Getting a couple emails asking if it’s true this blog has been sold; the answer is no, not yet. I figure it’s worth five figures. One problem is prospective buyers want me to stay on as blogger but I would no longer be owner, just a salaried employee with no editorial control. Another issue is control of the huge library of moderated & pre-redacted comments where most of the sensational content is. I’m reluctant to release the moderated & redacted comments for any amount of money because I don’t want the public being brainwashed by the propaganda some push. I’ve released it for a select few paying customers with the judgement to keep it in perspective, but mass release I do not support.
In light of all the conflict in the Middle East, I thought now would be a good time to estimate the IQ of As’ad Abukhalil, better known as The Angry Arab. I first saw this guy on TV in 2001 shortly after the September 11th attacks and was blown away because (1) he was the only anti-war voice I had seen on a major U.S. network at the time (other than Oprah) (2) he was one of the most verbally skilled people I had ever witnessed in my entire life.
His verbal acumen was all the more striking because so many of the Arabs I had seen on U.S. media did such a poor job expressing themselves, which made sense because (1) academic achievement is lower in the Arab world (2) for many, English is a foreign language, and (3) the neocon U.S. media likely denied high IQ Arabs a platform because they feared losing control of the narrative.
According to Richard Lynn, on a scale where white Americans average an IQ of 100 (SD 15), the Arab World averages 84. While this figure likely approaches 90 when you correct for the poorer living standards in the Middle East, it is substantially lower than the average American Jew (IQ 110) and far lower than Ivy league Jewish media elites like Bill Maher (which I estimate to be about 140)
And yet, the Angry Arab appears to be two standard deviations higher than even the brilliant Maher:
The angry Arab displayed not only logic and fluency, but advanced working memory, unleashing high speed well organized complex sentences.
He also showed quick wit. When presumably asked by another guest why he doesn’t leave America if he hates it so much he apparently shot back: “I like chicken McNuggets” prompting Maher to admit “Professor you’re a brilliant man, you took on everyone …they’re probably the smartest ethnic group. I don’t agree with them, but I’ve never met a dumb one”
And lest one think this was a one-off, Bill Maher is not the only Ivy League Jewish media elite the Angry Arab has verbally obliterated. The below videos show him skillfully dominating New York Times columnist Bret Stephen.
So what is his IQ? Well he’s certainly head and shoulders above Stephens and even Maher at debating, at least on Middle East issues, so he’s likely well above 140. On the other hand, if the average Arab has a true IQ around 90 with an SD of say 15, and there are 423 million Arabs, the smartest one should be 178.
So I can safely say his IQ is somewhere between 140 and 178; let’s split the difference and say 159 (extreme Genius level)
Below is a list of the 10 most influential living people of all time at the start of every decade from 1940 to 2020 as implied by various Time magazine honors (person or the year, people of the century, etc). Even though my readership is extremely bright, I’d be surprised if anyone (before reading this article) can recognize every face on the list, but familiarizing yourself with them all is a great education on post-WW II history. And while some might find the selections to U.S.-centric, America is, and certainly was, the World’s sole super-power, and its cultural capital
The list was first topped by FDR who won a record four presidential elections but he was quickly dethroned by Churchill whose victory over the Nazis so dramatically changed the course of history that he was King of the World until his death in 1965, clearing the way for Truman to hold the title.
Meanwhile Wallis Simpson was for decades the only woman among the 10 most influential for decades, until finally being joined by Queen Elizabeth by 1960.
By 1980 President Nixon’s impact on history had become enough for him to top the list, before being dramatically overtaken by Mikhail Gorbachev. Meanwhile after 50 years as the World’s most influential woman, the great Wallis Simpson finally died in 1986, allowing the Queen to finally be the Queen, but by 2010, Oprah’s intimate confession culture and role in electing the first black President made her important enough to overtake her.
By 2020, the genetic revolution became so important that even the great Gorbachev was dethroned by James Watson and the cultural significance of the Beatles had slowly accumulated to the point where their only surviving members leapfrogged to the top five.
To make this list I looked at all the people who had ever been Time’s person of the year, person of the decade, person of the century, or included on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year, the century, or all time. Points were allotted as follows:
One of the 100 most influential of the year = 0.01 points
Person of the year: 1 point
One of the 100 most influential of the century = 1 point
Person of the decade = 10 points
Person of the half-century = 50 points
Person of the century = 100 points
One of the hundred most influential people of all time = 50 points (since recorded history is 5000 years and there are 100 people)
If they shared any of these honors with someone else, the points got divided by the number of people. So for example James Watson got 1 point for being one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century and got 50 points for being one of the 100 most influential people of all time, but since both honors were shared with Francis Crick, his total was 25.5 points making him the most influential living person ever (according to the collective wisdom of the World’s most prestigious magazine). If there was a tie, the person who achieved the distinction first was given preference.
