketed condoms. Indeed, The Lancet, the British medical journal, reported last month that "Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide."

True, but what about Muslim culture? The constant intermarriage between first cousins? He reports, "in my travels I've been unnerved by coming across entire villages, in western China and elsewhere, eerily full of people with mental and physical handicaps, staggering about, unable to speak coherently. I now realize that the cause in some cases was probably iodine deficiency." But I thought all of these primitive cultures so admired by the multiculturalism cult were to be preserved?

The IQ gap in the US between blacks/Hispanics and whites/East Asians is about 15. Do these selected minorities here get enough iodine?

Paroxysms of Denial

by Arthur Jensen

Related see: Suppressing Academic Freedom in the name of Justice


Nowadays the factual basis of The Bell Curve is scarcely debated by the experts, who regard it as mainstream knowledge.

The most well-established facts: Individual differences in general cognitive ability are reliably measured by IQ tests. IQ is strongly related, probably more than any other single measurable trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic and social variables. (Not mentioned in the book is that IQ is also correlated with a number of variables of the brain, including its size, electrical potentials, and rate of glucose metabolism during cognitive activity.)

Individual differences in adult IQ are largely genetic, with heritability of about 70 percent. So far, attempts to raise IQ by educational or psychological means have failed to show appreciable lasting effects on cognitive ability and scholastic achievement.

The IQ distribution in two population groups socially recognized as "black" and "white" is represented by two largely overlapping bell curves with their means separated by about 15 points, a difference not due to test bias. IQ has the same meaning and practical predictive validity for both groups. Tests do not create differences; they merely reflect them.


Although social problems involving race are conspicuously in the news these days, too few journalists are willing or able to discuss rationally certain possible causes. The authors' crime, apparently, is that they do exactly this, arguing with impressive evidence that the implications of IQ variance in American society can't be excluded from a realistic diagnosis of its social problems.

The media's spectacular denial probably arises from the juxtaposition of the book's demonstrations; first, that what is termed "social pathology" -- delinquency, crime, drug abuse, illegitimacy, child neglect, permanent welfare dependency -- is disproportionately concentrated (for whites and blacks alike) in the segment of the population with IQs below 75; and second, that at least one-fourth of the black population (compared to one-twentieth of the white population) falls below that critical IQ point in the bell curve.

Because the smaller percentage of white persons with IQs below 75 are fairly well scattered throughout the population, many are guided, helped, and protected by their abler families, friends, and neighbors, whose IQs average closer to 100. Relatively few are liable to be concentrated in the poor neighborhoods and housing projects that harbor the "critical mass" of very low IQs which generates more than its fair share of social pathology. The "critical mass" effect exists mostly in the inner city, which has been largely abandoned by whites. Of course thinking citizens are troubled. Thinking about possible constructive remedies strains one's wisdom.

But can any good for anyone result from sweeping the problem under the rug? Shouldn't it be exposed to earnest, fair-minded public discussion? Our only fear, I think, should be that such discussion might not happen. Consideration of the book's actual content is being displaced by the rhetoric of denial: name calling ("neo-Nazi," "pseudo-scientific," "racism"), sidetracks ("but does IQ really measure intelligence?"), non-sequiturs ("specific genes for IQ have not been identified, so we can claim nothing about its heritability"), red herrings ("Hitler misused genetics"), falsehoods ("all the tests are biased"), hyperbole ("throwing gasoline on a fire"), and insults ("creepy," "indecent," "ugly").

The remedy for this obfuscation is simply to read the book itself.

Excerpted from National Review, December 5, 1994, 48-50.

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