Skip to comments.People in Developing Countries 'Have lower IQs because their bodies are focused on surviving'
Posted on 07/02/2010 11:55:56 PM PDT by wac3rd
People in developing countries have lower IQs because their bodies divert energy from brainpower to fighting disease, researchers claimed today.
In hot nations blighted by deadly infections, the priority is survival and populations have evolved to develop stronger immune systems rather than intelligence, according to the controversial theory.
Some critics warned the study could become an excuse for racism if it was used to suggest that people in the Third World are not as intelligent as those in cooler, richer climes.
Others pointed out that the ancient Persians, Greeks and Romans lived in hot climates and still boasted extraordinary civilisations. U.S. researchers claimed their work could explain why national IQ scores vary around the world and are lower in some warmer countries stricken by diseases such as malaria, tetanus and tuberculosis.
Infection could have as important an impact on intelligence as education, diet and wealth, said researcher Randy Thornhill and a team from the University of New Mexico. Children under five use most of their energy for brain development and this can be restricted if the body has to fight disease, they wrote in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. They compared data from worldwide IQ studies with disease maps drawn up by the World Health Organisation and concluded that the higher the level of infectious disease in a country, the lower the average national IQ.
'The effect of infectious disease on IQ is bigger than any other single factor we looked at,' said Chris Eppig, lead author on the paper. Disease is a major sap on the body's energy, and the brain takes a lot of energy to build. If you don't have enough, you can't do it properly. (snip)
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Sounds like racism to me...
It is a terrible vicious cycle, but the scientists are trying to tie survival vs. intellect, which is an interesting take...the problem is that they use climate as a base, and there are exceptions to a rule they are desperately trying to prove.
...they live in Developing Countries.
I've known some who've left such places. To a man and a woman, they're very intelligent.
This study would tend to support reintroducing the use of DDT.
What decides a high IQ?
Good memory, math skills, logical thinking? I really don’t know what the-powers-that-be value in order to make a high IQ.
Developing IQ’s result in developing countries.
Except the smart people, as I've encountered, up and leave and come here.
These are the kinds of people we SHOULD want to come here. Even if they eventually go home and try to make things better back there, they're contributing while they're here.
My sister used to be a peace corps volunteer in Africa in the 1970s. The thought at the time was that the children in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) were as smart and able as any on the planet between birth and age four or so. When they were completely weaned from breastfeeding and had to get by on the local, meager and unsanitary food, they began to fall behind in development, compared to children in other countries.
It’s poverty, not heat.
BTW, Singapore is plenty hot, and it has a lot of smart people, but they are well-fed.
I don’t think it’s racist, although it could be cherry-picked to push a racist agenda.
If you don’t get enough nutrition, if you get sickened by bad drinking water, if your parents are uneducated, if you live in a war zone. . .
you are probably not going to grow up to your full potential. Regardless of your race.
Sounds reasonable.... hafta have a stable economic base to pursue education, etc...
Of course, the benefits of western civilization seem to be ignored here. Things like, educational emphasis, stable governments, stable currencies with a capitalist economy come to mind.
There are plenty of developing countries that are becoming developed countries. Singapore, the Chicoms, and several others are making the transition from more humble conditions just 50 years ago. As I recall, the literacy rate in Singapore is higher than the US. There’s more to account for the “retardation” than infectious disease.
Egypt is loaded with infectious diseases and parasites, plus it ain’t too cool there either. Yet, living conditions are not so bad.
As to the “oiled” middle eastern countries, they are definitely a mixed bag. Were those countries lacking the blessings of oil, they would be driving something more organic than a Mercedes. When the oil runs out, there will no be much to support their “lifestyle”. Even the Iraqis educate their women. The rest of the arab/islamic countries....not so much.
How do they know the frequency of infectious disease isn’t a result of low IQ, rather than vice versa? A low-IQ society would obviously have more trouble avoiding infectious disease than a high-IQ one.
could education count for it? A few lessons to teach you how to think /look at issues can make a huge difference in any IQ test.
