The Intelligence Paradox


I have just finished listening to Satoshi Kanazawa’s book The Intelligence Paradox. (I should have read it rather than listen to it. There are too many statistics and graphs that need to be seen rather than heard). The paradox in the title is that intelligent people, despite creating and being better suited to novel evolutionary situations, are often worse at things that all humans do naturally. For example, intelligent people are no better at making friends or having children than less intelligent people, and such things are arguably the most important things in life. In fact intelligent people generally have fewer children than the less intelligent so fail at the one thing that is important to all animals. Some people appear to be so clever that they have talked themselves out of reproducing entirely.

Intelligent people often lack basic common sense, as suggested by the George Orwell quote, “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” Maybe intellectuals have too much faith in conscious thought and forget, as Blaise Pascal said, “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” Unconscious thought, which comes to us in the form of feelings and intuitions shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand as mere prejudice.

Of course thinking things through is occasionally a good idea. If you need to decide what the square root of 64 is, it’s far better to think it through rather than to trying to intuit the answer. But not everything in the world is a Maths problem. Should you have children? Perhaps that is a question best solved by intuition though many intelligent westerners appear to think otherwise.

Dr. Kanazawa lists many evolutionarily novel things that intelligent people like more than the less intelligent. More intelligent people are allegedly more likely to drink alcohol and smoke since these are both evolutionarily novel. On average, intelligent people prefer instrumental music like classical and modern jazz while less intelligent people like pop and rock. This is probably because songs and the human voice are evolutionarily familiar while instrumental music is a recent invention. Apparently about 95% of people can sing reasonably well while the number who can play a musical instrument is much smaller. This is because the latter is something we have to learn whereas singing comes naturally to us. Accordingly, the two most intelligent ethnic groups, Jews and east Asians, are over-represented in the composition and playing of classical music.

Until recently everyone went to bed when it got dark and they got up at sunrise. The introduction of electric light meant people could stay up later if they chose. This is an evolutionary novelty and it turns out that ‘night owls’ are generally more intelligent than ‘morning larks’. In the ancestral environment there were no TVs but it turns out that it is the less intelligent who watch the most TV. Why? Because they tend to mistake the images on the screen for real people. This is why they often view actors in soap operas and films as their friends, or the really stupid ones stand up and shout at the cinema screen. Because intelligent people are aware they are watching actors on a screen they get less pleasure out of the pastime and so watch less TV.

Democracies, a relatively new idea, thrive among intelligent populations while the rule of powerful families, a much more traditional idea, is more popular among the less intelligent. Large urban areas are newer than the country and city-dwellers tend to be more intelligent than country bumpkins. Reading books, sitting in classrooms and taking exams are all evolutionarily novel and are preferred by intelligent people. Vegetarianism, homosexuality, atheism and liberalism are all evolutionarily novel and vegetarians, gays, atheists and liberals are slightly more intelligent than meat-eaters, heterosexuals, the religious and conservatives.

Evolutionarily novel white collar crime like fraud and embezzlement is committed by the more intelligent while interpersonal crime like rape, murder and theft, which have been around since Cain and Abel, is committed mainly by the less intelligent. You may say that is obvious because the former is more difficult, which is why only intelligent people can commit it. However, I don’t think this is quite true. Some things just seem easy or difficult depending on whether they come naturally to us or not, not because they are intrinsically any easier or more difficult. For example, accurately throwing a spear involves an assessment of the distance you want the spear to travel, the calculation of the speed and angle of the spear at release, the pull of gravity on the spear and other such calculations. This requires an incredible amount of brain power yet it feels easy, simply because it comes naturally to us.

By the way, if you are wondering if listening to Arnold Schoenberg’s awful atonal music, staying up late at night and trying to appreciate Tracey Emin’s ‘art’ will make you more intelligent then forget it: that is getting things back to front. Intelligent people have a taste for unnatural stuff but trying to develop a taste for unnatural stuff won’t make you more intelligent. Even so, I suspect many people who claim to like modern art and free jazz do indeed suffer from this misconception.

There are many more examples in Dr. Kanazawa’s book that I have now forgotten. He says little about politics but it is clear that novelty and the political left go hand in hand, with their revolutions and such. Just the name of their opponents, ‘conservatives’, rather gives the game away, the latter disliking change. It is therefore no wonder the Right thinks the Left strange and unnatural while the Left thinks the Right a load of knuckle-dragging retards. Liberals seem fascinated with the evolutionarily novel idea of having their culture overrun by people of other races: friendly or hostile, either is okay since both are novel. Conservatives, being evolutionarily boring, would prefer their race and culture to endure. Liberals embrace the novel idea of childlessness; conservatives not so much. Liberals find the biologically odd deviation of homosexuality something to celebrate whereas conservatives find it a bit yukky.

