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Life continues. It was very good to whinge about being an… - Sally's Journal
May 31st, 2005
11:17 pm


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Date:June 1st, 2005 07:37 am (UTC)
You need to be very careful about causation vs correlation (and I am guessing that "massive influence" was meant to imply the former rather than the latter?).

I suspect that a fairly good case could be made for (parental) intelligence being the causative factor in both poverty and childhood outcome.

The unfairness, for me, might be in the increased resistance to the effects of lack of intelligence that inherited wealth appears to grant, but then it's a questionable premise that the more intelligent are the more deserving.
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Date:June 1st, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
Errm, on re-reading, that's too strong.

In particular s/the causative factor/a significant causative factor/ ...
Date:June 1st, 2005 11:17 am (UTC)
Yes, I think I meant causation.

I think that there are things that are more likely to happen as a result of inhereted lack of cash which bugger up the environment for kids to learn, or become intelligent, or have a good education. I think it's causative, not correlative because I think (I've no statistics here, only an impression) that people who are unexpectedly propelled out of poverty into the ranks of the nouveau riche become keen to educate their children, and they seem to do just as well, particularly if they were young (or unborn) at the time of the change.

I guess I'm not really much of a believer in intelligence as an idea. That's something I suppose that genetic and epedimological studies could prove me wrong on, I suppose, but I think that things like IQ, and the like, are very slippery and self-referential.
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Date:June 1st, 2005 12:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'll agree with your particular observation; however I'd counter with the people I know who've propelled their children out of their own state of poverty as a result of what appears to have been a combination of determination and applied intelligence.

Are lottery winners sufficiently numerous to provide a statistically significant sample of people who are propelled into the ranks of the rich?

I would also agree that intelligence as measured by tests, exams, grades, degrees, is self-referential (although that doesn't mean it's worthless; just has less worth than many attach to it). My judgement of others' intelligence tends (I think) to depend comparatively little on such things (if only because I've been exposed to sufficiently many people whose ability to think I respect who have no, or very few, formal qualifications). That doesn't mean I lack a meaningful internal concept of "intelligence" ...

So, in a sense, I'm playing a semantic trick of defining a concept that must exist because I've defined it to myself, and could equally well be called "ability to improve on your situation", at which point my assertion becomes rather easy to prove 8-)
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