“People in Developing Countries Are Focused On Survival Because of Their Lower IQ’s, hence the word “Developing””
You nailed it. Very succinctly.
If the author’s hypothesis is correct, African Americans born and raised in chilly Detroit or Chicago’s south side would have higher IQs than Africans in Africa. Hmmm.
It may seem far-fetched but versions of the role of diet can be racist or, at least, a way of explaining why some are intellectually inferior. For example, consider the great and influential 19th century German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach constructed a broad and complicated materialistic philosophy that said, in part, “You are what you eat.” From there he went on to say that some peoples - like the Irish, who had potatoes as a disproportunately large part of their diet - were intellectually inferior as a result of this diet. Time and space force me to oversimplify this but Feuerbach elaborated on this dietary role at great length.
I can’t cite a source, but it’s been argued from time to time that the dominance of entrenched aristocracies in pre-modern societies was partly due to superior nutrition, which led to superior physical and mental development. The peasantries tended to be underfed and malnourished.
IQ’s just the measurement of how well you can adapt to a stress-free Western Culture. Things like logic and mathematics mean nothing to somebody who’s trying to hunt for their next meal or grow their next crop and try to avoid crop failure. There needs to be more culturally sensitive IQ tests in order to truly measure “intelligence”.
That being said, I wonder why those thugs from the ghetto have such low IQs even though they grew up in this country yet the Africans FOB do so well even though there’s such a cultural difference. They face the same racism (Sometimes from many African-Americans) and bigotry as these ghetto rats, but they do so well economically.
Nutrition definitely has a lot to do with it. I remember being in a hospital waiting room several times with a group of pregnant black teenage girls who were part of a project aimed at improving their diet during pregnancy. The nurses asked the girls to provide a list of what they ate every day.
I had no idea that people could even survive on a diet of potato chips and Coke, let alone have babies. These kids had been given all sorts of supplemental welfare payments, free vitamin supplements, etc. They didn’t take the vitamins and they didn’t use the money to buy food. They said it was too much trouble to cook and nobody cooked in their homes. They all sounded and acted as if they had what are politely called “developmental disabilities” themselves. I was pretty stunned.
Needless to say, things didn’t look great for their babies. They had a high rate of premature births, infant mortality and congenital defects. Those were things directly related to nutrition, and the sad thing was that none of these girls seemed to take it seriously or want to change their habits.
I think nutrition has a lot to do with it. The correlation with disease may be that people who are malnourished have less resistance. As for the southern connection, tropical climates are very favorable to insects, so you also have more disease carriers there and more opportunity to spread disease among an already weakened population.
I was taught some 35 years ago the brain worked on a food first,then shelter,then reproduction basis. The plain fact is you have countries like ours and organizations like the U.N. gifting the first 2 which leads to too much of the third.
Its not a hot cold comfortable situation by itself but one of achievement. If you need to perform to have the first 2 then you by that very process become more cunning and more intelligent. Remove the first part of the process and you have an unintelligent reproductive machine.
Rampant disease is a natural result of being unintelligent,not the other way around.
And all the morons on Leno’s “Jay Walking” segment would answer his very simple questions correctly.
As a side benefit, we could probably balance the budget with the fines this would generate.
This is very sloppy thinking.
I can blow a hole in this theory with a single name...Nancy Pelosi.
“I’ve known some who’ve left such places. To a man and a woman, they’re very intelligent. “
The people whom you have met are not necessarily representative of where they came from. Quite obvious that if they left the hell-hole where they were born it follows that they are intelligent. This has made America what it is today.(well used to be anyway)
This article recalls the eugenic thought that was so popular back in the 20’s and 30’s that brought about Hitler’s “final solution” and Margaret Sanger’s starting Planned Parenthood to get rid of the “blacks and undesirables”. We’ve been there and it’s ugly!
