The trouble with "racial research"

The tremendous victory of Barak Obama in the American presidential election (I'll confess to shedding a tear or 2 during his speech) has reminded me of something:

A couple of years ago a professor by the name of Richard Flynn at Ulster University published some studies on comparative IQs of various races/countries. The results, not surprisingly, favoured the Western industrialised view of what is "intelligence". His study found that north western Europeans are the "smartest" and disparaged, among others, southern/eastern Europeans including my fellow Serbs. The results absolutely trashed Africans and Australian Aborigines.

He previously came to the attention of the media by publishing studies that suggest that men are, on average, 5 IQ points "smarter" than women...

What I find objectionable about his research is that it is essentially completely worthless and quite possibly dangerous. What application can such a study have, especially as regards an individual? Should we be denying someone a particular vocation on the basis of the person's race/gender? Consider for example, that while statistically women are shorter than men, I, at 176cm, am regularly passed in the street by women who are taller. Fat lot of good the statistic does for me. How much good do the results of this study do for the professor?

However I can tell you what the results of the professor's studies are good for: reinforcing racial stereotypes and giving support to far right neo-Nazi movements. They give comfort and to those who are xenophobic and ammunition to those who are racist.

As for the results? If we can accept them as evidence of anything, they are a good indicator of which country has the highest average number of people who are good at certain IQ tests. That's all. I've studied enough psychology at university to know that we can't even agree on a good definition of "intellect". How would Shakespeare have done on such a test, compared with, say, Newton? And how would Einstein have performed given that, as a high school student, he was thought a dunce? Why is it that child prodigies who score very highly on IQ tests often fail to go on to contribute anything to science or the arts (unlike, say, Einstein)?

And what of the contributions of these, so called, "less intelligent" cultures? Where would be we be without African influence? We certainly wouldn't have rhythm and blues, rock and roll or jazz music.

The good professor notes "the unwritten rule that those with higher intellects win wars". Except of course where they are "vastly outnumbered" as was the case with Nazi Germany post 1942. Well there is the small problem that a "smart" culture would never have started such a war, or at least not fought on 2 fronts, but this is conveniently forgotten. He also forgets that my fellow Slavs - the Russians, who didn't score particularly well - defeated not only Germany but Napoleon as well. And they have virtually every worthwhile record in relation to space exploration prior to the moon landing.

The study might well have been conducted as scientifically as possible and with non-racist motives. I shall give the professor the benefit of that doubt, of course. But what possible purpose it could have in our troubled and divided world I have no idea.
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