Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of countries by IQ

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  • These statistics are ludicrous. I haven't had time to do a calculation as to what the average IQ of the sample is based on these numbers, but I'm betting it's considerably below 100. Secondly, the idea that the mean IQ of the citizens of Guinea (59, according to the table) is more than two standard deviations below the global mean beggars belief. According to the IQ article, people with an IQ below 80 are regarded as being candidates for special ed. As this article is basically a collection of statistics, and as they are so beyond the pale, I can't see any alternative but to delete the article. --Robert Merkel 10:04, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. I agree with Robert's comments above. problems with the definition of IQ aside, any samples involving more than 10 representatives of each country should fall within a two and a bit points of 100 (TB 07:46, 7 May 2004 (UTC) adds: if the data is normalised, the tests truly comparable and underlying national IQs are equal). It's patent nonsense. Very pretty tables and flags on the page though. TB 10:14, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
    • "any samples involving more than 10 representatives of each country should fall within a two and a bit points of 100".
    • That would only be the case if the average for each country was set at 100. The averages here are relative to a global U.K. average of 100. AndyCapp 17:39, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
      • I've done some more looking into this, and these statistics are actually from a scholarly publication by two retired professors, and the book has been reviewed positively in an Elsevier journal (look on the article talk page for a link). I think this says plenty about the quality of some of the research done in the social sciences, quite frankly. --Robert Merkel 12:45, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
        • Research has had 3 mentions in Britain's Newspaper of Record - The Times (as a left of centre, politically, person I take a certain glee in how uncritical this conservative paper has been of the research): Times One and Times Two. If the article is to be deleted, I think we need to be clear about why. --bodnotbod 17:02, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
        • Discussion on Times Letters Page --bodnotbod 17:19, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
          • I have not seen any scholars make any credible claims as to the invalidity of the IQ data. AndyCapp 17:53, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
            • Have you looked? IQ is frequently criticized as not adequately measuring intelligence, as being western-centric, as failing to take into account various types of intellectual skill, etc. Do you have a citation for these studies? Snowspinner 01:57, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. BJAODN. Variation on the old "50% of Irishmen (Scots, women, etc) are of below average intelligence" line. Well done, though. Andrewa 11:48, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. Statistically insignificant. Alcarillo 14:11, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
    • Can you prove it? The data would not be published if it hadn't passed statistical significance tests. AndyCapp 17:53, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
      • Because newspapers never publish sensationalistic studies... Snowspinner 01:57, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. I almost feel bad saying that to something that's clearly had a lot of work put into it's layout, but this seems like it's statistical bullplop. So... Lord Bob 14:46, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
  • Comment. Distasteful, yes. Since it's reprinted data is it copyvio? Or even wikisource? The reason I'm not saying delete is that there's a list of The 100 Best Stand-up Comics as listed by an American publication somewhere, and - other than if a distinction is made on grounds of taste - I guess all other rankings tables would have to be deleted too? Article cannot stand without full discussion of the research method which would hopefully bring the article into such disrepute we can laugh about it ;o) --bodnotbod 16:53, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
    • My problem isn't with a list of average IQs in certain nations, my problem is with the methodology that, as Robert said right at the top of this thread, produces statistics that border on the absurd. A relative layman's look at this page makes me think that these figures say the average human being is below the defined average for IQ, and that doesn't make much sense. Lord Bob 17:07, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
      • Well then, I challenge you to multiply the average IQ of each coutry by its proportion of the world's population, and see if it adds up to 100. AndyCapp 17:10, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
      • It's verifiable information and comes from numerous sources. In regards to Bodnotbod's concerns above about copyvio - the data itself cannnot be copyrighted. I don't see why it should be deleted unless you have a reasonable suspicion to believe the data is false. AndyCapp 17:08, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
        • Results of a study can be copyrighted, actually. Snowspinner 01:57, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
          • I'm pretty sure that you can't copyright the average IQ of a nation. Take a look at the Idea-expression divide article. AndyCapp 03:38, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
            • The copyright would be for the particular data from that study. The facts cannot be copyrighted, of course, however were the study to be repeated, sampling error would yield different numbers. This particular set of numbers, then, is copyrighted. Snowspinner 04:38, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
              • Just for my education, this set of numbers is copyrighted... can that be right? Anybody know the real legal position on this? Surely any research of populations relies on sampling and then, by extension, all such research findings would be copyrighted. That can't be right, surely? --bodnotbod 12:34, May 7, 2004 (UTC)