In order to get points, the person had to be alive at the time they were honored. So even though Einstein was person of the century (100 points) he never ranked among the ten most influential living people because that award wasn’t given until the late 1990s (when Einstein was dead).
The fully vaccinated Bill Maher (who recently made news by getting covid) has always struck me as one of the most intelligent people in public life. It’s long been known that the higher one’s IQ, the less glucose their brain metabolizes during cognitive activity because they take the more efficient path, and Maher seems to really personify that. I love the effortless way he holds court on his weekly HBO show Real Time and before that Politically Incorrect. He’s so smooth the way he transitions from aggressively debating, to making a witty comeback to offering some deserved praise to elegantly laughing at someone else’s joke. He never belabours a point and always knows when to graciously move on with a chuckle. But he also has this arrogant way of looking at guests that just makes them seem stupid (see above photo). He’s also incredibly funny and it’s because he so good at spotting ironies that most of us miss.
And as an extremely wealthy, Ivy League educated, socially liberal, subversive, half Jewish atheist comic talk show host, he belongs to many high IQ demographics.
So what it is his IQ?
One clue is that in a recent interview, he said he graduated 7th out of 400 students in his high school so one in 57 level. But also consider that 10% of his generation dropped out of high school and in his day, these tend to be the worst students, so really he was one in 63.
Of course we don’t know how hard the school was, at least not in 1974 when Maher graduated. But in 2006 it ranked 8th out of 316 public schools (one in 40 level) in New Jersey based on mathematic and literacy proficiency.
If we multiply Maher’s individual ranking (one in 63) by the ranking of the school (one in 40), we get top one in 2,520 level.
Of course there’s more than just IQ involved in school grades and Maher described himself in the interview as a diligent student who showed up for class.
Before 1983, IQ predicted roughly half the variance in school grades (adjusted for range restriction), leaving traits like conscientiousness to explain the rest. Since Maher described himself as “diligent”, and not “very diligent” student, my guess is he was +1 SD in conscientious, not +2 SD. +1 SD implies top one in 6 level.
If prior to 1983, grades could be roughly modeled as the product of diligence and IQ, (Diligence * IQ = Grades), then IQ = Grades/Diligence.
Thus, the rarity of Bill Maher’s IQ = (1/2520)/(1/6) = 1/420
Top one in 420 level equates to an IQ of 142 (U.S. norms) or 141 (white norms) which sounds about right.
Both Richard Lynn and Jayman have argued that cold winters helped select for racial differences in IQ, but both of them also noted that the cold winter explanation was incomplete. For example, the most cold adapted race are the arctic people yet these appear to be somewhat less intelligent than Whites even though their brains are supposedly much bigger than those of Whites.
Richard Lynn resolved this paradox by arguing that because of their low population, Arctic people did not have genetic mutations which increased brain efficiency. So even though Arctic people faced more selection for high IQ than whites did because of the cognitive demands of their colder winters (making clothes, shelter, fire & hunting etc), evolution could mostly just select for bigger brains, while in Whites, selection was weaker but had more ways of making people smart, so more cognitive evolution occurred.
Although this theory makes sense, it appears to be wrong. Davide Piffer’s data shows that Native American (a proxy for Arctic people) score way below whites on polygenic scores for education (a crude proxy for IQ), even though the SNPs used are common in all races.
Jayman on the other hand argued that cold winters selected for brain size (via thermoregulation) but that only those cold adapted big brained races that acquired civilization would evolve high IQ.
The problem with this theory is that if civilization selected for IQ, it would also have also likely selected for brain size (though to a much lesser degree than if brain size were directly selected by the cold) and that doesn’t seem to have happened. Also, if civilization had selected for IQ, then people today would be better at drawing (a crude proxy for IQ) than they were in Upper Paleolithic Europe, and that doesn’t seem to have happened either.
Thus I’ve been forced to propose a third theory. Cold winters both selected for IQ directly (survival skills) and indirectly (big brains keep you warm) but the ratio of direct to direct selection was higher in Whites than in Arctic people because Whites lived in more population dense areas, where resources were running out. By contrast Arctic people (and Native Americans) were had a whole continent to themselves so there was less competition for survival skills, but you still need big heads to keep warm.
In his 2006 book, Richard Lynn said chimpanzees “have a vocabulary of around a dozen cries to convey information,
including the presence of predators, intrusion into their territories of neighboring groups, the location of a supply of food, willingness or unwillingness to share food, and so on.”