I’ve heard about that theory too. If we control for epidemics and pandemics, the affluent and powerful were the healthiest. By the way, speaking of epidemics, pandemics, wars, and natural disasters - there was a priest in the Church of England, Thomas Malthus, who was a mathematics scholar at Cambridge prior to his ordination. Over 200 years ago he published a work called “Essay on Population.” His contention was that food supplies tended to increase by arithmetic ratio while, on the other hand, population increased by geometric ratio. He concluded that those famines, diseases, etc. were NECESSARY in order to keep population under control. Even though some of his precepts have become dated, the gravamen of his thesis still has some truth to it. But for most, life was, as Hobbes put it, “brutish, cruel, savage and short.”
I don’t think you need a government mandate; you just need families where people actually feed their own kids and the kids learn how to cook by watching somebody actually do it. There’s no shortage of food in this country, no endemic diseases that cause mass deaths, and no excuse for the fact that these girls had never seen anybody do anything but open a bag of Ruffles for breakfast. (The other thing that amazed me was that they always bought the most expensive potato chips.)
This program was an attempt to teach these girls to take some control over this aspect of their lives and at least be responsible for their diet and that of their babies/children, things that they should have learned from their parents...except for the fact that they really didn’t have parents in any meaningful sense of the word.
I used to work with developmentally disabled adults, and there was a category for those who had been “culturally deprived” as children. Most of these people were white. They had no organic problems, but functioned like people who did, because they had been so poorly socialized as children. They had never received any intellectual stimulus (mostly, nobody talked to them) and had abominable diets that included drinking beer from cans left around the trailer by their parents the night before. Heck, the beer was probably the most nutritious thing they consumed.
You may think this is a joke, but it’s not. The cost of these pregnancies was very high, and you the taxpayer are paying it; the cost of having a population of people who are so low-functioning they are barely employable is also high, not to mention the crime they generate.
I would say that creation of this group (poorly nourished, poorly socialized, low-functioning) dates to the Great Society. Food assistance to the poor had, prior to that, been in the form of the famous “surplus foods,” things like corn meal, canned meat, beans, powdered milk, cheese, etc. In other words, all real foods that required cooking.
Then it was decided that this was undignified, and the government not only started to hand out food stamps, but did campaigns throughout lower income neighborhoods to get people on food stamps whether they had previously gotten surplus foods or not. Once the government stepped in and started playing mommy and daddy, families fell apart and the basically good nutrition people got from their home diet disappeared. Coupled with the fact that girls were having children at increasingly young ages, several generations were produced in rapid succession that suffered from the effects of this lack, and I think that much of this population genuinely does have nutritionally linked developmental deficiencies.
That was my point--the smart ones left.
“Its poverty, not heat.”
It’s the corrupt, cannibal-king tyrants.
To make things fair the UN should introduce a disease program for the developed world, nobody gets vaccinated and every child must get at least one documented infectious disease a year. Seems fair.
Did it not occur to them that perhaps all the intelligent people were simply smart enough to leave?
Ruffles hold the dip better. :)
What decides a high IQ?
Good memory, math skills, logical thinking? I really dont know what the-powers-that-be value in order to make a high IQ.
IQs just the measurement of how well you can adapt to a stress-free Western Culture. Things like logic and mathematics mean nothing to somebody whos trying to hunt for their next meal or grow their next crop and try to avoid crop failure. There needs to be more culturally sensitive IQ tests in order to truly measure intelligence.
it turns out that intelligence is helpful for essentially EVERYTHING, whether tossing spears at game, shooting hoops, designing boats, or deciding where to gather water from the river.
All other things being equal, the smarter person will probably be better at the task.
Of course it’s not a perfect predictor of everything, nor possibly to measure with perfect accuracy, but it provides an advantage in just about everything (and any exceptions one might offer would likely prove the rule).
It has more to do with how we measure IQ. We set the standard to make only developed, school educated people score well on the test. The ability to survive in harsh environments without technology isn’t something we deem useful, so it has no place in IQ tests.