                • I don't see anything in US Code that says we are not allowed to restate the results of a scientific study. I also do not see anything that explicitly says we are not allowed to. However, it does say that information cannot be copyrighted. See 17 U.S.C. § 102. In addition, Lynn and Vanhanen's collection of numbers is less a "study" than a compilations of studies, so in the unlikely event that 17 U.S.C. § 102 fails, then 17 U.S.C. § 103 (b) still applies, because Lynn and Vanhanen did nothing but compile the results of studies, and therefore have no copyright in the data itself. AndyCapp 14:35, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
        • Rewrite - needs far more discussion of the dubiousness of the techniques used. It's flawed methodology but if the Times takes it seriously then it's notable. The Land 17:49, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
          • Feel free to add to the article. AndyCapp 17:54, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
      • The article lists where the data is sourced from and states that the data is dependent on the validity or invalidity of the research methods used, so I can't see anything factually wrong with the article. If the data was about something less controversial and with fewer sociological ramifications, such as a list of the best standup comics as rated by Comedy Central, or List of countries by GDP, would you still want to delete the article over concerns the data could be statistically flawed? If anyone wants to add any arguments or any links arguing against the validity of the data or research methods, please go ahead. AndyCapp 18:15, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
        • Comments: If all that you say is true, a better preamble might save the article. I suggest you have a go at this yourself. Comparisons with other articles are not convincing IMO. AFAIK data can be copyrighted, but IMO this would be regarded as information not raw data. Information can't be copyrighted. My vote stands at delete, BTW. Andrewa 18:29, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Then how about we change the title to "List of countries by IQ as ranked by Lynn and Vanhanen" (Even though they themselves are sourcing the information from numerous worldwide studies). Would that be acceptable? This is true and useful information with heavy sociological implications, so I can't understand why there are people who want to erase it from existence or hide it from Wikipedia readers who are interested in having access to it. AndyCapp 18:41, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
    • Comment: It's not the title that's the problem IMO. See below for a better renaming suggestion. This would involve rewriting the introduction, which is what I think is most needed. Andrewa 19:01, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
      • I half-agree with Andrewa -- it's the title and the intro that are the problem. A comparatively new hypothesis is presented as if it were fact, or at least widely accepted within the field. Even a possible title like "List of countries by IQ as ranked by Lynn and Vanhanen" skews the emphasis. What makes this highly questionable claim worth including is that somebody with some sort of credential said it. Change title to "Lynn-Vanhanen hypothesis of national IQ and wealth" or some such, to emphasize that aspect, then report what they say and what their critics say. It should begin along the lines of: "The Lynn-Vanhanen hypothesis of national IQ and wealth holds that about 58 per cent of the differences in national wealth can be explained by differences in intelligence, with each average IQ point above 70 being worth about £500 in GDP per head of population. (Rewrite the foregoing because it's probably copyvio - I took it almost verbatim from the Times One article.) (Start new paragraph) In (insert year), Dr. Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and Dr. Tatu Vanhanen of the University of Tampere, Helsinki, Finland, in their book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, presented IQ data by country, taking averages when multiple studies give varying results for a country. Thus, some of these figures are based on much more data and larger studies than others." Then continue with their data, more detail on their methodology, their conclusions and comments, and opposing points of view, including general critique of IQ scores and any specific responses to Lynn-Vanhanen, any rebuttals they make to their critics, etc. JamesMLane 05:30, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • I think this is another indication that an IQ test is a method used to determine how good a person is at taking IQ tests. MK 18:24, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
    • That may be so, but it doesn't mean that the list itself is invalid. If you're right, then we still have a list of countries sorted by average IQ, even though IQ might be nothing more than an indication of how a person is at taking IQ tests. If you want to add that IQ doesn't measure much except how good someone is at taking an IQ test, feel free to do so, although such discussion really belongs on the IQ page. AndyCapp 18:34, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • I vote move to IQ and the Wealth of Nations and write up the controversy. We already have an article on The Bell Curve. Rmhermen 18:45, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
    • That sounds like a decent idea to me, although the actual IQ data isn't the main thrust of the book; the book mostly argues that IQ correlates with GDP AndyCapp 20:43, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. Completely baseless. Wile E. Heresiarch 20:12, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
    • It's backed up by numerous studies, so how is it baseless? AndyCapp 20:43, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • The fact that the data makes you uncomfortable is not a reason to erase it. It is a well-sourced and important piece of the IQ debate. The arguments that it is "source material" are perhaps more persuasive, but until I'm fully persuaded, my vote is keep. (It is however due for a rewrite which acknowledges the controversial nature of the material.) -- VV 20:47, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep and move to IQ and the Wealth of Nations exactly as Rmherman suggests. (I didn't vote previously, merely commented). --bodnotbod 21:03, May 6, 2004 (UTC)