Using my formula for equating total vocabulary to verbal IQ (Pumpkin Person 2021) a vocabulary of 12 equates to a verbal IQ of 19 (U.S. norms).
Verbal IQ = 0.002(vocabulary) + 19.35827
One problem with this estimate is that humans are socialized by other humans, and thus exposed to far more words than chimps are. A more accurate test of ape ability comes from studies of apes raised by humans. One such ape was Nim Chimpsky who was raised from infancy by humans in an attempt to debunk Noam Chomsky’s theory that only humans can use language.
While Nim did learn 125 signs, Terrace concluded that he had not acquired anything the researchers were prepared to designate worthy of the name “language” (as defined by Noam Chomsky) although he had learned to repeat his trainers’ signs in appropriate contexts. Language is defined as a “doubly articulated” system, in which signs are formed for objects and states and then combined syntactically, in ways that determine how their meanings will be understood. For example, “man bites dog” and “dog bites man” use the same set of words but because of their ordering will be understood by speakers of English as denoting very different meanings.
One of Terrace’s colleagues, Laura-Ann Petitto, estimated that with more standard criteria, Nim’s true vocabulary count was closer to 25 than 125. However, other students who cared for Nim longer than Petitto disagreed with her and with the way that Terrace conducted his experiment. Critics[who?] assert that Terrace used his analysis to destroy the movement of ape-language research. Terrace argued that none of the chimps were using language, because they could learn signs but could not form them syntactically as language.
So raised by humans Nim had a vocabulary anywhere from 25 to 125, which in my formula equates to a verbal IQ of 19 to 20 (the same as chimps in the wild).
More impressive claims are made for Koko the gorilla which is surprising because although gorillas have bigger brains than chimps, they are less encephalized and more genetically distant from humans.
Her instructor and caregiver, Francine Patterson, reported that Koko had an active vocabulary of more than 1,000 signs of what Patterson calls “Gorilla Sign Language” (GSL). This puts Koko’s vocabulary at the same level as a three-year-old human. In contrast to other experiments attempting to teach sign language to non-human primates, Patterson simultaneously exposed Koko to spoken English from an early age. It was reported that Koko understood approximately 2,000 words of spoken English, in addition to the signs.
2000 words equates to a verbal IQ of 23. But if humans use words in qualitatively superior ways than apes do (syntax) then vocabulary might overestimate ape verbal IQ, because even when humans and apes are matched on vocabulary, the human can put the words in much more meaningful order. On the other hand, it’s largely because apes can’t grasp syntax that their vocabularies stagnate in the first place, so perhaps this measure is reasonable.
Another excuse to play one of my favorite bands:
Contrary to lay opinion, the size of a man’s vocabulary is not only an index of his schooling, but an excellent measure of his general intelligence. Its excellence as a test of intelligence may stem from the fact that the number of words a man knows is at once a measure of his learning ability, his fund of general information and of the general range of his ideas.From the Measurement and Appraisal of ADULT INTELLIGENCE by David Wechsler 4th edition 1958
One of the great things about using vocabulary as a measure of IQ (or at least verbal IQ) is that like physical measurements, it’s a true ratio scale with an actual zero point.
So how many words does the median young adult know and how does this map to IQ?
According to the above study, among young U.S. adults, the 5th percentile, 50th percentile and 95th percentile, know 27,100, 42,000, and 51,700 lemmas respectively. These percentiles equate to verbal IQ equivalents of 75, 100, and 125 allowing me to equate total vocabulary to the IQ scale.
Notice how linear the relationship is? Verbal IQ appears to be a true interval scale, at least within 2 SDs from the mean.
Verbal IQ is almost a true ratio scale too because notice how 51,700 (verbal IQ 125), is roughly 125% as large as 42,000 (verbal IQ 100). On the other hand, a vocabulary of no words equates to a verbal IQ of 19, and not zero.
It is interesting to ask what would be the verbal IQ equivalent of someone who knew every word in the English language. According to the study data cited above, the maximum number of lemmas is 61,800 which would equate to an IQ of 143. Although 143 is an exceptionally high IQ, it’s absurd to think one in several hundred Americans knows every single word (even on a very superficial level).
Reading the above study further I find:
A first limitation is the list of 61,800 lemmas we used. Although we are reasonably sure the list contains the vast majority of words people are likely to know, there are ample opportunities to increase the list. As indicated above, the Collins scrabble list could be used to more than double the number of entries. We are fairly confident, however, that such an increase will not change much in the words known by the participants (see also Goulden et al., 1990). The words we are most likely to have missed are regionally used common words and recently introduced words.
So if the maximum number of lemmas could be doubled to 123,600, that raises the ceiling of verbal IQ (as measured by total vocabulary) to 267! I doubt anyone could ever score that, unless they have some kind of autistic obsession with reading scrabble dictionaries, in which case the test would be invalid for them.