The ability to survive in harsh environments is correlated with the kind of intelligence that can be measured with conventional tests (which don’t necessarily test book learning.)
It is possible to test the intelligence of “savages” and testing is done, and first world schooled people’s scores on these tests correlate with with their scores on other intelligence tests.
We only have so much energy. If we use it to find enough food for the day, that doesn’t leave much to contemplate the origins of the universe.
>>>>> "I've known some who've left such places. To a man and a woman, they're very intelligent." <<<<<
Perhaps these individuals weren't subjected to the many infectious childhood diseases of their country of origin; perhaps their intelligence is the reason they decided to leave and come to America - OR perhaps their inate high intelligence and consequent success in education made it easy for them to find employment in the USA.
What would be interesting to know is if IQ has truly substantially increased in the West through history -- how about those centuries before modern sanitation when Black Death and many other plagues swept through Europe??? What was the impact upon IQ and what circumstances lead to high IQ in such conditions???
I had no idea that people could even survive on a diet of potato chips and Coke, let alone have babies. These kids had been given all sorts of supplemental welfare payments, free vitamin supplements, etc. They didnt take the vitamins and they didnt use the money to buy food. They said it was too much trouble to cook and nobody cooked in their homes. They all sounded and acted as if they had what are politely called developmental disabilities themselves. I was pretty stunned.<
It's criminal that schools have done away with home economics classes in favor of feminism and political correctness. If teenagers were introduced to cooking and nutrition in a group setting perhaps, just perhaps, they'd learn that nutritious food is not only vital, but it tastes really good.
Hey, your IQ goes down if you just gotta have that Double Big-Mac Bacon Burger with a six pack of Papst Blue Ribbon.....right now!
But aren't most populations in poor developing tropical nations subsisting on traditional diets?
Aren't "traditional" diets supposed to be superior???
And all these tropical populations are OBVIOUSLY super super super healthy, because most of them get LOTS of sun, and therefore their blood Vitamin D levels are super high ---- just open any FR thread about Vitamin D, and you'll learn that lack thereof is responsible for ALL ills, ALL cancers, etc/etc/etc.
It's poverty, not heat." <<<<<
Age 4? Were they given IQ tests and then tested again at, say, age 10?? I thought that IQ was developed VERY young in life? I thought IQ was a constant?
What does this thesis of your sister's say about programs such as Head Start, or about the subsidized school lunch program???
Are there any scientific studies to back up her impressions of the local population during her time in the Peace Corps?
I want to throw everyone a two curveballs.
What is the explanation of the white farmers in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), South Africa and other African nations that no longer have slave labor or aparteid?
Two: Communist countries which have little food and medicine due to shortages and usurping of resources by the Government still produce science, math and technology advances (see USSR, China, N. Korea).
I mean the myth that we are all equal, and that racism is the reason for differences, and that measuring intelligence is racist because there is no such thing.
Honestly, The Bell Curve is an excellent book worth an enjoyable read.
Traditional diets are not necessarily healthier than a good modern diet, although they will keep people alive unless something (like the local Communist/Islamic dictatorship) interrupts the food supply.
One of the big lacks in a lot of traditional diets is protein, either because it is actually unavailable (shortage of animal protein) or because it is artificially limited (for example, European peasants being forbidden to hunt game because the landlord wanted it all).
I agree. I went to school in NYC, and while I didn’t come from a “non-cooking household,” I enjoyed our home ec classes in jr high school.
We had little kitchens in the classroom, and we were assigned in groups of 4: 2 boys and 2 girls. We learned to make basic dishes, and even if you already knew how to cook or thought the dishes were horrible, the class was fun, although it was usually the girls who did all the cooking. The boys set the table and occasionally brought the girls things they had made in metal shop.
The school I went to was about 1/3 Northern European white, 1/3 Caribbean Hispanic (who can be any color), and 1/3 African American. We all enjoyed the class.
Our teacher was a black woman who said that it was her mission to teach kids that cooking was more than just a boring duty. I remember we spent a lot of time decorating with paprika.