  • Move to IQ and the Wealth of Nations. IQ tests are highly arbitrary within borders, let alone across them. I think these data, rather than being "true and useful" are a noisy form of data on education spending, so I don't see any "heavy sociological implications", apart perhaps from highlighting inequality of opportunity across this world. -- EuroTom 21:46, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. Very sensitive topic, but it seems to be backed up by credible research. Maybe add a paragraph about the flaws of measuring IQ, or western country bias of IQ tests, etc... -- Chris 73 | Talk 22:40, 6 May 2004 (UTC) Title change is also an option. -- Chris 73 | Talk 03:11, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • I have very serious reservations about including this. Delete or move and radically rework it to put it in the proper context. Everyking 23:27, 6 May 2004 (UTC)
  • As I've just pointed out on Talk:List of countries by IQ, the average IQ of the sample population is about 90, and the sample includes 83% of the world's population. If I've done my sums right, that means the average IQ of the rest of the world must be about 147 to get a global mean of 100! At best, move to IQ and the wealth of nations, along with an extensive debunking of this schoolboy howler-ridden work. --Robert Merkel 00:17, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • It's because the UK average was set at 100 and used as a basis for comparison. But if the statistics were to be adjusted so that the worldwide average was 100, you would still see the same range of IQs, with Hong Kong at 117, the UK at 110, and Guinea at 69.AndyCapp 00:37, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
      • I think you've just demonstrated why this data should be moved away from its current home, then, because it doesn't represent what it claims to... -Robert Merkel 01:25, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
      • I haven't met anyone from Guinea, but I have known a dozen or two from Ethiopia (2nd from bottom on the list), and suffice it to say that average people in Ethiopia are not in need of special ed. I've also met a lot of Indians and, again, they are anything but mentally deficient. The list is utter, complete bullshit. Wile E. Heresiarch 13:35, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep, very cautiously. If these studies were done, and have held up under fire, I think there's no reason that we should censor the information. However, I think this article desperately needs a title change: "List of countries by IQ" is misleading; let's try something more like: "World IQ data as measured by Lynn and Vanhanen".
  • I've done some work on the article, to make it somewhat less misleading. If the research is credible, yes, we should keep it. However, this is very dangerous information. For example, it may deter future investment in low-ranked countries, or be used to justify racism or nationalism at some point in the future. We need to make this article as fair and not-misleading as possible. I think I've made a good start by, for example, noting the fact that the countries where measured IQ is highest are also those that use frequent IQ-test-like-exams in their educational systems, and that by practicing IQ tests people can improve their scores dramatically (I know a guy who worked his supposed "IQ" up from 150-ish into the 200s, by practicing these tests.)
  • Even with all that said, I'm still highly doubtful that this research means anything, and I expect to hear, at some point, that it was flawed, faulty, or corrupt. When that happens we should remark even further that the study was discredited. Some of these results are bizarre. Guinea at 59? That's a mental age of 9.44 (IQ theory is that IQ = 100*(mental age)/(chronological age), but intellectual aging stops at an arbitrarily selected 16.0 so for adults you use 16 as the denominator)-- seems quite ludicrous to me.
  • So, yeah... I'd say keep, because I'm opposed to censorship, but be very careful to make sure this article is not misleading. I've done some work on the article toward that effect, and I encourage others to do so as well. Mike Church 02:00, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • How is this "dangerous" information? Is Holocaust dangerous information, as it might be used to justify hatred of Germans? Is Emmett Till dangerous, because it might provoke racism against whites? Are you worried that Science and technology in China will engender Chinese nationalism? I see a double standard. -- VV 04:28, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
      • Comment: I can think how it could be regarded as dangerous but I'll put it on the article talk page. Not here. --bodnotbod 12:40, May 7, 2004 (UTC)
      • IQ is bullshit, and bullshit masquerading as factual information is dangerous. That is why this article is dangerous. Note to VV: there's no need to drag irrelevant topics into the discussion. Wile E. Heresiarch 13:35, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep and move to IQ and the Wealth of Nations . --Jiang 02:14, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. I don't believe there is a total order among people. Correlation between any of {race, geography, language, food} and IQ is not established yet, let alone nationality. Also, the appropriateness of IQ as a measure of intelligence itself is debatable. More importantly, the method employed for arriving at such a result is not convincing. Many of those who voted to keep this article have cited various other articles which violate this principle. If that be true, they should also be deleted. In general, I'm against ordering of any sort except based on scientifically measurable quantities with strong backing of facts.:-- Sundar 12:50, May 7, 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. (Or modify heavily)I fully agree with with the objections of the above user. --Bjorn H Bergtun 20:38, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Take a look at this article: List of countries by GDP. It's almost identical, but the only difference is that IQ has been replaced with GDP. Yet this article has been existence since February without much controversy. GDP is as difficult, if not more difficult, to measure than IQ. How exactly does one go about measuring the total value of all goods produced in a society? What about grey market or illegal sales? What about corporate accounting fraud distorting sales figures? Or cash transactions that go unaccounted for? What about inflationary effects on prices and sales revenues? Any argument that could work against the IQ article could also work against the GDP article, so I can't see any reason why the GDP article should be kept while the IQ article should be deleted. AndyCapp 01:59, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