So liberals consider themselves creative and intelligent while conservatives think them weird and lacking basic common sense. Both are probably right.


11 thoughts on “The Intelligence Paradox”

  1. I think this might clear up any ambiguities?

    Eg.1 Conservatives don’t just find homosexuality a bit icky… they realize instinctively that gay practice is ripe for transferring pathogens and is dangerous for the health of the tribe.

    Eg.2 It’s not novel inviting antithetical cultures in to our societies, it’s a way of increasing the size of your ingroup and to bring in hostile elements to fight against your ingroup enemies… islamists v nationalists (and the liberals will fuck their way in to the next Gen[etic]erations…or be raped into them!)

    r/K Selection Theory

  2. Hi Anon-con,

    Thanks for your comment. I really like your first point about us on the Right having an instinctive aversion to pathogens which causes us to screw up our faces at the very thought of one man putting his thing where the light don’t shine or some other orifice. I hadn’t thought of that before.

    I’m not quite so convinced by your idea that a liberal/immigrant alliance to fight the evil enemy on the Right is not evolutionarily. Considering humans evolved in bands of 50 to 150 closely related members I think it unlikely that some of these would have invited in large numbers of a neighbouring hostile tribe simply to tip the balance in their favour. So though you may be right that this is what’s going on, I don’t believe it went on in the bush in Africa. Therefore it must indeed be evolutionarily novel. Explaining it doesn’t make it any less so.

    Now that I have you here I want to ask you a question. Like you, I too am a big fan of J.P. Rushton’s r/K Selection Theory as applied to humans. In his eyes, whites, and even more east Asians, are K selected compared to r selected blacks. You apply this same theory to K selected conservatives versus r selected liberals. The problem with this is that if J.P. Rushton is right then you are wrong and vice versa. Why? Because the traits he ascribes to blacks are nothing like those you ascribe to progressive liberals. And even though blacks invariably vote for any party that will give them the most stuff – the Democrats in the case of the USA – and blacks are patronised by liberals, this doesn’t mean the two groups have anything much in common. I was wondering how you would explain this.

    The Unrecorded Man

    1. Hi Unrecorded man
      Straight off the bat, I am NOT anonymous conservative, crikey! 🙂
      No I’m just a normie with enough life experience in a wide variety of environments to have seen this theory in action, with 2020 hindsight I can understand on a fundamental level my own history starting at least from my grandparents.. and in reality, from a civilisational perspective!

      From the individual through to civilisation history this theory has it nailed!

      I’m very serious, but can only recommend that you follow the Real AC’s blog, he is just on top of it when it comes to political commentary from an r/K perspective.

      That said, I still have the confidence to proffer an answer to your questions.

      The thing to remember about r/K is that it is all predicated on the availability of resources in the current environment, In respect to humans, I always find it easier to think of “excess resources” as defined in biological r/K theory as “UNEARNED Resources” which will have the same psychological effect on r selected humans as true “excess resources” to r selected animals in nature.

      So, to us humans “excess resources” is being artificially represented with among other things, QE/Welfare State & overseas Foreign Aid fermenting the idea of “Excess resources”
      Now, does “unearned income” not equate?
      In the past, would this collectivist idea to pool Resources and grow the tribe sound impossible, would there have been factions opposed to this?

      “Internal r (liberals) prefers external r (migrants) to internal K (conservatives)”
      I think sums it up.

      Think of it as simply 2 opposing genesets trying to create the environment best suited to their profligation… using politics..because….
      We have a prefrontal cortex… and the Right have slightly more control over their Amygdala!

      To be happy, all the left (and by extension the “r selected State) have to do is live under the impression of “excess resources” by printing money and handing out “unearned income”

      Am looking forward to your thoughts.

      Kind regards

      Mr Twister [180 degrees out]

  3. As an after thought, the size of the state WAS limited by REAL resources when the money system was tied to the Gold Standard, since that finally disappeared in the 70s (when I was born) we have been sliding along the r/K spectrum towards both the Left… and Today!

    Once Governments could print money… they were only ever going to steam head down in to r selection… which really means Communism!

    r vs K
    Collectivism vs individualism
    Communism vs Capitalism
    Atheism/Islam vs Christianity
    Liberals vs Conservatives
    Corbyn vs Farage
    Hillary vs Donald
    Welfare state vs Charity
    Fiat Currency vs Gold Standard/Bitcoin
    TYT vs Alex Jones
    Trigglypuff vs Lauren Southern

    I could go on forever lol

    Ringing any bells?

