Blue states smarter than red states?

None of them?

None of the researchers you cited differentiated the minority or non-English language speakers in Mississippi. Additionally, the other red states have large hispanic populations that distort the population versus SAT takers. The factors for determining the intelligence of different groups or political parties is easy. They are all sheep that follow different misguided sheperds.

^ Fear Itself, yes, there are obviously stupid conservatives, just as there are obviously idiotic liberals. (An excellent example would be the guy who published the article concluding that the entire state of Mississippi had an average intelligence of 63. Yes, the entire state is mentally retarded, that makes perfect sense.)

My point is that conservatives are not, as a whole, stupider than liberals, nor vice versa. I mean, (and I direct this not necessarily to you FI, but to whoever makes the original argument) listen to yourself a minute: The only possible reason someone could disagree with me is because they’re simply stupid. How unbearably smug is that?

I don’t think you understand how averages work.

I would have been interested in other correlations, such as “Do red states tend to have lousier school systems than blue states? If so, why?”

According to Savageau 1993 (well, according to wiki): “An inverse correlation has been noted between teen pregnancy rates and the quality of education in a state.”.

There is no evidence that abstinence education is effective, yet every Republican candidate in the 2000 presidential elections supported it (aside: Ron Paul has been in the three Republican challenges in the past twelve years… must be nice to be a millionaire!).

^ Fear Itself, yes, I do understand how averages work, but for the mean (add all values, divide by number of measurements) to be 63, that would basically have to mean the state is mostly populated by functionally retarded people. The only alternative would be that they would have a general population of at least functionally normal intelligence and, for some unexplained reason, an unusually high number of almost brain-dead people.

“Borderline intellectual functioning,” in which a person is basically just functional to take care of themselves, runs from 70-85. A statewide average IQ of 63 would mean that almost everyone is mentally retarded. If I’m wrong, please show me a set of numbers that makes sense here. Kanazawa’s smug political prejudices led him to not just state, but professionally publish, a claim that is ludicrous on the face of it.

^ A state with a significant minority of individuals that were comatose and thus registered a zero or near zero IQ (say 10% of “respondents”).

One has to acknowledge such technicalities when dealing with statistics.

I think he does.

In order to get an average as low as 63 there must be a huge number of people with IQs below 75 in the state. 85% of mentally retarded people have IQs of at least 50, so it can’t be that there are a great number of people with extremely low IQs dragging the average down…unless we’re going to stipulate that most of the moderately and profoundly retarded individuals in the US live in Mississippi.

Oh, to follow on from the education comments, I believe that no current Republican senator believes in anthropogenic global warming, over which there is a pretty overwhelming scientific consensus.

Several Republican presidential candidates have voiced doubt about evolution too, with Newt Gingrich being the most solidly in support of science.

I found it a delightful way to use irony to point out the fallacy of presuming that the particular politics of a state correlate necessarily and directly to more smarts, higher quality of life, or a prevalence of wisdom.

As he himself says in the column: “a conservative researcher would have said to himself, maybe there’s something wrong with my methodology, but Kanazawa, being the bold liberal thinker, didn’t”; here he’s openly throwing the caricature back in the faces of its advocates.

First of all, there are lots of smart conservatives. Just ask Newt Gingrich, and he’ll be happy to name one. (rimshot!).

Okay, enough of that. What the heck do we mean by Liberal vs. Conservative anyway? We can talk about a dozen or so key issues and one side is liberal while the other is conservative. But, in reality, many people will stand one way on one issue and another way on another issue.

This overriding concern with labeling everybody is hurting us.

Let’s say I consider myself conservative, but support something many of my fellow conservatives don’t support. Let’s say I agree food stamps are a good idea. People shouldn’t starve because they don’t have the money to buy food. Maybe I feel that way because because God told us to feed the starving.

Now, I watch the news and learn that such a view is considered liberal. Well, I’m not a liberal., and I start to re-evaluate my position. Maybe Fox News is right and food stamps are just an excuse for lazy people who are on drugs not to take responsibility for their lives. If people want to eat, they should get a job.

Not long ago, we were able to understand that if someone disagrees with us, it doesn’t mean their mislead, stupid, a socialist, or that they like Hitler. It allowed us to try to understand their point of view and maybe even incorporate their feelings and concerns into our beliefs. Maybe that’s what marks you as intelligent. Maybe that’s why the purple states rank higher than the solid red or blue ones.