    • No statistic is completely free from doubt, but there are gradations. Figures on GDP are routinely compiled by governments, central banks or international agencies, applying some comparatively objective standards. The kinds of issues you raise are considered and discussed by different economists. Here, we have a computation of national IQ that's found in one book. It doesn't seem that other researchers have even picked up on this idea. Still less have these figure been through the kind of scrutiny applied to GDP numbers. Although I don't favor deletion, it would be misleading for us to present the numbers from this particular book in a table like that for GDP, as if the two sets of data had equal reliability. JamesMLane 07:02, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Objections to proposed new title "IQ and the Wealth of Nations"
    • Several people have suggested this move, but I strongly disagree. To have an article with that title, and only this content, would imply that this one book is authoritative on the subject. Furthermore, I doubt we could augment such an article much, because I don't think there are many other researchers trying to find such a correlation. That's why I suggested instead "Lynn-Vanhanen hypothesis of national IQ and wealth" as a title. I agree with the POV that this hypothesis is bullshit, but, obviously, that is just a POV. We should report on this claim. After all, we report on Holocaust denial. Only, let's not give the false impression that this is anything more than the opinion of one particular pair of authors, who use questionable data to reach convenient conclusions. (I love the part where the exceptions are explained away as reflecting the superiority of capitalism. It sure sounds like they started with a set of right-wing doctrines and tried to manipulate the data to provide a veneer of scientific support.) JamesMLane 14:49, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • I agree with this proposal. The Land 15:07, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • I don't. It's standard procedure to file articles on books under their titles, even if the title is POV. The first sentence will be, IQ and the Wealth of Nations is a controversial book by L and V which puts forward the thesis that, etc., etc. If we don't allow it to be under this title, can we move Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them to Al Franken's hypothesis of inaccuracy in FOX News reporting? -- VV 21:22, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • DELETE THIS NAZI/RACIALIST BULLSHIT. 172 22:58, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
  • There's a distinction between the general hypothesis (the Holocaust never occurred, FOX News is biased) and a specific book (Did Six Million Really Die?, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them). With the Holocaust, we have the article on the hypothesis (Holocaust denial) which mentions that book, but the book doesn't get its own article. The Franken book merits its own article because of its significance (best-seller, subject of lawsuit, celebrity author), whatever you think of the merits of its claims. The analogy isn't perfect -- there is no separate article on the claim that FOX is biased, because that discussion finds a ready home under FOX News. In the present case, the Lynn-Vanhanen claim deserves to be reported (though it is indeed Nazi/racialist bullshit), but the article should be about the issue, not just the book. Then other publications that support the hypothesis (if any) can readily be accommodated. JamesMLane 01:00, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. The existance of the study itself has been verified. The version of the article I looked at was reasonably NPOV in presenting the findings of the study. Comments about the validity of using IQ tests as a measure of intelligence or critiques of the methodology are irrelevant to the deletion debate. (They are, of course, fair critiques that may be appropriate in the article.) Rossami 02:22, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
    • By the way, I disagree with most of the emotional rhetoric above. IQ tests are optimized for the cultural context in which they have been developed (pretty much exclusively UK and US). Why would it possibly surprise anyone that people from outside that cultural context score lower on tests than those for whom the test was designed? That was the only implication I drew from the article even before all this discussion about changing the introduction back and forth. Rossami
  • Keep. The study exists and has gained attention, therefore merits inclusion. Andris 04:59, May 8, 2004 (UTC)
  • Although I'm still a relative newbie I can see why this is a very difficult one for wikipedia to decide how to handle.
Is there a consensus that:
    • published, notable, scientific research is a proper subject fo a WP entry even if the research methodology is highly controversial and the conclusions potentially offensive
    • any entry on such research has to be qualified to make sure that the fact of controversy surrounding the research is made clear.
If so then we have no option but to rewrite it and insert under a different heading. The Land 13:49, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
  • If this information comes from a particular study, then aren't the statistical results of that study copyrighted? Can we just steal their statistics? It's not the same thing as census info or sports scores, which can't be copyrighted. RickK 22:18, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete, or at the very least move it to IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Obviously this isn't a definitive study on the subject, so it doesn't belong at "List of countries by IQ". --Minesweeper 00:52, May 9, 2004 (UTC)
  • As I noted in the article, L&V's table is not their own research but data culled from various published studies in the field. That's another reason why naming it the "Lynn-Vanhanen" hypothesis or whatever is wrong; it's not their research, but the collected results of dozens of researchers. It doesn't seem like this should be a copyright issue. -- VV 00:16, 9 May 2004 (UTC)
  • Move discussion to a talk page and continue discussion. -Fennec 14:58, May 9, 2004 (UTC)