Saturday, July 03, 2010

Bullfinches in the garden

A sunny Saturday morning and Clare calls me to the kitchen to see the bullfinch at the feeder in the back garden. Pretty isn't it (below)? The camera resolution really isn't good enough to get the details through the window so you'll have to use your imagination.


Clare looking at the Bullfinch from the kitchen

Mens sana in corpore sano

The Economist this week writes about Christopher Eppig's work demonstrating a tight correlation (67%) between the burden of infectious disease in a country and its IQ level (which both co-vary with its level/rate of economic development).

The work of Professors Lynn and Vanhanen ("IQ and the Wealth of Nations") is mentioned in a neutral rather than perjorative manner for a change.

We have made serious progress since Dr James Watson was publicly pilloried back in 2007 for suggesting that Africa's developmental issues were due to the relatively lower IQ of the indigenous populations there.

Eppig and his team seem to be on to something but it clearly cannot be the whole story. The significant IQ differences between different racial groups summarised here are found everywhere, including in racially-diverse countries like the US where the disease burden is not differentially-distributed across ethnicities.

As The Economist was hinting the previous week, we are only a few years away from identifying the genetic coding underlying IQ and personality differences. When this is achieved and when significant differences between ethnic groups are indisputable observational fact, public policy issues will finally have to be faced up to honestly. It's only a matter of time but expect more reactionary outbursts of political correctness first as life would surely be so much nicer if we were all exactly the same ... right?