Date: Oct 27, 2013 1:53 AM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: The monkey-sense is more important than you think.

On Oct 26, 2013, at 12:11 PM, Joe Niederberger <> wrote:

> I actually scanned the paper by Reardon rather than just the summarizing article. Nevertheless, what *exactly* is your (first, say) rebuttal? That the family-income-educational-achievement gap is merely reflecting an IQ-income gap?

Yes, and that isn't just my rebuttal, that is my whole experience. I actually grew up in the bottom 10 percent. Note, you said "merely" and all I can say is "mostly", but the effect is certainly compounded by other factors.

> Reardon's argument is based on changing strengths of correlations: the income-achievement link has grown sharply stronger in the last 30 years. If this trend is only reflective of basic IQ-income trends then you should show how IQ-income correlation has grown proportionally stronger in the last 30 years.

So, if a country pours more into education (or anything for that matter) who will prosper more from it, smart people or not smart people?

You see Joe, when I look at the sky I see blue and when someone argues with me that the sky is green the first thing that pops in my mind is that there is something wrong with their argument. You would do the same if I showed you a proof that 1 + 1 is 3. Forget the elegance of the proof, you know that 1 + 1 is not 3. Well, I grew up trying to find safe routes home and I know why you don't want to be poor. And it has nothing to do with the money. I was perfectly happy when I got home into the safety of my trailer and could read a book.

On average, smarter people do better financially. So what exactly am I missing here?

And that effect is compounded. Certainly you understand what that means, at least in the positive direction. Everything from buying a house and having it appreciate to having surplus income that you invest. Or leaving something for your children. What you are probably much less familiar with is what it looks like in the negative direction. You are probably unfamiliar with bad credit or cashing your check at an establishment that take 5%. Or buying a car and paying 29% interest. You are probably unfamiliar firsthand with a lot of the fees, taxes and penalties that people face when they make poor decisions.

I may have been too harsh on you. As it relates to this subject, you appear to have never seen the sky so you don't even know what color it is to begin with. This is just abstract. So when you read something that says the sky is green you have no basis to argue for or against. It would be like showing someone that doesn't know any better a proof that 1 + 1 is 3. They would probably believe you, for whatever that's worth.

Again, to summarize my point on not just this income-v-education paper, but also the monkey-sense-v-math-ability paper, they both suffer the same glaring defect. They take data that is very simply explained, ignore the simple explanation entirely, and craft a more complicated explanation and then ignore all of the glaring holes that arise from the complicated explanation. But most of us know that these are not "scientific" papers.

Maybe you should lecture me on how to discuss a paper with all the trappings of science, but yet isn't science. As far as I can gather, one must suspend their powers of deduction and ignore all other evidence. But then what is the point of following the paper's argument? Under those guidelines you could prove anything, even that 1 + 1 is 3.

Bob Hansen