So to be clear, in order to be open minded, you have to automatically dismiss a hypothesis without examination, and if you were to attempt to examine it with evidence, that would make you closed minded?

Part of what constitutes conservatism is a bias towards the status quo, so it’s not unreasonable to postulate that conservatives are people who are less willing to challenge their default views.

You are essentially admitting in this post that you’re closed minded to the possibility that there may be differences between groups - which is fairly typical - but unaware of the irony that you think this makes the people you’re criticizing the ones who are closed minded.

Several things that astorian said call for responses. First of all, and this is a general point, of course I consider my political views smarter than the views opposed to them. I would expect that everyone would think this. If I considered the opposing view smarter, I would hold that view instead. Now, it may well be that I’m mistaken on some of these points (and certainly, someone is), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t honestly hold that view.

With that out of the way:

Everyone agrees that IQ means something. There are a fairly wide variety of tests that measure IQ, and they have excellent stability in a given individual and correlation with each other. This is good evidence that there is some real psychological trait that’s being measured by all of these tests. Now, just what that trait is, and whether it warrants the label “intelligence”, that’s much more debatable.

I suppose it’s fair to argue that the rich are, in at least some sense, “smarter” or at least better educated than the poor. But just because the Republicans are the party of the rich, does not imply that most Republicans are themselves rich. There have always been and will always be significantly more non-rich than rich, by any reasonable definition of “rich”. So a party of the rich, in order to have any political significance at all, must also count a large portion of the non-rich among their numbers. Just what portion that is has changed with time, of course, but it’s always been necessary for the party of the rich to court some other large demographics. And even if the handful of the rich in the party are intellectually superior in some way to the general population, it’s going to be lost in the noise compared to all the other members of the party.

If the Republicans at this time were the smarter (or at least, better-educated) ones, then how did the liberals end up with the intellectuals and technocrats?

The very poor are split between the parties. The Democrats mostly get the urban poor, while the Republicans mostly get the rural poor. Neither party has a monopoly on poverty.

There’s another conception: that the Democrat and Republican parties are the two wings of the American business party. A majority of Barack Obama’s campaign funds in 2008 came from corporations if I recall correctly and his campaign won marketing awards.

The stress is mine: I think Gould would have argued that this was reification.

It is illegal for corporations to donate directly to the campaigns. Employees of corporations may donate up to $2500 each to the campaign, but 57% of Obama’s donations were less than $999, with 34% less than $200.

^ SenorBeef, perhaps I phrased things poorly, so I’ll try again. Say a person is so certain of their beliefs, so entirely convinced of their own rightness, that the only explanation they can find for why someone might disagree with them is that this person is simply stupid. If I am supposed to call someone with that attitude “open-minded,” then I need to take my dictionary, rip it to shreds, and burn it, because words don’t mean anything anymore.

So if conservatives are biased towards the status quo, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily more rigid in their thinking. It is just as possible to be rigidly, irrationally opposed to the status quo, like the deliberate non-conformist who is ultimately just as driven by norm as those they look down on.

I’m trying to believe, act, and talk like there are intelligent, reasonable people on both sides. But honestly, the more people sling nasty, hateful stereotypes at me, the harder it is to do so. So, yes, if you absolutely want to shut down any possibility of a real discussion, of respectful dialogue, then please keep thinking and saying that your opponents are just obviously too stupid to understand why you’re right.

Making it about intelligence misses the point. Or points, as there are several:

Someone can be highly intelligent and working from false knowledge. GIGO.
Not all intelligence is the same. Sociological intelligence is not engineering intelligence.
Not all knowledge is the same. Politico-historical knowledge is not physics knowledge. (We are all ignorant, we are just ignorant of different things.)
Political tendencies are often about moral priorities and intentions, not intellect or knowledge as such.

Each political grouping includes a range of intellects; a range of expertises; cynics, true believers, and everything in between.

What you’re really looking at are subcultural groups, within any of which an affiliation with the group and its leader(s) precedes judgment on most issues for most followers. The leaders may be good or evil, knowledgeable or ignorant, smart or stupid. But the followers don’t know enough, don’t care enough, or don’t understand enough to get the difference.

(Which meshes neatly with the premise that swing voters are smarter on average. They at least try to think for themselves, while the knee-jerk loyalists who are knee-jerk loyalists because they’re really stupid bring the averages down among partisans.)

Historically, smart, well-educated conservatives have gone into businesses where they hoped to make money. Smart, well-educated socialists have congregated in academia.

The New Deal recruited heavily in academia.