    1. =
      Gun control vs 2A
      State education vs Homeschooling
      EU vs Brexit
      Enemedia/BBC vs YouTube (one of the main Battlefield/Fronts atm imho)

      Right now I’m off 🙂

  4. Okay, let me lay my cards on the table. I am just a middle-aged bloke with a very average IQ and an average education. I try to learn as much as I can in my free time but many things are beyond me and just go over my head. Then all I can do is try and judge as best I can which expert seems most credible and honest, which expert sounds like they’re telling the truth and which sound like ideologues motivated, not by a search for truth, but by other factors e.g. political correctness.

    One scientist, now dead, who I have a lot of faith in is J.P. Rushton, the first scientist to take the r/K Theory for animals and apply it to human races. Rushton’s idea was that while all humans are heavily K selected, some races are more so than others. Blacks are at the r end while east Asians are at the K end, with whites not far behind. Rushton looked at such things as brain size, intelligence, longevity, maturation speed, fertility rates, care of infants and so on. Animals that are K selected (e.g. most mammals) generally have larger brains, greater intelligence, live longer, mature more slowly, have fewer offspring which they carefully nurture. It turns out that east Asians, and to a lesser extent whites, have larger brains, higher IQs, live longer, mature more slowly and have fewer children, who they nurture more carefully, than blacks. You can therefore say that the Japanese seem more K selected than sub-Saharan Africans.

    Now, Anonymous Conservative takes this same theory and tries to apply it to conservatives and liberals, claiming the former are more K selected than the latter. So do conservatives have larger brains than liberals? Er, no. Are they more intelligent? No, probably slightly less so. Do they live longer, mature more slowly, have fewer children, raise their children more carefully than liberals? No, no, no.

    I’m sure you will talk to me about excess resources and such but I find that the whole thing more difficult to grasp and quantify than, for example, IQ and fertility rates.You can go all round the houses and make things come out the way you want with resources in a way you can’t with brain size.

    A year or two ago, because I was interested in both r/K Theory and politics, I started reading Anonymous Conservative’s book in the hope that it would explain everything I hate about damned liberals. However, I only got a few pages into the book, mainly because I found it quite poorly written. This is often a bad sign. I have noticed that the people who leave the stupidest comments on my blog are also the ones who don’t write very well. While the correlation between intelligence and good writing is not 1, neither is it 0. This made me wary of his ideas.

    I commented on all this at Stefan Molyneux’s website but neither Stefan nor anyone else responded, probably because my comment was lost in the middle of hundred’s of others. I like both Stefan and Bill Whittle but I happen to think they are wrong on this. But as I said, I’m just a normal bloke trying to make sense of some quite difficult ideas. I could be wrong.

    I suspect you will recommend some further videos for me to watch or further reading for me to do so that our opinions align but I must disappoint you. Since I wasn’t convinced by Anon-Con’s book, I doubt very much that I would be convinced by more of the same, whether it be in video format or any other. Even so, thanks for commenting. Other views are always interesting and I hope you’ll keep coming back. Always nice to have a fellow Brit here.

    1. We sound similar but just one thing, if we have an average education… not exactly great eh?

      Re: brain size, AC’s main point/argument is the measurable larger Right Amygdala in conservatives… so maybe overall brain size is not the factor here but size of a specific region of the brain, and that’s the region that controls the emotions… that developed before the prefrontal cortex and Thinking…?

      Liberals do appear to be less able to regulate their emotions to the point that of making political decisions based on them… which as you and I both know.. is Crazy!

      Hense the regular proclamations far and wide that they’re all mental!

      Nope they’re all Emotional (based on their lack of Amygdala development (you know when people talk of more recent generations being mollycoddled? That’s what causes underdeveloped Amygdala, same thing that’s happening in US/UK colleges with regards to “safe spaces”… Amygdala protection zones?)

      Hey I’m just trying to hash this out independently with another “normal bloke with average IQ”

      I’ll leave it there, I’m not saying I’m right at all, you ask questions and share ideas that I want to think about.


      1. If it could be shown that our amygdala was bigger than that of liberals and further that having a large amygdala was one of the characteristics of K selected animals then maybe Anon-Con’s idea that this fits into r/K Theory would be right. However, I’m not sure about either of those things. Also the fact that we find liberals ‘mental’ is not surprising because we dislike them. We are hardly objective, disinterested judges. As I said before, if Anon-Con’s idea were really solid then maybe a proper political scientist or just someone who could write well would have taken it up.

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