The show tells the story of Mare, a detective who lives in the same small rundown Pennsylvanian town she went to high school in 25 years earlier. Mare lives with her mother (who she can’t stand), a teenager who I think is her daughter, and her grandson. Usually people as young as Mare are not grandparents unless you’re in the ghetto, but it’s a sign of how far working class white America has fallen that the same dysfunctional patterns we saw in in the inner-city in the 1980s are now commonplace in working class white America.
It’s almost like white America is splitting into two races. The working class that lives in both the South and rundown towns in the Rust Belt, and the elites who live in New York, LA, Silicon Valley etc. This was very much the theme of Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart.
Fortunately, a member of the white upper class (a national book award winning novelist) landed a gig teaching creative writing in Mare’s town and picks her up in a bar. They have sex at his place and he wants to see Mare again but perhaps fearing rejection, Mare is unsure if she wants to continue the relationship.
Meanwhile the show paints a dark image of teenaged life in these Rust Belt towns. Mare’s kid is hardly the only unwed teenaged parent in the neighborhood and we meet a young girl who must deal not only with her father going ballistic that he has to pay for his unwanted grandchild, but the girlfriend of her baby’s daddy plotting against her.
The show is so good that I hate watching just one episode a week. Nice thing about HBO is that you can stream episodes anytime so I may need to wait for several of them to accumulate so I can have a big marathon.
In the late 1980s Notisha Massaquoi (who was pretty cute I must say) was the only black student in Rushton’s psychology class at the prestigious University of Western Ontario. In an interview with the fabulous CBC, she states:
When I signed up for the course it was like any other course that I was taking at the school at the time. And what started happening very slowly throughout the course would be small bits of racist ideology being spewed to us. And I equate it to being groomed for the big reveal of his theory, to be honest. So little things like positive stereotypes such as Asian people are extremely bright. But then it started escalating in subsequent classes to things like Black children develop much faster than white babies because they have to be able to become more independent because their families can’t parent appropriately or take care of them. The big day came when Rushton started to reveal what we then come to find out is his theory of racial inferiority and which he proclaimed that we were ranked intellectually with Asian people being more intelligent than whites and Blacks being more or less intelligent than white people.
A student asked at that time, ‘Is this always the case? Can we always guarantee that this will be the case?’ And he then turned to the class and said there is some variation except if you are Black. If you are Black, you are genetically inferior and intellectually inferior to all other races.
WTF? Was Rushton trolling his own students? I know for a fact Rushton believed these putative differences were only on average and that there was genius in every race, so why would he say such a thing?
Maybe he meant that all the black ethnic groups averaged low, while among white and East Asian ethnic groups, there was overlap (e.g. Jews, despite being Caucasoid, are smarter than virtually all Mongoloid ethnic groups), or maybe he was intentionally trying to brainwash his students into feeling superior to even the brightest blacks, or maybe she’s just misremembering what he actually said.
Unless other witnesses from that time period come forward, we may never know.
Interesting video below of Rushton taking questions from his fans. What strikes me is how eloquent and upper class he was, especially when answering the question about Indian Americans:
The Indians that we notice over here are almost higher scorers than white people. They earn more money. They dominate in physics departments, engineering departments of universities, over-represented in information technology, they do extremely well; entrepreneurial and so on.
Rushton’s ability to just rattle off four examples of Indians intelligence (income, academic acumen, technological talent, and business success) while throwing in fancy adjectives like “entrepreneurial”, all with flawless elocution, shows verbal skills on a level that Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman never came close to achieving.
I noticed too in the conversations I’d have with him, while he would sometimes misunderstand my questions, his answers were always extremely articulate and commonsensical. For example when asked about Oprah’s super sized brain, he replied:
There are always going to be those who are way off in the top 1%, and indeed one would have to be to succeed in a field as competitive as television talk shows
When asked about regression predicting IQ from income:
Billionaires are going to be more intelligent than millionaires who are going to be more intelligent than the middle class, who are going to be more intelligent than welfare recipients. That’s the way the model works.
He was also the best writer of all the prominent HBDers, writing:
Archaic forms of the three main races seem to differ in antiquity.
What a beautiful sentence. Rushton understood the rhythm of language.
Rushton was in a tough position, being a very non-autistic man with a hugely autistic following, and you could see the frustration in the dismissive way he answered some of the questioners in the below video. When one man went on a monologue about accepting high IQ people of all races, Rushton rudely dismissed him with “Okay thanks for the thought”.
It’s almost as if Rushton was angry that non-racist open borders people were among his fans.
He dismisses another questioner with the dumb cliché “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future”